Billeder på siden

who should dare to befriend the house of Germanicus: no friend had courage to approach the body; one only remained his faithful dog. For three days the animal continued to watch the body; his pathetic howlings awakened the sympathy of every heart. Food was brought him, wh ch he was kindly encouraged to eat; but on taking the bread, instead of obeying the impule of hunger, he fondly laid it on his master's mouth, and renewed his lamentations; days thus passed, nor did he for a moment quit the body.

The body was at length thrown into the Tiber, and the generous creature still unwilling that it should perish, leaped into the water after it,and clasping the corpse between his paws, vainly endeavoured to preserve it from sinking.

Austine affirms the following:--A certain priest, having a loving dog, was killed for his' money, and thrown among bushes, or in some other private place: which dog so'mourned for his said master, that he would not depart from him, but howled, so that the dead body was found; which dead body was brought before certain 'men to be viewed, to which place divers people resorted, amongst whom the murderer must needs shew himself (lamenting outwardly the matter with the rest of the by-standers, as though he had been guiltless as 'the resty) whom, when the said dog perceived, he barked and did run, at him fiercely, and by, no means would leave his barking, howling, and running at him, and none other, shewing, in his manner that, that was he who killed his masta er. Whereupon being suspected, he was examined, and forthwith confessed his wicked fact, and therefore was executed.

Many more instances of the friendship of this sagacious domestic could be given; but as they are to be found in many natural histories, &c. we hope these, with one or two instances of the sagacity and reasoning powers of other animals and birds will suffice.

An instance of the Elephant's attachment to his master, is thus given :--King Porus. in a battle with Alexander the Great, being severely wounded, fell from the back of his elephant. The Macedonian soldiers supposing him deadł, pushed forward, in order to dispoil him of his rich clothing and accoutrements; but the faithful elephant stand

ing over the body of its master, boldly repelled every one who dared to approach, and while the enemy stood at bay, took the bleeding Porus up with his trunk, and placed him again on his back. The troops of Porus came up by this time to his relief, and the king was saved; but the elephant died of the wounds which it had received in the heroic defence of its master.

Of these and other sentiments, such as pride, and even a sense of glory, the elephant exhibits proofs equally surprising and indubitable.

Ludolph relates that,elephants were of old employed in India, in the launching of ships, and, that one being directed to force a very large vessel into the water, the work proved superior to its strength; his master, with sarcastic tone, bid the keeper take away the lazy beast, and bring another; the poor animal instantly repeated his efforts, fractured his scull, and died on the spot.

As to the natural affection of brutes, says an ingenious writer, “ the more I reflect on it, the more I am astonished at its effects. Nor is the violence of this affection more wonderful than the shortness of its duration. Thus every hen in her turn is the virago of

the yard, in proportion to the helplessness of her brood; and will fly in the face of a dog or a sow in defence of those chicker's which in a few weeks she will drive before her with relentless cruelty. This affection sublimes the passions, quickens the invention and sharpens the sagacity of the brute creation. Thus a hen, just become a mother, is no longer that placid bird she used to be, but with feathers standing on end, wings hovering, and clocking note, she runs about like one possessed. Dams will throw themselves in the way of the greatest danger in order to avert it from their progeny. Thus a partridge will tumble along before a sportsman, in order to draw away the dogs from the helpless covey.

166. In the time of nidification, the most feeble birds will assualt the most rapacious. All the hirundines of a village are up

in arms at the sight of a hawk, which they will pursúe till it leaves that district. A very exact observer has often remarked that, a pair of ravens nestling in the rock of Gibralter would suffer no vulture or eagle to rest near their station, but would drive them from the hill with amazing tury: even the blue thrush at the season of breeding, would dart out from among the clefts of the rocks to chase away

the kestril or the sparrow-hawk. If you stand near the nest of a bird that has

she will not be induced to betray them by an inadvertant fondness, but will wait about at a distance with meat in her niouth for an hour together. The fly-catcher builds every year in the vines that grow on the walls of my house. A pair of these little birds had one year inadvertantly placed their nest on a naked bough, perhaps in a shady time, not being aware of the inconvenience that followed; but a hot sunny season coming on before the brood was half-fledged, the reflection of the wall became insupportable, and must inevitably have destroyed the tender young, had not affection suggested an expedient, and prompted the parent birds to hover over the nest all the hotter hours, while with wings expanded and mouthi gaping for breath they screened off the heat from their suffering offspring. A farther instance I once saw of notable sagacity in a willow-wren, that had built in a bank in my fields. This bird, a friend and myself had observed as she sat in her nest; but were par icularly careful not: to disturb her, ihɔ' we knew she saw us, and eyed us with some degree of jealousy. Some : days after, as we passed that way, we werei desirous of remarking how this brood went


« ForrigeFortsæt »