Page images


Next to the horse, the Ox is the most useful of labouring animals, being employed in most countries for draught.

In the United States he is much used for drawing carts and wagons, for plowing, and for other labour about a farm. He performs all this work with the greatest patience, and is always kind, gentle, and obedient.

The flesh of the Ox and the Cow makes excellent beef, and affords us one of the best, and most important articles of our food. The Ox in this particular is more useful than the horse, whose flesh is not good to eat.

The Cow may be placed at the head of all animals for utility to man. Her milk is one of the most important articles of food in every civilized country. Children are fond of milk, and the cow supplies them every night and morning, with their daily meals.

The skins of the Ox, and the Cow, are made into leather, of which our shoes are made; knifehandles and combs are made of their horns.

Since these animals are so kind and so useful, is it not painful to think, that any body should be so wicked and cruel, as to throw stones at them, or to beat, wound and abuse them!

[graphic][merged small]

THE size and form of the sheep are well known. Its color is generally white, though black and spotted sheep are not uncommon. It is exceedingly gentle, lives by grazing, and is found in almost all countries.

The sheep is one of the most useful of all antmals; its flesh is excellent food, and of its wool, our winter clothing is made.

The finest kind of wool is produced by the breed of sheep called merino, which was brought from Spain, and is now common in America.

Although of a moderate size, and well covered, it does no live more than nine or ten years. The ram is strong and fierce, and will boldly attack a dog, and often comes off victorious.

He has even been known, regardless of danger, to engage a bull; and his forehead being much harder than that of any other animal, he seldom to conquer; for the bull, by lowering his head, receives the strokes of the ram between his eyes.

In some countries the sheep are not kept in separate pastures, surrounded by fences, as with us; but range about in large flocks, over an immense open country, seemingly without control. They are guided, and taken care of by a shepherd and his dog, who constantly watch them.

[graphic][merged small]

IN America have been found bones of an animal called the mammoth; he was larger than the elephant. There are no mammoths alive now, that we know of. The elephant is the largest animal that we know any thing about.

He is very strong, very obedient, and very sagacious. He loves rice very much. Sometimes he breaks into the rice fields of Asia, and tramples down the rice which is growing, and destroys a great quantity of it.

The elephants go in herds. In Africa, and in the island of Ceylon, some hundreds are seen together; the Africans are afraid of them; they kill them in order to get their teeth. The people of Asia take the wild elephant alive, and make him work.

In Siam, a country of Asia, the people love elephants very much; they prefer the white elephant.

The king of Pegu, who lives near to the king of Siam, once made a war with him, because the king of Siam chose to keep two white elephants which the king of Pegu wanted; and a great many people belonging to both the kings were killed. For such unimportant things do men make wars. In Siam the king has a beautiful house for his

elephants; he feeds them upon the cleanest and the whitest rice, and because it is a very hot country, he causes water to be placed in a room above that in which the elephants are, which is strained slowly through the ceiling, and drops gently upon them to keep them cool.

The elephant has a rough skin, with very few hairs upon it; he has small eyes, but they are bright, and he looks kindly and gently upon his


His great ears lie flatly, and loosely, and he sometimes moves them like a fan, to drive away dust and insects from his eyes. His hearing is good; he delights in music, and is as much pleased with the trumpet, and drum, as any little boy.

The trunk, or proboscis of the elephant performs many of the offices of a man's hand; it is very strong and flexible. The trunk is properly a very long nose-there is, at the end of it, something like a finger.

With this he can pick up the smallest piece of money, untie knots, open and shut gates, draw the corks of bottles, and almost any thing else that hands could do. A blow of this strong trunk kills a man instantly; it is more than two yards long.

The elephant swims, and will draw heavy loads. He loves his master very much; knows his voice, and obeys his orders. He does as much work as several horses.

Elephants appear to know more than any other brute animal; they are kind to those who treat them well; but they hurt, or kill those who injure them.

An elephant which was once driven about for a show, used to eat eggs, which a man often gave him; the man in sport, gave him a spoiled egg; the elephant threw it away; the man offered him another, which was also spoiled; the elephant

threw away the second, and did not seem to be angry; but he felt that the man intended to affront him, and he did not forget it.

Not long after, the man came near to the elephant; the elephant seized him in his trunk, dashed him to the ceiling, and killed him.

Elephants love spirits and wine. In India, a liquor somewhat like gin, called arrack, is used; elephants are fond of this. They will draw, or push a great weight, if they are shown some arrack, and expect to get it for a reward; but if it is shown, and not given to them, they are very angry. An elephant which was once treated in this manner, killed his master, who had deceived him. The poor man's wife saw her husband killed, and ran with her two little children to the feet of the elephant, saying, "you have slain their father, kill me, and them also."

The elephant stopped.-The mother and the children had not injured him, and he would not hurt them; he embraced the eldest boy in his trunk, placed him on his neck, and would not allow any one else to mourt him.

The tame elephants have no young ones; so all tame elephants are taken wild. People carry a tame elephant out to the country where wild ones are; they make a fence round a large space, and put the tame elephant into it.

The enclosed place is something like a very large cage, with the door open, the tame elephant cries loudly, and the wild ones hear her; they come to see her, and go to her through the opening that is left for them,

As soon as they get in, a bar falls, which prevents them from getting out again; at first they try very much to get out, and make a great noise; but they are fed and treated kindly, and become quite tame in about fourteen day's.

« PreviousContinue »