Francis C. Woodworth.

Stories about Animals: with Pictures to Match online

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Editor of "The Youth's Cabinet," Author of "Stories
About Birds," &C.

Phillips, Sampson and Company.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in
the year 1849,
By D. A. Woodworth,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for
the Southern District of New York.


In the following pages are grouped together anecdotes illustrative of
the peculiarities of different animals - mostly quadrupeds - their habits,
dispositions, intelligence, and affection. Nothing like a scientific
treatise of any of these animals has been attempted. I do not even give
a generic or specific history of one of them, except so far as they are
all casually and incidentally described in these anecdotes. Their
natural history, in detail, I leave for others, as the historian or
biographer of men, bent only on a record of the thoughts, words, and
acts of men, passes by the abstract details, however interesting they
may be, of human physiology, and the general characteristics of the
species. I have not aimed to introduce to the reader, in this volume,
all the animals belonging to the race of quadrupeds, who have a claim to
such a distinction. I have preferred rather to make a selection from the
great multitude, and to present such facts and anecdotes respecting
those selected as shall, while they interest and entertain the young
reader, tend to make him familiar with this branch of useful knowledge.

I ought, in justice to myself, to explain the reason why I have
restricted my anecdotes almost exclusively to animals belonging to the
race of quadrupeds. It is seldom wise, in my judgment, for an author to
define, very minutely, any plan he may have, to be developed in future
years - as so many circumstances may thwart that plan altogether, or very
materially modify it. Yet I may say, in this connection, that the
general plan I had marked out for myself, when I set about the task of
collecting materials for these familiar anecdotes, is by no means
exhausted in this volume, and that, should my stories respecting
quadrupeds prove as acceptable to my young friends as I hope, it is my
intention eventually to pursue the same, or a similar course, in
relation to the other great divisions of the animal kingdom - Birds,
Reptiles, Insects, Fishes, etc.

The stories I tell I have picked up wherever I could find them - having
been generally content when I have judged a particular story to be, in
the first place, a good story, and in the second place, a reliable one.
I have not thought it either necessary or desirable, to give, in every
case, the source from which I have derived my facts. Some of them I
obtained by actual observation; quite as many were communicated by
personal friends and casual acquaintances; and by far the greater
portion were gleaned from the current newspapers of the day, and from
the many valuable works on natural history, published in England and in
this country. Among the books I have consulted, I am mostly indebted to
the following: Bingley's Anecdotes illustrative of the Instincts of
Animals; Knight's Library of Entertaining Knowledge; Bell's Phenomena of
Nature; the Young Naturalist's Rambles; Natural History of the Earth and
Man; Chambers' Miscellany of Useful and Entertaining Knowledge; Animal
Biography; and the Penny Magazine.

The task of preparing this volume for the press has been an exceedingly
pleasant one. Indeed, it has been rather recreation than toil, in
comparison with other and severer literary labors. I trust my young
friends will take as much pleasure in reading these stories as I have
taken in collecting them. I hope too, that no one of my readers will
fail to discover, as he proceeds, the evidences of the wisdom, power,
and goodness of the Being who formed and who controls and governs the
animal kingdom. Here, as in every department of nature's works, these
evidences abound, if we will but perceive them. Look at them, dear
reader, and in your admiration of nature, forget not the love and
reverence you owe to nature's God.

[Illustration: (signed) Francis C. Woodworth]


The Dog

The Wolf

The Horse

The Panther

The Elephant

The Lion

The Galago

The Bear

The Rat

The Mouse

The Rabbit

The Hare

The Cat

The Jackal

The Sheep

The Deer

The Hippopotamus

The Weasel

The Squirrel

The Giraffe

The Monkey Tribe

The Zebra

The Ox and Cow

The Lama

[Illustration: "Engravings." Heading.]

Rover and his Play-fellow

The Dog at his Master's Grave

Nero, saving Little Ellen

The Servant and the Mastiff

The Child discovered by the Indian's Dog

The Dog of St. Bernard, rescuing the Child

The Bloodhound

Exploit of the New England Dog

A Shepherd Dog feeding a lost Child

A Newfoundland, saving a Child from drowning

The Adventure with the Serpent

The Russian Dog-Sledge

The Skirmish with Wolves

A Scene in the old Wolf Story

The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

The Horse watching over the Trumpeter

Parting with the Favorite Horse

Alexander taming Bucephalus

Uncle Peter and his queer Old Mare

The Horse sentenced to die

The Leopard and the Serpent

The Elephant

The Lion

The Lioness and her Cubs

The Convention of Animals

The Galago

Portrait of Goldsmith

The Juggler and his Pupils

Field Mice

The Rabbit Trap

The Rabbit

Tame Hares

Portrait of Cowper

Wonderful Feat of a Goat

The Tiger

The Rhinoceros

The Alligator

The Cat

The Jackal

The Wounded Traveler

Giotto, sketching among his Sheep

The Invalid and the Sheep

The Deer

The Hippopotamus

The Ferret Weasel

A Hawk pouncing on a Weasel

The Squirrel

The Giraffe

The Orang-outang

The Zebra

Cows, taking their comfort

Stories about Animals.

The Dog.

Whatever may be thought of the somewhat aristocratic pretensions of the
lion, as the dog, after all, has the reputation of being the most
intelligent of the inferior animals, I will allow this interesting
family the precedence in these stories, and introduce them first to the
reader. For the same reason, too - because they exhibit such wonderful
marks of intelligence, approaching, sometimes, almost to the boundary of
human reason - I shall occupy much more time in relating stories about
them than about any other animal. Let me see. Where shall I begin? With
Rover, my old friend Rover - my companion and play-fellow, when a little
boy? I have a good mind to do so; for he endeared himself to me by
thousands of acts of kindness and affection, and he has still a place
of honor in my memory. He frequently went to school with me. As soon as
he saw me get my satchel of books, he was at my side, and off he ran
before me toward the school-house. When he had conducted me to school,
he usually took leave of me, and returned home. But he came back again,
before school was out, so as to be my companion homeward. I might tell a
great many stories about the smartness of Rover; but on the whole I
think I will forbear. I am afraid if I should talk half an hour about
him, some of you would accuse me of too much partiality for my
favorite, and would think I had fallen into the same foolish mistake
that is sometimes noticed in over-fond fathers and mothers, who talk
about a little boy or girl of theirs, as if there never was another such
a prodigy. So I will just pass over Rover's wonderful exploits - for he
had some, let me whisper it in your ear - and tell my stories about other
people's dogs.


"Going to the dogs," is a favorite expression with a great many people.
They understand by it a condition in the last degree deplorable. To "go
to the dogs," is spoken of as being just about the worst thing that can
happen to a poor fellow. I think differently, however. I wish from my
heart, that some selfish persons whom I could name would go to the dogs.
They would learn there, I am sure, what they have never learned
before - most valuable lessons in gratitude, and affection, and
self-sacrifice - to say nothing about common sense, a little more of
which would not hurt them.

There is an exceedingly affecting story of a dog that lived in Scotland
as long ago as 1716: This dog belonged to a Mr. Stewart, of Argyleshire,
and was a great favorite with his master. He was a Highland greyhound, I
believe. One afternoon, while his master was hunting in company with
this dog, he was attacked with inflammation in his side. He returned
home, and died the same evening. Some three days afterward his funeral
took place, when the dog followed the remains of his master to the
grave-yard, which was nearly ten miles from the residence of the family.
He remained until the interment was completed, when he returned home
with those who attended the funeral. When he entered the house he found
the plaid cloak, formerly his master's, hanging in the entry. He pulled
it down, and in defiance of all attempts to take it from him, lay on it
all night, and would not even allow any person to touch it. Every
evening afterward, about sunset, he left home, traveled to the
grave-yard, reposed on the grave of his late master all night, and
returned home regularly in the morning. But, what was still more
remarkable, he could not be persuaded to eat a morsel. Children near the
grave-yard, who watched his motions, again and again carried him food;
but he resolutely refused it, and it was never known by what means he
existed. While at home he was always dull and sorrowful; he usually lay
in a sleeping posture, and frequently uttered long and mournful groans.


In the western part of our own country, some years since, an exploit was
performed by a Newfoundland dog, which I must tell my readers. It is
related by Mrs. Phelan. A man by the name of Wilson, residing near a
river which was navigable, although the current was somewhat rapid, kept
a pleasure boat. One day he invited a small party to accompany him in an
excursion on the river. They set out. Among the number were Mr. Wilson's
wife and little girl, about three years of age. The child was delighted
with the boat, and with the water lilies that floated on the surface of
the river. Meanwhile, a fine Newfoundland dog trotted along the bank of
the stream, looking occasionally at the boat, and thinking, perhaps,
that he should like a sail himself.

Pleasantly onward went the boat, and the party were in the highest
spirits, when little Ellen, trying to get a pretty lily, stretched out
her hand over the side of the boat, and in a moment she lost her balance
and fell into the river. What language can describe the agony of those
parents when they saw the current close over their dear child! The
mother, in her terror, could hardly be prevented from throwing herself
into the river to rescue her drowning girl, and her husband had to hold
her back by force. Vain was the help of man at that dreadful moment; but
prayer was offered up to God, and he heard it.

No one took any notice of Nero, the faithful dog. But he had kept his
eye upon the boat, it seems. He saw all that was going on; he plunged
into the river at the critical moment when the child had sunk to the
bottom, and dived beneath the surface. Suddenly a strange noise was
heard on the side of the boat opposite to the one toward which the party
were anxiously looking, and something seemed to be splashing in the
water. It was the dog. Nero had dived to the bottom of that deep river,
and found the very spot where the poor child had settled down into her
cold, strange cradle of weeds and slime. Seizing her clothes, and
holding them fast in his teeth, he brought her up to the surface of the
water, a very little distance from the boat, and with looks that told
his joy, he gave the little girl into the hands of her astonished
father. Then, swimming back to the shore, he shook the water from his
long, shaggy coat, and laid himself down, panting, to recover from the
fatigue of his adventure.


Ellen seemed for awhile to be dead; her face was deadly pale; it hung
on her shoulder; her dress showed that she had sunk to the bottom. But
by and by she recovered gradually, and in less than a week she was as
well as ever.

But the Glasgow Chronicle tells a story of the most supremely humane dog
I ever heard of - so humane, in fact, that his humanity was somewhat
troublesome. This dog - a fine Newfoundland - resided near Edinburgh.
Every day he was seen visiting all the ponds and brooks in the
neighborhood of his master's residence. He had been instrumental more
than once in saving persons from drowning. He was respected for his
magnanimity, and caressed for his amiable qualities, till, strange as it
may be considered, this flattery completely turned his head. Saving life
became a passion. He took to it as men take to dram-drinking. Not having
sufficient scope for the exercise of his diseased benevolence in the
district, he took to a very questionable method of supplying the
deficiency. Whenever he found a child on the brink of a pond, he watched
patiently for the opportunity to place his fore-paws suddenly on its
person, and plunged it in before it was aware. Now all this was done for
the mere purpose of fetching them out again. He appeared to find intense
pleasure in this nonsensical sort of work. At last the outcry became so
great by parents alarmed for their children, although no life was ever
lost by the indulgence of such a singular taste, that the poor dog was
reluctantly destroyed.

Mr. Bingley, an English writer, has contributed not a little to the
amusement and instruction of the young, by a book which he published a
few years ago, relating to the instinct of the dog. Among the stories
told in this book, are several which I must transfer for my own readers.
Here is one about the fatal adventure of a large mastiff with a robber.
I shall give it nearly in the words of Mr. Bingley.

Not a great many years ago, a lady, who resided in a lonely house in
Cheshire, England, permitted all her domestics, save one female, to go
to a supper at an inn about three miles distant, which was kept by the
uncle of the girl who remained at home with her mistress. As the
servants were not expected to return till the morning, all the doors and
windows were as usual secured, and the lady and her companion were about
to retire to bed, when they were alarmed by the noise of some persons
apparently attempting to break into the house. A large mastiff, which
fortunately happened to be in the kitchen, set up a tremendous barking;
but this had not the effect of intimidating the robbers.

After listening attentively for some time, the maid-servant discovered
that the robbers were attempting to enter the house by forcing their way
through a hole under the sunk story in the back kitchen. Being a young
woman of courage, she went toward the spot, accompanied by the dog, and
patting him on the back, exclaimed, "At him, Cæsar!" The dog leaped into
the hole, made a furious attack upon the intruder, and gave something a
violent shake. In a few minutes all became quiet, and the animal
returned with his mouth full of blood. A slight bustle was now heard
outside the house, but in a short time all again became still. The lady
and servant, too much terrified to think of going to bed, sat up until
morning without further molestation. When day dawned they discovered a
quantity of blood outside of the wall in the court-yard.

When her fellow-servants came home, they brought word to the girl that
her uncle, the inn-keeper, had died suddenly of apoplexy during the
night, and that it was intended that the funeral should take place in
the course of the day. Having obtained leave to go to the funeral, she
was surprised to learn, on her arrival, that the coffin was screwed
down. She insisted, however, on taking a last look at the body, which
was most unwillingly granted; when, to her great surprise and horror,
she discovered that his death had been occasioned by a large wound in
the throat. The events of the preceding night rushed on her mind, and it
soon became evident to her that she had been the innocent and unwilling
cause of her uncle's death. It turned out, that he and one of his
servants had formed the design of robbing the house and murdering the
lady during the absence of her servants, but that their wicked design
had been frustrated by the courage and watchfulness of her faithful


There is another anecdote told of a wild Indian dog which I am sure my
young friends will like. It is from the same source with the one about
the mastiff. A man by the name of Le Fevre, many years ago, lived on a
farm in the United States, near the Blue mountains. Those mountains at
that time abounded in deer and other animals. One day, the youngest of
Le Fevre's children, who was four years old, disappeared early in the
morning. The family, after a partial search, becoming alarmed, had
recourse to the assistance of some neighbors. These separated into
parties, and explored the woods in every direction, but without success.
Next day the search was renewed, but with no better result. In the
midst of their distress Tewenissa, a native Indian from Anaguaga, on the
eastern branch of the river Susquehannah, who happened to be journeying
in that quarter, accompanied by his dog Oniah, happily went into the
house of the planter with the design of reposing himself. Observing the
distress of the family, and being informed of the circumstances, he
requested that the shoes and stockings last worn by the child should be
brought to him. He then ordered his dog to smell them; and taking the
house for a centre, described a semicircle of a quarter of a mile,
urging the dog to find out the scent. They had not gone far before the
sagacious animal began to bark. The track was followed up by the dog
with still louder barking, till at last, darting off at full speed, he
was lost in the thickness of the woods. Half an hour after they saw him
returning. His countenance was animated, bearing even an expression of
joy; it was evident he had found the child - but was he dead or alive?
This was a moment of cruel suspense, but it was of short continuance.
The Indian followed his dog, and the excellent animal conducted him to
the lost child, who was found unharmed, lying at the foot of a great
tree. Tewenissa took him in his arms, and returned with him to the
distressed parents and their friends, who had not been able to
advance with the same speed. He restored little Derick to his father and
mother, who ran to meet him; when a scene of tenderness and gratitude
ensued, which may be easier felt than described. The child was in a
state of extreme weakness, but, by means of a little care, he was in a
short time restored to his usual vigor.


In one of the churches at Lambeth, England, there is a painting on a
window, representing a man with his dog. There is a story connected with
this painting which is worth telling. Tradition informs us that a piece
of ground near Westminster bridge, containing a little over an acre, was
left to that parish by a pedler, upon condition that his picture,
accompanied by his dog, should be faithfully painted on the glass of one
of the windows. The parishioners, as the story goes, had this picture
executed accordingly, and came in possession of the land. This was in
the year 1504. The property rented at that time for about a dollar a
year. It now commands a rent of nearly fifteen hundred dollars. The
reason given for the pedler's request is, that he was once very poor,
when, one day, having occasion to pass across this piece of ground, and
being weary, he sat down under a tree to rest. While seated here, he
noticed that his dog, who was with him, acted strangely. At a distance
of several rods from the place where he sat, the dog busied himself for
awhile in scratching at a particular spot of earth, after which he
returned to his master, looked earnestly up to his face, and endeavored
to draw him toward the spot where he had been digging. The pedler,
however, paid but little attention to the movements of the dog, until he
had repeated them several times, when he was induced to accompany the
dog. To his surprise he found, on doing so, that there was a pot of gold
buried there. With a part of this gold he purchased the lot of ground on
which it had been discovered, and bequeathed it to the parish on the
conditions mentioned above. The pedler and his dog are represented in
the picture which ornaments the window of that church. "But is the story
a true one?" methinks I hear my little friends inquire. I confess it has
the air of one of Baron Munchausen's yarns, and I am somewhat doubtful
about it. But that is the tradition in the Lambeth parish, where the
picture may still be seen by any body who takes the trouble to visit the
place. The story may be true. Stranger things have happened.

Those who have studied geography do not need to be informed that there
is a chain of high mountains running through Switzerland, called the
Alps. The tops of some of these mountains are covered with snow nearly
all the year. In the winter it is very difficult and dangerous traveling
over the Alps; for the snow frequently rolls down the sides of the
mountain, in a great mass, called an _avalanche_, and buries the
traveler beneath it. On one of these mountains there is the convent of
St. Bernard. It is situated ten thousand feet above the base of the
mountain, and is on one of the most dangerous passes between Switzerland
and Savoy. It is said to be the highest inhabited spot in the old world.
It is tenanted by a race of monks, who are very kind to travelers. Among
other good services they render to the strangers who pass near their
convent, they search for unhappy persons who have been overtaken by
sudden storms, and who are liable to perish.

These monks have a peculiar variety of the dog, called the dog of St.
Bernard, or the Alpine Spaniel, which they train to hunt for travelers
who are overtaken by a storm, and who are in danger of perishing. The
dog of St. Bernard is one of the most sagacious of his species. He is
covered with thick, curly hair, which is frequently of great service in
warming the traveler, when he is almost dead with cold.

One of these dogs, named Barry, had, it was reckoned, in twelve years
saved the lives of forty individuals. Whenever the mountain was
enveloped in fogs and snow, away scoured Barry, barking and searching
all about for any person who might have fallen a victim to the storm.
When he was successful in finding any one, if his own strength was
insufficient to rescue him, he would run back to the convent in search
of assistance.

I think I must translate for my young readers an affecting story about
this dog Barry, which I read the other day in a little French book,
entitled "Modèles des Enfans." It seems that a great while ago there was
a poor woman wandering about these mountains, in the vicinity of the
convent of St. Bernard, in company with her son, a very small boy. The
story does not inform us what they were doing, and why they were walking
in such a dangerous place. Perhaps they were gathering fuel to keep them
warm; and very likely when they left home the weather was mild, and that
they did not anticipate a storm. However that may be, they were
overtaken by an avalanche, the mother was buried beneath it, and the

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