THE CHILDS PICTURE BOOK OF DOMESTIC ANIMALS.
WITH TWELVE COLOURED ILLUSTRATIONS
LONDON: GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS, THE BROADWAY, LUDGATE
NEW YORK:416 BROOME STREET
COW AND CALF
WHEN we see a Horse, we, most of us, think of him as a friend, he is so strong and so kind, and, at the same time, of such great use to us. It is a sad thing when men are not kind to him; for he draws our loads, lets us ride on his back, takes us to the place to which we wish to go in a coach or a cab, helps us to plough our fields, works for us in mills and on roads, and tugs the great barge that floats on the stream, full of coals, bricks, straw, hay, and all sorts of goods. He saves us from a great deal of work that would be too hard for us, so that we should be good to him, and not force him to toil when he is in want of rest. He is a grand beast, and we should treat him well. He likes to find a nice fresh bunch of hay, and a quart or two of oats, with some chaff and some corn, in the trough when he goes home; and, in the warm time of the year, he should be set loose in a green field to munch fresh, sweet grass, and to lie down in the shade when his day s work is done; and, now and then, he should have a good long rest for a few days, and a clean shed to go to at night, with a truss of straw spread out for him to lie down on.
Is he not a fine brute? It is quite a treat to look at him, with his smooth, sleek coat, and his strong, firm legs, as he stands and whisks his tail, or neighs when he sees the man or boy who brings him his food. We must take care to brush and clean his skin if we wish it to be bright and smooth; and, at the right time of year, we should clip the ends of the long hair, and make it all trim and neat. He likes to wash his feet on a warm day, and you may lead him down to the pond, but take care that he does not pull you in.
The dray-horse is so big that you could not cross his back with your legs. He draws the great casks of beer and ale from the brew-house in a dray, and has vast strength. Next to him is the horse that drags large vans and carts, with loads of a weight that no man could bear on his back. Then there are some not quite so large and strong, who run in cabs and draw carts with light loads, or run with the coach or chaise. They are not like the dray-horse or the big cart-horse, who walks or trots at a slow pace, but are swift, and can run fast on the road. One sort of horse is kept that we may ride on his back, and, if he has been well taught, he will go at great speed and leap or jump, so that he can clear a hedge, or a ditch, or a gate, at one bound. A fine, slim, swift horse is kept to race on a smooth road, which we call a race-course, and he is the most fleet of all for a few miles, but he does not run far, and is not so strong as some of the rest.
The she-horse we call a "mare," and a young horse we name a “foal.” The hair on the neck is the “mane,” and the feet have a hard case of horn, which keeps them from the stones, and saves them from hurt on rough roads. This hard ease we call the “hoof;" and when a horse is set to run for us on the roads or to work on rough ground we take him to a smith, who nails an iron shoe to each hoof, that it may not crack or wear too much. This shoe we name a horse-shoe, and it is a sort of rim, which goes round the edge of the hoof. If the smith knows how to do his work, it does not hurt the horse when he nails the shoe on, for the hoof is so hard that it may be cut with a knife and he will not feel it; but we must take care that we do not take him to a bad smith, or he may have a shoe that does not fit him, or is put on in such a way that it will cause him to be lame.
The Horse runs wild in some parts of the world, and men catch and tame him. To do this they give chase to the herd of which he is one, on a swift, tame horse. The man who goes to catch a wild horse has in his hand a long rope or strip of hide, with a noose or slip-knot at one end. When he comes up with the horse, he throws the noose round his neck, and rides off as hard as he can go. The slip-knot holds the wild horse fast, and, if he will not go, drags him on his knees, so that at last he has a rope put in his mouth, and can be made to go to a place where he is shut in a space with a fence all round.
No one has seen a wild horse here for a long, long time, but there were some once in the deep woods, and in the wild parts of Wales and of the North. Now and then, we may meet with a horse which is fierce and will not let us go near to stroke or feed him, but will kick and rear and try to bite. If we ask how this is, we shall hear that he has not been well taught. We may spoil a good horse if we do not use him well at first; and if those who have to feed and tend him kick or strike him, or use harsh words and scold him, or steal his food, or do not keep him clean, he will not be worth much. Our laws do not let us hurt dumb beasts, and men are sent to gaol if they ill-treat and kick or starve them, or drive them when they are not fit to work. This is quite right, for they are meant to be our friends and to work for us, and we may use their strength and get them to help us, but we do wrong to hurt them out of spite, or to get in a rage and beat them if they do not work quite so much as we may wish. A horse that has been well taught does not need the whip; a touch will set him off, and a slight pull of the rein will stop him.
In the East, where men have to go for miles on vast tracts of sand, the horse is the friend of all. When the tents are spread at night, he sleeps just at the door, and will come or go when he is told, feed from the hands of those he knows, and play with the boys and girls, who climb on his back or stroke his head. He is as fleet as a deer, and has been known to run for a whole day with but a few grains of corn or maize to eat. A fine horse of that sort is worth a large sum, and those who own them will not part with them or sell them if they can help it; for he who has a good horse — or, what is thought more of, a swift mare — knows that he can leap on its back and ride to some safe place if he is in fear of the law, or can go out and fight for his chief in time of war.
The tail of the horse has long hair, and is not like that of the ass, which has a tuft of hair at the end: the mane, too, is long, and flows down on the neck, while that of the ass is short and sticks straight up. The horse has dark or light spots, or a patch here and there when he is not all of the same hue, while the ass has dark or light stripes on his skin if he has marks at all. We have most of us seen more than one horse who has been grey, dark brown, light brown, or bay; some of them have white, or black, or grey marks on the face, legs, or feet; some have spots, and some a light patch here and there. This last sort we call a pie or pie-bald horse.
The place in which the food of the horse is kept should be quite clean, as a good horse will not touch food that is foul with dirt, or has been strewn on the ground. When he is brought home from a long run, he should be made to walk up and down for a time to get cool, and if he is wet the groom should rub him dry. Then he may have some drink and a feed of corn, and be left to rest on his bed of clean dry straw. The horse can stand and rest, and there are some which do not lie down to go to sleep, but stand all night in the stall; but we should not tie them up, as they may get the rope round their necks, so that if they fall they may choke. A horse should be loose in the box or stall where he is to rest, and if he is fierce and tries to bite the horse next him, he should be put in a place where there is a high wall of wood or brick to part them.
When we drive a horse we guide him by a “bit.” A bit is a short bar of steel, the ends of which join the ends of the reins, so that when the bit is put in his mouth we can pull it on the right or the left side and turn his head which way we please. Bits were once made in such a way that they hurt the mouth or the tongue of the horse; but all those who know how to treat him have found out that he goes best with a plain bar of steel, or a chain, which we call a curb, and is loose in his mouth.
The flesh of the horse is not of much use for food, though there are some folks who think it would be as good as beef. It is not bad meat, but is too lean, and would cost too much to be sold to the poor. A horse is too dear to buy that we may roast or boil his flesh for food, and the old nags who had done work would be so tough that we should not like a joint from them in the place of a haunch from a sheep, or the prime ribs of an ox. The horse when he dies, or when we have to kill him through a fall or some hurt for which there is no cure, is bought by men who boil the flesh as food for dogs and cats. Most of the dogs' meat, as well as the cats' meat, which is sold, is the flesh of the horse. Glue and size are made of the hide or skin, and hoofs; men boil the bones, that the fat from them may be of use to make soap, and the short hair is put with the lime which we use for white walls, that it may bind the parts of the lime or chalk and make them stick fast. The long hair of the mane and tail serves to stuff chairs, stools, and beds. Watch-guards may be made of it, or it is wrought in a loom where men weave what they call “hair-cloth."
COW AND CALF.
WHAT should we do if we had no cows? Of course, if there were no cows there would be no calves, for the calf is the young of the cow; and if there were no calves there would be no veal. The flesh of the calf, when it is sold as meat, we call veal, from the French word veau which means a calf. The French call the flesh of the beast by the same name as the beast, so that veau means both calf and veal, boeuf means both ox and beef. Do you know how it is that we call the meat by the same name as the French? You know at one time the French from the North of France came and took this land, and those who had to serve them made use of their words, so that the poor folks who had to take care of the herds and the flocks, and knew them by the names of ox and cow, calf and sheep, had to learn the French names when they took up the meat to the lords and knights for their great feasts. So the flesh of the ox or the cow came to be known as beef, and the flesh of the calf as veal, and we still call it by these names.
But all the time we talk about this you have not said what we should do if we had no cows. Of course we could not drink milk, and there would be no cheese, or if we had cheese at all it would be made from goat’s milk, and that is not half so nice, we should have to eat dry bread if we could not get jam, and then what should we do to make pie-crusts? or how should we find out the way to get cream or curds and whey? These are but a few of the things that we owe to the cow; and when we see her in the field, where she chews the fresh sweet herbs, or meet her in the farm-yard, where the scent of her pure breath is like that of new milk, we should think of what great use she is to us, and not strike or drive her. She turns her great head, and looks at us with her big soft eyes as we go by, and she may show that she sees us by a low, deep cry, but she ought to know by this time that we do not wish to hurt her. When the cow cries out, we say that she "lows;” when the calf, or the sheep, or the lamb cries, we say that it “bleats."
Cows are to be found in farms in all parts of the world, and we have the best in our own land, where we treat them with more care and feed them well. There are black and brown or dun and white cows, as well as some that have a spot or a patch here and there. Cows that come from the south are quite of a red hue, and they are called red cows. They are of all sorts, some of them of great size and some quite small; but they are all good, and the small ones yield some of the best milk. There are cows with long horns and cows with short horns, and most of the small cows have long horns. The Welsh cow is a good one for milk, though it is not large, and some of the black Scotch cows are fine beasts.
Those who keep cows should let them go out in the fresh air as much as they can, and have a good shed built for them to go to when there is rain. Cows will cat dried grass or hay and some sorts of roots; and they seem to munch all day long when they are in the fields. Do you know how it is that they do so? If not I will tell you. The cow chews the cud; that is, she chews her food twice. The first time she eats it up at once, and it goes down her throat to the pouch, where it stays till she has had a good meal; then she stands or lies quite still, and the food is brought back to the mouth that she may munch it, and grind it with her teeth till it is fit to go down the throat once more. The cow has more than one pouch for food. She has four, and as she eats grass and herbs as well as roots and hay, it takes some time for her to munch and chew these things, and to make them soft that they may keep her strong and in good health.
The flesh of the young cow is good; but we do not eat much of it here, for cows are of so much use to give us milk to drink, and cream, of which we make our cheese, that we do not like to kill them for food till they have grown old. Most of the beef that we cat is the flesh of the ox or bull, and there are some sorts which are fed with great care that they may be fit to cat. The ox is used to draw the plough in the fields, and in some parts of the world he is put to drag huge carts and loads of wood; for his strength is great and he can pull vast weights, such as trunks of trees, bales of goods, and big casks full of wine in those lands where the vines grow on the hills, and the wine is made a long way off from the place where it is to be put on board the ships that bring it here for us to drink. Some of these beasts that live in the wild parts of the world look fierce and have rough hides and long horns; but they are not so fierce as they look. When they are at work a large thick beam of wood is put on the tips of their horns, that they may not fight or be hurt, and six or eight of them are set to drag a great cart.
There are wild bulls and cows in some parts of the world; and they go in herds and roam the vast plains, where men go out to hunt and kill them for food. Most of the wild bulls have humps on their backs, and a long rough mane on their necks. They are so fierce and strong that one of them can knock down man and horse with his great head, and gore a horse to death with his long horns. Some of this kind have been kept till they grew more tame, and have had calves which grew up quite tame; so that there are now cows with humps on their backs, and not much like the cows we see here. There are no wild bulls or cows to be seen in our own land, though some of the black sort which live in the Scotch hills are fierce and would try to toss you with their horns if you went near them. They live a wild life and see no one but the man who takes care of them; and they are let to roam a long way on the hills, where they eat grass and herbs in the warm time of the year. They are not like the great fat beasts that live in the low-lands on the rich flat fields, and see men round them, and will take their food from those who call them home, or from the maids who go out to milk the cows. A cow and calf will trot up to the man who takes them some nice food, and when they learn to know him will stand and low or bleat, if they see him in the field.
When the milk-maid goes to call a cow, it will let her go near and draw the milk from its teats. When she has drawn her pail full, she takes it back to the farm-house, where it is set to cool. The cream floats on the top of the milk, and she has to skim it off that it may be put in the churn. The churn is a sort of tub in which we shake the cream till part of it grows quite thick, so that when we take it out and wash it we may make rolls or pats of it, and cat it on our bread. You know what we call it then. But this is not all that can be done with the cream. We can make cheese of it; and this is done when we turn it sour so that the hard part, which we call the curd, may be brought out in lumps. This curd is set to drain so that the whey runs from it, and then we salt it, put it in a round hoop or a box, and we have done our work well, it comes out a nice rich cheese, and a small slice of it on a large slice of bread, with a ripe pear or a bunch of dried grapes makes a good lunch when you are out for a long walk.
The bones, the horns, and the skin of the cow are all of great use. We boil the fat and grease from the bones, and then crush them and place them on the land to make it rich. Of the horns all sorts of things are made, such as combs, the hafts of knives, spoons, shoe-lifts, and cups. Of the skin or hide we make boots and shoes. To do this we have to scrape off the hair and place the hide in a pit, where we have put the bark of trees, to steep and soak. This bark makes the hide tough, so that when we take it out and dress it, or rub it till it is smooth and soft, it will be strong, and we can shape it and sew it. The soles of shoes or boots are made of the thick parts of the hide or of two or three strips which we join in one piece. The skin of the calf makes those nice boots that are worn indoors, and are so smooth and soft to the feet.
WHEN we walk in the fields in the spring-time of the year we see the sheep with their young, and like to stand and watch them as they crop the soft, fresh grass, or skip and play and run here and there, or look at us and bleat as though they could not tell what we had to do with them.
The young of the sheep we call lambs, and they look so nice and soft in their fine white fleece, that it is quite a treat to see them as they trot by the side of the ewe. Of course you have been told that the wool of the sheep is known as the fleece; and that when it grows so thick that the beast finds it too hot for the warm time of year, it is cut off with shears. Have you seen the men who take care of the flocks shear the sheep? They catch them one by one and turn them on their backs, and then, with a pair of large, sharp shears, cut off the long, thick wool. Then they let them go, and off they run to jump and frisk, quite glad to get rid of their load. But we must take great care not to shear the sheep or the lambs if the days and nights are cold, and when first we take off the long wool, there should be a nice shed or sheep-cot for them to sleep in at night, or they will miss their fine warm coats. Do you know what we do with the wool? It is all made clean and drawn out with a sort of comb; then we send it to the dye-house, where it is made black, or blue, or brown, or of the tint we want for our use. Next it is spun till it forms long threads, and then it is wound on to reels, and spread out in a kind of web. At last, we send it to the loom, in which men weave it, and make cloth of it, and of cloth we make all sorts of clothes. So, you see, we should not get on so well if we had not the sheep, and when we take the nice warm coats that they do not want, we make of them nice clothes that we all want so much.
Try to think of this if you take up a stone to throw at a sheep, and you will not throw the stone, but will feel how all these beasts are for our use, and are sent to help us with the food and the clothes that we need, and to do some of the work that we should find it hard to do if they were not so strong, and yet so tame that when we are kind to them they will come at our call, and learn to know the voice of those that treat them well. It is a great sin to hurt or beat a dumb brute, when we do it from spite or ill-will; for they were made not by us, but by God, who sends them that they may be of use to us, and that we may be kind to them, and take care of them and give them food, and tend them when they need our help.
Those who take care of flocks learn to know each sheep that is in their charge. You know what we call the man who goes out to watch and herd the sheep and lambs. He is the sheep herd; but we make one word of those two words and name him the shepherd. To herd means to bring them to one place, and he has a dog to help him to do this. When the sheep feed on high hills, or on land a long way from the farm, the dog has a great deal of work to do. If the sheep stray too far he runs in search of them, and leaps and barks at them till they turn back, and if one sheep goes off from the rest and is lost, the dog goes to seek it, and looks for it till he finds it, and then the shepherd takes it home, or the dog barks and bites its ear, and runs at it till he makes it go back.
In the cold, long nights a sheep may get out of the fold, and be lost in the snow. The fold is a place with a fence all round, where the sheep are fed when there is no grass for them to eat in the fields, or on the heath, or the hill-side; and if a sheep should break through the fence, or leap out from the place where it is with the rest of the flock, it may be lost in the snow or fall down a deep place in the side of the hill, or lose its way on the great wide moors, where the dark night comes on so fast. Then the shepherd will miss it, and will call his dog and take his crook with him and go in search of it The crook is a long stick with a large hook at the end, with which the shepherd guides the sheep, or takes hold of one of them by the leg if he wants to catch it. When he goes to look for the lost sheep, he first sends on the dog, who sniffs, and barks, and runs here and there till he has found the track, or the marks that the sheep's feet have left on the ground or in the snow, and then they go on till they come to the place where they find the poor thing, who does not know which way to turn to get home. Then, if it is lame, or has gone so far that it is too weak to walk, the shepherd takes it on his back, the dog trots by his side, and off they go to get to the farm. In the time of the year when the flocks are out to feed in the fields, a lamb may stray from the rest and be lost on the moors, or get in a cleft or a hole of the rocks, and then off starts the shepherd to look for it, and, when he finds it, he bears it in his arms, and takes it back to the place where it will be safe.
In some parts of the world the shepherds sit for days to watch their flocks, and, as they sit, they read, or knit, or carve things out of wood; some of them make those toys that are cut out of wood, which some of you like to play with; some learn to play on the flute, and in one place where the land is flat, and the sheep can stray a long way off, those who watch them walk on stilts. Stilts are poles which they tie to their legs, so that they are high up from the ground, and can see a long way off. It is strange to see these men when they want to rest, for they just sit on a flat board on the end of their crook, and so seem to perch on the top of three long sticks. In that way they sit and knit socks and night-caps, and all sorts of things, and look out for their sheep, which have strayed a mile or two in search of sweet grass and herbs. When they wish to go to them they can soon catch them on the long stilts on which they walk, for they can take such strides that you would have to run fast to keep up with them.
Some young folks wish to keep a pet lamb and teach it to run with them like a dog, and lambs are nice white plump play-mates if they are kept clean; but the worst of it is that they grow up to be sheep, and then they are not nice things to go up and down in the house. Lambs are not meant to be kept in-doors like cats and dogs, and will not thrive in that way, so that they are not the best pets. They are best in a field on a warm June day, or in a nice cot or sheep-fold, where they can have fresh food and free air, and yet be kept out of the cold winds. If you are out on a day when the wind blows, and see a flock of sheep in a field where there is a hill, or a chalk-pit, or some place in which they can crouch out of the way, you will find that they go at once to the side of the hill or the pit, where they do not feel the blast.
The Scotch sheep is small and has a black face, and is one of the best for food. The Welsh, too, is a good sheep, but is quite small. Those that we call South Downs take their name from the place where they feed, on the wide downs or fields that lie on the top of the cliffs near the sea. Then there are sheep with short thick wool, and some with long wool; some with straight wool, and some with wool that is in curls; some with short, and some with long tails; and one sort which you may not have heard of, which has such a long tail that the folks that live where it is found make a small cart and tie the sheep to it, that the tail may not drag on the ground, which would spoil the fine fleece.
In all parts of the world the sheep is of such great use that we do not know what would be done if we had not its flesh for food, and its wool of which to make our clothes. The skins and the fat of sheep are sent here from all |»arts of the world; and of the skins, when the wool is cut off, we make gloves, shoes, the seats of chairs, and all kinds of goods.
GOATS are not much like most of the sheep that we see in our fields, though they are the same kind of beasts. The sheep that run wild in the hills or on the moors are more like goats; but they have short, small horns, or horns that curl round on each side of the head. The kind of sheep which has these horns we call a ram. The goat has long, bent horns, and a long tuft of hair hangs from his chin. Some kinds of goats are like stags or deer in shape, but their horns do not branch out like those of the stag.
There are few tame goats, for they like to run in high lands and where there are rocks and steep hills, on which they can feed from the sweet herbs and grass, and the tops and buds of shrubs. In those parts of the world where there are no sheep, herds of goats are kept, and their flesh is of great use for food. They are so fleet and sure of foot that they leap and bound from crag to crag of the rocks, and can stand or run on heights where few men could climb, or can cross wide chasms with ease, where those who try to catch them dare not go. Some of the goats are quite wild: no one owns them, and they live in the hills and vales of the Alps. Men go out to hunt the wild goat, and spend days in the vast chain of high rocks and hills that rise from the deep vales. From the dawn of day to the dusk of night they watch for the goats from the lone heights or the deep caves of the hills, and have no one to speak to. Each man takes his gun — slung to his back by a strap — a large bag or pouch full of food, a large flask of wine, and a long staff, with a spike in the end, to help him to climb the steep crags, or to go down the bare rocks. His food is coarse bread made of rye, and some cheese made of goats’ milk, with a small piece of ham or goats’ flesh. He can drink from some clear stream, or melt some snow and mix it with the wine in his flask. He has big nails and spikes in his shoes that he may have some foothold on the ice or smooth snow, or the short grass on the slopes of the hills. He takes his place on some spot where he can watch the steep paths by which he thinks the goats will go to feed; but he must take care to stand so that the wind does not blow past him to that place, for if it does the goats will smell him a long way off. Their scent is so keen and their ears so sharp, that in those heights where the air is clear and sounds may be heard a long way off, they will know that he is there and keep far out of the range of his gun. He must keep still and wait and watch for hours, and at last he may see a goat bound up to a high peak of rock and look all round, and sniff the air to find out if all is safe. Then he must be as still as a mouse, and more goats will come up and will join the first. When they turn to go past the place to which he points his gun, he picks out the best of them and fires. If he has made a good aim, the goat which is struck will give one bound and fall where it stood; but if not, it may spring from place to place or fall down to a great depth, where it will take a long time for him to find it in some part of the rocks. He will be sure to have to go a long way to get his game when he has shot it, and then he has to take it home on his back. The flesh is for food; the skin and horns he sells for what they are worth; but his life is a hard one, though he gains health and strength in the pure air where he toils from day to day.
Those who go out to hunt these goats are strong, tall men, who have not much to say. They have none to talk to when they are in the vast heights, so that they do not say much when they are at home. They do not look like the men who live as we do, but seem as though they could see and hear things a long way off. They are grave men, for when they are out on the lone hills, with the vast sky to look up to, and miles and miles of peaks, and great piles of rocks white with snow or dark with the leaves of pine trees and deep green heath, they hear the roar of great streams as they dash from crag to crag; or the crash of huge stones, and trees torn up by the roots, as some mass of ice slides from the heights and bears down all that comes in its way.
Day by day the men who go out to hunt the goat see these grand sights, and know that when they climb the peaks, or cross some steep place, a false step would cause them to fall down, and down, and down, where they would dash from crag to crag to lie dead at last at the foot of the rocks, in some place where they might not be found; or to freeze in a drift of snow in a hole or cave. There are so few of these wild goats of the Alps now, that it is not worth while for men to run such risks to shoot them. They can earn more by work at a trade, or by a farm, where they may keep tame goats and sheep, or grow grain and make cheese to sell at the next town. On the steep paths of the Alps there may be seen, here and there, a post on which a cross has been cut, with a few words to say that near that spot some one fell down the steep side of the rock, and was found dead; but we may hope that these will soon be few, for the wild goats are less sought for, and folks now keep herds of cows and calves, which feed on the high fields, where they find grass, and in the cold time of the year live on the stalks of maize and the dried grass and hay from such of the fields as have been mown.
The goat is still of great use both in those high lands and in the East, for its flesh is good for food, though it is lean, and the old goats are tough. The young goat we call a kid, and those who try it like it so much that they think more of it than they do of the flesh of the sheep. Goats’ flesh, when it has been hung up to dry, or has been put with salt, serves for meat for a great part of the year in those parts of the world where there are few sheep.
Some goats have such great horns that they bend half way down their backs. These horns are of great use to make the hafts of knives and forks. Of the hair of the goat all sorts of cloth is made; and those fine shawls which are brought from the East, and cost so much, are made of the soft wool that grows with the long hair. There is such a large trade in these shawls, that in the part of the world from which they are brought, all the folks are kept hard at work to weave them in their looms, or sew the small squares, which are made one at a time. At the time when men wore wigs, the white goats' hair was sold for a good price, and the best wigs were made of the soft hair that grew on the haunch of the goat A fine goat's skin was then worth a pound, while a bad one would be sold for half-a-crown. The wig of the judge, as well as that worn by those who plead in our courts of law, is still made of the hair of the goat. From the skin, gloves and the scats of chairs are made, and the skin of the kid makes a fine sort of gloves, which are known as “kid gloves,” for it will take a dye so well that gloves of this kind may be had black, brown, blue, green, drab, or pink, while some of them are made of skins which we bleach till they are quite white.
A fine sort of thin cloth, for frocks and shawls, is made from the soft hair of a sort of goat which has a long tail, and horns that twist round like a cork-screw. The horns of all goats are full of dents, that go round them and mark them in rings, so that they are not like the horns of the ox or the cow, which are smooth, nor like those of the deer, which spread out in small leaves or shoots on both sides.
The milk of the goat is good, and is thought to be nice drink for young folks who are not quite strong. We have, most of us, seen a she-goat and her kid, when we have been out of town; and at the seaside the male as well as the she-goat is made to draw a chaise in which boys and girls can ride. This does not hurt the goats if they have not too great a weight to pull; but they should be well fed, and must not be struck too hard with the whip or stick. They may soon be taught to go at a good speed, and are so tame that they will come to your call and eat from your hand if you treat them well; but, when once they are in a rage, they will run at you head first, and may hurt you with their horns.
YOU know what a donkey is, and that when we call him by his right name he is no more than an ass. When we look at the poor donkey who draws a cart in the streets, or pulls an old chaise, or lets us ride on his back, and has not too much to eat, but has a great deal more of the stick than he likes, we do not think what a fine beast the ass is in those lands where he was first born and bred, and where those who own him use him well, and do not beat and starve him.
In times long past, kings and great men, when they went out in state, rode on the back of an ass; and, in our own land, a donkey was once worth as much as a fine horse. Those that we now see in the streets are not much more than half the size of the ass which is to be found in the East. When you next see a donkey just look at him, and you will see that he was first meant to live in a dry, rough place, where there are steep hills and not much fresh grass. His hoofs are not like those of the horse, but are long, and the sole is not flat, but is like a cup, while the rim or edge of the hoof is sharp, so that he can tread on loose ground or stand on slopes where a horse would slip down. Then his neck is low, and his hind-part high, so that he can bear a weight far back on his hips, where it would not make it so hard for him to go up or down hill. If you look at his hide, with its dry, coarse hair, you will see that it is quite the kind of skin for a hot place, where there is a good deal of sand; and, though he is fed here on hay and oats, with some grass now and then, the food he seems to like best is the sort of dry, coarse herbs and grass that may be found in the East, whence he first came. He is not fond of a bath, but likes to lie down in the sand or the dust, and there rub his hard hide on the ground. He does not drink much, but just takes a small drop from the pail, as though he did not wish for more than will just make his food moist. Though he does not care to wash, he is a clean beast, and a hard brush or a wisp of straw will keep his skin smooth and neat; for it is so hard, and the hair is so dry, that dirt does not cling to it, fleas and flies find it too tough to bite, and as men use him so ill, and beat him so much, it is a good thing for him that his hide is not so soft as that of the horse.
Why is it that some of us, when we speak of the ass, call him a dull brute, and think that he has not much sense? It is true that he will bear hard blows, and hear us scold him, and yet not kick those who use him ill; but that shows that he is not so bad as we are when we try to give tit for tat, and strike those who strike us. Dull boys and girls will be rude to those who are rude to them, or will give a pinch for a slap, but the poor donkey who draws us in a chaise takes hard knocks and goes on his way as well as he can. It is a great shame of us if we use him ill when he works so hard to please us, and if we are but kind to him he will let us mount on his back, or will come and rub his soft, smooth nose on our hands, or eat a bit of bread or a cake as though he would like to thank us for our care.
If he is kept clean and has good food and a nice place to rest in when his work is done, and is sent to kick up his heels in a field now and then, he will soon look quite spruce and nice, his slim legs will be as straight as those of a horse, his skin will grow more sleek, and his long ears will twitch as though he meant to tell us he was not hard to please. His voice is not so good as that of the horse, and when he breaks out all at once in a harsh “Hee-haw!” we feel as though we must stop our ears from the noise; but we should not think ill of him for his loud voice, for there are some who make quite as much noise as he does when they scream to have their own way, or shout to let us know what great folks they are.
In some small fields, the ass is made to work with the horse in the plough, and in all sorts of ways he is of great use to us. The men who go from place to place to sell fish or fruit and roots, have a donkey to drag their carts. The men who go through the small towns to mend pots and put new canes to the seats of chairs, or to sell brooms, and clothes-props, and lines, and pegs, have an ass to bear their goods. At the sea-side there is sure to be more than one chaise drawn by a donkey, and when boys and girls are too young to sit on his back, the donkey will take them for a nice ride, slung one at each side, in a chair like the seat of a swing.
When we are ill, the milk of the she-ass is good for us to drink, and when we grow strong we can have a fine trot on the downs, or in the green lanes. We call a young horse a foal, and we give the same name to a young donkey. The donkey foal is a queer thing; it has such long legs, and such a loose skin, that it looks as though it had been tied up in a bag; but it soon grows plump, and its legs come to be of a good shape when it is a few weeks old.
Where men have learnt to use the ass well, he grows large and strong, and the wild ass, which is found in some parts of the world, is a tall swift, beast with a fine grey skin, a dark brown stripe down the back, and a small stripe of the same hue from side to side of the neck. You may see some of our own donkeys with the same sort of stripe, if you take the pains to look.
We do not cat the flesh of the ass, but in Rome the wild ass was sold for food, and its flesh was thought to be as good as that of the deer. The fat ones were sold at a high price, though the lean ones must have been tough, and none of us would like to see a leg of donkey sent up when we sat down to dine and thought we were to have a plate of beef. It would be a good thing if we thought more of the ass, and did not laugh at him quite so much, for then those who were too poor to keep a horse might buy a donkey, and could drive him in a chaise, or teach the young folks to ride on his back. It costs but a small sum to buy a nice pair of donkeys, and they may soon be taught to run in a light, low car, and to go at a good pace for a few miles. The ass docs not eat much, is strong, and has good health if he is well kept He will live a long time, too, though all donkeys do not live so long as one that was to be seen in the Isle of Wight a few years since. He had been set to work when he was quite young, to draw up the tub that was at the end of a chain in a deep well. The chain or rope was tied to a wheel, and all day long he turned this wheel to draw up the tub when it was full, and let it down to fill again. The folks there said that he was four-score and ten years old. and some of them made him out to be five score. Can you tell how much that is? A score is twice ten, and five score is ten times ten, and so you ought to know, or if you do not know you should make haste to learn, for fear some one should call you a donkey, and so speak in a rude way of a good beast who learns as much as we can teach him.
We spoke just now of the loud noise made by the donkey when he brays, and there is an old tale told of an ass who got in a sad scrape through that queer voice of his. He was in the woods, when he came to a place where there was a dead lion. As the lion was the king of beasts the poor ass thought that it would be a fine thing to dress up in the lion's skin, so that the fox, and the bear, and the wolf, and the rest of the fierce, strong brutes might take him for a lion, and bow down to him and treat him as their king. At last he made up his mind to try it, and though he had hard work to get the skin off, and then to get it on — he found it fit as well as most clothes that are not made for the folks who wear them — and thought he would look as much like a lion as he could. When he got back to the place where the donkeys stood, they saw him a good way off and ran as fast as they could for fear. "Oh!" said he, “I am more like a lion than an ass, and I dare say I shall make quite a good lion in time, when I learn to wear this fine skin. I will now go to the bear, the fox, the wolf, and all the rest of them, and see what they think of me.” Off he went, and when he came near that part of the wood where these beasts were, they saw the great mane, and the claws, and the long tail, and bent their heads, for they thought the lion had come to see them. This made the poor ass so vain that he said, “All I have to do is to roar, and then I shall be king of the beasts." So he set up his voice, and gave such a loud “Hee-haw!" that all the fierce brutes knew him at once, and were in such a rage that they sprang at him, and slew him on the spot.
Of course this talc is not true, and the donkey is not such an ass as to do such a thing as wear a lion’s skin; but it was told to show us that we should not try to pass for great folks, and that those who are so vain that they think they are fit to rule, are sure to be found out when once they try to talk.
MOST boys and girls like to keep a pet dog, and, of all beasts, the dog is most the friend of man. He seems to learn what you mean, and to know your looks and the sound of your voice in such a short time, and shows such a wish to please you, and to go with you when you walk out, or to be near you when you are at home, that you feel he is a sort of dumb friend who loves you, and that you should love him and be kind to him, though, at the same time, you should try to teach him that he must not bite, or steal, or jump on the best chairs, or make too much noise in the house, or growl at your friends, or show his teeth and snap, if some one whom he does not know pats him on the back.
Pet dogs are of a small kind, and can be taught all sorts of tricks, as well as some things which are of use; but they are not of so much use to man as the large dogs, which help to take care of sheep, or guard farm-yards and keep watch in stores where goods are kept. But small dogs will guard a house too, for they will bark and make a great noise if they hear a strange sound at night, and thieves find it hard to rob a house where a sharp pet dog is kept. All small dogs will not learn to do the same things, for some are not so quick and seem to have less sense; but most of them may be taught to run for a ball and bring it back; to stand up on their hind feet and beg for a bit of sweetmeat, or a piece of cake, or a scrap of meat; and there are few dogs that, if you leave them out of sight, will not find by the scent which road you have gone, for all but one or two kinds of dogs have such a keen sense of smell that by the scent they can trace the steps of those of whom they are in search.
There are all kinds of dogs, and this is one thing in which the dog is not like most of the beasts known to us. Of them there are but three or four kinds, but of the dog there are more than twelve kinds and not one of them like the rest. There are all sorts of small pet dogs, some of them with long, fine hair like silk; some with short, stiff hair; some with close fur like wool; with straight hair and with curls; some with long, and some with short ears; with long and short legs; with long and short noses; there are all shades of brown, grey, and drab dogs, white and black dogs, dogs with spots, or with a patch here and there in their skins, and all of them are pets. They will make friends with cats and birds if they are in the same house and are taught that they must not chase or bite them; and when a dog is well bred, and we take some time to teach him, he will learn to do what he is told — to lie down, or leave the room, or go from the fire, or to leap through a hoop, bark for a piece of food, catch a ball in his mouth, and such tricks as make great fun. It is not right to keep him too long at such games, and we should not give him too much cake or rich, sweet food. A few scraps of plain meat, with fresh drink, some stale bread with milk now and then, is the best food for quite small dogs. Those that are not so small may have a good piece of meat once a day, with a bit of bread or a bone now and then. All dogs should have a bowl from which they can drink, as at times they feel a great deal of thirst; but they grow ill if they have too much food. They should go out for a run once or twice a day or they will get cross and lose their health, and may snap and snarl if they do not feel well. It is a bad plan to feed pet dogs while you have your own meals, for they will be quite rude to those who come to see you, and will jump up, or whine and make such a fuss that they will not let you talk or be still while they are in the room. Let them have their food in some out-house, where they may take it as they please, and where they can find drink.
When dogs are too small to jump in a stream, or to be sent to a pond to swim, we should wash them once or twice a week, and rub them with a small piece of soap; then dry them with a cloth, let them lie near the fire, and comb their coats with a wide comb. On warm days when they have had a wash they may be sent to roll in the grass to dry. Such small pet dogs as these are not so nice as those of the large kind, for they are weak, and will not learn much, and are not of much use. The dog with long ears and fine hair like silk, and a short nose, we call a spaniel; and then there are dogs which we name terriers. some of them like balls of rough hair, which hides them from nose to tail; some sleek and with short ears, sharp eyes, and a quick, short bark. These are, most of them, good dogs, and will kill rats, or bark if they hear the step of a strange foot near the house at night
The pet dog that most folks like, is the one that you see in this book. We call him the Pomeranian, for he first came from Pomerania. He is a rare playmate, and has such a fine coat, such bright, quick eyes, and such a grand tail, that we all like him. He is to be seen with all white hair, or white and brown, or dark marks on the neck, face, legs, or paws. He is quick to learn, likes to be clean, and is a friend to those who treat him well; but he will lark and snap at those who are not kind to him.
There is a large pet dog, which is sent here from France, who is a strange fright. He has white hair all in small curls, and the French folks shave off the hair on his back and the top parts of the legs, and leave it on the neck and the end of the tail, and round the legs near the paws, so that he looks a queer beast. He is such a good dog to learn that he can be taught to do all sorts of things by those who take the pains, and men go with dogs of that sort from town to town to show their tricks. Some of them wear red coats and round caps, and stand up with a small sword or a gun, march on their hind feet, bark when they are told to sing, lie down as though they were dead, pick out a card from the pack, leap through a hoop or the rails of a chair, smoke a pipe, take a coin and go to buy their meat at the shop, make a bow, sit in a chair, beat a drum, and make great fun.
At the time of the great war, there was a man in the chief town in France who went out to clean boots and shoes. He had a stand in the street, where those who had dust or dirt on their shoes went and put their foot on a step while he took off the dirt with his brush, and made their shoes shine like glass. One day, a man, who had been to have his boots made clean, went down the street, which led to a bridge, and, when he got near the foot of the bridge, a great white dog, of the sort which we spoke of just now, came and ran at his legs and tried to crouch at his feet. What was to be done? The dog was in a mess with wet mud, and some of it went on to the nice bright boots that had just been made to shine. The man went back to the stand that he might have them made clean once more. The next day he went to the same stand, and as soon as he had gone as far back as the foot of the bridge, the same dog — all mud and dirt — came and ran on his bright shoes and then went off. This was so strange that he thought he would stay and watch what the dog did; and he found that as soon as the brute saw some one come through the street with clean shoes he went down the steps of the bridge to the shore of the stream, where he had a good roll in the mud, and then came up to smear the shoes with his wet coat, so that those who wore them had to go back to the man and pay him to clean them. When this was found out, the shoe-black was made to own that the dog was his, and that he had taught it this trick that he might have more shoes to clean, and be paid twice for his work. The man who found it out gave a large price for the dog, and brought him home with him. He was here for some time, tied up in a yard, but at last he was set free, and it is said that, in a month from that time, he was seen once more in France, near the bridge where the shoe-black still had his stand, and still was paid to brush shoes, while the dog had gone back to play his old trick and to smear the clean shoes with mud and slime.
THERE are all kinds of big dogs as well as pet dogs, and though we may make a pet of a big dog, he is too large to hold on our laps, or to be all day in a room with us. He is a grand playmate, but he is not so much of a toy as the Pomeranian, the Terrier, or the small Spaniel. These are all hard words, but you should learn to spell long words as well as short ones. Some of our big dogs are kept that they may help to hunt game. Do you know what game is? Deer, stags, hares, and some kinds of wild birds, which we use for food, we call "game;" and those who go out to hunt or shoot, take dogs with them to find game in the woods and fields.
In lands where there are wild boars and wild bears, great strong swift dogs go out to start them from their lairs or dens, for the dog seems to have no fear of a beast twice as large as he is, and a good dog will face a lion or a tiger, and fight with it There are dogs, too, which hunt the fox, the stoat, the wolf, and such fierce beasts as kill sheep and lambs, or rob the hen-roosts, and eat the fowls. Most of these dogs we name hounds. Then there are dogs that go out to find birds that we may shoot them, and when they get to a place where there are birds they will stop till the man with the gun comes up. They are taught to do this, and go by the name of Pointers, for they point to the game, and a good dog of this sort will not stir till the birds rise from the long grass where they lie. The Pointer, the Setter, and the Retriever, all help to find birds for those who go out to shoot. The last two have fine hair, which will grow in thick, short curls, if they are kept clean and well fed. They are so quick that they may be taught all sorts of tricks. Some of them will go back for a mile and find a stick or a glove that has been left in a room, or on a hedge, or in the midst of a field. They are kind to those who treat them well, and will come or go at their call, lie down at their feet, and take care of a hat or a coat for them while they are at play in the fields.
The Mastiff is a grand dog, and, in some parts of the world, is not much less than a donkey. He is kept to take care of the house, the farm yard, or the store, and is so strong that he can pull down a man, and is more than a match for two or three men when he is in a rage. Dogs of this sort are kept by the monks who live in a large house in the Alps, where the ice and snow make it hard to find the way when we are on the road to cross the high rocks. Deep caves, slopes of ice and stones, dark chasms, rifts in the ground, and great blank walls of rock, down which men may fall and be found dead next day, are not to be seen when the soft snow hides them, and makes all things look white; so, when the snow falls, and the night comes on, these dogs are sent out, and as they can cross the snow where a man would sink down, they go first, and snuff the air all round them to try if they can smell foot-steps. Then, if some one has been on the road, they run to and fro to find him, and if he has sunk in the snow, or gone to sleep in the cold, where he would soon freeze to death, or if they hear a cry a long way off, they run back to the monks, who go with poles, and lights, and drink, and food, and find the lost man, and take him home to their house till he can go on his way by the light of day.
One time a poor man was on his way on this road, and went to cross the high rocks, when a great storm came on. The monks told him he could not go, but he said he had a wife and boys at home, and they would come out to meet him if he did not reach them soon. At last, the monks sent two guides and two dogs to help him on his way. One of those grand dogs had been out to help to save men’s lives a score of times, and wore a badge round his neck to show how brave and good he had been. It was sad that he and all who were with him should have gone out that day to die; but so it was. The poor man, who would not stay, was quite right when he said his wife and boys would go out to seek him, in fear that he could not find the road. They were just then on their way to climb up to the road by which they knew that he would come; but two great hills of ice and snow, each ten times as big as a large house, had grown high up on the steep slope of the vast rocks, and with a crash and a roar, like the boom of big guns, they slid down on the road. The poor man, the guides, the poor wife, and the boys did not meet in this world, they were all swept off, and found a grave in that deep, cold bed of snow; but we may hope that they met in the next world, where God took care of them, and gave them rest and peace, for they were out there to do what they thought was right, and God knew that, when His snow went down and took them to a new life.
When we speak of the snow and ice we think of a half wild dog in the far North, where folks ride on the snow for miles and miles in a sort of chaise or cart, which they call a sledge. It has no wheels, but stands on two long blades like the blade of a skate. To this sledge the men tie a team of six, eight, or ten dogs, and they draw it at a great pace, and will run for more hours than a horse could keep up at half their speed.
There is a place which we call Newfoundland — not that it has just been found, but the man who first went from our own land to the coast of Newfoundland gave it that name, and it has kept the same name since. The waves roll all round it, so it is a spot of land in the midst of the sea, and I hope you know what we call such a place as that. It is a rough place, with storms of wind and snow now and then. There are deer there, and big bears and wolves, and in the sea are seals and great shoals of cod-fish; but, best of all, as some of us may think, there are grand big dogs there, with fine coats like silk, and long ears, and tails so long, and with such a plume of curls that it would be hard work for small dogs to wag them. Some of you must have seen one or more of these dogs, for they are brought here, and one of them, if he has been well taught, and fed, and kept clean, looks like a prince of dogs. It is not hard to keep them clean, for they are so fond of a jump into a stream and a good swim, that they will not keep in health if they are not sent for a bath now and then. Most dogs can swim well, and some kinds take to the bath, and will leap in to fetch a stick, but the Newfoundland is so close to the sea when he is at home that he is the best of all. Of course, some young ones are born here, but they are all fit to swim. You do not see these fine dogs at their best till you have been out with them when they take their bath, hold up their great heads, and rush through the stream to fetch a stick. They are good house-dogs, but are too large for a room, though they are great fun in a field, where they will run here and there for a ball, and may be taught to bring it back. All sorts of true tales are told of these brave dogs, who have been known to leap in and drag a child out of a pond or a brook; while some have been sent to hold up a man who could not swim, or had gone out of his depth. On the sea-shore more than one Newfoundland dog has gone out to save the lives of men; or has sprung from a boat to take some one to the shore by a short rope which the brave beast can hold in his mouth, for though he is not so strong as to take a man far by the clothes, he can hold him up for a good while till some one comes with help. The Newfoundland is not quite so quick to learn as the Retriever, and does not keep so still in a house, but they are both fine dogs, and most folks like them best for big pets.
SOME young folks are fond of rabbits. Not in a pie with pork — though they are good to eat that way — but of live rabbits, which they keep in a hutch, and feed, and treat like pets. The wild rabbit has so much fear that it will not come near us, but runs to its hole in the hill-side when it hears our steps in the wood; but the tame sort will come and feed from our hands, will let us stroke them, and will poke their soft warm snouts out from the wires of their hutch to get us to look at them, and to give them a bit of food.
The wild rabbit looks a great deal like the hare, but while the hare has a sort of nest on the ground, in the long grass and shrubs, the rabbit digs a hole with its paws in the earth, near a wood where it can find sweet, soft grass and herbs. These holes are made in the side of a hill, go a long way down, branch out on both sides, and then go up, so that when the place at which the rabbits go in is grown with grass, it is not to be seen till you look quite close, and then the hole is too small for a dog to go down. In these holes the she rabbit brings up her young ones, and as she has five or six at a time, and has a fresh brood four or five times in the year, you may guess what a great store of wild rabbits there are in those parts of the world where they are found. If we did not kill them for food they would soon eat up all the grass and herbs in the place where they make their nests. The she rabbit we call a “doe,” and the male we call a "buck," Those who keep these pets must not let the buck live with the young ones, for he may take it in his head to kill them; no one can tell why. In a wild state, the doe takes her brood to a nest where the buck does not find them. In three weeks they are so strong that they can come up and feed on grass.
Wild rabbits are of a grey tint, but the fur of the tame ones is grey, white, brown, black, or with spots and streaks of two or three of these hues; white rabbits have bright, red eyes. As these pets do not cost much, boys and girls like to keep a few, and a boy who can use tools may soon make them a nice house out of an old box, a tea-chest, or a case in which goods have been sent home. The house we call a hutch, and it should be large so that each rabbit may have a room to sleep in, and there must be one large room where they all come out to eat, Where there is a place for them to run, and they are quite tame, they may be let out on a fine dry day to jump in the grass, but you must not take them up by the back or the loins, or you will hurt them, and may kill them; you should lift each one by its long ears, and then place your hand round it to take it to or from the hutch. They will eat oats, the flour of pease, wheat, hay, and scraps of bread. One or two of these things should be their first meal in the day, and then they may dine and sup from roots, good grass, young, fresh leaves of such plants as we eat with our meat, and most kinds of fresh, green food, both stalks and leaves. If they have fresh green food, they do not want drink, for drink would do them harm. When you see the doe clean out the hutch she will soon make a nest, and you must let her have some hay or oat-straw to make it soft and warm for the young rabbits. In six weeks the young ones will be so strong that they can eat, and you will soon want a new hutch, if you do not sell them or give them to your friends, or have them put in a pie. The door of that part of the hutch where they feed should have wire bars that you may see them eat, and the dry food should be put in a trough made of wood.
The sort of rabbits which we like the best for pets we call “smuts," “dew laps,” “lops,” and “half-lops." The smuts are those that have blue or black spots on each side of the nose, and, if they are of the best sort, they will have a blue or black patch on their backs, a blue or black tail, dark stripes in front, and white legs and feet. These kind cost more than those that have not such marks. A dew-lap has a sort of pouch or lap of skin and fur, which hangs from the throat to the breast, so that when the rabbit lies down the lap makes a pad for its chin to rest on. Lops are those with ears that hang down on each side; half-lops have one ear down and one stuck up. Some of them have ears that hang down quite close to the face, as though they had been bent at the top of the head, and these we call "horn-lops." Some have ears that hang down on the neck, and these we name “flat-lops; in some the ears stand straight out at each side, like a pair of oars in a boat, and these are “oar-lops.” Then there are French rabbits, with hair all in a rough friz, or in curls like wool.
Where there is an out-house or shed, rabbits may be let to run there, and will not need a hutch if it is a dry place and they can be kept warm. When you have a hutch it should not be kept in the house, since the smell will not be nice, and the oats, corn, and roots, on which you feed your pets, will bring rats and mice. The doors or holes, through which the rabbits come from their nests, should have tin or wire on the edge, or the sharp teeth of your pets will make sad work of the wood. There should be a rim of tin or wire on the edge of the trough, too, or they will gnaw it and soon spoil it.
Rabbits will grow quite tame with those who feed them, but you should not hunt them or chase them when you let them out for a run, or they will pine and grow thin, and will not come near you. Teach them to creep up to your hand for a bit of sweet bread or a few grains of corn, and be sure to keep the hutch clean. You must scrape and sweep it two or three times a week, and, though when the days and nights are cold you must have a door of wood as well as one of wire, and must keep it shut, there should be some place where the air may pass through the hutch.
A white buck and a grey doc were once kept in a hutch, where the doe soon had some young ones, some of them with spots, some white, and some black. These all grew up in the same hutch — which was a big one — and, in time, there was such a large brood that no one could have told which was the old buck if he had not been all white, while the rest had some spot by which they were known. But though there were a score of them the old white grand pa kept a strict rule, and if they fought or bit would run out when he heard the noise. They would all be still when they saw him come, for if one of them did not care, and would fight or scratch, he took him from the rest and gave him such a box on the ears as made him squeal. They all were sent out for a run on fine days, and would come back at the call of the man who kept them; but they would wait till the old white chief went first, and when they got to their hutch he would stand on one side and see that they all went in like good boys; then he went last of all and they were shut up for the night.
You know that the flesh of the rabbit is good for food, and where there are great broods of wild ones they are shot and sent here that we may eat them. In some parts there are great hills of sand and rock where wild rabbits are kept that they may be shot or caught in nets, and sent to town, where they are sold for food. Some of those that are kept in this way are fed; grain and pease, or herbs and hay, are thrown on the ground near their holes in the cold time of the year, when there is not much grass, and they grow large and fat. Some of them are brought here by steam-boats from Ostend, a place where there is a vast tract of land on which these half-wild rabbits live in their holes in the sand-hills. The hole made by the rabbits we call a burrow, and a place like that of which you have just read we call a warren. Of the skins of hares and rabbits we make hats, while the white and light brown skins are of use to make furs.
MOST boys and girls like to keep guinea-pigs, but grown up folks do not care much for them. They are quite nice pets when they have a good house to live in, and are kept clean; and, though they were first brought from a warm clime, they are now to be found in all parts of the world, but they will not live if they are not kept from the cold; so that they do not run wild in those lands where there is much frost and snow.
The guinea-pig is, in some things, like the rabbit, but is not more than half as large, and is not so good for food, though some folks have been known to eat them. They fear the cold so much that they crowd close in their hutch on a chill day, and some of them may be found dead when there has been a night of frost and snow. The guinea-pig feeds on all sorts of sweet herbs and fruits, of which it is so fond that it should have some now and then. It eats but a small bit at a time, but takes five or six meals a day. It is not much like a pig, though it squeaks or whines when it wants food, or when it fights, so that may be why it has had its name. It was first brought from a place known as Guinea, from which it was called Guinea-pig.
It was from Guinea that much gold was once brought, and part of it was known as the Gold Coast. This was why some of our gold coins once had the name of guineas, for they were first made of the gold that was brought from that part of the world. There was a place there, too, where the black men were caught and sold for slaves, and that was known as the Slave Coast; but that does not go on now, for our ships go out to the Slave Coast and watch that bad men do not seize the blacks, and take them off to sell them to work as slaves. Then there is a part that we call the Grain Coast, where a great deal of rice is grown in the vales where the high hills rise on each side. Here, too, there are cows, sheep, pigs, goats, and fowls; and, it may be, that it was here that guinea-pigs were first found. In one part of the place there are great palm-trees, with broad leaves like fans, and fruit from which palm-oil is made. The folks who live there are black, and the heat there is so great that they need not wear much clothes; but, at one time, they would smear their skins with palm-oil to keep off the bites of flies and gnats; this oil made them shine like a boot that had been in the hands of a shoe-black. You see, then, that Guinea is a hot place, and the poor pets which we call guinea-pigs will not live in the cold if we do not give them a nice warm hutch and a good bed, and keep them out of the yard in the long nights when the rain or the snow falls.
Do not think when we call this pet a “pig,” we mean to say that it is at all like the pigs that are to be seen in the farm-yard. It is not in the least like them, though it gives a grunt or a squeal when it is hurt, and its voice can be heard a long way off. It is more like the rabbit and the hare, and though its ears are round, its legs are so short that they are not to be seen while it is still, and its feet have long hairs on the soles. It is known in some parts of the world as a ground hare, because it makes holes in the ground like a rabbit and lives there with its young. In one place, it goes by the name of "the mouse that barks," and it is so much like a big fat rat that this is not a bad name for it, though it is not at all like the rat or the mouse in its ways, for it is such a clean beast that it spends a great part of its time at work with paw and tongue, to keep its skin clear from dust or dirt. The rat has a long tail, and the hare has a short tail, but the guinea-pig has no tail at all, and it feeds on herbs and plants, and chews the cud like the hare and the rabbit, so that it is no more like a mouse than it is like a pig, though the hair is much the same as that of quite a young pig. It moves just like a rabbit, and has lips of the same shape, but has four toes on its front feet and three on its hind feet.
In the place from which it was first brought, the guinea-pig is quite white, but here it has a blotch of bright light brown or of black, here and there. The dark ones are the best. Guinea-pigs will have scores of young ones each year, so that those who keep them may soon have a great stock. They are not bold, but, though they fight in their hutch, will run from a mouse, or crouch up at the end of their den if they see some one whom they do not know. They soon learn to come out to be fed by those who are kind to them, and grow quite tame. Though they are so clean, they have a faint smell which is not at all nice, so that they should not be kept in the house. In cold nights the hutch should be put in a shed where it will be out of the wind, and should be made like a rabbit hutch, with good, warm bed-rooms, and fresh soft hay of which they may make their nests.
The food of the guinea-pig should be a few oats twice a day, and some green-meat or roots of wild herbs two or three times a day. They are so fond of tea leaves that they may have a few now and then, but not more than three or four times a week; fresh hay, fruits, roots, herbs, sop made of bread, and, now and then, some milk, are all good for them. The hutch, the trough from which they eat, and the small pan in which you place their drink, should all be kept dean, or they will not thrive. You will not find that all the guinea-pigs in the hutch go to sleep at the same time; one or more of them will keep watch while the rest sleep, and will wake them up and warn them if they see or hear some one come. They do the same in their wild state, for they are less bold than the rabbit, and will try to hide when they see cause for fear.
There are some boys who like to keep white mice as well as guinea-pigs; not in the same hutch, for that would not do, but in a cage where they may run in and out of a small room made with a hole for them to creep through, or may climb up bits of stick put from the floor of the cage to the wires in front. White mice may be bought in all parts of town, and soon grow so tame that they will come out and feed from your hand. They are quite white, with pink eyes and nose, and a pink tinge on their paws. The worst of them is that they do not smell nice, but they are such good fun that we do not much mind that. They may be taught to draw a coach or a cart made of card-board, and to play all sorts of tricks; but they do not live long, and must be kept quite warm. Their food is corn and grain of all kinds, soft bread-crumbs, bread and milk, and groats, or the meal of oats. The she-mouse has five or six young ones at a time, and they can soon run in and out and look for their food. They keep their skin nice and clean, but the cage must be made quite clean once a day. Those who know how to make a good cage should place in it one or two wheels made of wire, on which the mice will climb and turn round and round; or, should have rooms at the top as well as on the floor of the cage, with small flights of stairs, that the mice may go up and down for their food. One of the best ways to keep them is in what we call a mouse-park. This is a large box, the front and the top of which are made of plate glass, and the sides of zinc, with holes that they may have air. In this box there is a sort of bank all built up of bits of the bark of trees, with holes for the mice to run in and out; poles and steps for them to climb; twigs on which they may perch or cling with their tails, and all sorts of nooks and nests for them to sleep in. It is great fun to see them pop in and out, and climb up the bark or swing on a wheel if there is one there, or crawl on a long stick from side to side, and, if the park is kept quite clean, it may be brought in to show to friends, who will like to see your pets play their pranks.
You should be told that the white mice will not live with the brown mice that are to be found in the house; for, though they are all of the same sort, the white mice do not run wild, and the wild mice do not like them, and will bite or kill them if they are let to run in their holes. Of course you will know that you must keep your cage of white mice out of the way of the cat; and, where there is a cat, you will find it hard to teach them to play tricks or to come out to be fed.
THERE are few of us who know of a house where the folks who live there do not keep a cat. The cat is a pet with us all, and yet there are some of us who are not fond of her, though we like to watch the kittens at play, and to teach them to jump or to run here and there to catch a ball or a piece of string. The cat is so light, and can spring and leap so well, and has such a fine form, such a long tail, and such soft paws, when she does not use her strong, sharp claws, that we do not tire of her tricks; but yet she is not such a close friend as the dog; for she is sly, and can be fierce when she is in a rage, and is so fond of a place where she can hide from us, that she does not seem to like us so well.
There are wild cats in some parts of the world, and there may still be a few in the woods of our own land, but they are not much like the tame sort. The wild cat has long fur which is of a white and grey hue, a large head, great teeth, and a tail with black and white bars or stripes. Tame cats are black, white, grey, and some with light brown or red marks, while some have stripes or bars of black and grey. Some wild cats are red, while at the Cape of Good Hope there are dark blue cats; and in China the ears of the cats hang down, while there is one sort which has a tail six times as long as the tails of those which are found here.
In Greece, a long time ago, cats were taught to hunt and kill small snakes; but they are not quick, to learn, and, as they have not a keen scent, they catch their prey when they can see it, but do not smell it. You may have seen a cat watch at a hole for a rat or a mouse. It will lie quite still for a long time till the mouse comes out, and then spring on it and kill it. The eye of the cat is so made that it can see in the dark, and so cats lie in wait for their prey at night, and can go up and down stairs, or can find their way in the woods and fields when we could not see at all. They do not like wet or cold, and most cats hate dirt, as you may see if you watch what pains they take to make their skins clean, and to lick their paws and sides with their rough tongues. The tongue of a cat is so rough that it will take off the dirt and dust from the fine fur, and this does as well as a good wash in a stream. Cats will not bathe in a stream; and, though one or two have been seen to run in to catch a fish, most of them hate to wet their feet. They are so fond of sweet scents that they will go up to folks who use them, and keep as close to them as they can.
In the Isle of Man the cats haw no tails, and there are cats with long white hair as soft and as fine as silk. In China, those who keep cats put gold rings in their cars, and a fine band round their necks. Though cats are strong, swift beasts, they love ease, and will lie all day in the sun, or on a nice soft bed near the fire; but they do not like to be shut up in one place, and if a cat is kept in a cage it will not catch mice when they are let to run close by it. When it is let to roam, it will catch birds and mice, but some cats do not care to kill rats. Black cats are large and fine to look at, but they are not the best. The best cats to catch rats are the grey sort with black rings, for they are fierce and bold, and seem to be most like the wild cat. Though they are not so much the friends of man as the dog, cats have been known to be so fond of those with whom they live that they could not bear to be out of their sight. There was once a fine race-horse who had a cat for a friend. The cat was a black one, and would spend whole days in the stall where the horse was kept, and lie down on his back. When the horse died, the cat still sat on his back till he was put in a hole in the ground, and then ran off and was not seen for a long time, till she was found dead in a hay loft.
There was once a cat who would go to the door like a dog, when the man who kept her rung at the bell. When he came in, she would mew and rub her head on his legs till he went and sat down in the room. Then off she would go for a short time, but in an hour or two, would come back to look at him. If he did not see her she would touch his foot with her paw, and, if that did not cause him to speak to her or look at her, she would jump up on the chair and nudge his arm. If he still would not speak or shake her by the paw, she would leap up on his neck and pat him on the cheek; but, when once he spoke to her, she would go out of the room. She was such a well-bred cat that, though she was fond of her food, she would not go to the room at meal-times, and, at night, went out in the fields to catch birds.
There are tales told of cats which would go out and walk with those who kept them, just as dogs do, and some of them have been known to find their way home when they had been sent a long way off. A cat, which was the pet of a girl who kept birds, was so fond of her that it would lie at her feet for hours at a time, and when the birds were let out of the cage to fly and perch in the room, puss would not touch one of them, but lay quite still. A man who was shut up in gaol, and sat there full of grief and with no one to speak to, heard a noise on the hearth of his cell, and there stood his cat. The poor beast had been up to the top of the gaol, and got down the flue that led to the fire-place. When he saw her, he was so glad that he felt as though a friend had been sent to cheer him. At a farm-house, a long way from town, a young hare was brought in, and as the folks thought they would like to bring it up, it was fed with milk from a spoon. At the same time, the cat had some kittens, which they took from her; and, one night, when the folks at the farm went to look for the hare, it was gone, and they could not find it in the nest where it had been left. They thought that some dog had made a meal of it; but, one night, when the man who kept the house sat on the lawn, he saw his cat come up the path. Her tail was straight up in the air, and she gave two or three loud “mews" to call some strange thing that ran with her. It was not a kitten, and for some time the man could not tell what it was, but when they came close, what should it be but the young hare. The cat had run off with it when she lost her kittens, and had brought it up just as though it was one of her own young ones. One day, two young rabbits were thrown to a cat that she might kill and eat them, but she kept them with her kittens, and let them live with her, and share their milk and bread.
But there is a tale told more strange than both these. A cat who took mice and bits of meat to her kittens for food, one day took a young rat. The kit-tens did not kill it, but had a game with it, and when they had done their play, and thought they would like some milk, the rat went with them and had some milk, too. From that time the old cat brought up the rat, and took as much care of it as she did of her own young ones, and would take it in her mouth to the nest, when it went out too far, and would feed it as though she had not caught a rat in all her life. You may think this strange, but it is not more strange than what was done by a cat which was kept by a cook in a large house some miles from town. A small black dog. in the same house, had five pups, but could not mind them all, so that there was some fear lest they should die. The cook was told to try if she could place two of them near the fire, and feed them with milk from a spoon, but the cat had four or five kittens, and the cook thought she might put the pups in the nest with them, and leave the cat to take care of kits and pups at the same time. In a day or two, some of the kittens were sent off, and then the rest of them and two of the pups were left to the old cat, who fed them, gave them her tail to play with, and brought them up so well that they grew quite strong. They were so strong that they were sent out of the house, and poor puss had no young ones to nurse, so she went here and there to try and find out where they had gone. One of the first things she saw was the small black dog, with the three pups that had been left for her to bring up. “Oh, oh!” says puss, “you have got my nice young ones, have you!” and she flew at the dog in a great rage. When they had fought for some time, the cat got hold of one of the pups and took it off to her nest; then back she went, and there was a bark, and a snarl, and a howl, and a great noise, in the midst of which she ran off with one more small black pup, and left the dog with one. She did not seem to want more than two, but she kept them both till they were quite strong, and could bark, and run and play.
IT would seem strange to call a pig a pet, and yet there are some pigs which are kept with great care, are fed on the best of food, and are put in nice clean sties, where they have good warm beds, and are made much of in all sorts of ways. There are wild, as well as tame pigs, and the males we call boars or hogs, while the she-pigs we call sows. The wild boar is a strong, fierce beast, not fat and slow like the great pigs that we see in our sties, but swift and lean, so that it can run at a foe with its sharp tusks, and tear, or bite, or tread down with its feet those who go to hunt it. These tusks are two long, sharp teeth, which stand out from its mouth; and men go out to the woods to hunt the wild boar with fierce dogs and short, strong spears.
The wild boar feeds on all kinds of food, such as roots, shrubs, the buds of plants, the nuts of the oak and the beech tree, and the bark of some kinds of wood. The hog, like the pig which we see in our sties, seems to live that he may eat. He eats or sleeps all day long if he can find food, and can eat all sorts of things; so that as he can hear, and see, and smell a long way off, and is so rough, and has such a tough skin, he can live where some beasts would starve, or die of cold, or be hurt with the thorns of the bush and the boughs of the trees. Some wild hogs will eat snakes, toads, and such things as they kill in the woods, as well as the wild fruits and roots that may be found there; and when they are in a rage, they look so fierce and strong that men may well fear them when they see them for the first time. Their small, red eyes seem to shine like fire, their long, white tusks look as though they could tear a horse to shreds; the long, stiff hair on their sides and necks stands straight up like spikes, and, as they go in herds, those who would hunt or kill them need great skill, and must learn to meet them with dog, and spear, and long, sharp knife. The flesh of the wild boar is a great treat to the rough men who seek it in the woods; for the wild hog has a great deal of fat, and can be cut up and kept with salt, so that it makes good food for the cold time of the year. Of course you know what we call the flesh of the hog or the pig, we call it pork, and when we salt it, and hang it in the smoke of a wood fire to make it keep for a long while, we call it ham. When we put salt to pork and smoke it in this way, we say we “cure” it, and, in some lands, hams are made of the legs of bears as well as the legs of pigs.
In some parts of the world the flesh of the pig is not good for food; and the Jews were told that they must not eat it. In their land the pig was not kept as it is here, in clean sties, and fed on good food; and, if it had been, it might not have been fit for them to eat, for the heat of the sun and the way in which pigs feed on all sorts of things, would have made the flesh of this beast too coarse, and those who ate it would have been ill. In our own land we cat a great deal of pork, and find that when the pigs are well fed and kept clean, they make nice meat, but, in the hot time of the year, we eat salt pork or ham, and do not take so much of the fresh meat, for it is not so good for food then as when the days are cold. There are no wild hogs here now; for there are few large woods where they could roam; but on all farms there are a good store of pigs, in sties or in the yard, where they grub up roots or bits of food with their snouts and eat skim milk, or the leaves of plants, roots, grain, the meal of beans or pease, and all sorts of food from the troughs that are put in their sties. The pig likes as much drink as he can get, and much of his food is known as "wash;” that is, the leaves, and roots, and bits of bread and waste food, put to soak in a pail. The hog will eat grass or hay, as well as roots, and, when well fed, will grow so fat that his short legs seem as though they could not bear his weight; but he can run fast for all that, and will trot here and there, and give a deep grunt when he smells out a nice tid-bit. There are black, as well as white, pigs, and some that have a black patch here and there; but when a sow and all her young pigs are let to roam where they like in a farm or at the road-side, it would be hard to tell of what hue they are, for they like to lie and roll in the mud, and to grub in the dirt. This is not that they love the dirt, but the wet mud keeps their skins cool on a hot day. If the hogs have clean straw and a place where they can wash they will not roll so much in the mud, and will thrive all the more for it
Some kinds of pigs are large, and some small; some are more fat than the rest; and some are best to cat when they are fresh, while some are more fit to make ham of. Strange as it may seem, pigs with black skins make the best meat, though they do not look so nice as the white ones. Those who keep pigs should not think that a place all dirt and filth will do for them to live in. The sty should be well built, with two or three bed-rooms where there is nice, clean straw, and a large room where there are troughs in which to place the food. The floor of the sty should be of brick or stone, that it may be made clean and swept. Where there are two or three sties there should be a place in which to cook food for the pigs, and large tubs or tanks to mix it well; for, if a hog is to be made fat, he should have first roots and bran, and wash, and then the meal of grain, or beans and pease, so that there will be a good deal of stuff to boil.
Boys and girls who live in town may not keep pigs, for there is no fit place for them near a house, where the smell and dirt of the sty would not be at all nice; but there are some young folks who live at farms, or in some place where there is a large yard a long way from the house, who like to keep a few pigs, and watch them as they squeal or grunt when they take their food. There is not much else to see in the pig, for, though pigs have been taught tricks, they are so fond of food and sleep, that they do not care for much else. There have been pigs who were taught to go round and point to one out of a score of cards, or to ring a bell, or stand up and play on a drum, but it must have been hard work to teach them.
When one of the kings of France lay ill on his bed, those who stood round him were told that he might get well if he could be made to laugh, and what do you think was done to make him do so? There were some folks in a town a long way off who went here and there to show six pigs who had been taught to dance and play such queer tricks that all who saw them said they had not seen such fun in their lives. These folks were told to bring their pigs to the fine bed-room where the sick king lay. There each pig had a dress put on him; one like a great lord of the court, with a coat all lace and gold, a hat, with a plume, on his head, and a sword by his side; one like a grand dame, with a frill round the neck, and a fine skirt, with a long train that spread on the ground. Two by two the pigs, who stood on their hind legs, went to the bed-side of the sick king, and while the folks who had them in charge struck up a tune on a fife and drum, the queer beasts made a bow, and went off in a dance, just such as the king had seen at his court when he was up and well. You may be sure that he burst out in a good laugh, and it may have done him a great deal of good, but he did not live long for all that. It must have been a hard task to teach these pigs such tricks, and you will not find it worthwhile to try to make pets of hogs, though they are of great use to us when we turn them to pork and ham.
In some parts of the world large hogs have been set to work to help the horse and the ass to draw the plough, or to drag the cart in the field; but we do not see that here. The chief use of the pig is to make food; and of his skin and the long, stiff hairs on his neck we make things which you have seen a score of times. Do you know what they are? When you ride on the back of your pony or donkey you sit on the skin of the pig, made hard and tough in the same way as the hide of the cow or the ox is made fit for the soles of shoes; and the hairs in the brush with which you brush your clothes, or clean down your horse, are from the neck of the hog. So you see that the pig is of great use to us, and, though it would be a sad thing if you were to be like him, and give your whole time to food and sleep, or roll in the dirt and grub in the mire, you should use him well, and take care that he has such things as are fit for him.
OF all the pets that boys and girls can keep, the pony is the best. There is no toy that can please a boy more than a nice pony; and he will not care where he comes from, or if he be Welsh, Scotch, or one of the sort that is found on the moors in the south of the land we live in, so long as he can trot well and will do what he is told as well as he can. But there are some things that we have to do if we keep one of these nice beasts, and learn to ride on its back, or teach it to draw a light cart or a chaise. we must feed it well, give it a good warm place to sleep in, let it have fresh air, and keep it clean. Then there are those things that we must not do. We must not drive it too fast or too far; we must not lash it with the whip, and we must not scold it much. No good horse needs more than a touch of the whip, if it has been well taught. The man or boy who flogs a horse or a pony in spite, is worse than the brute, and is not half so wise as he should be, for the beast will learn to do as we wish, if we take the pains to teach him; and we shall but spoil him if we use force when a kind word or a touch will make him do all that his strength will bear.
There are some young folks who may think that the pony is a young horse; but this is not so. The young horse we call a colt, and he grows up to be a large horse; but the pony is a small kind of horse, and the foal of the pony docs not grow so large as the colt of the horse. Those who keep a pony will find that if they do not take care of him he will be ill, and too weak to do his work. He must be kept clean, and to rub him down with the brush and the comb once or twice a day when he is at work will help to keep him in health. Take great care not to give him drink from a well; it is too cold and hard; but let him have a nice clean pail, and give him drink from a clear stream or from the tank.
When he has been out with you and comes home hot, do not put him in his shed at once, but walk him up and down till he is cool, then rub him down with a wisp of hay or straw, or a coarse cloth, and give him a brush. Wash his feet when he is quite cool, give him some drink and a feed of corn, then some more drink, and leave him to rest. He may drink a quart at a time, and when he is warm and yet is much in want of drink, it is well to let it be made just warm so that it may not chill him. You may teach a pony to come to your call, to go with you here and there like a dog, to eat from your hand, and to play tricks that are full of fun. He will soon learn his name, and come to you when you call him from the field.
Some ponies are of such a small size that they are not so big as a great dog; but, of course, when they are such mites they are not of much use, though a pair of them in a small chaise look so well that they make fine toys. There have been ponies who would go up and down stairs like dogs, and there are few who do not like to eat a bit of cake or a nice sweet, and some of them are so fond of ale or beer that they will drink a pint of it. It is best not to give it them, for it may make them ill, though at times, when they have run a long way, and are warm, and do not seem to care for their food, a drop of beer will not do them harm. But young folks should not give them sweets and cake. Now and then a small piece may not hurt them, but good corn and fresh hay, grass and oats, with clear pure drink is best for their health.
Some ponies are rough with long manes and quite a whisk of a tail. They are a good sort for work, and will trot at a good pace for a long time, though they are so small that a pair of them could be shut in a big chest Then there are smooth ones, with trim mane and tails, and fine sleek legs, and these look well in a neat chaise with white reins, and nice clean head-stalls and bands. The Scotch pony is a good one, though it looks rough, and it may be bought of such a small size that if a big boy were to get on its back he could not keep his feet off the ground. The Welsh pony is so strong that it seems as though it would not tire; but it would be wrong to drive it too hard for all that, since we should not make slaves of those who do not mind work.
There are few such nice sights as to watch two or three of these small beasts at play in a field, where they can run and prance as they please. They seem to be so full of fun that they kick up their heels for joy, and, when they think we want to catch them, will stand stock-still till we get near them, and then dart off at full speed. When they take it in their heads to play us this game they are hard to catch, and we may go with a sieve or a bowl full of beans or corn, or take a nice piece of sweet cake in our hands, and try to coax them, but they will have their fun out. It is best not to scold them too much, for in a short time, if they have been taught not to fear us, but to love us, they will come to our call, and stand and look quite meek and prim, while we put the bit in their mouths and the reins on their necks. Those boys who know how to treat their ponies can catch them when they please, and lead them off by the mane, or jump on their bare backs, and guide them by a touch at the side of the neck, but you must ride well to do that, or you may be thrown off. It is not hard to learn to ride. In a few days you may sit quite still and feel quite safe, and those of you who have seen some of the tricks that men can play while they ride on the back of a horse will wish to try to do the same. If you should do so, take care that it is not in a road, or a rough field, or on hard ground; for, while you learn such tricks, you are sure to have a fall, and may break your limbs if you have not a soft place to fall on. A horse which has been taught to play, will lie down or get up when he is told to do so: but they are not safe to ride in the roads if you do not know their ways.
There was a man who thought he should like to show how well he could ride, and so went to hire a horse which, he said, must be quite a tame thing, for he did not want it to run off with him. A friend of his, who thought he would have some fun, knew that the horse had been taught to lie down when he heard the notes of a tune on the horn; so, as soon as the poor man had got to a part of the road where there was a great crowd, his friend hid at the back of a coach and blew the horn that hangs close to the guard's scat. You may think what a fright it gave the man who sat on the horse to find that the brute sank down in the road. It was as much as he could do to get off in time, and his fine clothes were in a mess of mud and dust. It was not kind to play him such a trick, and no brave man or boy would do such a mean thing as to try and make his friend look like a fool; but it shows that it is best not to try to make all the world think we know how to do a thing till we learn how to do it well. It is best to learn to ride in a field, or some place where there is not a crowd, and when we know how to get on and off a horse, and to hold him in, or set him off at a trot, we may go where we please on the road.
we have not all the same taste in the kind of pony that we like. Some are fond of grey, and some of black, while there are some who will give a large sum for a pair of greys with black spots, or a pie-ball; but, if the pony is of a nice shape, and with good legs and feet, and a fine turn of the head, he wants no more than a thick mane and tail to make him one of the best of all pets, so that you need not care what is the tint of his skin.
Those who can keep a big dog and a small pony may have great fun, for some of the Newfoundland dogs — like that shown in this book — are not much less than the Scotch or the moor pony, and to ride on a mite of a horse, with a great dog to come at your side, or to bound on in front, is what most boys and girls would like to do. If you should keep a big dog you must not let him bark or leap at the pony too much, or he may shy on one side and throw you off; and it would be best not to take them both out on a road, lest some one who drove a cart or a chaise should have a horse that did not like dogs, and so might take fright and start off. When we want to have fun with our pets we should do so in a field or some place where there are no folks who may be hurt by them. On the roads, or when we are not quite sure that those who are with us are fond of pets, we should go on our way as well as we can and not play game.