Baboons and other animals

And the Baboon Played Chess is not a book primarily about animals. But there are cuttings in the book in which animals feature.

First, of course, that chess-playing baboon!


The emperor used to unbend his mind in the society of a large baboon, which he had taught to play chess, a game the emperor was remarkably fond of. One day the animal checkmated the emperor, upon which, being extremely irritated, he took up the chess-board, and struck the ape so violent a blow on the head that the blood flowed; but, on recollection, seeing the absurdity of his conduct, he soothed the poor animal, which with some difficulty became again familiar with him.

Some time after the emperor invited the baboon again to his favourite amusement, when the animal again checkmated the emperor, and recollecting the emperor's anger on the former occasion sprung from his seat, and hid himself under the table, from whence he was enticed with great difficulty.

Some other animals

The origin of the jokes played under this name is conjectured to rest with the French,
who term the object of their mockery un poisson d'avril, a name they also give to mackerel, a silly fish easily caught in great quantity at this season. The French antiquaries have vainly endeavoured to trace this custom to its source. It is said that we have borrowed the practice from our neighbours, changing the appellation from fish to fool; but, in England, it is of no very great antiquity, as none of our old plays, nor any writer so old as the time of Queen Elizabeth, have any allusion to it. In Scotland it is termed hunting the gowk (cuckoo).

AUTOMATON figures, called also ANDROIDES. The first was a flying dove, reported to be made by Archytas, B.C. 408. Friar Bacon made a brazen head that could speak, 1264. Vaucanson made an artificial duck, that ate, drank, and quacked, and also a flute-player, 1738.

They are made to perform human actions, and are of early invention. Archytas' flying dove was formed about 400 B.C. Friar Bacon made a brazen head that could speak, A.D. 1264. Albertus Magnus spent thirty years in making another. A coach and two horses, with a footman, a page, a lady inside, were made by Camus, for Louis XIV when a child; the horses and figures moved naturally, variously and perfectly, 1649. Vaucanson made an artificial duck, which performed every function of a real one, even an imperfect digestion, eating, drinking, and quacking. Vaucanson also made a flute-player, 1738. The writing androides, exhibited in 1769, was a pentograph worked by a confederate out of sight; so were also the automaton chess-player, exhibited the same year, and "the invisible girl," exhibited in 1800.

BEES, introduced into Boston, U.S., by the English, 1670; since then they have spread over the whole continent.

A jockey, wishing to make an advantageous display of a horse that he was desirous of selling to a bystander, placed his boy upon the back of the beast, ordering him to "ride around a short distance." The boy, though well instructed, unfortunately knew not whether the horse was already his father's, or yet to be bargained for; being anxious, to know the will of his father, he stopped, after riding a short distance, and inquired, with a loud voice, "Father, shall I ride this horse to buy or sell?"

The publication has been gravely announced at Paris, of a "Treatise raisonné on the education of the domestic cat, preceded by its philosophical and political history, and followed by the treatment of its disorders"! The name of the author is very characteristic - M. RATON.

It is customary, in boarding-schools, to call to the meals by the ringing of a bell. The cat of the house, who never found her dinner in the hall but when she has heard this sound, never missed being attentive to it. She happened one day to be locked up in a room, and in vain for her had the bell rung. Some hours afterwards, having been released from her confinement, her stomach made her immediately go down to the dining-room; but she found nothing there. In the middle of the day the bell was heard ringing; every one wished to know the reason of it; the cat was found clinging to the bell, and jogging it with all her might, in order to call a second dinner.

A capital farmer in Lincolnshire had a favourite greyhound, which was generally his kitchen companion, but having a parlour party, he ordered the dog, by way of keeping that room clean, to be tied up. About an hour after he enquired of the servant if he had done as he directed. "Yes, sir, that I has," replied he; "I dare say he be dead before now." "Why, you blockhead! you have not hanged him, have you?" "Why yes, sure, I has, sir," answered the man, "You bade me TIE HIM UP."

A Parrot was advertised in the New Times of Tuesday; and after painting its personal beauties, its other accomplishments were thus described, "will laugh, sing, and talk; perfectly good temper; no bad language; well worth the attention of any person that may want a Companion!!" We do not remember to have met with any human advertiser so finely gifted, and would recommend to some elderly Bachelor in making his selection to ponder maturely upon the merits of the young ladies who may tempt him from celibacy and the above state of the Poll.

Robinson Crusoe was revived here for the holiday-folks on Monday last; but the house was very thinly attended. There is some new scenery painted for it by the Grieves; and a Newfoundland dog, of great acquirements as an actor, has been added to the dramatis personae. Young Grimaldi plays the part originally played by his father; and Barnes that which was allotted to Bologna. In other respects, the cast is much the same. [1826]

At the Golden Bear Inn, Reading, a young fox had a few years since been taught to go into the wheel and turn the jack. After he had thus officiated for some time, he escaped, and regained his native woods. Here he met the fate common to his species; he was pursued by the hounds, and in his flight ran through the town of Reading, reached the inn, and springing over the half door of the kitchen, jumped into the wheel and resumed his occupation, in the very place where he had been brought up, by which means he saved his life.

The chien de berger, or the shepherd's dog, is the origin of the whole race. - Buffon. Buffon describes this dog as being "the root of the tree," assigning as his reason, that it possesses from nature the greatest share of instinct. The Irish wolf-dog is supposed to be the earliest dog known in Europe, if Irish writers be correct. Dr. Gall mentions that a dog was taken from Vienna to England; that it escaped to Dover, got on board a vessel, landed at Calais, and, after accompanying a gentleman to Metz, returned to Vienna. Statute against dog-stealing, 10 Geo. III, 1770. Dog-tax imposed, 1796, and again in 1808. The cruel employment of dogs in drawing carts and burthens through the streets, was abolished Jan. 1, 1840.

FISH was brought to London by land carriage in 1761; and machines constructed on purpose, Parliament supporting them, 1764. The fish-oil used in London, cost annually before gas came in, £300,000. There are proper officers to attend to the wholesomeness of the fish brought to Billingsgate market by water or land.

FISH, a most surprising quantity taken out of a pond in Shropshire, Aug. 29, 1731.

There happened an extraordinary and memorable fall of these insects in London, covering the clothes of passengers in the streets, in which they lay so thick, that the impressions of the people's feet were visible on the pavements, as they are in a thick fall of snow, A.D. 1707. In the United States of America is an insect, commonly called the Hessian fly, from the notion of its having been brought there by the Hessian troops in the services of England in the American war of Independence; its ravages were very extensive on the wheat in 1777 et seq.; but the injury to crops was much less after a few years.

Here you have rules for the head, tail, neck, shoulders, back body, legs, and feet of a good horse; are told about his paces; instructed in his mouth; and warned respecting his vices (if he have any). Surely the writer deserves well of the public: and as we hope, through his aid, to be better mounted by all the bargains in horse flesh which we may have hereafter than ever we have been heretofore (the sellers having invariably taken us in), we cannot refuse him our good word. In truth, his Hints are likely to be very useful; and they are short and easily remembered.

HORSE, an English, that performed a number of tricks taught him by his master, who exhibited him, condemned to the flames at Lisbon, as possessed by a devil, 1601.

Mr. John Allan, of Penicuick, near Edinburgh, has constructed a curious machine, which impels two horses round a circle. The horses and riders have the exact attitude, and apparently all the animated emulation, of a well-contested horse-race, and even this necessary characteristic, that even the maker of the machine cannot say which of the horses will gain. To the curious in horse-racing, the invention is peculiarly interesting, as in bad weather they can enjoy the pleasure of a good race with comfort at their firesides. With a little more trouble, it might occasionally be converted to a foxhunt, by affixing the necessary appendages of huntsmen and hounds.

Two bulls, of equal bravery, although by no means equally matched in size and strength, happening to meet near the front of a laird's house, in the Highlands of Scotland, began a fierce battle, the noise of which soon drew to one of the windows the lady of the mansion. To her infinite terror, she beheld her only son, a boy between five and six years of age, belabouring with a stiff cudgel the stouter of the belligerents [Quare - bulligerents? - Printer's Devil.]. "Dugald! Dugald! What are you about?" exclaimed the affrighted mother. "Helping the little bull," was the gallant young hero's reply.

An Irish gentleman superintending his country improvements, and observing that a large hole had been cut in one of the doors for the cat, desired that a smaller one might be cut for the kitten.

JUGGLERS, performers of deceptions, considered to be magicians; a horse that performed certain tricks declared to be possessed by a devil, and burned at Lisbon, 1601, having been first tried; in 1739, a juggler was put to the torture in Poland till he confessed how he did his tricks, and then hung; equestrian tricks caused great wonder at Rome, 1581; Wildman, a conjurer of bees, and their tamer, 1766; John Muller's iron fly, and an eagle that flew to meet the emperor Maximilian, 1470, at Nuremberg; Vaucanson's flute-playing automaton, 1738, and Philipstahl's in London, 1809, were considered by the vulgar as touching the supernatural.

LADYBIRDS, extraordinary flight of, near Southampton, two miles long, observed, Aug. 1826.

The physicians of France and Germany say that the English doctor has but two general remedies for every human disease - mercury and bleeding; and that they give the first to the new-born infant, and bleed it also. The leech was used for drawing blood in very early times, and there are now in England numerous traders, "leech merchants," of considerable opulence. A leech of three drachms takes three and a half drachms of blood, and as much more escapes after. Those of smaller size in less proportion; so that twenty-four large leeches take seventeen ounces, and twenty-four small ones but three. [1851]

No cat has two tails. A cat has one tail more than no cat. Ergo—-A cat has three tails.

A small but favourite fish, in season all the months of May and June. It is then in its prime. It was formerly permitted to be cried in the streets of London on Sundays, A.D. 1698; although it is believed that the privilege allowed to it in this respect, on account of its perishable nature, as well as to milk, is of the earliest date.


A man with much care had train'd up a bear,
With success he young bruin instructed;
Who would growl, aye, and fight,
If thieves came in the night,
And gravely himself he conducted.

This man would oft go
To the meadow to mow,
(For none work'd so willing, or faster,)
And when he went there,
This affectionate bear
Would constantly follow his master.

When by labour oppress'd,
If he laid down to rest,
The bear would most carefully watch him;
And a gnat or a fly,
If he dared to come nigh,

The bear would endeavour to catch him.
One morning he laid Himself down in the shade,
And the bear by his side took his station;
And much did he strive
Ev'ry insect to drive,
That might give him the least molestation.

But a fly void of fear,
Buzz'd close to his ear;
And, fearing the insect might wake him,
He held up his paw,
And thus declared war,
For the bear was determined to take him.

From his coat, from his hair,
It was chaced by the bear,
But his large clumsy paw would not hit it;
At length the bold fly took a seat near his eye,
Nor seem'd to be willing to quit it.

"O, ho!" said the bear, "Mr. Fly, are you there?
Take that, as my caution's not minded;"
So with a stout blow,
He demolish'd the foe;
But his master he very near blinded.

"I find," said the man, "I've pursued a wrong plan,
To rely on a bear for protection;
For severely I feel,
That an ill-guided zeal
Is worse than the want of affection."

An Irish horse-dealer sold a mare as sound wind and limb, and WITHOUT FAULT. It afterwards appeared that the poor beast could not see at all out of one eye, and was almost blind of the other. The purchaser finding this, made heavy complaints to the dealer, and reminded him, that he engaged the mare to be WITHOUT FAULT. "To be sure," returned the other, "to be sure I did; but then, my dear, the poor crater's blindness is not her FAULT, but her MISFORTUNE."

A young gentleman, about half seas-over, on coming into the Opera last Saturday, instead of calling to the box-keeper as usual, was led by some confusion of ideas to bawl out - "I say here, hostler, shew me my stall!"

A savage creature found in the forest of Hertswold, electorate of Hanover, when George I and his friends were hunting. He was found walking on his hands and feet, climbing trees like a squirrel, and feeding on grass and moss, Nov., 1725. At this time he was supposed to be thirteen years old. The king caused him to taste of all the dishes at the royal table; but he preferred wild plants, leaves, and the bark of trees, which he had lived on from his infancy. No human efforts of the many philosophic persons about court could entirely vary his savage habits, or cause him to utter one distinct syllable. He died in Feb., 1785, at the age of 72. Lord Monboddo presented him as an instance of the hypothesis that "man in a state of nature is a mere animal."

"I recollect," says Mr. Croker, in his Researches in the South of Ireland, "once trying to convince a peasant that he might, with very little trouble, improve the state of his cabin by building a shed for his pig, and banishing him from the chimney-corner; but he coolly answered, 'Sure, then, and who has a better right to be in it? Isn't he the man of the house; and isn't it he that will pay the rent?'"

A beautiful little spaniel bitch was permitted to range any part of her master's house. She had five puppies, which were one morning, during her absence, taken by her master's order, and drowned in a neighbouring pond. After much apparent uneasiness, she found them in the pond, and brought them, one by one, into the parlour; and, as she laid the last at her master's feet, looked steadfastly in his face, and expired.

SHOEING Horses first introduced into England 481.

Some schoolboys meeting a poor woman driving asses, one of them said to her, "Good morning, mother of asses." "Good morning, my child," was the reply.

A traveller coming on a very cold evening to a little inn, found the kitchen fire, the only one in the house, so closely surrounded by people that he could not get within the feel of it: he immediately ordered the ostler to put his horse into the stable, and carry him HALF A PECK OF OYSTERS. The ostler naturally observed, that a horse could not eat oysters. "Do as you are bid," said the traveller: "try him, and you will see whether he will eat them or not." The oysters were carried out, and all the company hurried out to see the phenomenon of a horse eating oysters. The traveller now took care to possess himself of the best seat at the fire-side. The ostler returned, and told him, that the horse would not eat the oysters. "It is no matter," said he, "bring them to me, and I will."

The late Earl of Pembroke had a fine horse in his stable at Walton House which, when worked, sweated exceedingly on one side, whilst on the other he was perfectly dry and cool. This extraordinary operation of nature described a palpably regular line from the top of the nose up to the middle of the face, between the ears, and along the back to the tail.