This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 and his bequest to the birds. Of the English Quaker, visited, wherever he went, by flocks of birds, who with cries of joy alighted on his broad-brimmed hat and his drab coat-sleeves. Of old Samuel Johnson, when half-blind and infirm, groping abroad of an evening for oysters for his cat. Of Walter Scott and John Brown, of Edinburgh, and their dogs. Of our own Thoreau, instinctively recognized by bird and beast as a friend. Emerson says of him: ‘His intimacy with animals suggested what Thomas Fuller records of Butler, the apiologist, that either he had told the bees things, or the bees had told him. Snakes coiled round his legs; the fishes swam into his hand; he pulled the woodchuck out of his hole by his tail, and took foxes under his protection from the hunters.’ In the greatest of the ancient Hindu poemsthe sacred book of the Mahabharata—there is a passage of exceptional beauty and tenderness, which records the reception of King Yudishthira at the gate of Paradise. A pilgrim to the heavenly city, the king had travelled over vast spaces, and one by one, the loved ones, the companions of his journey, had all fallen and left him alone, save his faithful dog, which still followed. He was met by Indra, and invited to enter the holy city. But the king thinks of his friends who have fallen on the way, and declines to go in without them. The god tells him they are all within waiting for him. Joyful, he is about to seek them, when he looks upon the poor dog, who, weary and wasted, crouches at his feet, and asks that he, too, may
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.