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its habits and history. Parkhurst has recorded a description of the stork, as to these features of its character, which is not a little interesting. He tells us, that the parent birds mutually guard their brood, one always remaining with it, while the other goes for food. They keep the young ones much longer in the nest than any other bird ; and, after they have led them out of it by day, they bring them back at night, preserving the nest as their natural home. Like the parent eagles, when the storks first take out their young, they practise them in flying; they lead them to the marshes, also, to point out to their offspring, frogs, serpents, and lizards, which are their proper food, making them distinguish the toads, which they never eat. In return for all this parental care and kindness, the young ones, as they grow strong, and their parents become old and debilitated, display their filial kindness in feeding and supporting the parent birds. In the long flights which they take in their periodical migrations, it is not uncommon to see the aged and weakly birds supported on the backs of the stronger; and, on their arrival at the place of their destination, these invalids are taken to the old nests, where they are fed and cherished by those young ones that were nurtured there the year before. These facts are stated on so respectable authority, that we have no hesitation in giving them insertion here.
The white stork is semi-domestic, frequenting towns and cities, where it stalks unconcernedly about the streets, from which it removes all the noxious filth and offal that it is able to feed upon, whilst it clears from the fields the serpents and other reptiles that it may find there. From these services, which are rendered to the community by the storks, they are religiously protected in Holland, where they are found in great numbers, and very tame. The Mahometans hold them in great veneration, and the Thessalonians anciently awarded the punishment of death to any one who killed one of these birds. The Ibis that was long worshipped in Egypt appears to be a variety of the stork. Innumerable representations of this bird are found in all the hieroglyphics and other ancient monuments of that country. An awfully blind and degrading superstition thus paid divine homage to the dumb creature, for the service that it rendered in assisting to clear away
the putrescent bodies that came in its way. From the mildness of the disposition of these birds, they are easily tamed, and are frequently turned, in that state, into gar. dens, which they effectually clear of insects and reptiles. They have an air of great gravity, with a mournful visage; yet they have been known to join in the sports of children with considerable eclât, and with evident gratification.
Dr. Hermann tells us, that he saw a tame one in a garden, in which some children were playing at “ hide and seek,” running its turn with the children, when it was touched, and distinguishing the child whose turn it was to pursue the rest, so as effectually to be on its guard. And, to show that they partake of the fallen, as well as of the benevolent and pleasing traits of human nature, an anecdote is current in Hamburgh, of a farmer, in the vicinity of that city, who brought a wild stork into his farm-yard, to be the companion of a tame one that he had long kept there. But the tame stork, so much for civilization, disdained to be associated with such a wild and untutored stork, and, therefore, fell upon the poor stranger, and beat him so unmercifully, that with difficulty he escaped by Alight. Supposing there were no higher consideration to guide our conduct, it is the wisest policy to act with uniform kindness to all, since we know not what may befal us, and who may have it in their power to serve us or to injure us. It would have been well for the tame stork if it had understood that maxim; for about four months after the wild stork had been so rudely treated by the civilized one, it made its appearance again in the farmyard, with three stout companions, when all four fell upon the tame stork, and killed him.
The storks are remarkable for the exactness they observe in the time of their autumnal departure from Europe to milder climates. They are reported to assemble on a particular day, after which not one is left behind. Whilst in this quarter of the globe, they are seldom seen further north than Sweden. In this country they are quite rare aves ; but in Holland, they are so common, that they build on the tops of the houses, where the inhabitants provide boxes for them, in which to place their nests. The Dutch are very careful of those that dwell upon their roof, as much so as of those who dwell under it, resenting any injury done the birds as an offence against themselves. In this part of the world, storks generally build their nests upon the roofs of the houses ; but in the East, where the roofs are all flat, and the inhabitants frequently reside upon them, in the summer months, the storks choose the highest trees for their nests and habitations. The Psalmist notices their residing in the fir-trees in Palestine (Psalm civ. 17).
Storks are very frequently seen in Spain; and are still more numerous in many parts of Asia. At Bagdad, hundreds are found about the houses, walls, and trees; and, amongst the stately ruins of Persepolis, almost every column is surmounted by the nest of a stork. In the autumn they retire into Egypt and the marshes of Barbary, where they enjoy a second summer, and bring up a second brood. Their migration is in immense companies. Dr. Shaw says, that he saw three flocks of them pass over Mount Carmel, each half a mile in width; and the whole were three hours in going by. Another writer says, that they visit Egypt in such numbers, that the fields and meadows are white with them. The natives hail their arrival with great pleasure, from the swarms of frogs and the numbers of serpents and lizards that they devour. In Palestine, and other places, they destroy innumerable rats and mice.- Tiler's Natural History.
THE papyrus most naturally suggests itself, whenever we turn our attention to the vegetable productions of Egypt. The stalk is of a vivid green, of a triangular form, and tapering towards the top. Pliny says, that the root is as thick as a man's arm, and that the plant occasionally exceeds fifteen feet in height. At present it is rarely found more than ten feet long; about two feet, or little more, of the lower part of the stalk being covered with hollow, sharp-pointed leaves, which overlap each other like scales, and fortify the most exposed part of the stem. These are usually of a yellow or dusky-brown colour. The head is composed of a number of small grassy filaments, each about a foot long. Near the middle,
each of these filaments parts into four, and in the point or partition are four branches of flowers, the termination of which is not unlike an ear of wheat in form, but is, in fact, a soft, silky husk.
This singular vegetable was used for a variety of purposes; the principal of which were, the structure of boats and the manufacture of paper. In regard to the first, we are told by Pliny, a piece of the acacia-tree was put in the bottom, to serve as a keel, to which the plants were joined, being first sewed together, then gathered up at the stem and stern, and made fast by means of a ligature.
But it is as a substance for writing upon that the papyrus is best known, and most interesting to the scholar. The process by which the plant was prepared for this purpose, is briefly stated by the Roman naturalist. The thick part of the stalk being cut in two, the pellicle between the pith and bark, or perhaps the two pellicles, were stripped off, and divided by an iron instrument. This was squared at the sides, so as to be like a riband, then laid upon a smooth table, after being cut into proper lengths. These strips or ribands were lapped over each other by a very thin border, and then pieces of the same kind were laid transversely, the length of these last answering to the breadth of the first. This being done, a weight was laid upon them while they were yet moist; they were then dried in the sun. It was thought that the water of the Nile had a gummy quality sufficiently strong to glue these strips together ; but Mr. Bruce, who ascertained by experiment that this opinion is perfectly groundless, suggests that the effect was produced by means of the saccharine matter with which the papyrus is strongly impregnated. The flower of this plant, it is well known, was used for religious purposes.- Cabinet Library.
THE HABITS OF THE MOLE.
THE habits of the mole will vary with the soil, and particularly with the structure of the ground, as it is rich and deep, or shallow, level, rocky, uneven, or intersected with raised mounds, or hedges of earth five or six feet high, and
of the same thickness, such as divide fields in the West of England. The presence of this animal is known by the heaps of fine earth, or hills, thrown up during its subterraneous operations : in deep ground little of its labours can be traced, except when thus marked; but in a thin soil, or in hard ground, a ridge is often driven along, which is distinctly raised above the ordinary level of the surface; and the mole-hill is only elevated where the earth is so fine, that the removal of some part of it is necessary, to give the creature a clear course in its runs backward and forward. The creep or run is in a zigzag direction; and when the neighbourhood is very productive of its prey, exceedingly so, as if the animal were unwilling to pass out of so fertile a district. But for the most part it takes a straightforward course; and in the open space of a down, it passes through more than fifty paces of distance without lifting a heap, with a progress amounting to two or three human paces in a day, and the whole run is two hundred feet in length. In the course of this passage, advantage is taken of any obstructions which occur, as if conscious of the probability of pursuit ; and the run is made to pass among the roots of dwarf furze, and even under a large stone, while, at irregular distances, openings are made to allow of excursions on the surface, and the free admission of air. There are many lateral branches from the principal passage, but none of them extend to any great distance; for it seems wisely to avoid forming such a labyrinth as might confound itself in its daily course, or in its efforts to escape from an enemy, to whose depredations it is exposed even in its retreat. Its time of labour is chiefly at an early hour in the morning; but if everything be still, it may be seen at work at other seasons. The slightest sound or movement of an approaching foot stops the work, and no further lifting of the earth will be attempted that day. These runs are mostly made towards the end of autumn ; are this creature's huntinggrounds for food; are abandoned when the soil has been thoroughly searched through and through; and though they are formed with so much toil as to make it desirable not to desert it while there is anything to be done there, yet in a month or two the animal quits it for new ground, perhaps at a great distance, where the hunting promises better success.