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that, from very fear, I threw the kitten out and lashed the flying horse.
The enraged animal halted for a moment to see that her kitten was safe ; and then continued the chase, as though the recovery of her young one would not suffice without revenge.
“When I saw her at my back, I scarcely breathed for terror. At last her crying child recalled her. At this point I ventured to look back, and saw her standing with her young one in her mouth looking after me, as though she had half a mind to drop the kitten and give chase again. Urging on my horse, I did not feel quite safe until I had got some miles away. I made up my mind from that time forward to let kittens alone, and mind my own business."
PUSS AND THE HAWK.
EVERY one must have noticed the love of a cat for her kittens, and the manner in which she brings them upteaching them their lessons, as it were, and exercising their limbs and eyes by all manner of gambols. Unlike many animals, when her young arrive at years of discretion, and are able to gain their own living without her maternal care, she does not drive them away, but still keeps up a kindly feeling for them.
Some time since, while a number of kittens were playing about in the straw near a barn door, a large hawk swooped down upon
them and seized one of the kittens in his claws. Being encumbered* by the weight, he could not rise very quickly; and this gave the mother time to spring to the
* Encumbered, burdened and entangled.
rescue of her offspring. She immediately flew at the hawk, who, in self-defence, was forced to drop the kitten.
A regular battle then took place, the hawk at first gaining the advantage, in consequence of his power of flight. In a short time the cat, after losing an eye and getting her ears torn to ribbons, succeeded in breaking the wing of her enemy. Encouraged by this success, she sprang on the maimed hawk with renewed fury, and after a long struggle laid him dead at her feet.
TABBIE AND DICKIE.
A LADY of my acquaintance had both a pet canary and an equally beloved cat; the bird lived in her bedroom, and when alone she suffered him to fly about the room, for she could there keep out the cat. Chance, however, discovered that Tabbie was as fond of the canary as she was. To her surprise, one morning, she saw the bird perched upon the cat's body, without fear, and the cat evidently delighted. After that there was no further restraint, and the two pets were daily companions.
Their mistress, however, thought one day that she had bestowed a rash confidence in Tabbie. On hearing her give a slight growl, the lady looked and saw her seize the bird in her mouth. Then Tabbie lept on the bed; her tail like a fox's brush, her hair erect, and her eyes as big as four. Dickie was of course given up for lost.
The reason of all the commotion was this: the door being accidentally left open, a strange cat had come in. It was for the safety of the bird that Tabbie had seized him, and as soon as the intruder was put out of the room, she set her prisoner free.
PRET, THE NURSE. THREE years ago I had a lovely kitten presented to me. Her fur was of a beautiful blue-grey color, marked with glossy black stripes according to the most approved zebra or tiger fashion. She was so very pretty that she was named “Pret,” and was, without exception, the wisest, most loving, and dainty pussy that ever crossed my path.
When Pret was very young, I fell ill of a severe fever. She missed me immediately from my accustomed place, sought for me, and placed herself at my door until she found a chance of getting into the room.
This she soon accomplished, and began at once to try her best to amuse me with her little frisky kitten tricks and pussycat attentions.
But shortly, finding I was too ill to play with her, she placed herself beside me, and at once established herself as head nurse.
In this capacity few human beings could have exceeded her in watchfulness, or shown more affectionate regard. It was truly wonderful to note how soon she learnt to know my different hours for medicine or food. During the night too, if my attendant was asleep, she would call her, and if too sound to be awaked by mewing, she would gently nibble the nose of the sleeper. Having thus gained her purpose, Miss Pret would watch attentively the preparation of whatever was needed; then come, and lie down again with a gentle purr-purr.
The most wonderful part of her behaviour was, that she never was five minutes wrong as to the true time, even amid the stillness and darkness of night. Who shall say hy what means this little creature was enabled to measure the fleeting moments, and how she connected the lapse of time with the needful attentions of a nurse ?
Natural History : Routledge.
THE FISH AND THEIR LITTLE MISTRESS. THERE was once a little girl six years old, residing in America, who had a most wonderful control over a class of animals hitherto thought to be untamable.
For a year or two previous, the little girl was in the habit of playing about the pond near her dwelling, and throwing crumbs into the water for the fish. By degrees these timid creatures became so tame as to come at her call, follow her about the pond, and eat from her hand.
A gentleman went down there with his daughter, to see the little creatures and their mistress. At first the fish were mistaken, and came up to the top of the water as the strangers approached; but in a moment they discovered their mistake, and whisked away in evident disappointment. Their own mistress then came up and called, and they crowded towards her, clustering about her hands to receive the crumbs.
She had, besides, a turtle, or tortoise, which had been injured in one of its feet. This creature lived in the pond, and seemed to be entirely under the control of the little girl, obeying her voice, and feeding from her hand.
It was charming to see the bright-eyed girl sporting with her obedient swarms of the finny tribe, touching their sides, and letting them slip through her hands.
THE GRATEFUL PIKE. At a meeting in Liverpool, Dr. Warwick related an extraordinary instance of intelligence in a fish. When he resided near Durham, he was walking one evening in a park, and came to a pond where fish, intended for the table, were kept fresh. He took particular notice of a fine pike, of about six pounds' weight, which, when it observed him, darted hastily away.
In so doing it struck its head against a nail in a post, and as it afterwards appeared, fractured * its skull and turned the eye-ball on one side.
The agony of the animal appeared most horrible. It rushed to the bottom, and, boring its head into the mud, whirled itself round so rapidly that it was lost to the sight for a short time. It then plunged about the pond, and at length threw itself completely out of the water upon the bank.
The doctor went and examined it, and found that a very small portion of the brain was protruding † through the fracture in the skull. The fish remaining still for a short time, he put it again into the pond. It appeared at first greatly relieved; but in a few minutes it darted here and there, and plunged about, until it threw itself out of the water a second time. Then Dr. Warwick did what he could to relieve it, and again put it into the water. It continued for several times to throw itself out of the pond, and, with the assistance of the keeper, the doctor at length made a kind of pillow for the fish, which was then left in the pond to its fate.
Upon making his appearance at the pond on the following morning, the pike came towards him at the edge of the water, and actually laid his head upon his foot. The doctor examined the skull, and found it going on all right. He then walked backwards and forwards along the edge of the pond for some time, and the fish continued to swim up and down, turning whenever he turned; but being blind on the wounded side of its skull, it always appeared agitated when it lost sight of its benefactor.
On the next day he took some young friends to see the fish, which came to him as usual ; and at length he actually taught it to come to him at his whistle, and feed out of his hands.
Philosophical Journal. * Fractured, broken. † Protruding, projecting, hanging out. | Benefactor ; see note, page 113.