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A sentinel at the Menagerie in Paris, used often to desire the visitors not to give the elephants any thing to eat. This admonition was particularly disagreeable to the female elephant, and she took a great dislike to the sentinel. She had several times endeavoured to make him desist from interfering, by squirting water over his head, but without effect. One day, when several persons came to see these animals, one of them offered a piece of bread to the female, which being perceived by the sentinel, just as he was opening his mouth to repeat his usual admonition, the elephant stepped opposite to him, and threw a large quantity of water into his face. This excited the laughter of all the by-standers; but the sentinel coolly wiped his face, placed himself a little on one side, and was as usual very vigilant. Not long after he again found occasion to repeat his former admonition to the spectators; but scarcely had he done it when the elephant tore his musket out of his hand, wound her trunk round it, trod upon it, and did not deliver it again to him till after she had twisted it completely into the form of a Screw.
A person resident in Ceylon, near a place where elephants were daily led to water, often used to sit at the door of his house, and occasionally to give to one of these animals some fig-leaves, a food to which elephants are very partial. Once he took it into his head to play the elephant a trick. He wrapped a stone round with fig-leaves, and said to the cornack (the keeper of the elephants) “This time I will give him a stone to eat, and see how it will agree with him.” The cornack answered, “that the elephant would not be such a fool as to swallow the stone.” The man, however, reached the stone to the elephant, who taking it with his trunk applied it to his mouth, and immediately let it fall to the ground. “You see,” said the cornack, “ that I was right.” Saying these words, he drove away his elephants, and after having watered them, was conducting them again to their stable. The man who had played the elephant the trick with the stone was still sitting at his door, when, before he was aware, the animal made at him, threw his trunk round him, and dashing him to the ground trampled him immediately to death.
All Naples, says Sonnini, in one of his notes to §. “Natural History,” has witnessed the docility and sagacity of an elephant that belonged to the king. He afforded great assistance to the masons that were at work upon the palace, b
reaching them the water they ... which he fetched in large copper vessels from a neighbouring well. #. had observed that these vessels were carried to the brazier's when they wanted any repair. Observing, therefore, one day that the water ran out at the bottom of one of them, he carried it of his own accord to the brazier, and having waited while it was repairing, received it again from him, and returned to his work. This elephant used to go about the streets of Naples without ever injuring any one: he was fond of playing with children, whom he took up with his trunk, placed them on his back, and set them down again on the ground without their ever receiving the smallest hurt.
There is a remarkable instance of an elephant's attachment to a very young child. The animal was never happy but when it was near him : the nurse used, therefore, very frequently to take the child in its cradle, and place it between his feet, and this he became at length so accustomed to, that he would never eat his food except when it was present. When the child slept he used to drive off the flies with his proboscis, and when it cried he would move the cradle backward and forward, and thus again rock it to sleep.
AElian relates that a man of rank in India, having very carefully trained up a female elephant, used daily to ride upon her, and gave her many proofs of his attachment to her. The king of the country, who had heard of the extraordinary gentleness and capacity of this animal, demanded her of her owner ; but he, unwilling to part with his favourite, fled with her to the mountains. By order of the king he was pursued, and the soldiers that were sent after him having overtaken him when he was at the top of a steep hill, he defended himself by throwing stones at them, in which he was faithfully assisted by the elephant, who had learnt to throw stones with great dexterity. At length, however, the soldiers gained the summit of the hill, and were about to seize the fugitive, when the elephant rushed amongst them with the utmost fury, trampled some of them to death, dashed others to the ground with her trunk, and É. the rest to flight. She then placed er master, who was wounded in the contest, upon her back, and conveyed him to a place of security. There are numerous well-attested anecdotes of similar instances of the affection of elephants towards their owners.
If elephants meet with a sick or wounded animal of their own species, they afford him all the assistance in their
wer. Should he die, they bury him, and carefully cover his body with branches of trees.
During a war in the East Indies, an elephant, that had received a flesh-wound from a cannon-ball, was conducted twice or thrice to the hospital, where he stretched himself upon the ground to have his wounds dressed. He afterwards always went thither by himself. The surgeon employed such means as he thought would conduce to his cure ; he several times even cauterized the wound, and although the animal expressed the pain which this operation occasioned him, by the most piteous groaning, yet he never showed any other sentiments towards the opera
tor than those of gratitude and affection. The surgeon was fortunate enough to completely cure him.
There is a further anecdote of this animal's gratitude. A soldier at Pondicherry, who was accustomed, whenever he received a portion that came to his share, to carry a certain quantity of it to an elephant, having one day drank rather too freely, and finding himself pursued by the guards, who were going to take him to prison, took refuge under the o: body and fell asleep. In vain did the guard try to force him from this asylum: the elephant protected him with his trunk. The next morning the soldier recovering from his drunken fit, shuddered to find himself stretched under the belly of this huge animal. The elephant, which, without doubt, perceived the embarrassment of the poor . caressed him with his trunk, in order to dissipate his fears, and make him understand that he might now depart in safety,
It should not be forgotten that the poet of “The Seasons” refers to the sagacity of the elephant, his seclusion in his natural state, the arts by which he is ensnareu. the magnificence of his appearance in oriental solemnities, and his use in warfare :
On the occasion of captain Sampson's present to the king, several accounts of the elephant were written. One of them says, that “the largest and finest ele
hants in the world are those in the island of Ceylon; next to them, those of the continent of India; and lastly, the elephant of Africa.” The Moors, who deal in these animals throughout the Indies, have a fixed F. for the ordinary sort, according to their size. They measure from the mail of the fore foot to the top of the shoulder, and for every cubit high they give after the rate of 100l. of our money. An African elephant of the largest size measures about nine cubits, or thirteen feet and a half in height, and is worth about 900l., but of the breed of Ceylon, four times that sum.”
Tavernier, in proof of the superiority of the elephant of Ceylon, says, “One, I will tell you, hardly to be believed, but that which is a certain truth, which is, that when any other king, or rajah, has one of these elephants of Ceylon, if they bring them any other breed in any other place whatever, so soon as the other elephants behold the Ceylon elephants, by an instinct of nature, they do them reverence, by laying their trunks upon the ground, and raising them up again.”
Though Caesar does not mention the fact in his commentaries, yet it is certain that he brought elephants with him to England, and that they contributed to his conquest of our predecessors. Poly
aenus in his “Stratagems,” says, “Cesar in Britain attempted to pass a great river, (supposed the Thames :) Casolaunus, (in Caesar, Cassivellaunus) king of the Britons, opposed his passage with a large body of horse and chariots. Caesar had in his company a vastly large elephant, (ueyisros &Aepas) a creature before that time unknown to the Britons. This elephant he fenced with an iron coat of mail, built a large turret on it, and putting up bowmen and slingers, ordered them to pass first into the stream. The Britons were dismayed at the sight of such an unknown and monstrous beast, (&opalov k' brepopes ômpur) they fled, therefore, with their horses and chariots, and the Romans passed the river without opposition, terrifying their enemies by this single creature.” In 1730, or 1731, some workmen digging the great sewer in Pall Mall, “over against the King's Arms tavern,” discovered at the depth of twenty-eight feet, several bones of an elephant. The strata below the surface were ten or twelve feet of artificial soil; below that four or five feet of yellow sand, varying in colour till they came to the bed wherein the bones were found, which consisted of exceedingly fine sand similar to that dug on Hampstead heath. About eighteen years previously, elephants' bones were discovered in digging in St. James's-square; and about fourteen years before that some were found in the same place. These various animal remains in that neighbourhood lay at about the same depth.
In 1740, the remains of an elephant were discovered by some labourers while digging a trench in the park of Frances Biddulph, esq. at Benton, in Sussex. The bones did not lie close together as those of a skeleton usually do. It was evident that the various parallel strata of the earth had never been disturbed; it was concluded that these animal deposits had remained there from the period of the deluge, when it was presumed that they had been conveyed and there, left, on the subsidence of the waters.
In 1756, the workmen of a gentleman, digging upon a high hill near Mendip for ochre and ore, discovered, at the depth of 315 feet from the surface, four teeth, not tusks, and two thighbones with part of the
cember, 1694, gave to the mayor and al-
1727. March 11. The equestrian statue of king George I., in Grosvenorsquare, was much defaced ; the left leg torn off, the sword and truncheon broken off, the neck hacked as if designed to cut off the head, and a libel left at the place.”
* British Chronologist.