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Stories about Animals: with Pictures to Match   By: (1812-1859)

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Editor of "The Youth's Cabinet," Author of "Stories About Birds," &C.

Boston. Phillips, Sampson and Company. 1851. Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1849, By D. A. Woodworth, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York.


In the following pages are grouped together anecdotes illustrative of the peculiarities of different animals mostly quadrupeds their habits, dispositions, intelligence, and affection. Nothing like a scientific treatise of any of these animals has been attempted. I do not even give a generic or specific history of one of them, except so far as they are all casually and incidentally described in these anecdotes. Their natural history, in detail, I leave for others, as the historian or biographer of men, bent only on a record of the thoughts, words, and acts of men, passes by the abstract details, however interesting they may be, of human physiology, and the general characteristics of the species. I have not aimed to introduce to the reader, in this volume, all the animals belonging to the race of quadrupeds, who have a claim to such a distinction. I have preferred rather to make a selection from the great multitude, and to present such facts and anecdotes respecting those selected as shall, while they interest and entertain the young reader, tend to make him familiar with this branch of useful knowledge.

I ought, in justice to myself, to explain the reason why I have restricted my anecdotes almost exclusively to animals belonging to the race of quadrupeds. It is seldom wise, in my judgment, for an author to define, very minutely, any plan he may have, to be developed in future years as so many circumstances may thwart that plan altogether, or very materially modify it. Yet I may say, in this connection, that the general plan I had marked out for myself, when I set about the task of collecting materials for these familiar anecdotes, is by no means exhausted in this volume, and that, should my stories respecting quadrupeds prove as acceptable to my young friends as I hope, it is my intention eventually to pursue the same, or a similar course, in relation to the other great divisions of the animal kingdom Birds, Reptiles, Insects, Fishes, etc.

The stories I tell I have picked up wherever I could find them having been generally content when I have judged a particular story to be, in the first place, a good story, and in the second place, a reliable one. I have not thought it either necessary or desirable, to give, in every case, the source from which I have derived my facts. Some of them I obtained by actual observation; quite as many were communicated by personal friends and casual acquaintances; and by far the greater portion were gleaned from the current newspapers of the day, and from the many valuable works on natural history, published in England and in this country. Among the books I have consulted, I am mostly indebted to the following: Bingley's Anecdotes illustrative of the Instincts of Animals; Knight's Library of Entertaining Knowledge; Bell's Phenomena of Nature; the Young Naturalist's Rambles; Natural History of the Earth and Man; Chambers' Miscellany of Useful and Entertaining Knowledge; Animal Biography; and the Penny Magazine.

The task of preparing this volume for the press has been an exceedingly pleasant one. Indeed, it has been rather recreation than toil, in comparison with other and severer literary labors. I trust my young friends will take as much pleasure in reading these stories as I have taken in collecting them. I hope too, that no one of my readers will fail to discover, as he proceeds, the evidences of the wisdom, power, and goodness of the Being who formed and who controls and governs the animal kingdom. Here, as in every department of nature's works, these evidences abound, if we will but perceive them... Continue reading book >>

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