Imágenes de páginas

and rears her young. She brings forth in May or June, four or five young ones at a birth. A breed of rough haired and powerful dogs are employed to aid the hunters in taking these formidable and destructive creatures. The otter, when pursued, naturally seeks his own element, the water, where the dogs attack him at great disadvantage to themselves. Numbers pursuing him, however, would oblige him to continue under water as long as he could hold his breath; when, on coming to the surface, the spears of the hunters are thrown at him. With all these enemies by land and water, the otter sometimes eludes their vigilance and escapes; but not unfrequently the power of numbers prevails, and the poor otter reluctantly yields its breath. Traps and snares are now more frequently and more properly employed for the capture and destruction of this foe to the finny tribes. In this country, indeed, the race of otters is inuch diminished; but in the Highlands of Scotland, where they abound in considerable numbers, the hunting of them is a frequent and favourite pastime. Parties sometimes hunt the otter by torch light, as at that season it is out in quest of its prey. On rocky shores, amidst piles of broken rock, called “cairns," otters abound; and there sportsmen, with their guns and dogs, are often seen in hot pursuit of the animals.

The Otter is generally considered as a harmless creature ; but when it is attacked, it shows indomitable courage, and leaves often desperate marks of vengeance upon its assailants. There are a good many species of the otter scattered over almost every part of the globe; some are found only in fresh water, in the banks of rivers, lakes, and fish-ponds;

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

whilst other species appear to be limited to the sea coast. They are said to have a particular taste for certain parts of the fish they take and destroy, leaving the rest to be devoured by other beasts, or by birds of prey, less dainty in their eating, or less dexterous in taking their prey.

In !! North America, the otter is usually found white; in Brazil there is a large variety, of a black brown colour. Though exceedingly voracious when its prey is within reach, the rigours of winter, when the waters are all frozen over, com: pel the otter to feed upon grass and weeds. At these times it is said to be known to have attacked sheep when they have been near its retreat. It will eat, also, “upon a pinch," the bark of trees; and, in a state of domestication, they have been kept on milk, bread, and vegetables.

The Otter is not "without natural affection," for it has been known to exhibit extreme solicitude for its young. Professor Steller says, “Often have I spared the lives of the female otters, whose young I took away. These expressed their sorrow for the loss of their offspring by crying like human beings, and followed me as I was carrying off the young, which called to them for aid in a tone of voice very much resembling the cry of children. When I sat down in the snow, they came quite close to me, and attempted to carry off their young. On one occasion, when I had deprived an otter of her progeny, I returned to the place eight days after, and found the female sitting by the river, listless and desponding, suffering me to kill her on the spot, without making any attempt to escape. On skinning her, I found she was quite wasted away with sorrow for the loss of her

young. Another time I saw, at some distance from me, an old female otter sleeping by the side of a young one, about a year old. As soon as the mother perceived us, she awakened the young one, and enticed him to betake himself to the river; but as he did not take the hint, and seemed inclined to prolong his sleep, she took him up in her fore paws, and plunged him into the water."

THOUGHTS AND SAYINGS OF CHILDREN. One night some boys invited one of their school-fellows to go with them to get some ripe pears from a garden, saying, “Nobody will see us." “If I go with you," said the boy, “though others see me not I shall see myself; and I should be ashamed of myself to see myself do such a mean and wicked action.” Noble lad! He would make a noble man some day.

A little girl about six years of age, being very ill and near unto death, seeing her eldest sister with her Bible in her hand, asked her to read that part where Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” She did, and then the child said, “I love him for that. He will take me in his arms and bless me too. I love you, sister, but I love Jesus better."

After waiting all winter without as much as would cover the ground, we had a fall of snow on the first day of March. A little girl next morning looking from the parlour window into the garden exclaimed with delight, “Look Grandfather, the trees are all turned white !"




EGYPT is one of the most ancient nations in the world, for so the Bible, which must be true, tells us; and its vast ruins confirm the testimony. But its erections were more stupendous than beautiful. We will tell you about these in the picture before you. And first about the Pyramids.

Pliny, a Roman writer, says that the largest pyramid employed continually 360,000 men for twenty years. The whole area at the base contains 482,249 square feet, which is somewhat more than eleven acres of ground. On the outside of the pyramid there is an ascent by steps, which, at the bottom, are four feet in height, and three in breadth, but the higher they go they gradually diminish ; being so contrived, that a straight line, stretched from any part of the basis to the top, would touch the edge of every step. The breadth and depth of every step is one entire stone, several of them thirty feet in length, and the number of steps is 207.

It has been observed of this pyramid, that its sides stand exactly facing east, west, north, and south, and, consequently, mark the true meridian of the place; which precise position could not well have been owing to chance, but was, in all probability, the effect of art and design; and that it really was so, seems confirmed by the position of the tomb within, so that this ancient structure may be considered as a strong and lasting proof of the early progress of the Egyptians in the science of astronomy. Within the stately hall of this pyramid stands a tomb placed directly north and south. It

« AnteriorContinuar »