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[242]

Our dumb relations.

[1886.]

it was said of St. Francis of Assisi, that he had attained, through the fervor of his love, the secret of that deep amity with God and His creation which, in the language of inspiration, makes man to be in league with the stones of the field, and the beasts of the field to be at peace with him. The world has never been without tender souls, with whom the golden rule has a broader application than its letter might seem to warrant. The ancient Eastern seers recognized the rights of the brute creation, and regarded the unnecessary taking of the life of the humblest and meanest as a sin; and in almost all the old religions of the world there are legends of saints, in the depth of whose peace with God and nature all life was sacredly regarded as the priceless gift of heaven, and who were thus enabled to dwell safely amidst lions and serpents.

It is creditable to human nature and its unperverted instincts that stories and anecdotes of reciprocal kindness and affection between men and animals are always listened to with interest and approval. How pleasant to think of the Arab and his horse, whose friendship has been celebrated in song and romance. Of Vogelwied, the Minnesinger,

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