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31.-THE ELEPHANT HUNT (continued).

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ma-gic At length, the breaking of the branches, and the crackling of the brushwood, showed they were near ; and the leader, bursting from the jungle, rushed wildly forward to within twenty yards of the entrance, followed by the rest of the herd. Another moment, and they would have plunged into the open gate, when suddenly they wheeled round, re-entered the jungle, and, in spite of the hunters, took their old place again. The chief hunter came forward, and said this had happened because a wild pig, which is an animal elephants are said to dislike, had started out of the cover and run across the leader, who would otherwise have gone directly into the corral : he said the herd was now in the highest state of excitement, and as it was always much more difficult to take the elephants by daylight than by night, when the fires and torches look twice as frightful to them, he wished to put off their capture till evening, when the dark

ness would help them. This was agreed to, and all through the evening no noise was made. When the time came to begin the attack once more, on a sudden the stillness was broken by the roll of a drum, followed by a discharge of guns. This was the signal, and the hunters heaped up dry leaves and sticks on the watchfires till they blazed aloft, and formed a line of flame on every side, except in the direction of the corral, which they kept dark on purpose; and thither the terrified elephants betook themselves, followed by the yells and racket of their pursuers.

They approached at a rapid pace, trampling down the brushwood, and crushing the dry branches. The leader came out in front of the corral, stood still for an instant, stared wildly around, and then rushed headlong through the open gate followed by the rest of the herd.

As if by magic, the entire fence round the corral, which up to this moment had been kept in profound darkness, now blazed with a thousand lights, every hunter on the instant that the elephants entered rushing forward to it, with a torch lighted at the nearest watchfire.

The elephants first dashed right along the enclosure, and then, being stopped by the strong fence, started back to the gate, but found it closed. Their terror was sublime; they hurried round the corral as quickly as they could, but saw it now surrounded by fire on every side : they tried to break down the fence, but were driven back by the guards with spears and torches, and wherever they went it was the same. Collecting altogether, they would stand for a moment as if so astonished they did not know what to do, then burst off in another direction, as if it had just come into their minds to try another place, which they had before overlooked ; but again driven back, they slowly returned to their forlorn resting place in the middle of the corral. And so it went on for more than an hour, the elephants becoming more and more tired with their efforts to escape, until at last they all stood under the shade of the trees in the middle of the corral, drawn up in a circle with their young ones in the middle.

It would be very difficult finally to secure them, if it were not for the help given by the tame elephants. On this occasion, one called Siribeddi, about fifty years old, was sent in. Having entered the corral without making any noise, she moved slowly along, with a sly composure, in the direction of the captives, stopping now and then to pluck a blade of grass or a few leaves, as she passed. As she got near the herd, they came to meet her, and the leader having advanced to the front alone, came and passed his trunk gently over her head, and then turned and paced slowly back to his unhappy companions. Siribeddi, however, followed him, and drew herself close up behind him, then a man with a noose came behind her, and slipping under her body, put the rope round the hind foot of the wild elephant. The latter saw his danger in a moment, shook off the rope, and turned to attack the man, who would have suffered for his boldness, had not Siribeddi protected him by raising her trunk and driving his enemy into the herd. This, however, is the way they are always finally secured, -ropes are put round both fore and hind legs, and then they are

made fast to the trees; the tame elephants dragging them to the huts and indeed doing most of the work. They set about it in a way which showed they liked it, but they are never ill-tempered, or malicious to their wild relations. Some elephants when taken showed great anger and rage, breaking and destroying everything within reach. All showed great grief at being taken, and it was most affecting to see the big tears running down their faces, and hear their piteous moans ; but they were all going to be kindly treated, and in three or four months would be quite tame and seem happy again."

Adapted from Sir E. Tennent's Ceylon.

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“ It is time to go to bed.”

Oh! how soon the words are spoken,

Oh ! how sweet a spell is broken, When those words of fate are said, “It is time to go to bed.”

Is it time to go to bed ?

Surely bed awhile can wait,

Till the pleasant tale is read
At our father's knee; how cheery
Burns the fire! we are not weary ;

Why should it be time for bed,
Just because the clock strikes eight ?
While they talk, let us be hiding,

Just behind the great arm-chairs ;
It may be they will forget us,
It may be that they will let us

Stay to supper, stay to prayers;
Go at last with them upstairs,
Hand in hand, with father, mother,

Kisses given and good-nights said,
'Twill be time for sister, brother,
Time for me to go to bed !

Dora Greenwell.


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