图书图片
PDF
ePub

amith which reason, could and India

arriving at the mouth of the hole, either with yellow balls of wax under their thighs, or full of the honey which they had drawn in with their trunks, for the purpose of spouting it out into the cells of the honey.comb. Indur felt much delight in this useful and active way of life, and was always one of the first abroad at the dawn and latest home in the evening. On rainy and foggy days they stayed at home and employed themselves in finishing their cells, and all the necessary work within doors; and Indur, though endued with human reason, could not but admire the readiness with which he and the rest formed the most regular plans of work, all corresponding in design and execution, guided by instinct alone.

The end of autumn now approaching, the bees had filled their combs with honey; and nothing more being to be got abroad, they stayed within doors, passing most of their time in sleep. They ate a little of their store, but with great frugality ; and all their meals were made in public, none daring to make free with the common stock by himself. The owner of the hives now came, and took them one by one in his hands, that he might judge by the weight whether or no they were full of honey. That in which Indur was, proved to be one of the heaviest, and it was therefore resolved to take the contents. For this purpose, one cold night, when the bees were all fast asleep, the hive was placed over a hole in the ground, in which were put brimstone matches set on fire. The fumes rose into the hive, and soon suffocated great part of the bees, so that they all fell from the combs. Indur was amongst the dead.

THE TRANSMIGRATIONS OF INDUR.

PART V. Indur as a Rabbit and a Dog. Indur soon revived in the form of a young rabbit in a spacious warren. This was like a populous town, being everywhere burrowed into hollows running deep under ground, and each inhabited by one or more families. In the evening, the warren was covered with a vast number of rabbits, old and young, some feeding, others frisking about, and pursuing one another in wanton sport. At the least alarm they all hurried into the holes nearest them, and were in an instant safe from enemies, who either could not follow them at all, or if they did, were foiled in the chase by the numerous ways and turnings in the earth, communicating with each other so as to afford easy means of escape.

Indur delighted much in this secure and social life; and taking a mate, was soon the father of a numerous offspring. Several of the little ones, however, not being sufficiently careful, fell a prey to either hawks and crows continually hovering over the warren, or to cats, foxes, and other wild quadrupeds who used every art to catch them at a distance from their holes.

Indur himself ran several hazards. He was once very near being caught by a little dog trained for the purpose, who kept playing round for a considerable time, not seeming to attend to the rabbits, till having got near, he all at once dashed into the midst of them. Another time he received some shot from a sportsman, who lay on the other side of the hedge adjoining the warren.

The number of rabbits here was so great, that a hard winter coming on, which killed most of the vegetables

or buried them deep under the snow, they were reduced to great straits, and many were famished to death. Some turnips and hay, however, which were laid for them, preserved the greater part. The approach of spring renewed their sport and pleasure ; and Indur was made the father of another family.

One night, however, was fatal to them all. As they were sleeping, they were alarmed by the attack of a ferret; and running with great speed to the mouth of their burrow to escape it, they were all caught in nets placed over their holes. Indur with the rest was killed by a blow on the back of the neck, and his body was sent to the nearest market-town.

His next change was into a young mastiff, brought up in a farm-yard. Having nearly acquired his full size, he was sent as a present to a gentleman in the neighbourhood, who wanted a faithful guard for his house and grounds. Indur at once attached himself to his master and all his family, and showed every mark of a noble and generous nature. Though fierce as a lion whenever he thought the persons or property of his friends invaded, he was as gentle as a lamb at other times, and would patiently suffer any kind of freedoms from those he loved. He permitted the children of the house to lug him about, ride on his back, and use him as roughly as their little hands were capable of; never, even when hurt, showing any displeasure further than by a low growl.

He was extremely indulgent to all the other animals of his species in the yard ; and when abroad, would treat the impertinent barking of little dogs with silent contempt. Once, indeed, being provoked beyond bearing, not only by the noise, but by the snaps of a malicious whelp, he suddenly seized him in his open

mouth ; but when the bystanders thought that the poor cur was going instantly to be devoured, they were equally diverted and pleased, at seeing Indur gc to the side of a muddy ditch, and drop bis antagonist unhurt into the middle of it.

He had, however, more serious conflicts frequently to sustain. He was accustomed to attend the servant on market days to the neighbouring town, when it was his office to guard the provision cart, while the man was making his purchases in the shops. On these occasions, the boldest dogs in the street would sometimes make an onset in a body; and while some of them were engaging Indur, others would be mounting the cart, and pulling down the meat baskets. Indur had much ado to defend himself and the baggage too ; however, he never failed to make some of the assailants pay dearly for their impudence, and by his loud barking, he summoned his human fellowservant to his assistance, in time to prevent their depredations.

At length his courage was exerted on the most important service to which it could be applied. His master, returning home late one evening, was attacked near his own house by three armed ruffians. Indu heard his voice calling for help, and instantly flew to his relief. He seized one of the villains by the throat, brought him to the ground, and soon disabled him. The master, in the meantime, was keeping off the other two with a large stick, but had received several wounds with a cutlass; and one of the men had presented a pistol, and was just on the point of firing. At this moment, Indur, leaving his vanquished foe on the ground, rushed forward, and seizing the man's arm, caused him to drop the pistol;

the master took it up, on which the other robber ded. He now advanced to him with whom Indur was engaged, and fired the pistol at him. The ball broke the man's arm, and thence entered the body of Indur, and mortaily wounded him. He fell, but had the satisfaction of seeing his master remain lord of the field; and the servants now coming up, made prisoners of the two wounded robbers. The master threw himself by the side of Indur, and expressed the warmest concern at the accident which had made him the cause of the death of the faithful animal that had preserved his life. Indur died licking his hand.

So generous a nature was now no longer to be annexed to a brute form. Indur, awaking as it were from a trance, found himself again in the happy region he had formerly inhabited, and recommenced the innocent life of a Brahmin. He cherished the memory of his transmigrations, and handed them down to posterity, in a relation from which the preceding account has been extracted for the amusement of my young readers.

THE IDIOT BOY.

PART I.
'Tis eight o'clock-a clear March night;

The moon is up, the sky is blue;
The owlet in the moonlight air
Shouts from nobody knows where;
He lengthens out his lonely shout-

Halloo ! halloo ! a long halloo !
“ Why bustle thus about your door?

What means this bustle, Betty Foy.?
Why are you in this mighty pet ?
And why on horseback have you set

Him whom you love, your Idiot Boy?

« 上一页继续 »