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reading of a good-tempered old gentleman, that having been a long time plagued with a great fly that buzzed about his face all dinner-time, at length, after many efforts, caught it. Instead of crushing it to death, he held it carefully in his hand, and opening the window, “Go (said he get thee gone, poor creature; I won't hurt a hair of thy head: surely the world is wide enough for thee and me."
S. I should have loved that man.
P. One of our poets has written some very pretty lines to a fly, that came to partake with him of his wine. They begin,
Busy, curious, thirsty fly,
8. How pretty! I think they will almost make me love flies. But pray, papa, do not animals destroy one another ?
P. They do indeed. The greatest part of them only live by the destruction of life. There is a perpetual warfare going on, in which the stronger prey upon the weaker, and in their turns are the prey of those which are stronger than themselves. Even the innocent sheep, with every mouthful of grass, destroys hundreds of small insects. In the air we breathe, and the water we drink, we give death to thousands of invisible creatures.
S. But is not that very strange? If they were created to live and be happy, why should they be destroyed so fast?
P. They are destroyed no faster than others are produced ; and if they enjoyed life while it lasted, they have had a good bargain. By making animals the food of
animals, Providence has filled up every chink, as it were, of existence. You see these swarms of flies. During all the hot weather they are continually coming forth from the state of eggs and maggots, and as soon as they get the use of wings, they roam about and fill every place in search of food. Meantime they are giving sustenance to the whole race of spiders; they maintain all the swallow tribe, and contribute greatly to the support of many other small birds; and even afford many a delicate morsel to the fishes. Their own numbers, however, seem scarcely diminished, and vast multitudes live on till the cold weather comes and puts an end to them. Were nothing to touch them, they would probably become so numerous as to starve each other. As it is, they are full of enjoyment themselves, and afford life and enjoyment to other creatures, which in their turn supply the wants of others.
S. It is no charity, then, to tear a spider's web in pieces, in order to set a fly at liberty.
P. None at all—no more than it would be to demolish the traps of a poor Indian hunter, who depended upon them for his dinner. They both act as nature directs them. Shall I tell you a story?
S. O yes-pray do.
P. A venerable Brahmin, who had never in his days eaten anything but rice and milk, and held it the greatest of crimes to shed the blood of anything that had life, was one day meditating on the banks of the Ganges. He saw a little bird on the ground picking up ants as fast as he could swallow. Murderous wretch,” cried he, “what scores of lives are sacrificed to one gluttonous meal of thine!” Presently a sparrow-hawk, pouncing down, seized him in his claws, and flew off with him. The Brahmin was at first inclined to triumph over the little bird, but on hearing
his cries, he could not help pitying him. “Poor thing," said he, “ thou art fallen into the clutches of thy tyrant! A stronger tyrant, however, took up the matter; for a falcon in mid-air darting on the sparrow-hawk, struck him to the ground with the bird lifeless in his talons. Tyrant against tyrant, thought the Brahmin, is well enough. The falcon had not finished tearing his prey, when a lynx, stealing from behind a rock on which he was perched, sprung on him, and having strangled him, bore him to the edge of a neighbouring thicket, and began to suck his blood. The Brahmin was attentively viewing this new display of retributive justice, when a sudden roar shook the air, and a huge tiger, rushing from the thicket, came like thunder on the lynx. The Brahmin was near enough to hear the crashing bones, and was making off in great terror, when he met an English soldier, armed with his musket. He pointed eagerly to the place where the tiger was making his bloody repast. The soldier levelled his gun, and laid the tiger dead. “ Brave fellow !” exclaimed the Brahmin. very hungry," said the soldier, “can you give me a beef
a steak? I see you have plenty of cows here." “ Horrible!” cried the Brahmin ; 6 what! I kill the sacred cows of the god Brama!"
“Then kill the next tiger yourself,” replied the indignant soldier.
The Brahmin was attentively viewing this new display of retributive justice, when a sudden roar shook the air, and a huge tiger, rushing from the thicket, came like thunder on the lynx. The Brahmin was near enough to hear the crashing bones, and was making of in great terror, when he met an English soldier, armed with his musket.
HOW TO MILK A WILD COW.
“Now,” said he," master, you'll see how they manage some matters in this beautiful country.”
“ What can the matter be?” said I.
As I pronounced these words a sudden crash of dead boughs and dry bushes at no great distance from us excited in me apprehension of danger. Instinctively I turned to the quarter whence the threatening sounds proceeded, and stood ready with my fowling-piece against accidents. I saw my friend Crab give a grim smile at this movement, Ι as I was inclined to do myself had I not been, I must confess, rather frightened, for at this moment I beheld a mad bull, as it seemed to me, making right to the spot where we stood. The animal appeared to be in a state of the most intense excitement, with its mouth covered with foam, its nostrils dilated, eyes wild, and its tail twisted into that corkscrew figure indicative of a disposition to mischief. I jumped aside as the creature made a plunge at me, glad enough to escape.
“It's a mad cow," said I. I suppose this climate makes cattle very savage when they get worried ?”
“Not madder than the people that are after her,” said Crab; “ however, wait a bit till you see the end of it.”
By this time we were in the midst of the crowd which was chasing the cow, but I could not yet define their particular object.
What do you want to do with her ?” said I to a tall thin man, who had ceased for a moment to crack his whip; “she seems terribly wild.”
“Wild !” said be, “the brute is always wild, but she's
one of the best milkers I've got, and have her in the stockyard I will this blessed evening, if I raise all New Norfolk for it.”
"I shall be glad to lend a hand," said I, “but I'm not used to the ways of the country yet, and perhaps I might do harm instead of good.” But
my aid was not wanted on this occasion, for at this moment a general shout in the distance proclaimed that the victory was won. I and Crab, with the tall thin man, the proprietor of the vivacious cow, immediately set off at a rapid pace for the scene of triumph. There were about thirty people assembled, among whom were one or two
I observed that some of the men were provided with ropes made of bullocks' hide twisted together, of great strength. I was still puzzled to kn what was intended by all these preparations. Presently a farming man appeared with a tin pannikin of a half-pint measure, and a stool with one leg. The stool with one leg looked like a design to milk the animal, but what the tin panpikin was for was a mystery to me. Had there been a milkpail I should have made out their object at once; but this piece of machinery was as yet but little known in the colony. I continued to watch the proceedings with great interest, when presently a man advanced with a stoutish long stick, or small pole, with a hide rope forming a large loop at the end of it; the other part of the rope he held in one hand in a coil. Climbing over the rails of the stockyard, which were formed of the solid trunks of trees placed lengthways, about six feet high, he stood within the space. The cow eyed him, as if she was used to the game, and without waiting to be attacked, made a dart at him ferociously. This did not disconcert the man with the pole and loop, who, stepping aside with the most perfect coolness and with infinite agility, let