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with other difficulties on its travels, all of which it overcomes, often with immense exertion, till at last the object of so much solicitude and toil falls into the hole prepared for its reception and shelter. Imagine the labour of depositing a dozen of such pellets in this manner! From the notion that it rolls its balls from sunrise to sunset, the beetle was regarded as a symbol of a day.
Its fancied resemblance to the sun comes from the fact that the little creature has five horn-like protuberances on its head, which were looked upon by the ancient imaginative Egyptians as bearing a likeness to the sun's rays.
Each of its six legs end with five toes or tarsi— symbolic of the thirty days in a month.
Such are the characteristics and superstitions connected with the sacred beetle of the ancient Egyptians, which those people regarded with such awe and reverence that during its life-time it was worshipped, and after death was embalmed. The outside of the lid of the box which served as its coffin always bore a representation of the sacred contents. Kings and nobles were laid to their last rest with one of these sacred beetles in their coffins. Its image was engraven on precious stones. The women wore them strung together as necklaces.
All this homage was paid to a dusky-looking insect, scarcely more than half an inch in length, which in all its active stages lives on the noxious refuse of the earth.
It has been removed from its position as the supreme self-existing being; but, regardless of its ancient exaltation and present humiliation, the little beetle still goes on making and rolling the
pellets which gave rise to so much wonder three or four thousand years ago, and perseveres in the work of purifying and fertilising the earth in all the warmer parts of the world, earning the gratitude of its thoughtful inhabitants.
In England we have a beetle belonging to the same tribe and doing a work equally useful, but not in quite such a remarkable and symbolic manner.
From March to October its violent and noisy flight through the meadows and lanes seems to mingle with the surrounding beauty, and forms part of the enchantment of country life. It appears to be quite heedless of the direction in which it is going; but, in reality, the scent of some of the noxious stuff in which it lives and under which it digs deep holes wherein to deposit its eggs, is drawing it to the fulfilment of its mission of purifying the earth.
The eggs turn into grubs, and in this state eat away at the disgusting food with which their mother has plentifully provided them in the hole she has dug to serve as their home. Here they feed until there is no more left for them to eat, and then they turn into chrysalids.
After a brief inactive life, the beetle in all the splendour of its robe of shining black bordered with bright violet, and its under-surface and legs in a covering of steely blue, shot with grey and purple, crawls out of its earthy home. Sometimes its body is smirched with soil, but its first labour is to clean itself. It is remarkable that, although the habits and resorts of these insects are so disgusting and unsightly, their broad, short, clumsy bodies are entirely free from any signs of the filth in which they revel.
Altogether, the "great dor" with its glossy,
brightly-tinted body is anything but an unpleasant habitant of our lovely meadows and lanes.
If the clock-beetle (as it is sometimes called) in its droning flight through the air should chance to be touched or interrupted, it immediately falls to the ground, generally on its back, with its legs extended and quite stiff, apparently devoid of life. If picked up, it suffers itself to be handled without exhibiting any signs of animation.
Probably this power which it possesses of counterfeiting death has been given to it that it may escape the terrible enemy dreaded apparently as much by animals as by mankind. Many birds will eat live insects when they will not touch dead ones, so, by a stratagem, the wily dor is often enabled to enjoy its life to the end of the short time allotted as its portion.
"Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
IN the book of Exodus we read of the requests made by Moses, at the command of God, for numerous and various offerings to be employed in the building of the Tabernacle, wherein Jehovah promised to meet with His chosen people and bless them. The Male. Female. Israelites were required to bring, beCOCHINEAL INSECTS. sides gold, silver, brass, wood, and many other things, the blue and purple and scarlet and fine-twined linen, with which the curtains that surrounded the Holy Place, and divided it from the Most Holy, were made and wrought with cunning needlework. Did it ever occur to us to inquire how this wandering people could obtain in the wilderness the many valuable materials and colours required for the formation and decoration of their tabernacle of worship? We know very well that when they escaped from slavery they "borrowed" jewels of