Let this incident afford us great encouragement to love our enemies, and to return good for evil, since we find the feeling implanted in the breast of a dog to save the life of his antagonist, and to cherish him afterwards as a friend.
We may never be called on to save the life of a foe; but that would not be more difficult to our natural disposition than acting kindly and forgivingly towards those who daily annoy us—who injure us or offer us petty insults.
THE NEWFOUNDLAND PUNISHING THE LITTLE DOG.
You remember the way Byron punished his troublesome little assailant. Another Newfoundland dog, of a noble and generous disposition, was often assailed in the same way by noisy curs in the streets. He generally passed them with apparent unconcern, till one little brute ventured to bite him in the back of the leg. This was a degree of wanton insult which could not be patiently endured; so turning round, he ran after the offender, and seized him by the poll. In this manner he carried him to the quay, and holding him for some time over the water, at length dropped him into it. He did not, however, intend that the culprit should be drowned. Waiting till he was not only well ducked, but nearly sinking, he plunged in and brought him safely to land.
Could you venture to look a Newfoundland dog in the face, and call him a brute beast, if you feel that you have acted with less generosity than he exhibited!
THE TERRIER AND THE BANTAM.
Among the strange friendships existing between animals of different natures, I must mention one formed between a terrier and a bantam.
The little dog was suffering so severely from the distemper, that it was necessary to confine her to her kennel, which had open bars in front of it. A bantam-cock which lived in the yard, walking up and down, observed the poor little animal, and gazed at her with looks of deep compassion. At last he managed to squeeze himself through the bars. The terrier evidently understood his feelings, and from that day forward the bantam took up his abode in the dog's prison—like a brave physician, fearless of catching the complaint of his patient—and seldom left it, except to pick up his daily food. When he did so, the dog became uneasy, whining till her friend returned.
The terrier became worse, and the bantam redoubled his attentions, and, for the purpose of warming the dog, took his place between her fore-legs; and then the poor little invalid settled down on the bird, apparently to enjoy the warmth afforded by his feathers. Thus, day after day was passed in the closest bonds of affection, till the terrier died of the disease from which she had been suffering. The bantam appeared inconsolable at the loss of his friend, and it was some time before he recovered his usual spirits.
Imitate that little bantam. You will find very many human beings, in lieu of sick terriers, to nurse. As willingly as the bird gave up pleasant amusements, so rouse yourself from sloth for their sakes.
THE COMPASSIONATE DOG WHICH SAVED PUSSY'S LIFE.
I must give you another instance, still more curious than the former, of friendship between two animals.
A number of rough boys in Liverpool had stoned a cat, and dragged it through a pool of water, no one of the many passers-by attempting to stop them; when a dog coming up was moved with pity and indignation at the brutal proceedings, which ought to have induced the human beings who witnessed it to interfere. Barking furiously, he rushed in among the boys, and then carried off the ill-used cat in his mouth, bleeding, and almost senseless, to his kennel at the Talbot Inn, to which he belonged. He there laid it on the straw, licked it till it was clean, and then stretched himself on it, as if to impart to it some of his own warmth. On its beginning to revive, he set out to obtain food for it, when the people of the inn, noticing his behaviour, gave his patient some warm milk.
Some days passed before the cat recovered, and during the whole time the dog never remitted in his attentions to it. The cat, in return, exhibited the warmest gratitude to the dog, and for many years afterwards they were seen going about the streets of Liverpool together.
Do you not blush for human nature when you hear of boys exhibiting less compassion than a dog? Be watchful that you never have cause to blush for yourself.
FOP PLAYING AT HIDE-AND-SEEK.
Not only can dogs be taught all sorts of amusing tricks, but they can play intelligently at games themselves. Mrs Lee tells us of a fox-terrier named Fop, who used to hide his eyes, and suffer those playing with him to conceal themselves before he looked up. I should have liked to see jolly Fop at his sports. If his playfellow hid himself behind a curtain, Fop would go carefully past that particular curtain, looking behind the others and the rest of the furniture, and when he thought he had looked long enough, seize the concealing curtain, and drag it aside in triumph.
The drollest thing, however, was to see him take his turn at hiding. He would get under a chair, and fancy he could not be seen. Of course, those at play with him pretended not to know where he was hiding, and it was most amusing to witness his agitation as they passed.
Once Fop was ill, and had taken some homoeopathic globules, which were supposed to have cured him. Afterwards, when anything was the matter with him, he would stand near the medicine-box, and hold his mouth open to receive a pill. He possibly might have had a taste for sugar-plums.
Professor Owen tells us of another dog which was taught by his master to play at hide-and-seek. When he heard the words, "Let us have a game," he immediately hid his eyes between his paws in the most honourable manner; and when his owner had placed a sixpence or a piece of cake in the most improbable place, he started up, and invariably found it.
Young dogs, it may thus be seen, enjoy games of play as much as boys and girls do, and romping still more so.
THE SPANIEL AND HIS FRIEND THE PARTRIDGE.
Here is another instance of friendship existing between a dog and a bird.
A lady possessed a spaniel named Tom. After she had had Tom several years, a red-legged partridge called Bill, brought from France, was given to her. She had often seen Tom tease the cats and amuse himself with barking at birds, and was consequently afraid to place Bill near him. One day, however, Bill was brought into the room, and placed on the ground, a watch being kept on Tom's movements. Bill appeared in no way alarmed at his four-footed companion, who, too, seemed not inclined to molest him. They looked at each other shyly at first, like two children when first introduced; but Bill hopping forward, Tom seemed pleased at the confidence shown in him.
In a short time they became excellent friends. A saucer of bread and milk being placed on the ground, they fed out of it together, and afterwards would retire to a corner to sleep, the partridge nestling between the dog's legs, and never stirring till his companion awoke.
When the dog accompanied his mistress in a walk, the bird, which could not be taken, showed much uneasiness till he returned; and one day, when the partridge happened to be shut up in a room by himself, the dog searched all over the house, whining mournfully, as if he feared some accident had happened to his friend.
This curious friendship came to an untimely end. Tom was stolen; and from that time Bill refused food, and died on the seventh day, a victim to grief for the loss of his companion.
My dear young friends, let the story of this strange friendship awaken in your minds a stronger sense of love and trust, not only towards those who may be the friends of your youth, but also towards all who may have the care or oversight of you. I am afraid there are very many young persons who would display far less genuine grief at the loss of their companions than did the partridge at the loss of the spaniel. Strive, then, to let your friendship towards them be such, that your grief at their loss may be genuine.
THE DOG WHICH TRACED HIS MASTER.
Dogs often show much regard for each other, as well as for other animals; but they certainly possess a still greater affection for human beings.
A gentleman having to proceed from the north of England to London by sea, left his favourite dog behind. While seated one night in the pit of Drury Lane Theatre—some time after his arrival in the metropolis—to his amazement, his favourite sprang upon him, covering him with caresses.
The dog, as soon as he found that his master had departed from the shore, broke his chain, and set out on his long journey to rejoin him. How he traced him must ever be a marvel. Perhaps he pursued the line of coast till he reached London, where it is possible he may have recovered some trace of his lost friend by scent, at the landing place. This, however, is so improbable, that it is more likely he made the discovery by that incomprehensible power which we call instinct.
THE DOG WHICH TRAVELLED ALONE BY RAILWAY.
A Preston paper gave some time ago an account of a dog which travelled alone by railway in search of his master. In this instance the animal acted much as any human being would have done.
The dog, which was well-known to the railway officials from frequently travelling with his master, presented himself at one of the stations on the Fleetwood, Preston, and Longridge line. After looking round for some length of time among the passengers and in the carriages, just as the train was about to start he leaped into one of the compartments of a carriage, and lay down under a seat.
Arrived at Longridge, he made another survey of the passengers, and after waiting till the station had been cleared, he went into the Railway Station Hotel, searched all the places on the ground-floor, then went and made a tour of inspection over the adjoining grounds; but being apparently unsuccessful, trotted back to the train, and took his late position just as it was moving off. On reaching the station from which he had first started, he again looked round as before, then took his departure.
It seems that he now proceeded to the General Railway Station at Preston, and after repeating the looking-round performance, placed himself under one of the seats in a train which he had singled out of the many that are constantly popping in and out, and in due time arrived in Liverpool. He now visited a few places where he had before been with his master. He remained over-night in Liverpool, and visited Preston early again the following morning.
Still not finding his missing master, he for the fourth time took the train; on this occasion, however, to Lancaster and Carlisle, at which latter place, his sagacity, as well as the persevering tact he had displayed in prosecuting his search, were rewarded by finding his master. Their joy at meeting was mutual.
I cannot too often repeat it: let duty be your master. Be not less persevering in pursuing it, than were the dogs I have told you about in seeking their masters.
NEPTUNE; OR, FAITHFUL TO TRUST.
At an inn in Wimborne in Dorsetshire, near which town I resided, was kept, some years ago, a magnificent Newfoundland dog called Neptune. His fame was celebrated far and wide. Every morning he was accustomed, as the clock of the minster struck eight, to take in his mouth a basket containing a certain number of pence, and to carry it across the street to the shop of a baker, who took out the money, and replaced it by its value in rolls. With these Neptune hastened back to the kitchen, and speedily deposited his trust.
It is remarkable that he never attempted to take the basket, nor even to approach it, on Sunday mornings, when no rolls were to be obtained.
On one occasion, when returning with the rolls, another dog made an attack upon the basket, for the purpose of stealing its contents. On this the trusty fellow, placing it on the ground, severely punished his assailant, and then bore off his charge in triumph.
He met his death—with many other dogs in the place—from poison, which was scattered about the town by a semi-insane person, in revenge for some fancied insult he had received from the inhabitants.
Like trusty Neptune, deserve the confidence placed in you, by battling bravely against all temptations to act dishonestly. Your friends may never know of your efforts to do so, but your own peace of mind will be reward enough.
THE AFFECTIONATE POODLE.
A gentleman residing at Dresden possessed a poodle which he had always treated kindly, and which was especially fond of him. He at length, however, made a present of her to a friend living about nine miles off. It being supposed that she would probably try to return to her former master, she was tied up till she became the mother of three young puppies; and so devoted to them did she appear, that her new owner no longer feared she would quit him. He therefore gave her her liberty.
Shortly afterwards, however, she and the three puppies were missing. Search was made for them in vain. At length her master's Dresden friend paid him a visit, and told him that on the preceding evening the poodle had arrived at his house with one of her puppies in her mouth, and that another had been found dead on the road.
It appeared that she had started at night, carrying the pups—which were still too young to walk—one at a time, a certain distance, intending to go back for the others. She had hoped thus to transfer them all to her former much-loved home. The third puppy was never found. The one that died had perished by cold, it being the winter season.
THE NEWFOUNDLAND DOG AND THE HATS.
In sagacity, the Newfoundland surpasses dogs of all other breeds.
Two gentlemen, brothers, were out shooting wild-fowl, attended by one of these noble animals. Having thrown down their hats on the grass, they together crept through some reeds to the river-bank, along which they proceeded some way, after firing at the birds. Wishing at length for their hats—one of which was smaller than the other—they sent the dog back for them. The animal, believing it was his duty to bring both together, made several attempts to carry them in his mouth. Finding some difficulty in doing this, he placed the smaller hat within the larger one, and pressed it down with his foot. He was thus, with ease, enabled to carry them both at the same time.
Perhaps he had seen old-clothes-men thus carrying hats; but I am inclined to think that he was guided by seeing that this was the best way to effect his object.
There are two ways of doing everything—a wrong and a right one. Like the Newfoundland dog, try to find out the right way, and do what you have to do, in that way.
THE NEWFOUNDLAND DOG AND THE WRECK.
How often has the noble Newfoundland dog been the means of saving the lives of those perishing in the water!
A heavy gale was blowing, when a vessel was seen driving toward the coast of Kent. She struck, and the surf rolled furiously round her. Eight human beings were observed clinging to the wreck, but no ordinary boat could be launched to their aid; and in those days, I believe, no lifeboats existed,—at all events, not as they do now, on all parts of the coast. It was feared every moment that the unfortunate seamen would perish, when a gentleman came down to the beach, accompanied by a Newfoundland dog. He saw that, if a line could be stretched between the wreck and the shore, the people might be saved; but it could only be carried from the vessel to the shore. He knew how it must be done.
Putting a short stick in the mouth of the animal, he pointed to the vessel. The courageous dog understood his meaning, and springing into the sea, fought his way through the waves. In vain, however, he strove to get up the vessel's side; but he was seen by the crew, who, making fast a rope to another piece of wood, hove it toward him. The sagacious animal understood the object, and seizing the piece of wood, dragged it through the surf, and delivered it to his master. A line of communication was thus formed between the vessel and the shore, and every man on board was rescued from a watery grave.
DANDIE, THE MISER.
Dandie, a Newfoundland dog belonging to Mr McIntyre of Edinburgh, stands unrivalled for his cleverness and the peculiarity of his habits. Dandie would bring any article he was sent for by his master, selecting it from a heap of others of the same description.
One evening, when a party was assembled, one of them dropped a shilling. After a diligent search, it could nowhere be found. Mr McIntyre then called to Dandie, who had been crouching in a corner of the room, and said to him, "Find the shilling, Dandie, and you shall have a biscuit." On this Dandie rose, and placed the coin, which he had picked up unperceived by those present, upon the table.
Dandie, who had many friends, was accustomed to receive a penny from them every day, which he took to a baker's and exchanged for a loaf of bread for himself. It happened that one of them was accosted by Dandie for his usual present, when he had no money in his pocket. "I have not a penny with me to-day, but I have one at home," said the gentleman, scarcely believing that Dandie understood him. On returning to his house, however, he met Dandie at the door, demanding admittance, evidently come for his penny. The gentleman, happening to have a bad penny, gave it him; but the baker refused to give him a loaf for it. Dandie, receiving it back, returned to the door of the donor, and when a servant had opened it, laid the false coin at her feet, and walked away with an indignant air.
Dandie, however, frequently received more money than he required for his necessities, and took to hoarding it up. This was discovered by his master, in consequence of his appearing one Sunday morning with a loaf in his mouth, when it was not likely he would have received a present. Suspecting this, Mr McIntyre told a servant to search his room—in which Dandie slept—for money. The dog watched her, apparently unconcerned, till she approached his bed, when, seizing her gown, he drew her from it. On her persisting, he growled, and struggled so violently that his master was obliged to hold him, when the woman discovered sevenpence-halfpenny. From that time forward he exhibited a strong dislike to the woman, and used to hide his money under a heap of dust at the back of the premises.
People thought Dandie a very clever dog—as he was—but there are many things far better than cleverness. It strikes me that he was a very selfish fellow, and therefore, like selfish boys and girls, unamiable. He was an arrant beggar too. I'll say no more about him. Pray do not imitate Dandie.
THE DOG AND THE BURGLAR.
Some years ago, a stranger arrived at the house of a shopkeeper in Deptford who let lodgings, stating that he had just arrived from the West Indies, and would take possession of rooms the next day, but would send his trunk that night. The trunk was brought late in the evening by two porters, who were desired, as it was heavy, to carry it to the bed-room.
As soon as the family had retired to rest, a little spaniel, which usually slept in the shop, made his way to the door of the chamber where the chest was deposited, and putting his nose close to it, began to bark furiously. The people, thus aroused, opened the door, when the dog flew towards the trunk, and barked and scratched against it with the greatest vehemence. In vain they attempted to draw him away. A neighbour was called in, when, on moving the trunk, it was suspected that it must contain something alive. They accordingly forced it open, when out came the new lodger; who had caused himself to be thus brought into the house for the purpose of robbing it.
If you let lodgings in your heart to strangers, take care that your little spaniel Conscience keeps wide awake, lest some evening a chest may be brought in containing a thief who may rob you before you find out his character. The thief may be an evil thought, a bad feeling, shut up in a chest formed of self-indulgence, sloth, vanity, pride. At the first alarm, wake up, break open the chest, call in your faithful neighbour, and hand over the new lodger to justice.
THE POODLE AND THE STRANGER ROBBER.
An English gentleman travelling abroad was accompanied by a favourite poodle. On one occasion he met an agreeable stranger at an hotel, to whom, as they were both going the same way, he offered a seat in his carriage. No sooner, however, had the stranger entered the vehicle than the poodle, which had from the first shown a dislike to the man, manifested even a greater aversion to him than before.
They put up for the night at a small inn in a wild and little frequented country; and on separating to go to their respective rooms, the poodle again snarled at the stranger, and was with difficulty restrained from biting him.
The Englishman was awakened in the middle of the night by a noise in his room, into which the moonbeams streamed, and there he saw the dog struggling with his travelling companion. On being overpowered, the stranger confessed that he had come for the purpose of stealing the traveller's money, being aware that he had a considerable sum with him.
You have not the instinct which has been given to some dogs, and which enables them, for their master's protection, to detect persons harbouring evil intentions towards them; but when you meet with a boy or man careless in his conversation, a swearer, or expressing irreligious or immoral opinions, however courteous and agreeable he may otherwise be, do not associate with him a moment longer than you can help, or he will rob you of what is of far more value than a purse of gold.
THE DOG HOLDING THE THIEF.
A dog of the Highland breed, belonging to Lord Arbuthnot, treated a thief in much the same way as my friend's dog did the robber of his apple-orchard.
The servants, going out one morning, found a man lying on the ground, a short way from the stable, with a number of bridles and other horse-trappings near him, and the dog holding him by the trousers. Directly the servants appeared the dog let go his hold, when the man confessed that the dog had thus held him for five hours.
When a bad thought or desire steals into your heart, or, properly speaking, rises in it, hold it down, as the dog did the thief, till you are able to rid yourself of it.
THE FAITHLESS WATCH-DOG.
Faithful as dogs are in general, I am sorry to have to record an instance to the contrary.
A watch-dog, whose special duty was to remain at his post during the night, found that his collar was sufficiently loose to allow him to withdraw his head from it whenever he pleased. He acted as some human beings do whose right principles do not fit tightly to their necks— slipping out of them at the very time they ought to keep them on. The dog was, however, sagacious enough to know that if he did so during the day he would be seen by his master, when to a certainty the collar would be tightened. But no sooner did night arrive, and the lights began to disappear from the windows, than he used to slip his head out of his collar, and roam about the neighbouring fields, sometimes picking up a hare or rabbit for his supper.
Knowing also that the blood on his mouth would betray him, he would, after his banquet, go to a stream and wash it off. This done, he would return before daybreak to his kennel, and slipping his head into his collar, lie down in his bed, as though he had remained there on the watch all the night.
Now I must beg my young readers to remember, should they be tempted to do what is wrong, that however well-behaved they may contrive to appear before their friends and acquaintances, in their own mind there will always be the unpleasant feeling arising from the consciousness of doing a guilty action.
THE SHOEBLACK'S DOG.
Dogs have been frequently trained to act roguish parts.
An English officer visiting Paris, was annoyed one day by having a little poodle run up to him and rub his muddy paws over his boots. Near at hand was seated a shoeblack, to whom he went to have his boots repolished. Having been annoyed in a similar manner by the same dog, several times in succession, he watched the animal, when he observed him dip his paws in the mud on the banks of the Seine, and then go and rub them on the boots of the best-dressed people passing at the time.
Discovering at length that the dog belonged to the shoeblack, the gentleman questioned the man, who confessed that he had taught the dog the trick in order to bring business to himself. "And will you part with your clever dog?" asked the gentleman. The shoeblack consented, and a price was fixed upon and paid. The dog accompanied his new master to London, and was shut up for some time, till it was believed that he would remain contentedly in the house. No sooner, however, did he obtain his liberty, than he decamped; and a fortnight afterwards he was found with his former master, pursuing his old occupation.
This story shows the difficulty of getting rid of bad habits, and proves that as dogs have been trained, so will they—as well as children— continue to act. The poor poodle, however, knew no better. He was faithful to his former master, and thought that he was doing his duty. But boys and girls do know perfectly well when they are acting rightly or wrongly, and should strive unceasingly to overcome their bad habits.
THE TERRIER AND THE PIN.
A Terrier—deservedly a pet in the family for his gentleness and amiability—was playing with one of the children, when suddenly he was heard to utter a snarl, followed by a bark. The mother rushed to her child, and believing it to have been bitten, drove off the dog. No injury, however, was apparent. The dog retired to a corner, where he remained, in an attitude of regret, till the inspection had been finished. He then approached the lady, and with a touch of his paw claimed attention. It was given, and forthwith he deposited at her feet a pin.
The story was thus made plain. The child, finding the pin, had turned the dog's nose into a pin-cushion. The snarl rebuked the offence, and the pin had been taken by the dog, with his mouth, out of the child's hand. No sooner did the dog see that this was understood, than he began to lick the little fellow's hand, as if to assure him of his forgiveness, and to beg him to make friends again,—which they were ever afterwards.
I hope that the little boy, through his whole life, was always ready to profit by the lesson of his dumb companion and to forgive injuries.
THE DOG AND HIS INJURED FRIEND.
Dogs frequently form warm friendships, and help each other in time of trouble.
Two dogs belonging to the same owner had become great friends. Ponto and Dick, we will call them, though I am not quite certain as to their names. Ponto's leg being broken, he was kept a close prisoner. His friend Dick, instead of whining out a few commonplace expressions of sympathy,—"Dear me, I'm so sorry; well, I hope you will soon get better," and then scampering off to amuse himself with other dogs in the village, or to run after the cows, or to go out hunting,—came and sat down by his side, showing him every mark of attention. Then, after a time, Dick started up, exclaiming,—"Ponto, I am sure you must be hungry; it is dull work for you lying there with nothing to do." Without waiting for Ponto to beg that he would not trouble himself, off he set, and soon brought back a nice bone with plenty of gristle on it. "There, old fellow, munch away—it will amuse you," he remarked, putting his prize down under his friend's nose.
After watching complacently as poor Ponto gnawed away with somewhat languid jaws, till the bone was scraped almost clean, he again set out in search of another. After he had brought in several, he lay down as before by his friend's side, just playing with one of the bones to keep him company. Thus day after day Dick continued to cheer and comfort his injured friend with unfailing constancy till he completely recovered.
When dogs thus exhibit disinterested kindness and self-sacrifice, how ought human beings to behave to those suffering from pain or sorrow? When tempted to run off and amuse yourself, leaving a sick friend at home, remember these two dogs. Think of how much suffering there is in the world, and what room there is for kindness and compassion; and can you then be hard-hearted, or indifferent to the sufferings of others?
THE DOG AND THE SURGEON.
I must tell you of another dog which showed not only affection for a companion, but a wonderful amount of sense. He once broke his leg, in which state he was found by a kind surgeon, who took him home, set his leg, and after he had recovered allowed him to go away. The dog did not forget the treatment he had received, nor the person from whom he had received it.
Some months afterwards, he found another dog to whom the same accident had happened. By the language which dogs employ, he told his friend all about his own cure, and, assisting him along the road, led him, late at night, to the surgeon's house. He there barked loudly at the door. No one came, so he barked louder and louder. At last a window was opened, and a person looked out, whom he at once recognised; and great was his joy when the kind surgeon, coming downstairs, opened the door. Wagging his tail, he made such signs as he was capable of using, to show what he wanted. The surgeon soon saw what had happened to his old patient's friend, whom he took in and treated in the same skilful way. His former patient, satisfied that all was right, then ran off to attend to his proper duties.
Let us, from this kind dog's behaviour, learn, whenever we receive a benefit, to endeavour, if possible, to impart it to others, and not to remain selfishly satisfied with the advantage we ourselves have gained.
THE DOG PREVENTING THE CAT STEALING.
The owner of a spaniel was one day called away from his dinner-table, leaving a dog and a favourite cat in the room. On his return he found the spaniel stretched her whole length along the table, by the side of a leg of mutton, while Puss was skulking in a corner. He soon saw that, though the mutton was untouched, the cat had been driven from the table by the spaniel, in the act of attempting a robbery on the meat, and that the dog had taken up his post to prevent a repetition of the attempt.
The little animal was thus in the habit of guarding eatables which she believed were left in her charge; and while she would not touch them herself, she kept other dogs and cats at a distance.
How much evil might be prevented, if boys and girls would always act the part of the faithful little spaniel; only, as they have got tongues in their head, and know how wrong it is to do what is bad, they can remonstrate lovingly with their companions who may be about to do a wrong thing—and then, if this fails, do their utmost to prevent them.
ONE DOG GETTING ASSISTANCE FROM ANOTHER.
Two dogs living in the neighbourhood of Cupar, in Fife, used to fight desperately whenever they met,—the one belonging to Captain R—, the other to a farmer.
Captain R—'s dog was accustomed to go on messages, and even to bring meat and other articles from Cupar in a basket. One day, while returning with a supply of mutton, he was attacked by a number of curs in the town, eager to obtain the tempting prize. The messenger fought bravely, but at length, overpowered, was compelled to yield up the basket, though not before he had secured some of the meat. With this he hastened at full speed to the quarters of his enemy, at whose feet he laid it down, stretching himself beside him till he had eaten it up. A few sniffs, a few whispers in the ear, and other dog-like courtesies were then exchanged, after which they both set out together for Cupar, where they worried almost every dog in the town, and, returning home, were ever afterwards on the most friendly terms.
Remember that there are no human beings whose conduct at all times it is safe to follow.
Revenge is wrong, but let us ever be ready to help and defend those who are ill-treated and oppressed.
THE POINTER AND THE BAD SHOT.
Dogs, like human beings, show that they can criticise the conduct of those they serve.
A gentleman from London, more accustomed to handle an umbrella than a gun, went down to the house of a friend in the country to enjoy a day's shooting.
"You shall have one of my best pointers," said his friend, "but recollect, he will stand no nonsense. If you kill the birds, well and good; if not, I cannot answer for the consequences."
The would-be sportsman shouldered his gun and marched off. As he traversed the fields, the pointer, ranging before him, marked bird after bird, which were as often missed. The pointer looked back, evidently annoyed, and after this frequently ran over game. At length he made a dead stop near a low bush, with his nose pointed downwards, his fore-feet bent, his tail straight and steady. The gentleman approached with both barrels cocked. Again the dog moved steadily forward a few paces, expressing the anxiety of his mind by moving his tail backwards and forwards. At length a brace of partridges slowly rose. Who could possibly miss them! Bang! bang! went both barrels, but the birds continued their flight unharmed. The dog now fairly lost patience, turned round, placed his tail between his legs, gave one sad howl, long and loud, and set off at full speed homeward, leaving the gentleman to holloa after him at the top of a gate, and continue the shooting as best he could by himself.
If you desire to be properly served by those you employ, you must be up to your business. I have often heard young people complain that they can do nothing properly, the servants are so stupid; when they come down late, that they were not called in time; or, if they have not learned their lessons, that the room was not ready. I daresay, when the Cockney sportsman returned with an empty gamebag, he abused the stupid dog for running away.
BASS, THE GREAT SAINT BERNARD DOG.
Sir Thomas Dick Lauder had a dog named Bass, brought when a puppy from the Great Saint Bernard. His bark was tremendous, and might be distinguished nearly a mile off.
He was once stolen, when a letter-carrier, well acquainted with him, heard his bark from the inside of a yard, and insisted on the man who had him in possession delivering him up.
Terrific as was his bark, he was so good-natured that he would never fight other dogs; and even allowed a little King Charles spaniel named Raith to run off with any bone he might have been gnawing, and to tyrannise over him in a variety of ways. If attacked by an inferior enemy, he would throw his immense bulk down upon his antagonist and nearly smother him, without attempting to bite.
He took a particular fancy for one of the Edinburgh postmen, whose duty it was, besides delivering letters, to carry a letter-bag from one receiving-house to another. This bag he used to give Bass to carry. The dog accompanied him on his rounds, but invariably parted with him opposite the gate of the Convent of Saint Margaret, and returned home.
On one occasion the postman, being ill, sent another man in his place. Bass went up to the stranger, who naturally retired before so formidable-looking a dog. Bass followed, showing a determination to have the post-bag. The man did all he could to keep possession of it; but at length Bass, seeing that it was not likely to be given to him, raised himself on his hind-legs, and putting a great fore-paw on each of the man's shoulders, laid him flat on his back in the road, then quietly picking up the bag, proceeded peaceably on his wonted way. The man followed, ineffectually attempting to coax the dog to give up the bag. At the first house at which he arrived, the people comforted him by telling him that the dog always carried the bag. Bass walked with the man to all the houses at which he delivered letters, and along the road, till he came to the gate of Saint Margaret's, where he dropped the bag and returned home.
Accounts exist of the services rendered by these noble dogs of Saint Bernard in saving life among the snowy regions of the Alps. It is recounted that one of these dogs preserved twenty-two lives. He at length lost his own in an avalanche, when those he was endeavouring to assist also perished.
THE DOG AND THE NEWSPAPER.
Several dogs have been taught to go to the post-office for their masters' newspapers, or to receive them from the newsman.
A neighbour of mine, who was fond of telling good stories—which he did not always, perhaps, expect his guests to believe—used to give an account of the cleverness of one of his dogs. The dog went regularly every morning into the neighbouring town for the Times, and brought it back before breakfast. This was a fact.
On one occasion the dog returned without a paper,—so my neighbour used to tell the story. His master sent him back again, when he once more appeared with no paper in his mouth. On this the owner ordered his cob, and rode into the town to inquire of the postmaster why the paper had not come. "Sir," answered the postmaster, "your Times did not arrive this morning; but when I offered the dog the Morning Post he refused to receive it."
THE STEADY POINTER.
It is wonderful how completely dogs can be trained to the performance of their duties.
A well-practised pointer was about to leap over a rail, when she perceived a nest of partridges close to her nose.
Had she moved an inch she would have frightened them away. There she stood for more than two hours, with her legs on the upper bar, awaiting the arrival of the sportsman. For some time she was not discovered, and not till he appeared would she quit her post, when, the birds rising, some of them were shot; but the steady pointer was so stiff when thus relieved that she could scarcely move.
Here is an example which my young readers should endeavour to follow when they have a duty, however irksome, to perform. Remain steadily at your post; let nothing draw you away. Do not say, I have stopped at work long enough, I am sick of it. When tempted to give up, remember the steady pointer.
THE YOUNG DOCTOR AND PINCHER.
One of the cleverest and most amusing of dogs was Pincher, a rough Scotch terrier, belonging to Mrs Lee's brother. [See Mrs Lee's "Anecdotes of Animals."] The boy had a great fancy to be a doctor. Having manufactured a variety of surgical instruments out of flint stones, he pretended to perform with them operations on Pincher, who would lie perfectly still while his teeth were drawn, his limbs set, his veins opened, or his wounds bandaged.
The pretended doctor, finally copying the process practised on pigs, used to cut up his favourite entirely. The dog was laid on the table, when he stuck out his legs as stiffly as possible. Preparations were first made for cutting off his head; and immediately the flint was passed across the throat it fell on one side, and remained so completely without motion that it might have been thought the dog fancied it was really off. Each leg in succession was then operated on, and as the instrument passed round them the dog made them fall, putting them as close as possible to the body. When the operation was concluded, the boy used to exclaim, "Jump up, good dog;" and Pincher, bounding off the table, would shake himself to life again.
SIRRAH, THE ETTRICK SHEPHERD'S DOG.
Sirrah, fortunately for his fame, possessed a master in James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, well able to recount his history. Hogg bought Sirrah of a drover for a guinea, observing, notwithstanding his dejected and forlorn appearance, a sort of sullen intelligence in his countenance. Though he had never turned a sheep in his life, as soon as he discovered it was his duty to do so he began with eagerness and anxiety to learn his evolutions. He would try every way deliberately till he found out what his master wanted him to do; and when once he understood a direction he never forgot it again or mistook it.
Often, when hard pressed in accomplishing a task he was put to, he had expedients for the moment that bespoke a great share of the reasoning faculty. On one occasion about seven hundred lambs which were under Hogg's care at weaning-time broke up at midnight, and scampered off in three divisions across the neighbouring hills, in spite of all he and an assistant could do to keep them together. The night was so dark that Sirrah could not be seen, but the faithful animal had heard his master lament their absence in words which set him at once on the alert, and without more ado he had silently gone off in quest of the recreant flock. In vain Hogg and his assistant spent the whole night in searching for their lost charge; and they were on their way home to inform their master of their loss, when they discovered a lot of lambs at the bottom of a deep ravine, and the indefatigable Sirrah standing in front of them, looking round for some relief, but still true to his charge. Believing that it was one only of the divisions, what was their astonishment when they discovered the whole flock, and not one lamb a-wanting! How he had got all the divisions collected in the dark it is impossible to say. The charge was left to him from midnight till the rising sun, and if all the shepherds in the forest had been there to assist him they could not have effected it with greater propriety.
Hogg relates many other anecdotes of Sirrah. On one occasion he brought back a wild ewe which no one could catch from amid numerous flocks of sheep. He showed great indignation when the ewe, being brought home, was set at liberty among the other sheep of his master. He had understood that the animal was to be kept by itself, and that he was to be the instrument of keeping it so, and he considered himself insulted by the ewe being allowed to go among other sheep, after he had been required to make such exertion, and had made it so successfully, to keep it separate.
A single shepherd and his dog, says Hogg, will accomplish more in collecting Highland sheep from a farm than twenty shepherds could do without dogs. Without the shepherd's dog, the whole of the mountainous land in Scotland would not be worth sixpence. It would require more hands to gather a flock of sheep from the hills into their folds, and drive them to market, than the profits of the whole flock would be capable of maintaining.
Here we have an example of a dull, unattractive-looking dog becoming of the very utmost canine usefulness. I have known many an apparently dull boy, by perseveringly endeavouring to learn what he has had to do, and then steadily pursuing the course marked out for him, rise far above his quick and so-called clever but careless companions. I do not say, Work for the purpose of rising, but, Work because it is right. Remember Sirrah. Learn your duty, and do it, however disagreeable it may seem.
THE DOG AND THE FOWLS.
A House-Dog, whose kennel was in a farmyard, used to have his mess of food brought to him daily in a tin can, and placed before his abode. No sooner had the cook disappeared, than the poultry were in the habit of collecting round and abstracting the contents of the can. The dog—a good-natured animal—bore their pilfering for some time without complaining; but at length, as they carried off more than he considered fair, he warned them away, by growling and exhibiting his teeth. Notwithstanding this they again returned to the can, when the dog, instead of seizing some of his persecutors, lifted the can in his mouth, and conveyed it within his kennel, where he finished his meal in peace, while the cocks and hens stood watching without, afraid to enter.
Depend on it, you will often find the means of avoiding annoyances much after the method pursued by that sensible house-dog, without retaliating on those who annoy you. If you cannot otherwise pacify them, remove the cause of dispute out of sight.
BARBEKARK, THE GREENLAND DOG.
The dog is the companion of the savage, as well as the civilised man, in all parts of the world. He accompanies the wretched Fuegan in his hunts, partaking somewhat of the character of his master; and is the friend and assistant of the Esquimaux in the Arctic regions. The Esquimaux dogs, though hardly treated, show great affection for their masters, and frequently exhibit much sagacity.
Captain Hall, the Arctic explorer, had a Greenland dog called Barbekark. One day they were out hunting on the frozen, snow-covered sea, when a herd of deer appeared in sight. Chase was given. One was wounded, but not killed, and off went the herd as fleet as the wind, now turning in one direction, now in another, among the ice-hummocks. The rest of the dogs followed in their tracks. Barbekark, however, was seen to strike away in a direct line over the snow, regardless of the animals' footsteps. On and on went Barbekark, straight for a spot which brought him close upon the deer. The latter immediately changed their course, and so did Barbekark, hot in pursuit of them. At length the hunters, unable longer to endure the cold, were compelled to return to the ship, believing that the deer had escaped.
At mid-day Barbekark appeared on board, with blood round his mouth and over his body. It was supposed that he had fallen in with the deer, but not that he could possibly have killed one. He, however, showed by his actions that he wished to draw the attention of the crew to the quarter where he had been chasing. He kept whining, going first to one, then to another, now running towards the gangway steps, then back again. At last, one of the men having to visit the wreck of a vessel which lay near, Barbekark followed; but seeing that the man went no further, off went Barbekark to the north-west by himself. On this, some of the crew, convinced that he must have killed a deer, put on their thick coats and followed him. They proceeded nearly three miles, when they found Barbekark and the other Greenland dogs seated upon their haunches round a deer lying dead before them. The throat of the poor animal had been cut with Barbekark's teeth as effectually as by the knife of a white man or Esquimaux, and a piece of the tongue had been bitten out.
As soon as the sailors appeared, Barbekark jumped from his watchful position, and ran to meet them with manifestations of delight, looking up at them, as much as to say: "I have done the best I could; I have killed the deer, and eaten just one luscious mouthful. And now I give up the animal to you, and merely ask for myself and companions, who have been faithfully guarding the prize, such portion as you yourselves may disdain." Several crows were pecking away at the carcass, but Barbekark and they were always on good terms. Sometimes, indeed, he allowed them to rest upon his back; and consequently he did not drive them away.
On another occasion a party of the explorers were out with a sleigh and dogs, and among them was Barbekark. They were caught in a fearful gale, the snow beating in their faces. Esquimaux dogs are often unmanageable when an attempt is made to force them in the teeth of a storm; and so it now proved. The leader lost his way and confused the rest. The men as well as the dogs were becoming blinded. The leading dog directed the team towards some islands; but on approaching them it was seen that Barbekark was struggling to make a different route. Happily, he was allowed to have his own way, and in a short time he led the party direct to the ship.
THE ESQUIMAUX DOG SMILE.
Captain Hall had another dog, Smile by name, the noblest looking, the best leader, and seal and bear dog, ever met with. One day he was out with dogs and sleigh where the ice was still firm, when suddenly a seal was noticed ahead. In an instant the dogs were dashing towards the prey, drawing the sledge after them at a marvellous rate, led by Smile. The seal for a moment seemed frightened, and kept on the ice a second or two too long; for just as he plunged, Smile caught him by the tail and nippers. The seal struggled violently, and so did Smile, making the sledge caper about merrily; but in a moment more the other dogs laid hold, and aided in dragging the seal out of his hole on to the ice, when Smile took it in charge. The prize was secured entirely by the dogs, indeed, without any aid from the men.
THE MARE AND HER FOAL.
The horse becomes the willing servant of man, and when kindly treated looks upon him as a friend and protector.
I have an interesting story to tell you of a mare which belonged to Captain I—, an old settler in New Zealand. She and her foal had been placed in a paddock, between which and her master's residence, three or four miles away, several high fences intervened. The paddock itself was surrounded by a still higher fence.
One day, however, as Captain I—was standing with a friend in front of his house, he was surprised to see the mare come galloping up. Supposing that the fence of her paddock had been broken down, and that, pleased at finding herself at liberty, she had leaped the others, he ordered a servant to take her back. The mare willingly followed the man; but in a short time was seen galloping up towards the house in as great a hurry as before. The servant, who arrived some time afterwards, assured his master that he had put the mare safely into the paddock. Captain I—told him again to take back the animal, and to examine the fence more thoroughly, still believing that it must have been broken down in some part or other, though the gate might be secure.
Captain I—and his friend then retired into the house, and were seated at dinner, when the sound of horse's hoofs reached their ears. The friend, who had on this got up to look out of the window, saw that it was the mare come back for the third time; and observing the remarkable manner in which she was running up and down, apparently trying even to get into the house, exclaimed, "What can that mare want? I am sure that there is something the matter." Captain I—on hearing this hurried out to ascertain the state of the case. No sooner did the mare see him than she began to frisk about and exhibit the most lively satisfaction; but instead of stopping to receive the accustomed caress, off she set again of her own accord towards the paddock, looking back to ascertain whether her master was following. His friend now joined him, and the mare, finding that they were keeping close behind her, trotted on till the gate of the paddock was reached, where she waited for them. On its being opened, she led them across the field to a deep ditch on the farther side, when, what was their surprise to find that her colt had fallen into it, and was struggling on its back with its legs in the air, utterly unable to extricate itself. In a few minutes more probably it would have been dead. The mare, it was evident, finding that the servant did not comprehend her wishes, had again and again sought her master, in whom she had learned from past experience to confide. Here was an example of strong maternal affection eliciting a faculty superior to instinct, which fully merits the name of reason. The aid of a kind master will always be sought in time of need. The conduct of the mare speaks much in favour of her owner. It is evident that he treated her well. Had such not been the case, it is not at all likely that the animal would have persisted in coming direct to him in her time of need. Be ready, then, to fly for succour to those about you whom you may have found willing to help and serve you.
THE NEWSMAN'S HORSE.
The memory of horses is most remarkable. The newsman of a provincial paper was in the habit of riding his horse once or twice a week to the houses of fifty or sixty of his customers, the horse invariably stopping of his own accord at each house as he reached it.
But the memory of the horse was exhibited in a still more curious manner. It happened that there were two persons on the route who took one paper between them, and each claimed the privilege of having it first on each alternate week. The horse soon became accustomed to this regulation, and though the parties lived two miles distant, he stopped once a fortnight at the door of the half-customer at one place, and once a fortnight at the door of the half-customer at the other; and never did he forget this arrangement, which lasted for several years.
If an animal can thus become so regular in his habits, and remember his duty so well as did this newsman's horse, surely you, my readers, whether young or old, have no excuse when you forget yours, and neglect to be at the appointed place at the proper time.
THE TWO WISE CART-HORSES.
Cart-horses, though heavy-looking animals, are more sagacious that their more gracefully formed relatives.
A cart-horse had been driven from a farmyard to the neighbouring brook early one morning during winter to drink. The water was frozen over, and the horse stamped away with his fore-feet, but was unable to break the ice. Finding this, he waited till a companion came down, when the two, standing side by side, and causing their hoofs to descend together, broke through the ice, and were thus enabled to obtain the water they required.
What one person alone cannot do, two working heartily together may accomplish. We shall find no lack of thick ice to break through. The thickest, perhaps, is the icy opposition of cold, stubborn hearts to what is right and good. Let us beware that our hearts do not freeze, but take care to keep them warm by exercising them in the service of love and kindness.
THE AUTHOR'S HORSE BECOMING HIS GUIDE.
I was once travelling in the interior of Portugal with several companions. My horse had never been in that part of the country before. We left our inn at daybreak, and proceeded through a mountainous district to visit some beautiful scenery. On our return evening was approaching, when I stopped behind my companions to tighten the girths of my saddle. Believing that there was only one path to take, I rode slowly on, but shortly reached a spot where I was in some doubt whether I should go forward or turn off to the left. I shouted, but heard no voice in reply, nor could I see any trace of my friends. Darkness was coming rapidly on. My horse seeming inclined to take the left hand, I thought it best to let him do so. In a short time the sky became overcast, and there was no moon. The darkness was excessive. Still my steed stepped boldly on. So dense became the obscurity, that I could not see his ears; nor could I, indeed, distinguish my own hand held out at arm's-length. I had no help for it but to place the reins on my horse's neck and let him go forward.
We had heard of robberies and murders committed; and I knew that there were steep precipices, down which, had my horse fallen, we should have been dashed to pieces. Still the firm way in which he trotted gave me confidence. Hour after hour passed by. The darkness would, at all events, conceal me from the banditti, if such were in wait—that was one consolation; but then I could not tell where my horse might be taking me. It might be far away from where I hoped to find my companions.
At length I heard a dog bark, and saw a light twinkling far down beneath me, by which I knew that I was still on the mountain-side. Thus on my steady steed proceeded, till I found that he was going along a road, and I fancied I could distinguish the outlines of trees on either hand. Suddenly he turned on one side, when my hat was nearly knocked off by striking against the beam of a trellised porch, covered with vines; and to my joy I found that he had brought me up to the door of the inn which we had left in the morning.
My companions, trusting to their human guide, had not arrived, having taken a longer though safer route. My steed had followed the direct path over the mountains which we had pursued in the morning.
Another horse of mine, which always appeared a gentle animal, and which constantly carried a lady, was, during my absence, ridden by a friend with spurs. On my return, I found that he had on several occasions attacked his rider, when dismounted, with his fore-feet, and had once carried off the rim of his hat. From that time forward he would allow no one to approach him if he saw spurs on his heels; and I was obliged to blindfold him when mounting and dismounting, as he on several occasions attacked me as he had done my friend.
My horse had till that time been a willing, quiet animal. How many human beings have, by thoughtless, cruel treatment, been turned from faithful servants into implacable foes. I must urge my young readers always to treat those who may be dependent on them with kindness and gentleness, rather because it is their duty so to do, than from fear of the consequences of an opposite course.
THE WISE HORSE AND THE PUMP.
A horse was shut up in a paddock near Leeds, in a corner of which stood a pump with a tub beneath it. The groom, however, often forgot to fill the tub, the horse having thus no water to drink. The animal had observed the way in which water was procured, and one night, when the tub was empty, was seen to take the pump handle in his mouth, and work it with his head till he had procured as much water as he required.
What a wise horse he was! How much wiser than some young ladies and gentlemen, who, when there is no water in their jugs, or their shoes are not cleaned, dress without washing rather than take the trouble of getting it for themselves, or wear dirty shoes rather than take them down to be cleaned, or clean them for themselves.
My young friends, remember through life that sensible horse. Take the pump by the handle, and work away with it till you have brought up the water.
THE PONY WHICH SAVED A LITTLE GIRL'S LIFE.
A small pony, belonging to a gentleman in Warwickshire, was fed in a park through which a canal passes. It was a great favourite, having been long kept in the family, and was ridden by the children.
A little girl—the daughter of the owner of the property—had run out by herself into the park, and made her way to the banks of the canal. As she was playing thoughtlessly near the water, she fell in. Her cries attracted the pony, which, galloping forward, plunged into the water, and lifting her in his mouth, brought her safely to the shore.
However weak or apparently inadequate your means, you may often, if you employ them to the best of your power, render essential service to your fellow-creatures.
THE HORSE AND THE SHIPWRECK.
A remarkable instance of a horse saving human life occurred some years ago at the Cape of Good Hope. A storm was raging, when a vessel, dragging her anchors, was driven on the rocks, and speedily dashed to pieces. Many of those on board perished. The remainder were seen clinging to the wreck, or holding on to the fragments which were washing to and fro amid the breakers. No boat could put off. When all hope had gone of saving the unfortunate people, a settler, somewhat advanced in life, appeared on horseback on the shore. His horse was a bold and strong animal, and noted for excelling as a swimmer. The farmer, moved with compassion for the unfortunate seamen, resolved to attempt saving them. Fixing himself firmly in the saddle, he pushed into the midst of the breakers. At first both horse and rider disappeared; but soon they were soon buffeting the waves, and swimming towards the wreck. Calling two of the seamen, he told them to hold on by his boots; then turning his horse's head, he brought them safely to land.
No less than seven times did he repeat this dangerous exploit, thus saving fourteen lives. For the eighth time he plunged in, when, encountering a formidable wave, the brave man lost his balance, and was instantly overwhelmed. The horse swam safely to shore; but his gallant rider, alas! was no more.
It is sinful uselessly to run even a slight risk of losing life; but when, on any occasion, need arises for saving the lives of our fellow-creatures, we should be willing to dare the greatest dangers in making such an effort. The fate of the brave farmer must not deter us— nor should any failure of others—from doing what is only our duty.
THE IRISH HORSE AND THE INFANT.
Mrs F—mentions several instances of the sagacity of horses. Some horses in the county of Limerick, which were pastured in a field, broke bounds like a band of unruly schoolboys, and scrambling through a gap which they had made in a fence, found themselves in a narrow lane. Along the quiet by-road they galloped helter-skelter, at full speed, snorting and tossing their manes in the full enjoyment of their freedom, but greatly to the terror of a party of children who were playing in the lane. As the horses were seen tearing wildly along, the children scrambled up the bank into the hedge, and buried themselves in the bushes, regardless of thorns,—with the exception of one poor little thing, who, too small to run, fell down on its face, and lay crying loudly in the middle of the narrow way.
On swept the horses; but when the leader of the troop saw the little child lying in his path, he suddenly stopped, and so did the others behind him. Then stooping his head, he seized the infant's clothes with his teeth, and carefully lifted it to the side of the road, laying it gently and quite unhurt on the tender grass. He and his companions then resumed their gallop in the lane, unconscious of having performed a remarkable act.
Learn a lesson from those wild Irish horses. As you hurry along in the joyousness of youth, reflect and look before you to see whether there lies not on your road some one who requires your help. Believe me, in your path through life you will find many poor little infants who require to be lifted up and placed in safety. Do not be less obedient to the promptings of duty than were those dumb animals to the reason or the instinct implanted in their breasts.
THE HUMANE CART-HORSE AND THE CHILD.
A carter in Strathmiglo, Fifeshire, had an old horse, which was as familiar with his family as a dog could have been. He used to play with the children, and when they were running about between his legs he would never move, for fear of doing them an injury.
On one occasion, when dragging a loaded cart through a narrow lane near the village, a young child, not one of his owner's family, happened to be playing on the road, and thoughtlessly ran directly before him, when, had it not been for his sagacity, it would inevitably have been crushed by the wheels. On seeing what had occurred, the good old horse took the child up by its clothes with his teeth, carried it a few yards, and then placed it by the wayside,—moving slowly all the while, and looking back occasionally, as if to satisfy himself that the cart-wheels had passed clear of it.
In all his duties he was equally steady and precise, and could be perfectly trusted.
That is just the character you should aim at deserving. To merit being perfectly trusted, shows that your talent is employed to the best advantage—that you are labouring, really and truly, from a conscious sense of duty. Only thus will you labour honestly.
THE FAITHFUL HORSE AND HIS RIDER.
Horses have been known to fight for their friends, both human and canine.
A farmer near Edinburgh possessed a hunter which had carried him safely for many a day over moorland heath as well as beaten roads. He was one day returning from the city, where he had attended a jovial meeting, when, feeling more than usually drowsy, he slipped from his saddle to the ground, without being awakened by the change of position, and letting go the bridle as he fell. His faithful steed, which had the character of being a vicious horse, instead of galloping home, as might have been expected, stood by his prostrate master, keeping as strict a watch over him as a dog could have done.
Some labourers, coming by at daybreak, observed the farmer still sleeping near a heap of stones by the roadside. Intending to assist him, they drew near, when the horse, by his grinning teeth and ready heels, showed them that it would be wiser to keep at a distance. He did not, probably, understand their humane intentions; but not till they had aroused the farmer, who at length got on his feet, would his equine guardian allow them to proceed.
Mrs F—mentions another instance of a high-spirited Irish horse, which, under similar circumstances, used to defend his master.
This man, a dissipated character, often coming home at night tipsy, would fall to the ground in a helpless state. Had the horse, while the man was in this condition, forsaken him, he would have been run over by any vehicle passing along the road; but the faithful horse was his vigilant guardian and protector. If nobody approached, the animal would stand patiently beside his prostrate master till he came to himself. He has been known to stand at his post during the whole of the night. If any one came near, he would gallop round him, kicking out his heels; or rearing and biting, if an attempt were made to touch him. Thus the man and animal changed places, the intelligent brute protecting both himself and his brutalised master.
I have a word to say even on this subject. Beware lest you take the first step which may lead you to become like the man I have described. You cannot expect, like him, to have a sagacious horse to watch over you. Yet, at the same time, do not be less faithful to an erring companion than were those noble steeds to their owners; watch over and protect him to the utmost. Learn to be kind to the thankful and to the unthankful.
JACK AND HIS DRIVER.
Mr Smiles, in his Life of Rennie, tells us of a horse called Jack, who showed himself to be fully as sensible as the two animals just mentioned.
Jack's business was to draw the stone trucks along the tramway during the erection of Waterloo Bridge. Near at hand was a beer-shop, frequented by the navvies and carters. Jack's driver, named Tom, was an honest fellow, and very kind to Jack, but too fond of spending more time than he ought to have done in the beer-shop. Jack, though a restive animal, got accustomed to Tom's habits, and waited patiently till an overlooker startled him into activity. On one occasion, however, the superintendent being absent, Tom took so long a spell at the ale that Jack became restive, and the trace fastenings being long enough, the animal put his head inside the beerhouse door, and seizing the astonished Tom by the collar with his teeth, dragged him out to his duty at the truck. Great in consequence became the fame of Jack amongst the host of labourers.
Like famous Jack, do not hesitate to remind a friend of his duty, even though you have to seize him by the collar and drag him away to perform it.
THE HORSE WHICH FOUGHT FOR A DOG.
I have given several instances of friendship existing between horses and dogs.
A fine hunter had formed a friendship with a handsome greyhound which slept in the stable with him, and generally accompanied him when taken out for exercise. When the greyhound accompanied his master in his walks, the horse would look over his shoulder, and neigh in a manner which plainly said, Let me go also; and when the dog returned, he was received with an unmistakable neigh of welcome. He would lick the horse's nose, and in return the horse would scratch his back with his teeth.
On one occasion the groom had, as usual, taken out the horse for exercise, followed by the greyhound, when a savage dog attacked the latter and bore him to the ground. The horse, seeing this, threw back his ears, and, breaking from the groom, rushed at the strange dog which was attacking his friend, seized him by the back with his teeth, speedily making him quit his hold, and shook him till a piece of his skin gave way. The offender, getting on his feet, scampered off, glad to escape from a foe who could punish him so severely.
THE ARAB STEED AND THE CHIEF.
Monsieur De Lamartine's beautiful story of the Arab chief and his favourite steed has often been told. It shall form one of our anecdotes of horses.
A chief, Abou el Marek, and his marauding tribe, had one night attacked a caravan. When returning with their plunder, they were surrounded by the troops of the Pacha of Acre, who killed several, and bound the rest with cords. Abou el Marek, wounded and faint from loss of blood, was among the latter. Thus bound, while lying on the ground at night, he heard the neigh of his favourite steed, picketed at a short distance off. Anxious to caress the horse for the last time, he dragged himself up to him. "Poor friend," he said, "what will you do among these savage Turks? Shut up under the stifling roof of a khan, you will sicken and die. No longer will the women and children of the tent bring you barley, camel's milk, or dhourra in the hollow of their hands. No longer will you gallop free as the wind across the desert; no longer cleave the waters with your breast, and lave your sides in the pure stream. If I am to be a slave, at least you shall go free. Hasten back to our tent. Tell my wife that Abou el Marek will return no more!"
With these words, his hands being tied, the old chief undid, by means of his teeth, the rope which held the courser fast; but the noble animal, instead of galloping away to the desert, bent his head over his master, and seeing him helpless on the ground, took his clothes gently between his teeth, and, lifting him up, set off at full speed towards his distant home. Arriving there, he laid his master at the feet of his wife and children, and dropped down dead with fatigue.
What a brave example of affection, duty, and self-sacrifice! You may never be called on to perform the one hundredth part of the task undertaken willingly by that gallant Arab steed, but how are you carrying the tiny, light burdens which your every-day duties place on you? True heroism consists not so much in the performance of one noble deed, which may become the poet's theme, but in doing all that we have to do, and in seeking to do as much as we can of what there is to be done, to the very best of our power, and in bearing with patience what we are called on to bear.
THE OLD CHARGER.
The horse has been frequently known to recognise his rider after a long absence. He is also especially a sociable animal, and once accustomed to others of his kind, rarely forgets them. At the trumpet's sound, the old war-horse pricks up his ears, snorts, and paws the ground, eager to join his ancient comrades.
Some years ago the assistant to a surveyor was employed to ride along a certain line of turnpike road, to see that the contractors were doing their work properly. He was mounted on a horse which had belonged to a field-officer; and, though aged, still possessed much spirit. It happened that a troop of yeomanry were out exercising on a neighbouring common. No sooner did the old horse espy the line of warriors, and hear the bugle-call, than, greatly to the dismay of his rider, he leaped the fence and was speedily at his post in front of the regiment; nor could the civilian equestrian induce him by any means to quit the ground till the regiment left it. As long as they kept the field, the horse remained in front of the troop; and then insisted on marching at their head into the town, prancing as well as his old legs would allow him, to the great amusement of the volunteers, and the no small annoyance of the clerk, who had thus been compelled to assume a post he would gladly have avoided.
Old habits cling to us as pertinaciously as did those of that ancient war-steed; and often when we flatter ourselves that they have been overcome, temptation appears, and we yield to them as of yore. Do you, my young friends, take heed to adopt only good habits, and adhere to them.
Degraded as it is supposed they are by nature, and cruelly ill-used as donkeys too often are in England, they are fully as intelligent as horses. They are not only capable of playing all manner of tricks, but sometimes indulge in a variety, of their own accord.
DONKEY BOB, THE POLICEMAN.
Mrs F—'s father-in-law had a donkey named Bob, which was kept in a field with other animals, and grazed quietly with them, but jealously guarded the entrance against all intruders. If any strange cows, sheep, or pigs ventured within his territory, Bob instantly ran at them full tilt, and hunted them from the premises, kicking out his heels and biting whenever he had the opportunity. Indeed, if he but saw them inclined to come in, he would stand in the gap and defend it bravely. His vigilance was so great that it was considered unnecessary to have a herdsman in the place.
Bob was clearly convinced that it was his duty to keep that field against all intruders. Dear young reader, when you have the property of another person to watch over, guard it as effectually as did honest Bob his master's paddock.
THE ASS AND THE DOOR-LATCH.
Donkeys sometimes exert their ingenuity to their own advantage, like some other creatures.
A certain ass had his quarters in a shed, in front of which was a small yard. On one side of the yard was a kitchen garden, separated from it by a wall, in which was a door fastened by two bolts and a latch. The owner of the premises one morning, in taking a turn round his garden, observed the footprints of an ass on the walks and beds. "Surely some one must have left the door open at night," thought the master. He accordingly took care to see that it was closed. Again, however, he found that the ass had visited the garden.
The next night, curious to know how this had happened, he watched from a window overlooking the yard. At first he kept a light burning near him. The ass, however, remained quietly at his stall. After a time, to enable him to see the better, he had it removed, when what was his surprise to see the supposed stupid donkey come out of the shed, go to the door, and, rearing himself on his hind-legs, unfasten the upper bolt of the door with his nose. This done, he next withdrew the lower bolt; then lifted the latch, and walked into the garden. He was not long engaged in his foraging expedition, and soon returned with a bunch of carrots in his mouth. Placing them in his shed, he went back and carefully closed the door, and began at his ease to munch the provender he had so adroitly got possession of.
The owner, suspecting that people would not believe his story, invited several of his neighbours to witness the performance of the ass. Not till the light, however, had been taken away, would the creature commence his operations, evidently conscious that he was doing wrong. A lock was afterwards put on the door, which completely baffled the ingenuity of the cunning animal.
THE ASS AND THE TEETOTALLER.
The ass has a memory not inferior to that of the horse. This was especially noticeable in the case of an ass belonging to a carrier at Wigan.
The ass and his master were accustomed to stop at a certain public-house, where the latter obtained a pot of beer, of which he always allowed the animal a little. At length the master turned teetotaller, when his principles forbade him to stop at the public-house; but the ass, whenever he reached the usual halting-place, refused to go on, and no beating would induce him to do so till he had received his usual allowance of beer. The carrier was therefore obliged to buy some beer for his beast, though no longer requiring it himself.
Remember what I said before about bad habits. Though your friends from weariness may cease to rebuke you, it is no proof that you are cured of them, or that the habits are not as objectionable as at the first.
THE DONKEY AND HIS MISTRESS.
Donkeys are capable of great affection for those who treat them well.
An old woman, known to Mrs F—, had a donkey which usually grazed on the roadside near her cottage, and when he saw any person about to enter her abode would instantly run to the door and defend it against all intrusion till the dame herself appeared. If any one annoyed the old woman—as the boys around would sometimes do, for the sake of seeing how the donkey would behave—he would kick out at them fiercely, put them to the rout, and pursue them for some distance.
When the dame wished to ride, he would proceed with the greatest care and gentleness; but if any other person attempted to mount him, the ass very soon convinced them that their will and power were useless in a contest, and the effort usually ended in the rider being roughly thrown, and perhaps kicked.
THE BRAVE ASS AND HIS FOE.
I have heard of a donkey which on one occasion bravely did battle for himself.
He happened to be feeding near a river when a fierce bull-dog attacked him; but so gallantly did he strike out with his heels, that his assailant was unable to fix on him. At length the ass suddenly turned round and seized the neck of the bull-dog in his teeth. The dog howled with pain, and struggled to get free, but the ass had no intention as yet of letting it go. Holding it tight, he dragged it struggling into the water, going in deeper and deeper; then kneeling down where the depth was sufficient for the purpose, he kept the dog under the surface till it was drowned.
Whenever you are attacked by a spiritual or moral foe, imitate the brave ass, and drown it.
THE BAKER'S DONKEY.
I met some time ago with an account of a clever donkey which was employed in drawing a baker's cart. He was so well acquainted with the houses of all his master's customers, that while the baker went into one to deliver his loaves, the sagacious ass would proceed to the door of the next, at which, when he could reach the knocker, he gave a rap-a-tap-tap. If unable to do so, he would stamp with his feet in a peculiar way, well-known to the inmates. He never failed to stop at their doors, nor was he ever known by mistake to go to the wrong house.
Be as careful to learn your school lessons now, and as exact in business matters when you grow up, as was the baker's donkey to attend to what he conceived his duty.
THE SHIPWRECKED ASS.
An ass was shipped at Gibraltar on board the Isis frigate, to be sent to Captain Dundas, then at Malta. The ship, on her voyage, struck on a sand-bank off Cape de Gat, when among other things thrown overboard was the poor ass; it being hoped that, although the sea was running high, the animal might reach the shore.
A few days afterwards, when the gates of Gibraltar were opened in the morning, the guard was surprised to see the ass present himself for admittance. On being allowed to pass, he went immediately to the stable of his former master. Not only had the animal swam safely to shore through the heavy surf, but, without guide or compass, had found his way from Cape de Gat to Gibraltar, a distance of more than two hundred miles, across a mountainous and intricate country, intersected by streams, and in so short a time that he could not have made one false turn.
THE OLD HAWKER AND HIS DONKEY.
An old hawker was in the habit of traversing the country with his ass, which had served him faithfully for many years. To help himself along, he used frequently to catch hold of the animal's tail.
The winter wind was blowing strongly, and snow had long been falling heavily, when the old hawker found himself suddenly plunged with the ass into a deep drift. In vain he struggled to get out, and fully believed that his last hour had come. The ass succeeded better, and reached the road; but after looking about and finding his master missing, he once more made his way through the drift, and then, placing himself in a position which enabled the old hawker to catch hold of his tail, the faithful beast dragged him safely out.
Never despise the help offered by a humble friend. We are all apt to over-estimate our own strength and wisdom.
THE MUSICAL ASS.
We have no less an authority than Dr Franklin to prove that donkeys enjoy music.
The mistress of a chateau in France where he visited had an excellent voice, and every time she began to sing, a donkey belonging to the establishment invariably came near the window, and listened with the greatest attention. One day, during the performance of a piece of music which apparently pleased it more than any it had previously heard, the animal, quitting its usual post outside the window, unceremoniously entered the room, and, to exhibit its satisfaction, began to bray with all its might.
I need scarcely hint, after you have read this story, that you will act wisely in keeping your proper place. You may be esteemed wonderfully clever in the nursery, or even at school; but when you appear among strangers at home, or go out visiting, wait till you are invited to exhibit your talents, or you may be considered as audacious a donkey as was the musical ass.
I think I have told you anecdotes enough to show that donkeys are not such stupid creatures as is generally supposed; and I am very sure that, if they were better treated, their character would rise much in public estimation.
We have, I think, sufficient evidence to prove that elephants are more sagacious, and possessed of greater reasoning power, than any other animals. They seem, indeed, to have many of the feelings of human beings. In spite of their size, what activity do they exhibit! what wonderful judgment! How cautious they are in all their proceedings! How great is their love of regularity and good order! So gentle, too, are many of them, that the youngest infant might be safely entrusted to their keeping; and yet, if insulted or annoyed by a grown-up person, the same animal might hurl him to the ground with a blow of his trunk, or crush him with his ponderous feet. I will tell you a few of the numerous stories I have heard about these wonderful creatures.
THE ELEPHANT IN A WELL.
While the British troops were besieging Bhurtpore in India, the water in the ponds and tanks in the neighbourhood becoming exhausted, it could only be obtained from deep and large wells. In this service elephants were especially useful.
One day two of these animals,—one of them large and strong, the other much smaller,—came together to a well. The smaller elephant carried by his trunk a bucket, which the larger, not having one, stole from him. The smaller animal knew that he could not wrest it from the other, but he eyed him, watching for an opportunity of avenging himself. The larger elephant now approached the edge of the well, when the smaller one, rushing forward with all his might, pushed him fairly into the water.
Ludicrous as was the scene, the consequences might have been disastrous. Should the huge animal not be got out, the water would be spoiled; at all events, his floundering about would make it very muddy. The elephant, however, seemed in no way disconcerted, and kept floating at his ease, enjoying the cool liquid, and exhibiting no wish to come out of it. At length a number of fascines used in the siege were brought, and these being lowered into the well, the elephant was induced by his driver to place them under his feet. In this way a pile was raised sufficiently high to enable him to stand upon it. But, being unwilling to leave the water, he after a time would allow no more fascines to be lowered; and his driver had to caress him, and promise him plenty of arrack as a reward, to induce him to raise himself out of the water. Thus incited, the elephant permitted more fascines to be thrown in; and at length, after some masonry was removed from the margin of the well, he was able to step out—the whole operation having occupied fourteen hours.
You will probably smile at the conduct of the two huge creatures. It was curiously like that of human beings. A big boy plays a smaller one a trick—snatches something from him. The other retaliates. An uproar is raised, and often serious inconvenience follows. These two elephants behaved just like two ill-tempered boys; and through them a whole army was doomed to suffer for many hours the pangs of thirst. Remember the golden rule, "Do unto others as you would that they should do unto you."
THE ELEPHANT ACCUSING HIS DRIVER OF THEFT.
The following anecdote shows the elephant's perception of what is right.
A large elephant was sent a few years ago to assist in piling up timber at Nagercoil. The officer who despatched it, suspecting the honesty of the driver, requested the wife of a missionary, to whose house the animal was sent, to watch that he received his proper allowance of rice. After some time the lady, suspecting that her charge was being defrauded of his rice, intimated her mistrust to the keeper, who, pretending surprise at having such an imputation made against him, exclaimed in his native tongue, "Madam, do you think I would rob my child?" The elephant, which was standing by, seemed aware of the subject of the conversation, and kept eyeing the keeper, who had on a bulky waist-cloth; and no sooner had he uttered these words than the animal threw his trunk round him, and untying the waist-cloth, a quantity of rice fell to the ground.
THE ELEPHANT AND THE TIPSY SOLDIER.
Some years ago a soldier, stationed at Pondicherry, formed a friendship with an elephant, to whom he used to give a portion of his daily allowance of liquor. One day the soldier, getting tipsy, and being followed by the guard, ran to hide himself behind the elephant, under whose body he was in a few minutes fast asleep. The guard approached to seize the delinquent, but, though the keeper assisted the soldiers, the elephant would allow no one to come near him, and kept whirling his trunk about in a way which showed that he was determined to protect his charge at all costs.
What was the soldier's horror next morning, when, looking up, he found the huge animal standing over him! One step of his monstrous feet, and his life would have been crushed out. If he did not then and there resolve to abjure intoxicating liquor for the future, he deserved to be less fortunate another time. As he crawled out, the elephant evidently perceived the terror he was in, and, to reassure him, caressed him gently with his trunk, and signified that he might go to his quarters. The animal now seeing his friend in safety, suffered his keeper to approach and lead him away.
Gratitude prompted the elephant to protect his erring friend. How sad to think that human beings are so often less grateful to those from whom they have received benefits!
ELEPHANTS HELPING EACH OTHER.
When an army marches in India, elephants are employed in carrying field-pieces, levelling roads, piling up timber, fetching water; all of which, and many other occupations, they perform with a regularity which shows that they understand what they are about. Formerly, indeed, they were often trained to launch ships, by pushing them off the stocks with the weight of their huge bodies.
Some troops, on their march, had to cross a steep and rugged hill. This could only be done by cutting away portions, and laying trees to fill up the chasms. The first elephant, when conducted up to this roughly-formed road, shook his head, and roared piteously, evidently convinced that it was insecure. On some alteration being made he recommenced his examination, by pressing with his trunk the trees that had been thrown across. After this he advanced a fore-leg with great caution, raising the fore-part of his body so as to throw the weight on the trunk. Thus he examined every tree and rock as he proceeded, while frequently no force could induce him to advance till some alteration he desired had been made. On his reaching the top his delight was evident. He caressed his keepers, and threw the dirt about in a playful manner.