Imágenes de páginas

teach your poor mother.” Then he sat down by

' the low bed, and took the hand of the dying gipsy.

11. The poor woman seemed to gather hope, she looked up and smiled, but it was her last smile. “ The silver cord was loosed," and still holding her sovereign's hand, the gipsy died.



Elephant clumsy instrument

similar quadruped remarkable

process ivory expressive organ

portion resembles 1. THE elephant is the largest quadruped now living. Its height is from seven or eight to fifteen feet. Its body is of great bulk. Its eyes are bright and expressive, its legs are stout and massive. The joints of the two hind legs are not like those of any other animal, but bend forward like the joints of the human knee.

2. The feet are not divided into toes that we can see, but have five short flat nails on them, which, although clumsy to look at, can be used in many ways. The skin of the elephant is thick, of a dusky black color, and has a few hairs scattered over it.

3. The most remarkable organ in the elephant is the trunk, which, except the human hand, is the most curious instrument in the whole animal kingdom. It proceeds from that portion of the head which would form the snout of the animal. At its end it has two holes to answer the purpose of nostrils. By these it can draw in water, so that the trunk is converted into a drinking horn, and the elephant uses it as such, for having filled it, he then blows the whole contents into his mouth.

4. The end of the trunk on the upper side is formed into a sort of rounded lip, something like the finger of a hand, while the under side has a fleshy point like a thumb, and so useful are these parts, that the animal constantly uses his trunk as a hand. By it he can pick up à pin from the floor, draw the cork of a bottle, and perform many other similar feats.


5. Next to the trunk, the most remarkable parts of the elephant are its tusks. The tusks are made of a substance called ivory, which is neither horn nor bone, but in some degree resembles both. The longest tusks are from five to eight feet in length.

6. Here is a picture of the skeleton of a very large kind of elephant, called the Mammoth. None of these animals are found alive now, but we find their bones in many places.

These bones have been buried very many years, and are now almost like stone.

[ocr errors]




ELEPHANT. Ganges quantities

weight cultivated villagers

reconciled banana enclosures gigantic houdah

1. In India elephants are most abundant in the thick woods on the left bank of the Ganges and in the forests of Chittagong further to the east.

2. Here they live in numerous herds, which sometimes invade the cultivated fields, eating vast quantities of green sugar canes, rice,

[ocr errors]

banana, and other crops, trampling down the remainder with their feet. The villagers in such cases rise and drive them off with torches, and sometimes with cannon shot.

3. Elephants are captured by being driven into a set of enclosures, one within the other, formed by very strong stockades and deep ditches. They are driven into these enclosures by lighted fires and loud noises. When they are fairly entrapped, one of them is let out at å time into a small strong enclosure, and when his fury has somewhat subsided, running nooses are put round his legs, and he is firmly secured, and thus the gigantic animal is made a captive.

4. The way to tame the elephant is for his keeper" to supply him with nice food, and to soothe him in various ways. He coaxes and flatters him, scratching his head with a long bamboo, and driving away the flies that sting and annoy him.

5. After a short time, he is able to pat him on the side, and to stroke him with his hand, speaking at the same time in a kind voice. The elephant listens to this, and soon gets reconciled to his fate. He is grateful to his keeper for his kindness, and often grows very fond of him.

6. The uses of elephants in India are greater than they would be in Europe, because the roads in many parts can never be brought into a fit

« AnteriorContinuar »