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The Ass, contemptibly as he is treated by some, if we can credit the following story, has had preferment shown him for his skill in predicting the changes of the weather.
Louis XI. king of France, having a most famous astrologer in his court, and intending one day to go a hunting, asked him, “ Whether it would be fair weather, or whether he did not suspect it would rain ?” who, having consulted his astrolade, answered, that “the day would be fair and serene.' The king determined therefore to pursue his design: but having rode out of Paris, and coming near the forest, he met a collier driving his
ass, laden with coals, who said, that “ the í king would do well to go back, because in a 1 few hours there would be a great storm.
But as what such people say is little regarded, the king made no account of it, but rode into the forest. and was no sooner there, but the
day grew dark, thunder and lightning came on, and the rain fell in such abundance, that every one endeavouring to save himself, the king was left alone, who had no recourse but to his horse's swiftness, to escape this misfor
The next day the king having sent for the collier, asked him, " Where he had learned astrologly?” anil. “ how he could so exactly tell what weather should happen?” The collier answered, “ Sir, I was never at school, and indeed I can neither read nor write; nevertheless, I keep a good astrologer in my house, who never deceives me. The king being amazed, asked him, “ what was his astrologer's name?”. Upon which, the poor man, quite abashed, answered, “ Sir, it is the ass your majesty yesterday saw me driving, ladden with coals: as soon as bad weather is coming, he hangs down his ears forward, and walks more slowly than usual, and rubs himself against the walls: by these signs, Sir, I certainly forsee rain, which was the reason that yesterday I advised your majesty to return home.” The king hearing this, cashiered his astrologer, and gave a small salary to the collier, that he might make much of his ass, and said, with an oath, that 66 for the future the collier's ass should be his astrologer."
The Swine, too, have had a share of public attention shown them. One day while sauntering through Eartholomew fair, our attention was arrested by a large piece of canvas in front of one of the shows; on which was painted in conspicuous characters,
6 THE LEARNED TIG.”
Although we are not desirous of visiting these places of imposition and madness, we could not withstand the temptation of seeing the exhibition of this wonderful Pig; and in consequence thereof, allowed ourselves to be bustled upstairs by the motley groups who were thronging there to see it. Most of the letters of the Roman alphabet, about two inches square in size, with a few figures, were laid promiscuously on the floor, so as to form a circle. The keeper then desired the ani
mal to point out the letters he named; which, after having seen the circle, and viewed the whole with most attentive eye, he stopt, kneelt down on one of his knees, and held his nose close to the letter or figure required. Any of the company was desired to mention any word for a trial of his knowledge of orthography—the word was spelt correctly. Some questions were put to him by the keeper, regarding his knowledge of futurity, of hidden mysteries, &c.
As to his prescience we can say but litile: however, in answering any questions in which the ladies were implicated, he always made a stop opposite, and pointed to one of them. When the question regarded gentlemen, it did the same to one of them. On the dismissal of the company, he knelt down on both knees, as in token of respectful gratitude to his audience.
It is true,all these signs of rational intellect might have been produced by private signals from the keeper to the pig; but admitting of this, does it not prove that they, the dullest, the most stupid, and unsocial of animals, to all appearance, possess something more than barely a mere machine, and may be taught many useful accomplishments ?
It is a fact that, a black New Forest sow. was broken in, by Turner, the gamekeeper
to Sir H. St. John Mildmay, to find game, back, and stand, nearly as well as a pointer. This sow, which was a thin,longlegged animal (one of the ugliest of the New Forest breed) when very young, conceived a great partiality for some pointer puppies Turner was breaking, so that it played, and often came to feed with them. From this circumstance, it occurred to Turner, (to use his own expression,) that, having broken many a dog as obstinate as a pig, he would also try it he could not succeed in breaking a pig. The little animal would often go out with the puppies at some distance from home, and he enticed it farther by some pudding, which he carried in his pocket, made of barley meal. The other pocket he filled with stones, which he threw at her when she misbehaved, as he was not able to catch and correct her as he did his dogs. He informed Sir Henry Mildmay that he found the animal tractable, and that he soon taught her what he wished, by this mode of reward and punishment. Sir Henry says, that he has frequently seen her out with Turner; when she quartered her ground as regularly as any pointer, stood when she came on game, (having an excellent nose,) and backed other dogs as well as ever he saw a pointer. When she came on the cold scent of game, she slack