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Hot Topics Links Current Topic:. Science 2. Take a look at the best of Science 2. Books By Writers Here. This huge animal used to walk about the streets in the most quiet and orderly manner, and paid many visits through the city to people who were kind to him. Two cobblers took an ill will to this inoffensive creature, and several times pricked him on the proboscis with their awls. The noble animal did not chastise them in the manner he might have done, and seemed to think they were too contemptible to be angry with them.


But he took other means to punish them for their cruelty. He filled his trunk with water of a dirty quality, and advancing towards them in his ordinary manner, spouted the whole of the puddle over them. The punishment was highly applauded by those who witnessed it, and the poor cobblers were laughed at for their pains.

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He must have been a very knowing animal, Uncle Thomas. I dare say, the cobblers behaved better in future. Here is another story of the same description, but the trickster did not escape so easily. Once he took it into his head to play one of the elephants a trick. He wrapped a stone round with fig leaves, and said to the carnac, 'This time I will give him a stone to eat, and see how it will agree with him.

After they were watered, he was conducting them again to their stable. The man who had played the elephant the trick was still sitting at his door, when, before he was aware, the animal ran at him, threw his trunk around his body, and, dashing him to the ground, trampled him immediately to death. Some of those which he relates about sheep are equally remarkable, and as he tells them in the same pleasing style, I think I cannot do better than read to you the chapter in 'The Shepherd's Calendar' which he devotes to this animal.

We remember very well his stories about Sirrah and Hector and Chieftain, and the old Shepherd's grief at parting with his dog. But listen to the Ettrick Shepherd.

The Pleasure Center: Trust your animal instincts

It is otherwise a stupid indifferent animal, having few wants, and fewer expedients. The old black-faced, or forest breed, have far more powerful capabilities than any of the finer breeds that have been introduced into Scotland, and, therefore, the few anecdotes that I have to relate shall be confined to them. I was always somewhat inclined to suspect that they might have been lost by the way, but it is certain, however, that when once one or a few sheep get away from the rest of their acquaintances, they return homeward with great eagerness and perseverance.

I have lived beside a drove-road the better part of my life, and many stragglers have I seen bending their steps northward in the spring of the year.


A shepherd rarely sees these journey [73] ers twice; if he sees them, and stops them in the morning, they are gone long before night; and if he sees them at night they will be gone many miles before morning. This strong attachment to the place of their nativity is much more predominant in our old aboriginal breed than in any of the other kinds with which I am acquainted.

She was soon missed by her owner, and a shepherd was despatched in pursuit of her, who followed her all the way to Crieff, where he turned, and gave her up. He got intelligence of her all the way, and every one told him that she absolutely persisted in travelling on,—she would not be turned, regarding neither sheep nor shepherd by the way. Her lamb was often far behind, and she had constantly to urge it on by impatient bleating.

She unluckily [74] came to Stirling on the morning of a great annual fair, about the end of May, and judging it imprudent to venture through the crowd with her lamb, she halted on the north side of the town the whole day, where she was seen by hundreds, lying close by the road-side. But next morning, when all became quiet, a little after the break of day, she was observed stealing quietly through the town, in apparent terror of the dogs that were prowling about the street. The last time she was seen on the road was at a toll-bar near St. Ninian's; the man stopped her, thinking she was a strayed animal, and that some one would claim her.

She tried several times to break through by force when he opened the gate, but he always prevented her, and at length she turned patiently back. She had found some means of eluding him, however, for home she came on a Sabbath morning, early in June; and she left the farm of Lochs, in Glen-Lyon, either on the Thursday afternoon, or Friday morning, a week and two days before. The farmer [75] of Harehope paid the Highland farmer the price of her, and she remained on her native farm till she died of old age, in her seventeenth year.

When one loses its sight in a flock of sheep, it is rarely abandoned to itself in that hapless and helpless state. Some one always attaches itself to it, and by bleating calls it back from the precipice, the lake, the pool, and all dangers whatever. There is a disease among sheep, called by shepherds the Breakshugh, a deadly sort of dysentery, which is as infectious as fire, in a flock. Whenever a sheep feels itself seized by this, it instantly withdraws from all the rest, shunning their society with the greatest care; it even hides itself, and is often very hard to be found.

Though this propensity can hardly be attributed to natural instinct, it is, at all events, a provision of nature of the greatest kindness and beneficence. I once herded two years on a wild and bare farm called Willenslee, on the border of Mid-Lothian, and of all the sheep I ever saw, these were the kindest and most affectionate to their lambs.

I was often deeply affected at scenes which I witnessed. We had one very hard winter, so that our sheep grew lean in the spring, and the thwarter-ill a sort of paralytic affection came among them, and carried off a number.

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Often have I seen these poor victims, when fallen down to rise no more, even when unable to lift their heads from the ground, holding up the leg, to invite the starving lamb to the miserable pittance that the udder still could supply. I had never seen aught more painfully affecting. This is done by putting the skin of the dead lamb upon the living one; the ewe immediately acknowledges the relationship, and after the skin has warmed on it, so as to give it something of the smell of her own progeny, and it has sucked her two or three times, she accepts and nourishes it as her own ever after.

Whether it is from joy at this apparent reanimation of her young one, or because a little doubt remains on her mind which she would fain dispel, I cannot decide; but, for a number of days, she shows far more fondness, by bleating and caressing over this one, than she did formerly over the one that was really her own. But this is not what I wanted to explain; it was, that such sheep as thus lose their lambs must be driven to a house with dogs, so that the lamb may be put to them; for they will only take it in a dark confined place. But at Willenslee, I never needed to drive home a sheep by force, with dogs, or in any other way than the following: [78] I found every ewe, of course, standing hanging her head over her dead lamb; and having a piece of twine with me for the purpose, I tied that to the lamb's neck or foot, and trailing it along, the ewe followed me into any house or fold that I choose to lead her.

Any of them would have followed me in that way for miles, with her nose close on the lamb, which she never quitted for a moment, except to chase my dog, which she would not suffer to walk near me. I often, out of curiosity, led them in to the side of the kitchen fire by this means, into the midst of servants and dogs; but the more that dangers multiplied around the ewe, she clung the closer to her dead offspring, and thought of nothing whatever but protecting it.

One of the two years, while I remained on this farm, a severe blast of snow came on by night, about the latter end of April, which destroyed several scores of our lambs; and as we had not enow of twins and odd lambs for the mothers that had lost theirs, of course we selected the best ewes, and put lambs to them. As [79] we were making the distribution, I requested of my master to spare me a lamb for a hawked ewe which he knew, and which was standing over a dead lamb in the head of the Hope, about four miles from the house.

He would not do it, but bid me let her stand over her lamb for a day or two, and perhaps a twin would be forthcoming. I did so, and faithfully she did stand to her charge; so faithfully, that I think the like never was equalled by any of the woolly race. I visited her every morning and evening, and for the first eight days never found her above two or three yards from the lamb; and always, as I went my rounds, she eyed me long ere I came near her, and kept tramping with her feet, and whistling through her nose, to frighten away the dog; he got a regular chase twice a day as I passed by: but, however excited and fierce a ewe may be, she never offers any resistance to mankind, being perfectly and meekly passive to them.

Trusting Our Gut Instincts—Or Not

The weather grew fine and warm, and the dead lamb soon decayed, which the body of a dead lamb does [80] particularly soon: but still this affectionate and desolate creature kept hanging over the poor remains with an attachment that seemed to be nourished by hopelessness. It often drew the tears from my eyes to see her hanging with such fondness over a few bones, mixed with a small portion of wool. For the first fortnight she never quitted the spot, and for another week she visited it every morning and evening, uttering a few kindly and heart-piercing bleats each time; till at length every remnant of her offspring vanished, mixing with the soil, or wafted away by the winds.

I will now tell you a story about a remarkable instance of sagacity in a sheep, of which I myself was an eye-witness. At first I took little notice of the creature, but as her entreaties became importunate, I followed her. Delighted at having at length attracted my notice, she ran with all her speed, frequently looking back.

The Pleasure Center: Trust Your Animal Instincts

When I reached the spot, I discovered the cause of all her anxiety; her lamb had unfortunately fallen into the brook, whose steep banks prevented it from making its escape. Fortunately the water, though up to the little creature's back, was not sufficient to drown it. I rescued it with much pleasure, and to the great gratification of its affectionate mother, who licked it with her tongue to dry it, now and then skipping about, and giving vent to her joy and gratitude in most expressive gambols. It will save my returning to it afterwards.

Animal Instinct~The Cranberries~Lyrics

It is of a more lively disposition, and is possessed of a greater degree of instinct. It readily attaches itself to man, and seems sensible of his caresses. It delights in climbing precipices, and going to the very edge of danger, and it is often seen suspended upon an eminence overhanging the sea, upon a very little base, and sometimes even sleeps there in security. Nature has in some measure fitted it for traversing these declivities with ease; the hoof is hollow underneath, with sharp edges, so that it walks as securely on the ridge of a house as on the level ground.