Boekgegevens
Titel: First English reading book: Engelsch leesboek voor instituten, gymnasiën en hoogere burgerscholen: met Nederlandsche woordenlijst
Auteur: Herrig, Ludwig
Uitgave: Arnhem: J. Voltelen, 1869 *
Auteursrechten: Zie auteursrechten
Citeerinstructie: Bijzondere Collecties van de Universiteit van Amsterdam, UBM: IWO 513 H 21
URL: https://schoolmuseum.uba.uva.nl/bookid/LCSM_204683
Onderwerp: Taal- en letterkunde naar afzonderlijke talen: Engelse taalkunde
Trefwoord: Leesvaardigheid, Engels, Leermiddelen (vorm)
* jaar van uitgave niet op de gebruikelijke wijze verkregen, mogelijk betreft het een schatting
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•214
say, I never was tired with watching them;
I 've even forgot in the summer time what
I came out for, from having fallen in with
them at work.'
'And so have I,' said Martin. 1 once
was lying down under a bush by the side
of a stream, and I saw a whole council of
them meet together, and they talked after
their own fashion so earnestly, that I really
think they have a language as good as our
own. It 's always the old ones who talk,
and the young ones who listen.'
'That 's true,' replied Malachi. 'I once
myself saw them hold a council, and then
they all separated to go to work, for they
were about to dam up a stream and build
their lodges.'
'And what did they do?' said Mrs. Camp-
bell.
'Why, Ma'am, they did all the same as
Christians would have done. The Indians
say that beavers have souls as well as
themselves, and certainly if sense gave
souls, the Indians would be in the right.
The first thing that they did was to appoint
their sentinels to give notice of danger;
for the moment any one comes near them,
these sentinels give the signal and away
they all dive, and disappear till the danger
is over.'
'There are many beasts as well as birds
that do the same', observed Mr. Campbell;
'indeed, most of those which are gregarious
and live in flocks.'
'That 's true, Sir,' repUed Martin.
*WelI, Ma'am, the beavers choose a
place fit for their work. What they re-
quire is a stream running through a flat
or bottom, which stream of water they
may dam up so as to form a large pond
of a sufficient depth by the water flowing
over and covering the flat or bottom se-
veral feet; and when they have found the
spot they require, they begin their work.'
'Perhaps,' observed Mr. Campbell, 'this
choice requires more sagacity than the rest
of their labour, for the beavers must have
some engineering talent to make the selec-
tion; they must be ab'le to calculate as ex-
actly, as if they took their levels, to secure
the size and depth of water in the pond
which is necessary. It is the most wonder-
ful, perhaps, of all the instincts, or reason-
ing powers rather, allotted to them.'
'It is, Sir; and I 've often thought so,'
replied Malachi; 'and then to see how
they carry all their tools about them; a
carpenter's basket could not be better pro-
vided. Their strong teeth serve as axes
to cut down the trees; then their tails
serve as trowels for their mason's work;
their fore-feet they use just as we do our
hands, and their tails are also employed
as little carts or wheelbarrows.'
'I have known these little creatures as
they are, raise banks four or five hundred
paces in length, and a matter of twenty
feet high in some parts, besides being
seven or eight feet thick; and all in one
season, — perhaps five or six months'
work.'
'But how many of them do you reckon
are at the work? said Henry.
'Perhaps a hundred; not more, I should
say.'
'Well; but how do they raise these
banks?'
'There, they show what sense they have.
I 've often watched them when they have
been sawing through the large trees with
the front teeth; they could not carry the
tree, that 's certain, if the whole of them
were to set to work, so they always pick
out the trees by the banks of the stream,
and they examine how the trees incline,
to see if they will fail into the stream; if
not, they will not cut them down; and
when they are cutting them down and they
are nearly ready for falling, if the wind
should change and be against the fall,
they will leave that tree till the wind will
assist them. As soon as the trees are
down, they saw off the branches and arms,
and float the log down to where the dam
is to be made; they lay them across, and
as they lay them one upon the other, of
course the water rises and enables them to
float down and place the upper ones. But
before that, as soon as the lower logs are
in their places, the animals go and fetch
long grass and clay, which they load upon
their flat tails, and drag to the dam, fiUing
up the holes between the timber till it is
as strong as a wall, and the water is com-
pletely stopped.'
'Yes,' said Martin; '1 have heard them
at night working away so hard and flap-
ping and spattering with their tails, that I
could imagine there were fifty men at work
instead of a hundred of those small ani-
mals. But they work by day and by night,
and never seem tired, till the dam is sound
and their work is complete.'
'But the raising of the dam is only pre-
paratory, is it not, to their building their
own houses?' observed Mrs. Campbell.
'Nothing more, Ma'am; and I think the
rest of the work is quite as wonderful.'
'As soon as they have dammed up the
river and made the lake, they then build
their houses; and how they manage to work
under water and fix the posts in the ground