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Draco

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The name is derived from a Greek word signifying royalty; and the animal was represented as the king of the ser

pents, with a regal crown upon its head, blighting the herbage with its breath, and striking dead with a glance of its eye. The term has been retained, and applied to this South American lizard on account of the crest or projection on its head. Another harmless little lizard, with a terrible name, is the fly

ing dragon, which is found in India, and Flying Dragon,

which is noted chiefly for being the only liv

ing representative of the fabulous dragons of olden time, so celebrated in romance and fable.

9. I will allude to one more only of the true lizards, and that is the little, active, noiseless gecko, or house-lizard of India. The peculiar construction of its feet enables it to run up smooth perpendicular walls with great facility, and even to

ceiling with its back downward. It is partial to the habitations of men, attracted by the flies which swarm there. Thus Mrs. Mason, of the Baptist mission of Burmah, says of these creatures: “They are every where, under the sides of tables and chairs, in the closets and book-cases, and among the food and clothing. They sometimes tumble from the roof upon the tables, but they usually come struggling with a centiped,8 or some other vermin, in their mouths.' So far from having any wish to destroy them, Mrs. Mason considered their services invaluable for clearing the house of vermin. It is supposed that this, instead of the spider, is the animal mentioned in the thirtieth chapter of Proverbs, and twenty-eighth verse, which has thus been rendered by Jerome:

" The gecko taketh hold with her hands,

And dwelleth in king's palaces," 10. The crocodile division of the Saurians next claims our attention. The principal families are those of the alligator of our Southern States, the cayman of Brazil, the common crocodile of the Nile, and the gavial- of the Ganges, all of which are represented in the annexed engraving, which will give you a better idea of their forms and relative sizes than any written description could convey. In the true cro lile the jaws are much more slim and pointed than in the alligator; and you will observe, at the end of the long snout of the gavial, a large protuberance, in which the nostrils are situated. All these animals are inhabitants of the rivers and fresh waters of warm countries; and, although they breathe

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Scale of Feet. CROCODILE DIVISION OF THE SAURIANS.—1. Mississippi Alligator, Alligator Mississippiensis. 2. Gavial of the Ganges, Gavialis Gangetica. 3. The Cayman, Caiman palpebrosus. 4. Egyptian Crocodile, Crocodilus vulgaris. by means of lungs, they are capable of remaining under water an hour and a half at a time. Their near alliancel to the tortoises is seen in the upper covering of their bodies, which is composed of numerous large, square, bony plates, set in a very tough leathery hide. In all of them both jaws are set round with formidable teeth; but the upper jaw only is movable. The following, descriptive of some of the habits of the crocodile, will be read with interest:

11. “The female digs a cavity in the earth, in which she places her eggs in a circular form, in successive layers, and with portions of earth between, the whole being afterward covered up. The nest is generally placed in a dry hillock, and the earth is gathered up, so that, on the average, the eggs are about ten inches below the surface. This being done, the mother abandons them to be hatched by the heat of the sun; yet instinct prompts her frequently to revisit the spot as the term of 'exclusion'll approaches. She then testifies uncommon agitation, roaming about the place, and uttering a peculiar growling, as if to awake her hideous offspring to animation.

12. “The period of maturity being at length attained, the nascenta crocodiles answer to her solicitude by a kind of yelping like puppies. A hollow murmur in return denotes her satisfaction, and she hastens to scrape up the earth with such anxiety that several of the young are generally crushed under her unwieldy body. Having withdrawn them from their nest, the mother leads them straightway to the neighboring water; but now her utmost vigilance is required for their preservation; for, unlike the instinct with which she is animated, the male, silently approaching, will frequently devour them before she is aware of their danger. He perpetually seeks their destruction; and the watch of the female over her young is protracted for three months from their first appearance."-GOODRICH.

13. The Mississippi alligators, which grow to the length of fourteen or fifteen feet, are the most fierce and voracious of the whole class; yet on land they are timid, and usually flee from the presence of man. During the heat of the day, these animals, if undisturbed, lie stretched and languid on the banks, or in the mud on the shores of the rivers and lagoons; but when evening comes they begin to move; and at this time, in certain seasons of the year, they commence a terrific roaring, which is described as a compound.of the sounds of the bull and the bittern, but far louder than either. At this time two males will sometimes engage in fierce battle, usually in shallow water, and in these desperate fights not unfrequently both are killed. When the alligator closes its jaws upon an object, they can with difficulty be wrenched asunder, even by a lever of considerable length.

14. It is known that the crocodile of the Nile, which sometimes grows to the length of thirty feet, was regarded as sacred by the Egyptians, and that, when caught young, it was sometimes so trained as to march in the ranks of their religious processions. The gavial of the Ganges, which equals in size the Egyptian crocodile, though often represented as one of the scourges of that celebrated river, is not dangerous to man or the larger quadrupeds, although it is true that the dying Hindoos exposed upon its banks, and the dead body committed to its waters are its frequent prey.

15. There is a small animal in Egypt, called the ichneumon, which bears some resemblance to the weasel tribe, and which feeds upon birds, reptiles, and also upon eggs. It is particularly serviceable in restraining the multiplication of the crocodile by devouring its eggs, and also the young crocodile when newly hatched. This fact in natural history has been made use of in the following poem to illustrate the principle that it is much easier to remove an evil at its beginning than when it has grown to great proportions. The moral at the close of the poem may well be commended to the young. 1 SAU'-RI-AN, from the Greek sauros, a liz-| 6 CİR-EUN-SPĚ€'-TION, caution. ard; an animal of the lizard kind.

? VĨs'-OID, sticky like glue. 2 COM-PLĀ'-CEN-CY, pleasure; satisfaction. 8 CEN'-TI-PĒD, an insect having a hundred 3 PRĚJ'-U-DĪCE, an opinion formed without feet; or one that has many feet. due examination.

9 PRO-TŪ'-BER-ANCE, a bunch or knob. 4 ÅD'-E-QUATE, correct; adequate ideas are 10 AL-LI'-ANCE, relationship.

such as exactly represent their object. 11 Ex-CLŪ'-$10N, a thrusting out; hatching. 6 €7'-ZI-LY, snugly; comfortably.. | 12 NĂS'-OENT, young; beginning to grow.

LESSON V.—THE CROCODILE AND THE ICHNEUMON. 1. On the banks of the fertile and many-mouthed Nile,

A long time ago lived a fierce crocodile,
Who round him was spreading a vast desolation,
For bloodshed and death seemed his chief occupation;
'Twas easy to see no pity had he;

His tears were but water—there all could agree.
2. The sheep he devoured, and the shepherd I ween;

The herd feared to graze in the pasture so green,
And the farmer himself, should he happen to meet him,
The monster ne'er scrupled' a moment to eat him.
There never before was panic so sore

On the banks of the Nile as this creature spread o'er. 3. Wherever he went, all were flying before him,

Though some in their blindness thought fit to adore’ him;
But as they came near, each his suit to prefer,
This god made a meal of his base worshiper.
By day and by night it was his delight

His votaries' to eat-it was serving them right.
4. Grown proud of his prowess, puffed up with success,

The reptile must travel-how could he do less ?
So one fine summer morning he set out by water
On a pleasure excursion-his pleasure was slaughter!
To Tentyra's isle, to visit awhile,

The careless inhabitants there to beguile.
5. Though the Tentyrites thought themselves able before

To conquer each monster that came to their shore,
Yet now they, with horror, were fain to confess
That this crocodile gave them no little distress.
So in great consternation, a grand consultation

Was called to convenes of the heads of the nation. 6. It met; but, alas ! such the terror and fright,

They failed to distinguish the wrong from the right;
When, just at this crisis, an ichneumon small
Stepped forth on the platform in front of them all,
With modesty.winning, to give his opinion

Of measures and means to secure the dominion.
7. “Grave sirs,” said he, bowing, “I see your distress,

And your griefs are, I fear me, past present redress;
Yet still, if to listen should be your good pleasure,
I think I can help you, at least in a measure:
For 'tis my impression, a little discretion

Than valor itself is a far greater blessing.
8. “No doubt’tis a noble and great undertaking,

Great war on a mighty great foe to be making;
But still, I assure you, 'tis better by far
Not to let this great foe become mighty for war;

While the crocodile lies in an egg of small size,

To crush him at once you should never despise.
9. “You see me before you a poor feeble creature;

Yet I cope with this monster, for such is my nature;
And while you have met here in grand consultation,
This one crocodile to expel from the nation,
I thought it a treat for breakfast to eat
A dozen or more, which I happened to meet."

MORAL.
10. And now that my fable is pretty near ended,

I think there should be a brief moral appended;
Beware how you let evil habits grow up;
While feeble and young, you to crush them may hope,
But let them remain till strength they attain,
You may find your best efforts to conquer them vain.

MRS. J. L. GRAY. 1 SCRU'-PLE, to doubt; to hesitate. 14 BE-GUILE', deceive; impose upon. 2 A-DÕRE', to worship as divine.

5 CON-VĒNE', assemble. 3 VO'-TA-RIES, those devoted to him; his wor- 6 €OPE, oppose with success.

shipers.

LESSON VI.-A LETTER ABOUT THE OPHIDIANS.

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Scale of Feet. THE OPHIDIANS, OR SERPENTS.–1. The Cobra-de-Capel'lo, or Hooded Serpent of India, Naja tripudians. 2. The Naia Haje of Africa. 3. The Rattlesnake of America, Crotalus durissus. 4. European Black Viper, Pelias berus.

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