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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/258

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He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage:
Neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet.
He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha;
And he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the
captains, and the shouting."

(Chapter xxxix, verses 22-25.)

It was chiefly by reason of these two properties—fleetness and courage—that the horse quickly became an animal without which history would seem barren enough. Without the horse neither the expeditions of an Alexander, nor a migration of tribes, nor a Christian knighthood, would have been possible; in a word, without the horse, all those mighty movements which have shaken the world and have stirred the very foundations thereof, could never have been thought of; and the people, sitting still and silent upon the ground, would never have left their accustomed boundaries to go forth fighting and colonizing from land to land.

Happily the horse possessed still other important properties which rendered possible its employment in other than warlike uses. Chief among these properties are its sagacity, endurance, and fidelity. When, therefore, war was no longer the chief employment of Europeans, and agriculture had taken its place, man soon thought of employing the horse as a draught-animal as he in like manner had hitherto used the cow. Then did the horse become, for the first time, of real use to culture, and a leading actor in it. Such had not been the case in Asia up to this time. The ox had drawn the plow and wagon but lazily and slowly, and agriculture had made slow progress; but with the horse came a new impulse, a higher purpose in this occupation, which made it an important and valuable one. Even to this time the horse, by reason of his excellent properties, is regarded as the truest companion and aid of man in all the operations as well of war as of agriculture. Neither is this noble animal to be forgotten in commerce and trade, nor in art; in a word, it is the most valuable and therefore the best treated domestic animal which Europe has to exhibit.

Besides the horse, some other animals, which in the pastoral time had not yet entered Europe, soon made their appearance. They were the ass, with its near relative the mule, and the goat. All these wandered, as did the vine, fig, and olive, from Asia Minor and Syria to Greece; and, strange as it may seem, the mule preceded the ass, whose original home may after all have to be sought for in Africa. Both spread at a later date from Greece into the same regions in which the vine and the olive found their way, and for a time did not pass beyond these regions. For, notwithstanding their patience and contentment, by virtue of which they are satisfied with the most wretched food, they did not find the climate in Northern Europe a hospitable one for them, and are both still really strangers there.