« ForrigeFortsæt »
him to hurt one of them, nor the least inclination tending that way, ere one day that alamb had died and was thrown to the dog. From that day, and always after, no sheep durst come within his reach but at the
of their lives. Before his master was aware of his rapacious propensity for flesh, he had destroyed upwards of twenty fine sheep and lambs. The loss was great and provoking, as he had to refound all the damage done by the dog to the neighbours, which was also great. Every means being tried to prevent him from this destructive practice, but in vain; he was with great reluctance killed. What does this prove? Why, that it is not instinct that teaches animals “ what to attack and what to avoid,” but experience, &c. We have various testimonies in Buffon, and others to the same purport.
We have already given a few instances of the Carnivorous and Graminivorous animals living together in perfect harmony; we shall only add a few more.
A gentleman travelling through Mecklenburg about thirty years ago, was witness to the following curious circumstance in the post-house at Stargard. After dinner, the landlord placed on the floor a large dish of
soup, and gave a loud whistle. Immediately there came into the room a mastiff, a fine Angora cat, an old raven, and a remarkably large rat with a bell about its neck. These four animals went to the dish, and without disturbing each other, fed together; after which the dog, cat, and rat, lay before the fire, while the raven hopped about the room.
In Borlase's Natural history of Cornwall, we have an account of a hare which was so domesticated, as to feed from the hand, lay under a chair in a common sitting room, and appeared in every other respect as easy and comfortable in its situation as a lap-dog. It now and then went out into the garden, but after regaling itself with the fresh air, always returned to the house as its proper habitation. Its usual companions were a greyhound and spaniel, with which it spent its evenings, the whole three sporting and sleeping together on the same hearth. What makes this circumstance more remarkable is, that the
greyhound and spaniel were both so fond of harehunting that, they used often to go out coursing together, without any person accompany, ing them.
Most of our readers, we presume, are acquainted with the history of Cowper's Hares, (which was first inserted in the gentleman's magazine,) but for those who are not, we shall offer no apology for transcribing it here.
He begins thus-- In the year 1774, being much indisposed both in mind and body, incapable of diverting myself either with company or books, and yet in a condition that made some diversion necessary, I was glad of any thing that would engage my attention without fatiguing it. The children of a neighbour of mine had a leveret given them for a plaything; it was at that time about three months old. Understanding better how to tease the poor creature than to feed it, and soon becoming weary of their charge, they readily consented that their father, who saw it pining and growing leaner every day,should offer it to my acceptance. I was willing enough to take the prisoner under my protection, perceiving that, in the management of such an animal, and in the attempt to tame it, I should find just that sort of employment which my case required. It was soon known among the neighbours that I was pleased with the present; and the consequence was, that in a shor time I had as many leverets offered to me, as would have stocked
a paddock. I undertook the care of three, which it is necessary that I should here distinguish by the names I gave them-Puss, Tiney, and Bess. Notwithstanding the two femine appelatives, I must inform you, that they were all males. Immediately commencing carpenter, I built them houses to sleep in; each hül a separate apartment, so contrived, that their ordure would pass through the bottom of it; an earthen pan placed under each, received whatsoever fell; which being duly emptied and washed, they were thus kept perfectly sweet and clean.
In the day-time they had the range of a hall, and at night retired each to his own bed, never intruding into that of another.
Puss grew presently familiar, and would leap into my lap, raise himself upon his hinder feet, and bite the hair from my temples. He would suffer me to take him
up, carry him about in my arms, and has more than once fallen fast asleep on my knee. He was ill three days, during which time I nursed him, kept him apart from his fellows, that they might not molest him, (for, like many other wild animals, they persecute one of their own species that is sick,) and, by constant care, and trying him with a variety of herbs, restored him to perfect health. No
creature could be more grateful than my pa tient after his recovery; a sentiment which he most significantly expressed by licking my hand, first the back of it, then the palm, then every finger separately, then between all the -fingers, as if anxious to leave no part of it unsaluted; a ceremony which he never performed but once again on a similar occasion. Finding him extremely tractable, I made it my custom to carry him always after breakfast into the garden, where he hid himself generally under the leaves of acucumber vine, sleeping or chewing the cud till evening: in the leaves also of that vine he found a favourite repast. I had not long habituated him to this taste of liberty, before he began to be impatient for the return of the time when he might enjoy it. He would invite me to the garden by drumming upon my knee, and by a look of such expression, as it was not possible to misinterpret. If this rhetoric did not immediately succeed, he would take the skirt of my coat between his teeth, and pull at it with all his force. Thus Puss might be said to be perfectly tamed, the shyness of his nature was done away, and it was visible by many symptons, which I have not room to enumerate, that he was happier in human society, than when shut up with his