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BEASTS AND BIRDS
Pt 50 NASSAU STREET, NEW YORK.
BEASTS AND BIRDS.
iL HE majestic and beautiful Lions of Africa are
generally ranked as the most powerful of all
S beasts of prey. When a male lion is aroused
by danger, he stands erect, his head high in
the air, his flowing mane falling back upon his shoul-
ders, his eyes glaring, and his teeth shining through
his open jaws, while his long tail is thrashing his sides
in a fearful and threatening manner. Who would care to
meet him in his wrath?
He is as strong as he is beautiful. One stroke from his
forepaw will break the shoulder of a running ox, and bring
him to the ground, where the lion growling and crushing the
bones holds him fast; or if it should please his majesty to eat
him somewhere else, he partly drags and partly carries him
6 BEASTS AND BIRDS.
with his strong teeth, throwing him over logs and other ob-
stacles which lie in his way.
The teeth of the lion are like the cat's in form; and if you
would more fully understand how they are made, catch your
kitty and look at her teeth. They are not designed for chew-
ing but for tearing. The lion seems to have little regard for
THE LION. 7
the taste of his food; his tongue is covered with sharp horny
points, and a few strokes with it will soon draw blood.
A gentleman once owned a tame young lion which was as
frolicsome and playful as a kitten. It ran over the house as
it pleased, and was not feared by any member of the family.
It had never hunted an animal to kill it, had never tasted
blood, and was supposed to have lost all its ferocious lion-
like qualities. But man cannot tame away a lion's natural
traits of character.
The gentleman lay down one day to take a nap, and his
hand fell over the side of the bed. The little lion was frisk-
ing about enjoying itself upon the floor, when it saw its
master's hand, and like an affectionate dog commenced licking
it caressingly. The man did not stir, and the cub, growing
more earnest, drew his file-like tongue suddenly across the
spot, brought blood, and awoke the gentleman.
Then came the question who had the best right to the hand;
the lion claimed it, and growling fiercely held it tight between
his powerful teeth.
Fortunately the gentleman had a loaded pistol under his
pillow, and reaching his other hand got it, and shot the little
fellow dead upon the spot; the pet had suddenly become a
bloodthirsty wild beast, and could no longer be trusted.
The lion, like the cat, walks upon cushioned toes. and is
not heard till he is ready to spring upon his prey. It may
seem strange that God should have created such a powerful
8 BEASTS AND BIRDS.
beast, and cushioned his feet that he might go forth silently
to destroy the other animals of His creation; but no doubt
there are good reasons for it.
He is provided with terrible claws, which are hidden in
his forefoot; but he throws them forward when he pleases, and
when they are once planted in the flesh, the strongest animal
labors in vain to shake them off.
The lions of Southern Africa are as strong and majestic
as any known, the males being about four feet high and eleven
long including the tail. They are of a tawny yellowish color,
with a tuft of black hair on the tip of the tail, and black tips
on their ears.
The male lion has a long shaggy mane which hangs from
his neck, shoulders, and chin. It does not get its full length
till it is four years old.
The female has no mane, and is much smaller than her
lord, and appears more mild and kind. But when she, or
her little ones require food, she is quite as dangerous as the
male, and charges upon any creature which comes in her
In Mr. Greenwood's "Wild Sports of the World," we find
the following story told of Dr. Livingstone in South Africa.
The natives had been exceedingly troubled with lions,
and Dr. Livingstone had formed a party to hunt them. He
saw a lion not far off and fired both barrels of his gun. The
Hottentots were anxious to rush upon it, but Dr. Livingstone
THE LION. 9
kept them back till he reloaded his gun. The lion in the
meantime was on his legs with his eyes glaring, and its tail
bolt upright. While the doctor was ramming down the
bullet the natives set up a fearful cry, and raising his head
the doctor saw the wounded lion in the act of springing upon
"The doctor was standing on a slight eminence, and in his
great leap the maddened beast caught the missionary by the
shoulder, and lion and man rolled to the ground together.
"'Growling horribly in my ear,' says Dr. Livingstone, 'he
shook me as a terrier does a rat, the shock produced a stupor
similar to that which seems to be felt by a mouse after the
first shake of a cat. It caused a sort of dreaminess, in which
there was no sense of pain, or feeling of terror, though I was
quite conscious of all that was happening.
"The great forepaw of the lion was pressing heavily on
the back of Dr. Livingstone's head, and he almost insensibly
turned to relieve himself of the pressure, just as the lion
leaped at one of the Hottentots who was about to shoot him.
The gun missed fire, and the lion gave the poor fellow a severe
bite in his thigh, then left him to spring upon a man who was
about to spear him. His claws were embedded in the man's
shoulder, when his force was expended, and he rolled over
and died, and Dr. Livingstone escaped, though badly hurt."
The wounds made by a lion's teeth are long in healing,
and pain is often felt for years afterwards.
Part III. 2
10 BEASTS AND BIRDS.
When the cubs are quite young the mother never leaves
them for a moment, but when they are strong enough to trot
by her side, she takes them out in the woods for a walk, and
if she can, picks up some young and tender animal for their
lunch, such as a lamb or young goat. She seems to under-
stand that their young stomachs cannot digest what older
THE LION. 11
lions eat, and she carefully shreds up the meat, and places it
The young lions are quick to learn, and are soon hunting
as they have seen their mother do; the father or mother
stands by to assist if the game is likely to escape. When
the cubs are two years old they have strength and courage
enough to venture to attack an ox, and from that time, till
they are seven or eight years old they increase in power.
Then they are full grown lions and can do anything their
father ever did before them.
When about thirty years of age the lion's strength begins
to diminish, and after a while he returns to his early habits of
catching that which makes but little resistance. When he
becomes quite old he is contented to lie at his home, wherever
that may be, and there he half starves and grows weak, and,
as Job says, The old lion perisheth for lack of prey." Some
hungry hyena may finally make a supper of him, or some
hunter may put him out of his misery.
The lion never leaves his lair in the daytime, unless he is
suffering for water, or from some such cause. Dr. Livingstone
says, "he then skulks along half asleep, looking like the lar-
gest dog you ever saw in your life. If he sees you, he stands
a second or two, then turns slowly around and walks as slowly
away for a dozen paces, looking over his shoulder, then he
begins to trot, and when he thinks himself out of sight, bounds
off like a greyhound."
12 BEASTS AND BIDS.
.- .+ '
This is a female maneless lion of India. She has very
little of the bold and terrible look of the lions of Africa; but
when aroused puts forth her strength and power in a fearful
THE LION. 13
manner. She seems to be watching lest something should
come to hurt her cub which has crouched in the grass.
When the maneless lion was first discovered it was sup-
posed to be a young lion whose mane was not yet fully grown,
but it is a distinct species. How strong are those forelegs;
and what terrible claws must be curled up in the fur of her
great feet! Who would wish to be held by such an animal,
or receive a thrashing with such a tail as she carries. This
species is called by the natives the "Camel lion," owing to
its peculiar color.
Hunger seems to be the reason, and perhaps the only rea-
son of the lion's defiance of danger when not attacked. He
soon learns to be very wary of men, and traps; and some-
times dares not touch a stray horse with a hanging bridle,
fearing some mischief. If he has found no prey after a night's
hunt, he places his mouth to the ground and gives a most ter-
rific roar, which seems to roll over the ground in all direc-
tions. If any animal is hidden near, it is aroused, and in its
fright is quite likely to run directly in the lion's way.
Lions were very common in the Holy Land in Old Testa-
ment times, and often made their homes in the bushes and
underbrush which lined the river Jordan. When the river
was swollen by rains and overflowed its banks, these lions
were driven out from their hiding places, and rushed out upon
the flocks of the shepherds. David, when tending his sheep,
had an encounter with a lion which was carrying away one of
14 BEASTS AND BIRDS.
his lambs, and slew him. But how he did it we are not told.
We also have an account of a very strong man whose name
was Benaiah. He went down into a pit on a snowy day and
killed a lion which was secreted there.
The lion is described in the Bible as tearing his prey, as
having large teeth, and lurking in secret places, and as roar-
ing for his prey. And the evil one, even Satan, is said to
go about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.
He has the cunning of the lion and uses various devices to
entrap the unwary, that he may destroy them. It is dread-
ful to have our bodies torn and eaten by lions, or destroyed
by wicked men, but Christ says, "Be not afraid of them that
kill the body and after that have no more that they can do;
but I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: fear him which,
after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell: yea, I say
unto you, fear him."
The Bible speaks of a time coming when the earth shall
be full of the knowledge of the Lord, and nothing shall hurt
or destroy in all the earth.
"The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie
down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and the
fatling together; and a little child shall lead them; and the
cow and the bear shall feed, their young ones shall lie down
together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox." Then we
shall need no more guns or locks; all will be peace.
THE LEOPARD. 15
HE most beautiful, graceful, and elastic animal
Sin Africa is the spotted leopard. It is
' .-.---.-,- --
found in Africa is the spotted leopard. It is
not nearly as large as the tiger, yet it is very
much dreaded on account of its sly cat-like
movements, and stealthy habits. A man sometimes
walks out near. his own home feeling perfectly secure;
when but a few feet from him, crouching, with his fore-
paws stretched out. and his head flat upon the ground in the
16 BEASTS AND BIRDS.
tall grass, lies a leopard, with his eyes fixed upon the man.
But if he is let alone he is quite willing to let the man pass
on about his own business. If, on the other hand, he is at-
tacked and wounded, he becomes very furious; and if sharp
teeth and claws will do it, not much will be left of the man
when he is done with him.
A story is told by Captain Drayson, a traveller in Africa,
who had among his men a boor by the name of Hendricks.
While he was stopping at a house over night a leopard visited
the premises and devoured many of the fowl. The next morn-
ing Hendricks with his gun started out on his horse to hunt
the beast. He came to a ravine where he found a dead deer,
and while examining it he looked up and saw the leopard on
the limb of a tree, showing his teeth threateningly. Hen-
dricks shot, and the leopard leaped for the bushes beyond,
and was soon out of sight.
Hendricks says: "I followed him with my gun ready for
a shot, and my knife loose in the sheath, and soon saw close
to me the wounded leopard. He did not run this time, but
crouched down and spit at me like a spiteful cat. I fired at
him and must have hit him, but still he did not move for an
instant; then with a bound he came close to me, and as I was
about to draw my knife he sprang upon me and fixed his
claws in my shoulder. The pain was so great I shrieked out,
but there was no one within five miles to help me, and I knew
I must fight the battle alone. I plunged my knife into his
THE LEOPARD. 17
stomach, and think I must have reached his heart, as he sud-
denly relaxed his hold and rolled from me. The flesh on my
thigh was badly torn, for he had fixed his hind legs there and
scratched me, as I have seen two kittens at play do to each
other. I tried to get up but felt giddy, and fell back insen-
sible. It was dark when I came to; but I could not move
though I heard water running and was suffering terribly with
thirst. A long time seemed to pass before daylight came. My
arm was broken and lying useless beside me, and across it was
a hideous puff adder, which had been my companion for hours.
I did not dare move. At length the joyful sound of voices
came upon my ear, but I did not answer for fear of enraging
the snake. When the footsteps approached the adder raised
his head, listened a moment, and then glided away. The party
consisted of my brother and three Hottentots, and I was car-
ried home on a litter of boughs."
This story shows the terrible nature of the leopard, and
is enough to deter any one from wishing to hunt him alone.
.The leopard like many other beasts of prey, dreads the
eye of man, and can often be kept at bay by it. This is a
merciful provision, and has saved the lives of many who were
in the power of ferocious beasts.
On another occasion, Captain Drayson says: "During the
night, a large leopard was caught in a trap which had been
set for him. At first he tore around as if determined to break
the stakes in two; but when I appeared before him he slunk
Bet. ad Brd. Part Im. 3 145
18 BEASTS AND BIRDS.
back into the corner, as if very much ashamed to be caught
in that way, and gave me some most villanous grins and looks.
He could not endure being stared at, and tried every plan to
hide his eyes; when every other plan failed he pretended to
be looking at some distant object, as though he did not notice
me. But he could not keep up this acting longer than a
minute, when he would suddenly turn and rush at me, dash-
ing himself against the bars."
While the leopard was in this condition, many of the
Kaffirs came to rejoice over their fallen foe, and seating
themselves around, addressed him in abusive language about
the calf he once killed, or the chickens he had stolen; and
another would threaten to run his spear into his sleek and
fat sides. But, if the leopard moved towards them, they
sprang to their feet and ran. The next day it nearly
escaped, and was shot. So greatly do the native Africans
dread this sly beast, that if one of their number kills a leop-
ard, they honor him above the rest, and he is expected to
decorate his person from the creature in various ways. The
teeth are pulled out and strung upon wire with beads, and
thrown around his neck; the claws are also sometimes strung
with them. The tail is cut off and being fastened to a belt,
the fortunate man puts it on and has it dangling down behind
in a curious manner. The beautiful skin is made into a
cloak, and when the man is fully dressed, he belongs to the
aristocracy. Sometimes a Kaffir can boast of six or eight
THE LEOPARD. 19
tails strung about his person, which exalts him very high in
the community around him.
Why should he not aspire to a high standing as well as
men in civilized countries; especially when he earns it by
benefiting his fellows at the risk of his own life ?
Leopards often remove from their lairs and go into new
districts where their deeds are not known, and where they
seem to expect to escape detection and traps. They climb
trees so readily that they often capture their prey before it
is sufficiently awake to know its danger. Even monkeys fall
before the leopard, and they are remarkable for their watch-
fulness and agility.
Leopards do not lose their playfulness even when in
captivity, and often sport and gambol like kittens. They
20 BEASTS AND BIRDS
are found in Asia as well as in Africa, and in America are
represented by the jaguar.
The cubs of the leopard are, like a litter of kittens,
pretty and playful, and number from one to five. They
chase each other in sport, now running to hide, and then
dashing out suddenly, tumble over each other, when a gen-
eral scramble follows. The mother, like a cat, lies by, thump-
ing her great tail upon the ground, which they often pitch
upon and catch with graceful and rapid movements. They
are sometimes taken while quite young, and kept for pets,
but they are not safe.
Leopards were found in Palestine. God threatened the
people, and said, "A leopard shall watch over their cities,
every one that goeth out thence shall be torn to pieces,
because their transgressions are many."
Leopards were then, like those we now see, beautifully
spotted; and the question is asked, "Can the leopard change
his spots?" and God adds. "then may ye also do good that
are accustomed to do evil." We know that if we are in the
habit of doing wrong it is very hard to stop. It is much
better not to commence in a wrong course.
The leopard's sly habit is alluded to in Hosea, where
God says, "As a leopard by the way will I observe them."
God's eye is always upon us, even when we do not think
of it, or know it.
THE GIRAt'FE. 21
"ERE is an animal whose long legs and high
head are a wonder indeed! He is the tallest
of all earthly dwellers, and crops his food
with ease from the branches of the trees. Other
animals are content to eat the grass at their feet,
but the Giraffe never stoops to any thing so low. He
is ever looking upward; indeed he cannot put his
nose to the ground without much effort and straddling of his
22 BEASTS AND BIRDS.
The male is often eighteen or twenty feet high, and if
three tall men stood one on the head of the other, the highest
would hardly reach the giraffe's nose. What a neck this
would be to have a cold in! Just think of two or three
yards of sore throat! A bed blanket would be required to
wrap around it.
Not many years ago this animal was known only to a few
travellers, whose accounts of it were scarcely believed. But
at length four giraffes were trapped in Abyssinia, and were
exhibited, and became known to the world. The first which
arrived in England came in 1827. It lived but two years.
The giraffe resembles the leopard in color, having a sleek
and spotted skin. The shoulders are high, giving it a taper-
ing appearance from the head to the tail; but the hind legs
are as long as those in front. Its tongue is often stretched
out a foot or more from its mouth, and is used like the trunk
of the elephant, as a feeler, grasper, and an organ of taste.
With it he picks out the best and tenderest of the leaves,
rejecting all others instantly by the touch. When carried
around for a show, he is quite inclined to reach up to the
high seats and twist off the flowers from the ladies' bonnets,
and, as might be expected, he makes no little stir among them.
Other mischief he does with this unruly member, which he
can contract to a very small point.
His eyes are large and very beautiful, and so made that
he looks in every direction without the trouble of turning his
24 BEASTS AND BIRDS.
head: no enemy can approach undiscovered. He is fond of
company, and is said to shed tears when separated from his
His nostrils are protected, even down to the margin, by
strong hair which excludes the entrance of the fine sand,
which the suffocating storms of the desert stir up. Thus
God wonderfully adapts him to the place where he is to live.
He is swift of foot, and presents a singular appearance
when running. His tail is curled up over his back, and he
switches it to and fro so swiftly that it makes a hissing
sound, his head moves with it in exact time, while his two
hind feet at every leap strike far ahead and on either side
of the front ones.
These animals are as gentle and inoffensive as deer, and
when tamed are playful and affectionate. The giraffe has
some human traits of character, being very fond of attention,
and often resorting to little tricks to gain the admiration of
Unlike most other animals, it is dumb, never expressing
by a sound its pleasure or its pain: even when dying, no
groan or sigh escapes it; but its great lustrous mild eyes tell
what its tongue fails to articulate. Oh, who would wish to
hurt or annoy so beautiful and helpless a creature!
When attacked by beasts of prey in their own native
woods, the giraffes escape by flight, if possible; but if not,
they let fly their nimble hind legs with such lightning-like
THE GIRAFFE. 25
velocity, that even lions are glad to beat a retreat. But if
the lion springs unperceived upon the giraffe, he soon over-
comes it by his superior strength and terrible claws, and the
poor creature yields to its fate, looking mildly and implor-
ingly upon its foe.
In their own native woods giraffes like company; they
herd together in droves of twenty or more, and are led by
an old experienced male. Hunters often mistake a drove
for so many trees; or think the tall trees are the necks of
the giraffe, and so creep up very slyly only to laugh at their
There is a peculiar, and not unpleasant odor about these
animals, which reminds one of the smell of balm honey; and
the same is perceived in the flesh when cooked. This is
supposed to be derived from the fragrant flowering shrubs on
which they feed.
Hunters find it difficult to bring down these haughty mon-
archs with their rifles, and so resort to deep pit-falls, with an
inside cross wall, not as high as the sides, and if a giraffe is
so unfortunate as to fall in, his hind feet are on one side of
the wall, while the forelegs are on the other. Thus hung
he is unable to touch the ground.
Sir William Harris says: "While hunting in Africa one
cool November evening, I came suddenly upon thirty-two
giraffes of various sizes, who were industriously cropping the
high foliage, and although I had taken four mounted Hotten-
Part III. 4 153
26 BEASTS AND BIRDS.
tots with me, all but one had dashed off in pursuit of other
game, leaving me and Bunjo alone. We turned our horses
towards the giraffes, and were proceeding very quietly that
we might not start them off, when suddenly a huge rhinoceros
with its calf stood in our path. I commanded my man to fire,
at the same time spurred on my horse, and saw to my sorrow
the whole herd of giraffes clearing the ground in hot haste,
leaving me and Bunjo far in the rear. Twice I lost sight of
them entirely, as they were hidden behind trees, and when
they appeared again, they were bounding on over the hills.
They soon came to a small river, and as their slender legs
sunk into the yielding sand, I gained upon them, and by the
time they were on the opposite bank, I was near. I levelled
my gun at the tall leader and shot him behind the ear. He
shuffled on some time while I continued to fire, and finally I
reined my horse directly across his path. He stopped, and
stood mute and majestic, occasionally bending his elastic head
towards me, while tears trickled from the lashes of his dark
humid eyes. Several shots more were fired, when he bowed his
graceful head, and presently lay prostrate on the ground."
Even when lying in this condition they show signs of grat-
itude if patted and stroked, by opening and closing their
mild and forgiving eyes.
Surely a man must be cruelly hard-hearted to shoot for
sport these noble and confiding creatures, and God will not
hold him guiltless who wantonly torments and destroys them,
THE CAPE BUFFALO. 27
THE CAPE BUFFALO:
HE Buffalo is found in many parts of the world,
and varies in its habits and looks, according to
different climates which it inhabits. The one
before us is of Southern Africa, and is called
Sthe "Cape Buffalo."
He is a formidable looking creature, and when run-
ning wild in his native woods, fears no enemies but
armed men. Lions and even elephants are driven before a
herd of cape buffalo, coming as they do with the tough old
bulls in front, ready to do battle. The calves and cows follow
on behind, farther from danger.
This animal has no mane, but great horns nearly meet at
their base on his forehead, giving him a savage look, which
does not belie his disposition. His little spiteful eyes are half
hidden by the great mass on his head, making it quite possi-
ble for a man to cross his path at a distance without being
seen if he can manage not to be heard ; but if seen or heard,
he is in the greatest danger.
These creatures usually go in large herds, but sometimes
the younger leaders turn out some older one, who from that
time seems to become thoroughly disgusted with all his race,
and retires to some tangled bush and there, alone, keeps his
28 BEASTS AND BIRDS.
bachelor's hall. Of course he is as cross and irritable a being
as ever made a similar experiment, and as much shunned.
He is very silent during the day as he lies in the mud,
concealed from all eyes, nursing his discontent; but should
any unwary traveller happen to pass near him, his medita-
tions are disturbed, his anger provoked, and he rushes out
THE CAPE BUFFALO 29
upon the intruder with a terrible bound, and with a toss of
his head sends him perhaps, up in the branches of a tree. If
he is so unfortunate as not to grasp one of them, but falls
again to the ground, the buffalo assaults him with horns and
hoofs till life is crushed out.
Buffaloes are sometimes so blinded by rage that a whole
herd rushes headlong to ruin, trampling even their leader in
the ground if he stumbles and falls.
Their hides are very tough, and not easily penetrated by
a common bullet when shot from a distance; but are very
valuable for ox harnesses, where great strength is required,
as well as for other purposes.
Captain Drayson says: "I knew a native who had wound-
ed one of these animals, and supposing him badly hurt, fol-
lowed on a hundred yards or so, looking for his track, with-
out taking the needful caution. Suddenly, he heard a tre-
mendous crash close to him, and before he had time to see
what was coming, he was sent spinning through the air; but
fortunately he lodged in a tree. The buffalo seemed greatly
disappointed that he did not drop down again, and after vent-
ing his spite upon the tree to his heart's content, turned sul-
lenly away. The man with two or three broken ribs, reached
his home, but could never afterwards be induced to go out
Dr. Livingstone asserts that a toss from the head of
a buffalo will often kill a lion. and that he had seen two
30 BEASTS AND BIRDS.
who had evidently come to their death by the horns of this
Mr. Vardon, in a letter to Dr. Livingstone, says that in
company with a friend they shot at a buffalo, and wounded
him, when he made off. They followed and were gaining
upon him, when three lions, seeing the limping, bleeding
beast, sprang from their hiding-place and brought him partly
to the ground. The struggle was fierce, he bellowing most
lustily, while the lions on their hind legs were tearing away
with their feet and claws in the most ferocious style. The
men kept within thirty yards, and kneeling down fired at the
lions. One fell dead, one ran away, and the third raised his
head, looked around coolly, and then went on tearing and
biting upon the carcass. A shot was aimed at him which
entered his shoulder and sent him limping away. He was
followed and killed, and the hunters were quite satisfied with
three such powerful animals as game.
CHE HIPPOPOTAMUS. 81
H EHOLD now Behemoth!" "He eateth grass
as an ox." His bones are as strong pieces of
brass, his bones are like bars of iron." "He
lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of
the reed and fens. The shady trees cover him with
their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him
about." Job 40:15, 21, 22.
It is supposed that the hippopotamus is the behemoth of
Job, and in many respects it answers well to the description
he gives, being a very large animal, and spending much of
its time on the banks of the rivers, among the tall grass and
willows, or in the water, where it swims and dives with the
ease of other sea monsters.
God has given him four large tusks with which to hook up
the grass from the bottom of the water; he has also an array
of white gleaming teeth, of such size and number as to make
a man shudder to look at them. But they are intended for
cutting grass, which they do as nicely as if it was done by
Sometimes when the animal is wounded, or otherwise irri-
tated, these tusks and teeth are used as weapons of defence
and woe to the man who stands in their way.
32 BEASTS AND BIRDS.
' .' .,- ....
Mr. Moffat, a traveller in Africa, says that a native and
his boy went to the river to hunt sea-cows, as they are called,
and seeing one at a short distance below an island, he fired
and missed, when the animal turned and made for the island
THE HIPPOPOTAMUS. 33
where the man stood. He saw his danger and ran to cross
to the opposite bank of the river; but before reaching it, the
cow seized him and literally cut his body in two with its mon-
strous jaws. The boy went home fatherless.
Geologists have put it beyond a doubt that hippopotami
were formerly in Europe and Asia, but they are now mostly
confined to the solitary rivers and lakes of Africa, where
human beings seldom come, and where great water-snakes, in
all the colors of the rainbow, glide erect through the half-
submerged grasses, and where lizards move in masses in the
swamps, or with the snakes, sun themselves on the logs.
Dr. Livingstone has often camped out near such places,
and says that in the night he heard most hideous sounds,
some resembling human voices, mingled with splash, juggle,
snorts, hisses, as if the creatures were having rare fun in
their uncouth haunts. Surely we should think such a bed
would not be a very good place for a quiet night's sleep; yet
God who never sleepeth is there and watcheth over all his
Hippopotami like company, and go in herds of from ten
to thirty. They make a hideous noise, a succession of short
quick snorts, not very agreeable to a lone traveller, but
showing the wonderful diversity in God's works: no two
creatures or their voices being alike.
They are an ugly-looking beast on land, and when full
grown, the male measures twelve feet in length, and the
B...n.adBlrd Part III. 5 161
34 BEASTS AND BIRDS.
same in circumference; looking very much in shape like a
hogshead placed on four short sticks of wood. Its eyes are
large and prominent, its ears short and stiff-looking, its hide,
which is very porous and covered with an oily substance,
is an inch and a half thick in some places, and of a dark
When the skin is taken from the dead animal, it is drawn
off in strips, like so many planks.
These creatures are enormous eaters, their stomachs hold-
ing five or six bushels. They sleep most of the time during
the day, but when night comes they arouse themselves, and
in small companies go out to satisfy their enormous appetite.
Before leaving the banks, they stand still and listen for an
hour or two; and if no danger appears they go forth. If
anybody in the vicinity has cultivated a field of rice or other
grain, they know it, and are ready to go in and gather it.
Their great clumsy feet tread down and destroy more, if
possible, than they devour.
In the morning the owner rises and goes out to find his
labor lost, his field destroyed, and with bitter threats upon
the beasts, determines that they shall die. He digs a deep
pit in their path, puts a sharp stake in the bottom of it,
covers the whole with loose brush and grass, giving it the
appearance of undisturbed ground, and then goes home to
wait for the hippopotami to walk into it.
The poor beasts know nothing of this, and feeling at night
THE HIPPOPOTAMUS. 35
as if they would like more rice, start out to fill their empty
stomachs. They walk directly towards the pit, lumbering
along, scarcely lifting their feet from the ground, till within
a step of the fatal trap. Of a sudden behemoth stops, smells
the ground,, and giving a knowing grunt, turns around and
goes another way. But sometimes one is caught, which
causes great rejoicing with the people, for they not only
eat the flesh, but the ivory tusks and other parts of the
animal are of great value.
God gave man dominion over the beasts of the field, but
the hippopotamus is hard to manage, and cares no more for
the javelins that are thrown at him from the shore, while he
is in the water, than we would for so many drops of rain.
Neither does he fear men when they approach him in boats,
for by one grasp of his open mouth, he shivers the planks,
and sends his pursuers to the bottom of the water.
The natives of Africa, however, have learned to make an
ingenious harpoon to which they attach a strong coil of rope.
This they carry out in their boats, and when a good oppor-
tunity offers, they throw the harpoon with great force into
the body of the monster. Then there is great danger, for
the infuriated beast plunges and dives, often upsetting the
boat and attacking the men. But other boats or rafts are
near, and if the shore is reached, the rope is attached to a
tree, and when the animal is sufficiently weakened by loss of
blood, he is drawn ashore.
86 BEASTS AND BIRDS.
At other times a heavy harpoon is suspended from a tree
directly over the path the hippopotamus travels, and so
arranged that the animal's foot shall loosen the cord. Then
the hunter has nothing to do but to wait in the tree. Pres-
ently he hears the deep grunting, and sees the great beast
moving slowly up, thinking of anything in the world but a
trap. He comes beneath, his huge foot encounters the string,
the stakes are pulled up, and down rattles the heavy har-
poon, and is fastened in the animal's back. So by the reason
which God has given man, he conquers those creatures who
are stronger than himself.
We cannot but feel sorry for the poor creature who is
thus made to suffer a slow death. Of late, guns are used in
hunting; and although it is difficult so to send a ball that it
will at once end the brute's life, yet we hope that by this
means much suffering is saved.
A Mr. Cummings was once upon the banks of the river
Limpopo, and saw a colony of these animals. He says:
"We heard the sea-cows bellowing, and approaching
somewhat nearer, beheld a wonderful and interesting sight.
On a sandy promontory of the island stood about thirty
cows and calves; while in the pool opposite and a little far-
ther down, stood about twenty more sea-cows with their
heads above water. About fifty yards below, again shoving
out their heads, were eight or ten immense fellows, and a
hundred yards below these, in the middle of the stream,
THE HIPPOPOTAMUS. 37
stood another herd of eight or ten. The sea-cows lay close
together like pigs, and as they sprawled in the mire, had not
the least objection to the others laying their heads on their
backs and sides, in an affectionate manner."
The calves are carried on their mothers' necks, while
they are too young to endure the fatigue of travel, and as
they cannot remain under water as long as their mother, she
brings them often to the surface to breathe.
How wonderful that God has given all mothers, even the
brutes, such untiring love and care for their offspring; and
should not children who have the faculty of reason, out-do
the brute creation in their love and obedience to their pa-
rents ? I think God expects it.
God called Job's attention to behemoth, and said, "I
made him with thee;" or, as well as thee. So would I say
to all children while looking at these animals: They are
God's works, given for our use, but not abuse. He made
them as well as us.
38 BEASTS AND BIRDS.
HIS beautiful and singular-looking animal be-
longs to the antelope tribe. It would adorn
the park of any gentleman in Europe or Amer-
ica, yet its home is in the deserts of Southern
Africa, where all is dreary and desolate. Sands and
heat, and parched ground are all around, but no streams
of water. We should think a sheep could hardly pick
up enough on these barren plains to keep it alive; yet this
great animal lives and thrives and grows fat there. God
THE GEMSBOK. 39
has adapted it to its home. Some people think that this
creature never drinks, and needs no water. We know of no
animal but would die if deprived entirely of water, and it is
certain that the gemsbok gets it through roots and melons
that are very juicy. A bulb grows upon those wastes, called
the water-root, which affords quite a drink to a thirsty ani-
See his beautiful long, straight horns, pointing away over
his back Near the head they look as if carved or twisted,
but at their ends they are sharp and smooth, and are in-
tended for instruments of defence. We can hardly imagine
how he can lower his head to bring his horns in contact with
an animal, yet he does it. "At one time," says an African
traveller, "the dead bodies of a gemsbok and a lion were
found upon the plain, the horns of the antelope were driven
so far into the lion's body, that they could not be taken out
by one man alone." Very likely the lion jumped upon their
sharp points, and it was the last spring he ever made.
The gemsbok also strikes right and left, with his horns,
inflicting terrible strokes; but if let alone, he is disposed to
be shy and retiring.
The coloring of this animal is very striking, for though
"the main color is gray, yet along the back and on the hind-
quarters and along the flanks the color is deep black. The
black mark on the. face which passes under the chin gives him
the appearance of wearing harness."' He has also some white
40 BEASTS AND BIRDS.
about him. A little stiff short mane stands up on its neck.
Its tail is black, with a tuft of hair upon the end. Over its
shoulders is a small fatty hump, but it is not near as large as
that of the Burmah bull.
The natives of the country, and others who visit those
regions, consider the flesh of this animal a great delicacy, and
many devices are made for his capture. But he is a fleet
animal, and leaves his pursuers in the distance.
THE BRINDLED GNOO. 41
THE BRINDLED GNOO.
HIS animal, which looks somewhat like a horse,
and more like a bison, is a species of the ante-
lope, and is found in Southern Africa.
His fierce-looking head, flowing mane, and
peculiar horns, which bend down and then up, give him
a very disagreeable appearance, and lead us to think
that it would not be very pleasant to meet him alone in
Were we to come suddenly upon him when his head was
hidden among the bushes, we should call him a splendid horse,
and wish to capture him; but if we had one good view of his
great head, we should beat a rapid retreat, lest he should be
disposed to come out and capture us. The gnoo is a timid
creature, and would be quite as anxious to get away from us
as we should be from him. But as he is very suspicious and
curious in his disposition, he might come back again to recon-
noitre, and see what we were made of, and what we were
designing to do.
Mr. Cummings, the historian, says that before these ani-
mals dare approach a hunter, they commence whisking their
long white tails in a curious fashion; they spring up suddenly
into the air and down again, pawing the ground fiercely;
they chase each other around in a strange way, and perhaps
Part III. 6 169
42 BEASTS AND BIRDS.
fight furiously. Suddenly they all turn and face the man
who stands so still before them. Then they gallop around
him, keeping at a great distance, but drawing nearer and
nearer. making frequent halts to eye the strange object.
THE BRINDLED GNOO. 43
These halts are the hunter's time for a fire, when the alarm
sends the whole herd scouring off over the plain in clouds of
In order to excite the curiosity of these animals and draw
them nearer, the hunter ties a red handkerchief to the muzzle
of his gun, and raises it in the air. No sooner does the gnoo
see it, than he commences his pranks and friskings, which end
in his going around in a circle, and drawing nearer to the
Gnoos live in large herds, and are often found with droves
of ostriches, zebras, and giraffes, who all travel together in the
most friendly and social manner. But our domestic animals
will have nothing to do with the gnoo, and refuse to be put
upon a level with him.
A gentleman captured a young gnoo who was only about
four months old, and in order to tame and domesticate him,
he placed him in the yard with the cows. No sooner was he
gone than the cattle all pitched upon the little stranger, and
nearly killed him with their horns. A full-grown gnoo is
about three feet high and six or seven long.
44 BEASTS AND BIRDS.
SSTRANGE looking animal this, with two horns
on its nose-one a yard long, the other directly
behind, and shorter; and stranger still, that
they should grow from the skin, like the hair,
without being connected with the skull or bones of the
head. They are very smooth at the point, but nearer
/ the head are rough, and could be slit up like whalebone.
Underneath is a bone in the shape of an arch, with one end
free, which relieves the head of any shock it might receive
when the horn is struck violently. In this we see the wis-
dom of the Maker, who adapts his works to the uses for which
they are designed.
In former times people made drinking-cups of rhinoceros
horn, thinking that if poison were put into them it could not
remain, but would foam and run over till all was gone, or the
cup would split to pieces and fall to the ground. Eastern
kings had many such cups, mounted with silver or gold and
precious stones, out of which they drank, to be secure from
any deadly drug their enemies might put into their wine.
Four species of rhinoceros are found in Africa; two are
white, and two are black, and they differ much in their hab-
its. The largest of these is the square-nosed white rhinoce-
THE RHINOCEROS. 45
ros, which is from twelve to eighteen feet long, and about the
same around its body. The skin is very thick, and hunters
use a peculiar kind of hard bullet, as the common one makes
little impression upon its hide. At least so it was formerly
believed; but some modern travellers say that the ball does
46 BEASTS AND BIRDS.
enter the animal, but that the blood which oozes from the
wound runs under the bagging skin, and does not appear on
By some drying processes, the skin is made into canes and
whip-stocks, which are as hard and tough as horn; and some
persons have thought that the skin while on the animal was
as hard as these. Were this the case, the poor rhinoceros
would find it difficult to run, or to get up or lie down.
The rhinoceros of Asia is remarkable for the heavy folds
of skin which lie over the shoulders, neck, and hips, and is so
loose that it can be lifted up like heavy bags. Those of Africa
are not quite as heavily laden. Their eyes are marvellously
small, and are better adapted to the dark than to daylight.
Their ears are long and pointed, and their hearing very acute.
The rhinoceros has the appearance of being a clumsy beast,
but it is said to outrun the swiftest horse. Mr. Anderson,
who has travelled extensively in Africa, says that he rode
alongside of one of these animals, and shot a ball into its
body, when, instead of running or dropping down dead, as
he was expected to do, he turned sharply round and walked
directly towards him. He tried to wheel his horse to run,
but the frightened horse refused to move; and in a moment
the brute was bending low his head, and with a thrust upward
he struck his horn into the ribs of the horse with such force
as to penetrate to the saddle on the opposite side, pricking the
rider's leg. The horse was thrown into the air, and came
THE RHINOCEROS. 47
down with great force upon his back. Mr. Anderson, of
course, fell to the ground, and in a moment he saw the horn
of the furious beast plowing the ground by his side. Then,
without attempting anything further, the rhinoceros started
off on a trot, much to the relief of the prostrate man.
The rhinoceros at its birth is about the size of a large
dog, and is as homely a creature as ever came into the world,
its face looking like an ox calf's, swollen and out of shape.
But notwithstanding the repulsive looks of this little fellow,
it has its good traits, and the principal one is its great love
for its mother. If she dies, he clings to her, lying by her
day and night till driven off by the lions, who come to eat up
her body. When old enough, he fights furiously for his moth-
er, battling with both dogs and men.
Mr. Cuvier gives an account of a very young rhinoceros,
which was placed in a cage and carefully fed and tended,
that its ways and habits might be studied, and to see if it
could be tamed and taught. Bread and fruit was given him,
which he ate greedily, and soon became, as was supposed,
quite gentle and kind. But not long after he was found in
the greatest rage, tearing round his cage, and threatening to
bite in two the bars of iron that held him. What had hap-
pened so to provoke him nobody knew; words did no good;
but finally bread and fruit brought him down to good beha-
vior. After this, caution was always used in approaching
him, and the idea of his ever becoming harmless was aban-
48 BEASTS AND BIRDS.
doned. It has been ascertained that these turns of rage are
natural to the rhinoceros, the older ones indulging in them as
well as the younger. If it is their way of expressing playful-
ness, as some imagine, we should not wish them on our play-
ground very long.
The rhinoceros is not as great an eater as the hippopota-
mus, but drinks not far from twenty-four gallons a day.
The white rhinoceros, which feeds on grass, rice, and
such vegetable substances, is used by the natives as food,
one animal often yielding two or three thousand pounds of
When not disturbed he is inclined to peace ; but it is not
so with the black species, which seems to delight in picking
quarrels with everything that comes in its way.
Colonel Williamson says that two officers at one time
went down the river to shoot and hunt. Having encamped
for the night, they were awakened about daybreak by a vio-
lent uproar, and going out, found a rhinoceros savagely at-
tacking and goring the horses, which were tied and unable to
get away. The servants took to their heels, and the officers
hastily climbed into a tree. As soon as the terrible beast
had destroyed the horses, he turned upon the tree with all
his force, trying to uproot it, or shake the men to the ground.
It was not a very pleasant place to be in; but when daylight
fairly came, and the neighborhood began to stir, the rhinoceros
skulked back into his haunts among the reeds. If these men
THE RHINOCEROS. 49
had had a couple of rifles up in the tree, and plenty of powder
and bullets, they would have rather enjoyed their temporary
Lions are afraid of this black rhinoceros, and the elephant
is conquered by him. While following this animal, the hunter
complains of a little bird, which clings by its sharp claws to
the back and sides of the beast, picking off the flees and bugs
very busily. It discovers the hunter at a great distance,
when it flies up into the air, screaming and fluttering. The
rhinoceros takes alarm and trots off in haste, the little bird
either riding on its back, or flying just above.
Nothing is known of the length of the rhinoceros' life, but
it is believed that it may reach a hundred years.
Mtditd. Part II. 7 177
luts wid 1l3 Part I 11. 7 177
50 BEASTS AND BIRDS.
THE AARD WOLF.
HE word Aard means earth, and this creature is
thus named because his home is beneath the
surface of the ground. His hair is long and
coarse, and of a yellowish gray color, and his
tail heavy and bushy for an animal of his size.
Like the hyena he prowls around through the dark
hours of the night, capturing small animals, or eating
the putrid carcasses of those which have been left by other
destructive beasts. So he acts as a scavenger and makes
himself useful by cleaning up the foul matter which would
poison the air, and make the inhabitants sick; though he in
his ignorance has no such design.
It seems strange that God should have made so many wild
and almost useless creatures to roam over the world, de-
stroying each other and man also. But bad men are far more
dangerous than wild beasts, for they destroy both the body
and the soul.
God's creative powers are very wonderful. He makes no
two animals exactly alike; but they are of all grades and
sizes, from the great elephant down to the little creature who
is too small to be seen by the naked eye; and every one is
perfect. This aard wolf is one of the links of the long chain.
THE AARD WOLF. 51
and stands between the hyena and the civet, which is an ani-
mal of Africa nearly as large as the aard wolf.
This wolf has strong forelegs and powerful claws, and
when it digs it throws the soil out very rapidly, and into
the earth he goes. When his tunnel is as long as he likes, he
52 BEASTS AND BIRDS.
makes at the end of it a chamber which is to be his home, his
What is still more curious is that other aard wolves dig
for themselves tunnels but a little way off, and terminate them
in the same chamber with the first, and there they all live in
a very social way. When darkness broods over the earth,
these wolves creep out of their several tunnels and start out
on their secret expeditions.
There are numerous wolves in our own country which ex-
hibit many of the traits of their African cousins. They take
the night to do their murderous work in, and in droves follow
their prey for miles. They have wonderful strength, and in
their flights leap fifteen or twenty feet at a bound; and they
are as cunning as they are strong. When wolves trot along
near the habitation of man, each one steps as nearly as possi-
ble in the tracks of the one before him, and whisks his tail
about in such a way as to wipe out his own footprints.
When caught in a snare he feigns death, and can be han-
dled, and even wounded, without showing signs of life. But
keep very still and watch him awhile, and you will see a little
blinking and a sly look to see if there is a chance to run.
Wolves are very numerous in new countries and have a
bad name. They rob sheepfolds, destroy cattle, and even
when one of their own number is sick or lame, or only cover-
ed with the blood of some other animal, they pounce upon,
him with their sharp teeth, bring him down and devour him.
THE PHATAGIN. 53
HIS animal's covering is after the fashion of the
pineapple, and it looks as solid and useful as a
coat of mail on a warrior. These scales are
given it by its Maker for protection; and when
the animal is alarmed, and cannot reach its hole in the
ground, it rolls itself up like a ball, throwing up the sharp
edges of his scales, like so many knives. Few people
would care to lay their hands upon it then, a fact which the
phatagin seems well to understand.
His knowledge of this fact does not come by any reason-
54 BEASTS AND BIRDS.
ing or thinking on his part. The One who put the cover on
him, taught him how to use it in the right way, and in the
right time. We call it the instinct of the animal; it does just
what its father and great grandfathers have done ever since
they had a home in the world; and it is what all the other
phatagins will do without any improvement, as long as the
world stands. Could the head be reached, the creature could
soon be destroyed; but he takes good care to keep it out of
harm's way, and has no fear on that score.
With his eyes so far under himself, and shut, we might
wonder how he should know when his enemy had gone and it
would be safe for him to unroll; but God has taught him,
probably, something in reference to it, which we do not
The phatagin is found in western Africa, and is five feet
or more in length; quite as tall, should he stand upon the
tip of his tail, as many boys who think themselves young
The foreclaws of the phatagin are strong, and used for
tearing down the hills of the white ants which abound in that
country. When the ants find their house tumbling down over
their heads, they run out in the greatest alarm and confusion;
but the phatagin quietly seats himself upon the ruins, and
with his long tongue sweeps the frightened creatures into his
mouth with the greatest ease and satisfaction, as we see him
doing in the picture.
THE PHATAGIN. 55
There is another species of this animal which is called the
"short-tailed manis" or "scaly ant-eater." It is found in
India, has a covering similar to that of the phatagin, and rolls
itself np like it when in danger.
Sir Emerson Tennent kept two of these creatures alive at
one time, and says: One was a gentle and affectionate crea-
ture, which, after wandering over the house in search of ants.
would attract attention to its wants by climbing up my knee
and laying hold of my leg by its tail. It seized ants by ex-
tending its long and glutinous tongue along their track."
Ants in hot countries are very troublesome, and destroy
much valuable property, and the people of those countries
should be very thankful that God has created animals to
destroy them in such numbers.
56 BEASTS AND BIRDS.
THE BOOTED LYNX.
HIS creature's legs are black behind, and look
like boots; so they call him "Booted Lynx."
His fur is long, which gives his legs a large
and clumsy look, his body is covered all over
With the same fur. He is not an American, indeed he
does not look as if he knew anything about civilized
life; see what a snarl his face is in, and what great
eyes he is showing. Some people tell others when they are
in danger, that they must be "lynx-eyed." They mean that
THE BOOTED LYNX. 57
they should be watchful like this creature, who is always on
the lookout, and nothing can come near him without his
knowing it. He looks now as if he had seen something that
did not please him very much. His teeth are like the cat's
and lion's; all animals who have such teeth are flesh-eating
and flesh-tearing creatures. This one eats small quadrupeds
and birds. Under the long fur which covers his feet, are
nails that bring down almost any creature he can get hold of,
and then with his teeth he makes short work with them.
Still he knows better than to attack human beings, and is
quite willing to let them alone, if they will keep their hands
and guns away from him. His ears are rather stylish, with
their high tips hanging off on one side. And his tail, with
its dark rings, looks very much like kitty's. His main color
is a deep gray, but mingled with many long black hairs,
which gives him a mottled look.
From the Mediterranean on the north, to the Cape of
Good Hope on the south of Africa, this animal abounds, and
nearly all over Asia he finds a home.
In our own country we have the Canada lynx, which is
very similar in its habits to this booted lynx. They are
found in Canada, and at the northwest, and their long fur
has been made into muffs and capes, for many years, and
been worn by American ladies.
In Texas is another variety which more strongly resem-
bles the wild cat, and like it, is shy, wary, and destructive.
Part IIL 8 185
58 BEASTS AND BIRDS.
THE WHALE-HEADED STORK.
HESE strange-looking birds, with bills like
boats, are found in the marshes and swamps
of Africa. There they wade around, and run
their large bills among the rank grass for fish
and snakes, which they catch and swallow eagerly. We
feel like taking this great thing from their faces, to
relieve them from the trouble of carrying it around.
We should not know what to do with it over our mouths,
and they would not know what to do without it, so both
ought to be satisfied. The hook on the point is used for
tearing open the carcasses of dead animals, whose entrails
Mr. Petherick, who travelled fifteen hundred miles up
the river Nile, was hunting one day, and among other odd
creatures who inhabit that region, found these singular birds.
He was anxious to take some of them alive, that he might
send them to London; but their long legs carried them off
through the swamps so rapidly, that he found it impossible
to take them.
They kept in flocks, and if fired at, flew up from the
ground, and after circling around for a while, would light on
the tallest trees and remain there till the hunter was gone.
THE WHALE-HEADED STORK. 59
Their nests are on the ground, near water, and perhaps
surrounded by it, and are of the rudest kind. For two
-~~~ ~ ~ iii--i---
''.':-_: -e t ar-L. -=-- _h -ru d --a --er "n e h
'uruddb "it, '1d ';", "fterds id o w
60 BEASTS AND BIRDS.
years Mr. Petherick labored to raise some of these birds by
taking the young from the nest, and raising them by hand,
or by hatching the eggs under hens, but failed.
At length he obtained some very fresh eggs, and having
a hen about to set, he took part of her eggs away, and put in
the eggs of the bird. The hen did not seem to know that
she had been imposed upon, and took her seat in good faith.
In due time she came off with her brood, and among the
number were five with enormous bills, which seemed to
puzzle her greatly. But she soon found that their conduct
was much stranger than their looks; for, cluck and scratch
as she would, they paid no attention, but seemed bent upon
rushing into the pond which the negro boys had dug and
filled with water. She was greatly distressed, but they went
their own way; and she took the rest and went hers.
These birds were fed on fish, and when an opportunity
offered, they were shipped to England. Every care was
taken on the voyage to keep them in health; but they sadly
missed their native home and food, and one died, then
another, and finally a third. Two, however, survived. A
pond was given them in the Zoological Gardens, and fish in
abundance supplied, and they soon revived.
Their color is brown, with spots of a darker shade, and
each feather is edged with a grayish white.
Their scientific name is, Baleeniceps Rex, which means the
THE COCKATOO. 61
f ERE sits a great white Cockatoo, looking so
majestic and grave that we are half inclined
to make a low bow and say, "How do you do,
sir? What are you thinking about ?"
And what if he should speak out and say with
` a heavy voice, "Thinking about!" should we not be
frightened? He can do it, for he is a very good
talker, and judging by his loud tones, he must think us hard
What a beauty he is, with his soft white feathers, which
lie so smooth and unruffled, while the tall white crest upon
his large head gives him the importance of a judge on the
bench. His seat seems to be a fallen tree, and his great
black feet and long claws hold him on very tight. But he
looks as sad as if he was wishing to go back to his native
woods, away off in the islands east of Africa, where perhaps
he left his mate and little ones long ago.
It was an unlucky hour for him when he was captured,
and brought away to be gazed at by strangers; and some-
times, when troubled by them, he gets very angry, and his
crest, which he can open and shut like a lady's fan, he throws
forward and back rapidly, while every feather on his body
stands out; his eyes flash and sparkle like diamonds, and a
62 BEASTS AND BIRDS.
most unearthly laugh or scream comes from his throat. But
he is generally good-natured, and then like the parrot, will
THE COCKATOO. 63
say and do many amusing things. One, a young bird owned
by a gentleman in the city, calls the names of the family as
they enter the room, and sometimes pronounces them again
when they go out, laughing as merrily as a child.
There are several species of this bird, some having bright
yellow crests upon their heads instead of white. They have
very strong beaks, and delight in cracking nuts and eating
out the meat, or in breaking the shells of periwinkles and
Jevouring the squirming inhabitant.
One of these birds was confined in a cage, when a lady
entered the room, and seeing the sharp beak of the bird, she
started back in alarm. This seemed to amuse the bird
greatly, and he evidently thought it a good joke to frighten
one so much larger than himself. After that, whenever she
entered the room, he would set up his feathers, yell and
make believe to attack her, just for the pleasure of hearing
her scream, and seeing her run away.
A captive cockatoo, rather celebrated for his talking pow-
ers, was once moulting, and his tongue was silenced for the
time; while he sat disconsolately on his perch, looking as if
Ie had fallen into a puddle and had not found time to arrange
his plumage. All the breast and fore parts of the body were
bare of feathers, and even the beautiful crest had a sodden
and woe-begone look. But suddenly those present were
startled by a deafening laugh, like that of a hyena, and turn-
ing round, saw the cockatoo looking like quite a different
64 BEASTS AND BIRDS.
bird: his whole frame quivering with excitement, his crest
flung forward to the fullest extent, and repeatedly opened
and closed like the fan of an angry Spanish lady, every
feather erect, and his eyes sparkling with rage, while he
volleyed forth the sounds which had so startled us. The
cause of this excitement was found in the persons of two chil-
dren, who had come in to see him, and had by some means
provoked his ire.
In Australia and Van Dieman's Land these birds move
in flocks from a hundred to a thousand in number, and light-
ing down on a field of grain, help themselves till there is not
much left for the owner- They are the creatures of God,
and feel at liberty to feast upon the grain which he causes to
grow so abundantly for them, as well as for man.