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Stories about Animals: with Pictures to Match online

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it - quite at home in the ball-room. Pug made his observations very
attentively, watching all his motions. He also scrutinized the musician
very closely, as he was engaged in instructing the gentleman, and
playing on his violin. At the close of his lesson, the foreigner was in
the habit of going to his mirror, and of practicing before it, by
himself, for a considerable time, till he was in a measure satisfied
with his performances, and pretty sure, we may suppose, that he would
make a fine figure at court when the ball should come off. One day,
after the gentleman had been exercising in this manner, and had just
left the room, the monkey, who had been looking on with interest, as
usual, left his post of observation, took up the violin, which had been
left there by the musician, and commenced playing and imitating the
dancing of his master, before the mirror. There is no knowing how much
of a dancer he would have become, if he had been allowed to practice as
much as he desired. As it was, however, his training for the ball was
very suddenly terminated by the entrance of a servant into the room,
while the student was in the midst of his performances.

A monkey tied to a stake was robbed by the crows, in the West Indies, of
his food, and he conceived the following plan of punishing the thieves.
He feigned death, and lay perfectly motionless on the ground near to his
stake. The birds approached by degrees, and got near enough to steal his
food, which he allowed them to do. This he repeated several times, till
they became so bold as to come within the reach of his claws. He
calculated his distance, and laid hold of one of them. Death was not his
plan of punishment. He was more refined in his cruelty. He plucked every
feather out of the bird, and then let him go and show himself to his
companions. He made a man of him according to the ancient definition of
a "biped without feathers."

An organ-grinder, with his monkey, being taken before the mayor of New
Orleans, for exhibiting themselves without a license, the monkey was so
polite to the mayor, took off his cap and made so many bows to his
honor, that the two were permitted to depart in peace. It is said that
no lawyer would have managed the case better than the monkey did.

A gentleman living in Bath, England, had a monkey who used to perform a
great many very amusing tricks, in imitation of his master. The
gentleman was a great politician, and was in the habit of reading his
newspaper very punctually every morning, at the breakfast-table. One
day, business having compelled him to leave the table earlier than
usual, Pug was found, seated in his chair, with his master's spectacles
on, and the Courier newspaper upside down, reading as gravely, and with
as much apparent interest, as the politician. Once in a while he looked
off his paper, and chattered, and made significant gestures, as his
master was in the habit of doing, when he came across any thing very
especially interesting.

A farmer in the West Indies had planted a field with Indian corn.
Numerous monkeys inhabited a forest near by, who had attentively
observed the planting process, and the method by which it was
cultivated. They seemed to take not a little interest in the whole
matter. The farmer had the pleasure of seeing his crop of corn nearly
ready for harvesting. But the monkeys took care that he should not have
the trouble of harvesting it. One night, they issued from the forest in
vast numbers, forming themselves into long lines between it and the
corn-field. All was conducted in silence. Each was intent on the
business in hand. Those in front of the lines plucked off the ears of
corn with great dexterity, and passed them to his nearest companion, who
handed them forward from one to another, till they reached the woods. In
this manner the work proceeded till daylight, when the slaves found the
thieves finishing the operation. It had been a very profitable night's
labor for the mischievous fellows. The corn was pretty nearly all
disposed of. Before the owner of it could get his workmen together, with
suitable weapons of defence, the whole troop had disappeared in the
forest. What a chattering there must have been among them, when they all
met at their rendezvous! How knowing they must have looked, as they said
one to another, "Wasn't that thing managed pretty nicely?"

In Sierra Leone is a species of orang-outang so strong and so
industrious, that, when properly trained and fed, they work like
servants. They generally walk upright on their two hind feet. Sometimes
they are employed to pound substances in a mortar, and they are
frequently taught to go to rivers, and to bring water in small pitchers.
They usually carry the water on their heads. When they come to the door
of the house, if the pitchers are not soon taken off, they let them
fall; and when they perceive that they are broken, the poor fellows
sometimes weep like a child, in anticipation of the flogging they are to
receive.

Buffon saw an orang-outang that performed a multitude of funny tricks.
He would present his hand to lead his visitors about the room, and
promenade as gravely as if he was one of the most important personages
in the company. He would even sit down at table, unfold his napkin, wipe
his lips like any other gentleman, use a spoon or fork in carrying food
to his mouth, pour his liquor into a glass - for it seems he had not
become a convert to the principles of total abstinence - and touch his
glass to that of the person who drank with him. When invited to take
tea, he brought a cup and saucer, placed them on the table, put in
sugar, poured out the tea, and after allowing it to cool, drank it with
the utmost propriety.

[Illustration: THE ORANG-OUTANG.]

In Africa the orang-outang is a very formidable animal, and does not
hesitate to attack men, when alone and without arms, in which cases
he always proves himself the victor. He sleeps under trees, and builds
himself a hut, which serves to protect him against the sun and the rains
of the tropical climates. When the negroes make a fire in the woods,
this animal comes near and warms himself by the blaze. However, he has
not skill enough to keep the flame alive by feeding it with fuel. They
even attack the elephant, which they beat with their clubs, and oblige
to leave that part of the forest which they claim as their own. When one
of these animals dies, the rest cover the body with a quantity of leaves
and branches. They sometimes show mercy to the human species. A negro
boy, it is said, that was taken by one of them and carried into the
woods, continued there a whole year, without receiving any injury. It is
said, indeed, that they often attempt to surprise the negroes as they go
into the woods, and sometimes keep them against their will, for the
pleasure of their company, feeding them very plentifully all the time.
In respect to this latter statement, however, I confess myself a little
skeptical. There have been a great many well-told stories about men of
the woods, which have proved to be altogether fabulous, when the true
state of the case has become known.

There were two monkeys, one of which was peculiarly mischievous, and
the other pretty civil and good-natured, on board of the same ship. One
day, when the sea ran very high, the former prevailed on the other to go
aloft with him, when he drew her attention to an object at a distance,
and when she turned to look at it, he hit her a blow with his paw, and
threw her into the sea, where she was drowned. This act seemed to afford
the rascal a great deal of gratification. He came down to the deck of
the vessel, chattering at the top of his voice, he was so happy.

Le Vaillant, a French traveler in Africa, says of a tame baboon, which
followed him in his rambles, "One day, a gentleman, wishing to put the
fidelity of the animal to the test, pretended to strike me. At this the
monkey flew into a violent rage, and from that time, he could never
endure the sight of the man. If he only saw him at a distance, he began
to cry and to make all sorts of grimaces, which evidently showed that he
wished to revenge the insult that had been done to me. He ground his
teeth, and endeavored, with all his might, to fly at his face."

Here is a story of a monkey who made a fool of himself, and of a British
soldier at the same time. During the period of the siege of Gibraltar,
when England and Spain were at war in 1779, the English fleet being at
the time absent, an attack from the enemy was daily expected. One dark
night, a sentinel, whose post was near a tower facing the Spanish lines,
was standing, at the end of his walk, whistling, looking toward the
enemy, his head filled with fire, and sword, and glory. By the side of
his box stood a deep, narrow-necked earthen jar, in which was the
remainder of his supper, consisting of boiled peas. A large monkey - of
which there were plenty at Gibraltar - encouraged by the man's absence,
and allured by the smell of the peas, ventured to the jar; and in
endeavoring to get at its contents, thrust his head so far into the
vessel that he was not able to get it out again. At this moment, the
soldier approached. The monkey started, in alarm, with the jar on his
head. This terrible monster frightened the poor soldier half out of his
wits. He thought it was a bloodthirsty Spanish grenadier, with a most
prodigious cap on his head. So he fired his musket, like any other
valiant soldier, roaring out, as loud as he could, that the enemy had
scaled the walls. The guards took the alarm; the drums were beaten;
signal guns discharged, and in less than ten minutes the whole garrison
were under arms. The supposed grenadier, being very uncomfortable in his
cap, was soon overtaken and seized; and by his capture, the
tranquillity of the garrison, as the reader might rationally conjecture,
was speedily restored, without any of the bloodshed which the sagacious
sentinel so much feared.

A clergyman in England, of some distinction, had a tame baboon, who was
very fond of him, and whenever he could get a chance, followed him in
the street. When he went to church, however, to perform the service, he
preferred, of course, that his monkey should stay at home, and used to
confine him accordingly. One Sabbath morning the animal escaped, and
followed his master to the church; and silently mounting the
sounding-board over the minister's head, he lay perfectly still till the
sermon commenced. Then he crept to the edge, where he could see his
master, and imitated his gestures in such a droll and amusing manner,
that the entire congregation began to laugh. The minister, who did not
see his favorite monkey, and who was surprised and confounded at this
unaccountable levity, rebuked the audience, but to no effect. The people
still laughed, and the preacher, in the warmth of his zeal, redoubled
his earnestness and action. The consequence was that the ape became more
animated too, and increased the number and violence of his gestures.
The congregation could no longer restrain themselves, and burst into a
long and loud roar of laughter.

Some of the ape-catchers of Africa have a very queer way of securing
these animals. It is said that they take a vessel filled with water out
into the woods with them, and wash their hands and faces in the water.
The apes see this operation. Afterward, the natives throw out the water
in which they washed, and supply its place by a solution of glue. Then
they leave the spot, and the apes come down from the trees, and wash
themselves, in the same manner as they have seen the men wash. The
consequence is, that the poor fellows get their eyes glued together so
fast that they cannot open them, and so being unable to see their way to
escape, they fall into the hands of their enemies.




The Zebra.


Probably there is no animal so beautiful, and that possesses so much
ability for being serviceable to man, that is nevertheless so useless,
except for its beauty, as the zebra. One would suppose, to look at the
fellow - and doubtless this is the fact - that he could perform much of
the labor of the horse. But he is generally quite indisposed to any such
routine of employment. He is very fond of his own way - so fond of it,
indeed, that the most patient and persevering efforts to teach him to
change it are generally almost fruitless. The entire race are any thing
but docile. They are tamed, so as to obey the bridle, only with great
difficulty; and their obedience is rather imperfect, at best. Bingley
mentions one which was brought from the Cape of Good Hope to the
tower of London, in 1803, who was more docile and kindly disposed than
most of the species. When in pretty good humor, this animal would carry
her keeper from fifty to a hundred yards; but he could never prevail
upon her to go any farther. He might beat her as much as he pleased; she
would not budge an inch, but would rear up and kick, until her rider was
obliged to get off. When she got angry, as she did sometimes, she would
plunge at her keeper, and on one occasion she seized him by the coat,
threw him upon the ground, and would undoubtedly have killed him, had he
not been very active, so that he got out of her reach.

[Illustration: THE ZEBRA.]

The most docile zebra on record was one that was burned, accidentally,
in England, several years ago, with several other animals belonging to a
lyceum. This animal allowed his keeper to use great familiarities with
him - to put children on his back, even, without showing any resentment.
On one occasion, a person rode on his back a mile or two. This zebra had
been raised in Portugal.




The Ox and Cow.


[Illustration: COWS TAKING THEIR COMFORT.]

Can any body imagine a more perfect picture of quiet contentment, than a
company of cows that have finished their toils for the day, and have
come at early evening to chew their cud, and to reward their patrons for
the supply of green grass that has been afforded them? There are two
such amiable cows represented in the engraving on the opposite page. The
artist has portrayed them standing before a huge pottery, where they
seem to be very much at home, and at peace with all the world. Their
thoughts - if they have any, and doubtless they have, a good many of
them - are those of the most tranquil and placid nature. Perhaps they are
edifying each other with reflections on the great advantages of the
mechanic arts, and the art of making earthen ware in particular. The old
cow is a genuine philosopher. She makes the best of every thing. Seldom,
very seldom, does she allow herself to get excited. As for being angry,
she makes such a bungling piece of work of it, whenever she does indulge
in a little peevishness, that she seems to cool off at once, from the
very idea of the ludicrous figure she makes. Generally, she takes the
world easy. Her troubles are few. If the flies bite her - and they take
that liberty sometimes - she leisurely employs a wand she has at command,
and brushes them off. Nervous and excitable men might undoubtedly learn
a lesson from the philosophical old cow, if they would go to school to
her. They might learn that the true way to go through the world, is to
keep tolerably cool, and not to be breaking their heads against every
stone wall that happens to lie between them and the object of their
desire.

There are many anecdotes which prove that the ox and cow have a musical
ear, as the phrase is. Professor Bell says that he has often, when a
boy, tried the effect of the music of the flute on cows, and always
observed that it produced great apparent enjoyment. Instances have been
known of the fiercest bulls having been subdued and calmed into
gentleness, by music of a plaintive kind.

There is a laughable story told of the effect of music on a bull. A
fiddler, residing in the country, not far from Liverpool, was returning,
at three o'clock in the morning, with his instrument, from a place where
he had been engaged in his accustomed vocation. He had occasion to cross
a field where there were some cows and a rather saucy bull. The latter
took it into his head to assault the fiddler, who tried to escape. He
did not succeed, however. The bull was wide awake, and could not let the
gentleman off so cheap. The poor fellow then attempted to climb a tree.
But the enraged animal would not permit him to do that. The fiddler, who
had heard something about the wonderful power of music in subduing the
rage of some of the lower animals, thinking of nothing else that he
could do for his protection, got behind the tree, and commenced playing,
literally for his life. Strange as it may appear, the animal was calmed
at once, and appeared to be delighted with the music. By and by, the
fiddler, finding that his enemy was entirely pacified, stopped playing,
and started homeward, as fast as his legs would carry him. But the bull
would not allow him to escape, and made after him. The poor fellow,
fearing he should be killed, stopped, and went to fiddling again. The
animal was pacified, as before. Our hero then plied the bow until his
arm ached, and seizing, as he supposed, a favorable opportunity, he made
another effort to run away. He was probably not accustomed to fiddle
without pay, and he was pretty sure the customer he was now playing for
intended to get his music for nothing. Well, the fiddler was no more
successful this time than he was before. The fury of the bull returned,
as soon as the strains ceased; and at last, the poor man surrendered
himself to his fate, and actually played for the bull until six
o'clock - about three hours in all - when some people came to his rescue.
He must have been pretty well convinced, I think, while he was
entertaining the bull in that manner, that

"Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast."




The Lama.


This animal, which belongs to the same family with the camel, is a
native of some parts of South America, and is used as a beast of burden.
He is capable of carrying from one hundred to one hundred and fifty
pounds, and on the steep places where he is usually employed, will walk
with his load twelve or fifteen miles a day. When lamas get weary, it is
said they will stop, and scarcely any severity can compel them to go on.
Some of the accounts of these singular animals represent them as having
a bad trick of _spitting_, when they do not like their treatment. In
this respect, they resemble a great many strange sort of men I have met
with on our side of the equator, who will spit from morning till night,
sometimes on the carpet, too, on account of a very nauseous weed they
have in their mouths - with this difference, however, that the lamas spit
when they are displeased only, and the men spit all the time.

Some one who has been familiar with the animal in South America, and who
has seen it a great deal in use among the Indians there, presents a very
interesting account of its nature and habits. He says, "The lama is the
only animal associated with man, and undebased by the contact. The lama
will bear neither beating nor ill treatment. They go in troops, an
Indian going a long distance ahead as a guide. If tired, they stop, and
the Indian stops also. If the delay is great, the Indian, becoming
uneasy toward sunset, resolves on supplicating the beasts to resume
their journey. If the lamas are disposed to continue their course, they
follow the Indian in good order, at a regular pace, and very fast, for
their legs are very long; but when they are in ill-humor, they do not
even turn their heads toward the speaker, but remain motionless,
standing or lying down, and gazing on heaven with looks so tender, so
melancholy, that we might imagine these singular animals had the
consciousness of a happier existence. If it happens - which is very
seldom - that an Indian wishes to obtain, either by force or threats,
what the lama will not willingly perform, the instant the animal finds
himself affronted by word or gesture, he raises his head with dignity,
or, without attempting to escape ill treatment by flight, he lies down,
his looks turned toward heaven; large tears flow from his beautiful
eyes; and frequently, in less than an hour, he dies."


[Illustration: THE END.]




* * * * * * *




Transcriber's note:

The caption of the illustration in "The Goat", shown in the
List of Illustrations and above as "THE WONDERFUL FEAT OF THE
GOAT.", was "THE ARAB AND HIS GOAT." in the printed illustration.



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Online LibraryFrancis C. WoodworthStories about Animals: with Pictures to Match → online text (page 12 of 12)