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LONDON: DEAN AND SON, THREADNEEDLE-STREET.
The Baldwin Library
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PRETTY STORIES ABOUT THE
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rji" YiSIS ^rE may be truly called one of the
noblest animals of creation. Its enormous size and strength,
added to its wonderful sagacity and docile temper, render
it of the utmost service to man in those countries of which
it is a native.-The Elephant is found in India and many parts of Africa.
It is the largest of all quadrupeds now living on the earth, and its huge
body is supported by four legs, that resemble massive pillars.
It has a short, thick neck, which prevents it bending its head to the
ground; but to remedy this apparent inconvenience, it is furnished with
a trunk, which answers all the purposes of a hand, to pick up food, and
convey it to the mouth. This trunk is so flexible, that it can be moved
any way at will; so that the Elephant can use it to pull up shrubs and
grass, or raise it up to tear down branches from the trees of the forest,
on which, in its wild native state, it is accustomed to feed, living entirely
The tusks are that beautiful substance which we call ivory. They
project from the mouth, and are so strong, that the animal frequently
uses them to root up young trees; and when attacked by a tiger, which
they sometimes are, will endeavour to pin the ferocious creature to the
earth with these formidable weapons.
ELEPHANTS IN THEIR NATIVE WILDS.
ELEPHANTS, in their natural state, are social creatures, living together
in large herds, in the forests and on the plains. Their favourite haunts
are near the banks of rivers, for they are very fond of bathing, and, heavy
as they are, will swim with ease across a wide stream, no part being
visible above water but the tip of the trunk, through which they breathe.
A herd of these gigantic creatures feeding on the margin of an Indian
river, must be a very fine sight; and one might imagine that they do not
soon forget the freedom they enjoyed in their native wilds, since instances
have been known of Elephants escaping from their keeper, and returning
to the herd in the woods, after living in a domestic state many years.
CATCHING WILD ELEPHANTS.
THE Indians sometimes catch single Elephants, sometimes take a whole
herd together. A single wild Elephant is usually caught by means of
two tame ones, that cunningly entice him to a spot where the hunters
are concealed with long strong ropes, ready to bind him to a tree. He
is very furious when first caught, but soon becomes tame and docile.
CATCHING WILD ELEPHANTS.
The capture of a whole herd is very differently managed.-Several
enclosures strongly fenced in, are first prepared, to entrap them. The
natives then assemble in vast numbers, provided with all kinds of noisy
instruments, fireworks, and muskets; and having stationed themselves
in parties near the herd, they set up such a din, that the terrified animals
run hurriedly forward in the opposite direction, till they lose the sound
of the noise and clamour.
When they have taken up a new position, the hunters follow, and
repeat the same discordant noises, thus driving the Elephants still
onward; and in this way they are hunted with drums, trumpets, and fire-
works, from place to place, till they arrive at the enclosures, which, by
various artificies, they are induced to enter, and the gates being closed
upon them, they have no means of escape. The hunters build huts and
light fires all round, and, after a few days, when the rage of the animals
is in some measure exhausted, begin to entice them, one by one, into
small pens, where they are bound with cords, and each fed and gradually
tamed by the man who is to be its future driver, who is called its Mohout,
to whom if kindly treated, it soon becomes docile and obedient.
UTILITY WHEN TAMED.
When this noble animal is once tamed, and brought to obey the voice
of man; he is as gentle and tractable as the horse, and is used for riding
by the princes and other great men in India. He is too large for a
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saddle, therefore he has a seat fastened on his back, called a Howdah,
in which the rider sits; the mohout, or driver, being in front of him.
The howdahs are of various forms: some are like a pavilion, with
curtains; some resemble the body of a coach, while others are but simple
chairs of cane, or wood, with a light railing round them. The form and
ornaments of the howdah depend chiefly on the rank of the owner of the
Elephant, who, if hs ee rich, seldom fails to make a grand display of
silk, gold, and jewels, in the adornment of this truly-national equipage.
ELEPHANTS IN GRAND PROCESSIONS.
THERE are, sometimes, grand processions in India, on occasions of public
festivals, or any other great doings. In former times, they were more
frequent, and on a more splendid scale; still, in some parts of the country
among the native princes, very superb spectacles may yet be seen in
TIGER HUNTING WITH ELEPHANTS.
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state processions, sometimes amounting to hundreds of Elephants richly
adorned with trappings of silk and gold, many of them bearing on their
backs howdahs of silver.
Some of these howdahs are made in the form of a castle, probably
as a symbol of the prodigious strength of this huge creature; and hence
arises the common combination of an Elephant and Castle.
TIGER HUNTING WITH-ELEPHANTS.
THE forests and jungles of India are infested with Tigers, which are very
numerous in many districts, and much dreaded by all travellers in that
country. Tiger hunting is, therefore, a necessary occupation, as well as
favourite sport, and is pursued by the British as well as by the natives.
The Tiger-hunters go out in large parties, mounted on Elephants,
and armed with guns, some seated in howdahs, others on pads. It is
always a dangerous amusement, but it would be more so, were they to
ride on horses instead of Elephants, "for the Tiger sometimes turns and
springs at his pursuers; in which case, a horseman would have but little
TIGER HUNTING WITH ELEPHANTS.
chance of saving his life; whereas a man on an Elephant has time to
defend himself, or receive assistance, before the furious creature can
reach him. The Elephant itself, too is more able, from its size and
strength, to resist such an attack, than the Horse, which always exhibits
signs of terror at the sight or growling of a Tiger.
But even an Elephant is sometimes very much frightened by the
sudden spring of one of these ferocious animals, and has been seen to
set off at full speed, with a Tiger clinging to his side; and then, the only
chance for the rider is, to shoot it through the head, or that some of his
companions, aware of his danger, may come up in sufficient numbers to
THEIR USE IN WAR.
ELEPHANTS were formerly trained to, war, and employed in vast numbers
in the armies of all the Indian princes; and those princes were esteemed
the most powerful, who possessed the greatest number of those noble
animals. They are now used, both in British and native armies, in
India, to carry the baggage, and are often found particularly serviceable
in clearing a passage for the troops through the jungles, treading down
the long grass and bushes that obstruct the way.
USE OF ELEPHANTS IN WAR.
These wonderful creatures, in fact, seem to know how they can best
render service to their masters: it is related how, when a cannon was
stuck fast in a slough, one of the Elephants drew it out by lapping-his
trunk round it, and he held it up while it was pulled through the marsh;
as if he was aware that, without such support, it would sink again.
IN THE ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS.
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AMONG the most interesting of our modern institutions, the Zoological
Gardens stands prominent. There we may behold the animal creation in
great and beautiful variety: among which may be seen Elephants
indulging in some of their natural habits, particularly that of bathing,
Sfor which purpose there is a large tank in the enclosure in which they
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