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It is a wonderful thing, that most animals are aware why it is that they are sought after, and what it is, that, under all circumstances, they have to guard against. When an elephant happens to meet a man in the desert, who is merely wandering about, the animal, it is said, shows himself both merciful and kind, and even points out the way. But the very same animal, if he meets with the traces of a man,1 before he meets the man himself, trembles in every limb, for fear of an ambush, stops short and scents the wind, looks around him, and snorts aloud with rage; and then, without trampling upon the object, digs it up,2 and passes it to the next one, who again passes it to the one that follows, and so on from one to the other, till it comes to the very last. The herd then faces about, returns, and ranges itself in order of battle; so strongly does the odour, in all cases, attach itself to the human footstep, even though, as is most frequently the case, the foot itself is not naked. In the same way, too, the tigress, which is the dread of the other wild beasts, and which sees, without alarm, the traces even of the elephant itself, is said at once, upon seeing the footsteps of man, to carry off her whelps. How has the animal acquired this knowledge? And where has it seen him before, of whom it stands in such dread? Doubt there can be none, that forests such as it haunts are but little frequented by man! It is not to be wondered at, if they are astonished at the print of a footstep before unknown; but how should they know that there is anything that they ought to dread? And, what is still more, why should they dread even the very sight of man, seeing that they are so far supe- rior to him in strength, size, and swiftness? No doubt, such is the law of Nature, such is the influence of her power-the most savage and the very largest of wild beasts have never seen that which they have reason to fear, and yet instantly have an instinctive feeling of dread, when the moment has come for them to fear.3

(5.) Elephants always move in herds.4 The oldest takes the lead, and the next in age brings up the rear. When they are crossing a river, they first send over the smallest, for fear lest the weight of the larger ones may increase the depth of the channel, by working away the bed of the river. We learn from Antipater, that King Antiochus had two elephants, which he employed in his wars, and to which he had given the names of celebrated men; and that they were aware too of this mark of distinction.5 Cato, in his Annals, while he has passed over in silence the names of the generals, has given that of an elephant called Surus, which fought with the greatest valour in the Carthaginian army, and had lost one of its tusks. When Antiochus was sounding the ford of a river, an elephant named Ajax, which on other occasions had always led the van, refused to enter the stream; upon which proclamation was made, that the first rank should belong to the one which should take the lead in passing over. One called Patroclus hazarded the attempt, and as a reward, the king presented it with some silver pendants,6 a kind of ornament with which these animals are particularly delighted, and assigned it all the other marks of command. Upon this, the elephant that had been degraded refused to take its food, and so preferred death to ignominy. Indeed their sense of shame is wonderful, and when one of them has been conquered, it flies at the voice of the conqueror, and presents him with earth and vervain.7

These animals are sensible to feelings of modesty; they never couple but in secret:8 the male after it has attained its fifth year, the female after the age of ten.9 It is said, that their intercourse takes place only every second year, and for five days only, and no more; on the sixth day they plunge into a river, before doing which they will not rejoin the herd. Adulterous intercourse is unknown to them, and they have none of those deadly combats for the possession of the female, which take place among the other animals. Nor is this because they are uninfluenced by the passion of love. One in Egypt, we are told, fell in love with a woman, who was a seller of garlands; and let no one suppose that he made a vulgar choice, for she was the especial object of the love of Aristophanes, who held the very highest rank as a grammarian. Another became attached to the youth Menander, a native of Syracuse, in the army of Ptolemy; whenever it did not see him, it would manifest the regret which it experienced, by refusing its food. Juba gives an account also of a female who dealt in perfumes, to whom one of these creatures formed an attachment. All these animals manifested their attachment by their signs of joy at the sight of the person, by their awkward caresses, and by keeping for them and throwing into their bosom the pieces of money which the public had given them.10 Nor, indeed, ought we to be surprised, that an animal which possesses memory should be sensible of affection: for the same author relates, that an elephant recognized, after the lapse of many years, an old man who had been its keeper in his youth. They would seem also to have an instinctive feeling of justice. King Bocchus once fastened thirty elephants to the stake, with the determination of wreaking his vengeance on them, by means of thirty others; but though men kept sallying forth among them to goad them on, he could not, with all his endeavours, force them to become the ministers of the cruelty of others.

1 The word employed is vestigiun; it is explained by Ælian to refer to the herbage, which has received both the visible impression as well as the odour of the foot.—B.

2 In the case of a footstep, this must mean the ground with which the foot has come in contact.

3 It is a general opinion, and one founded upon observations of daily occurrence, that animals have an instinctive dread of man. We have, however, facts stated by travellers of undoubted veracity, which would lead to an opposite conclusion. One of the most remarkable is the account which Denham gives of the tameness of the birds in Lake Tchad. —B.

4 Cuvier observes, that this is correct; see Ajasson, vol. vi. p. 408, and Lemaire, vol. iii. p. 338.—B.

5 "Novere ea." It is doubtful whether these words do not mean something more than merely "knew their names," as Hardouin explains it, for that would be nothing wonderful in an elephant. On the other hand, to say that they were aware of the honour which had been conferred on them, in giving the names of famous men, would be to make a statement which exceeds belief; for how could the elephants show that they appreciated this honour, even supposing that they did appreciate it? Pliny's elliptical style repeatedly gives rise to doubts of this nature.

6 "Phaleris." See Notes to B. vii. c. 29, p. 170.

7 Pliny informs us, in B. xxii. c. 4, that this was done by those conquered in battle.—B.

8 We may conclude, from the account given by Aristotle, Hist. Anim. B. v. c. 2, and by Ælian, B. viii. c. 17, that this opinion was generally adopted by the ancients.—B. We learn from Cuvier, who mentions the results of M. Corse's observations, that there is no such modesty in the elephant, and that the two at the Museum of Natural History at Paris gave proof of the fact.

9 This is erroneous; the males do not arrive at puberty before the females, which takes place about the fourteenth or fifteenth year. In the elephant which was under the inspection of M. Corse, the period of gestation was between twenty and twenty-one months, so that there may be some foundation for the biennial period, but the term of five days is entirely imaginary. Aristotle makes the interval three years.—B.

10 There is a passage in Suetonius, in his Life of Augustus, and one in Macrobius, where the custom of offering pieces of money to elephants, which they took up with the proboscis, is referred to.—B.

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