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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/153

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POPULAR MISCELLANY.

on injecting the solution into animals, that its power was not altered. He found also that the effect of the virus was subject to very well defined limits, and that a quantity which would kill an animal of a certain size was much less powerful, or inert, upon larger animals. If a large snake should bite a goat of about fifty pounds' weight, and afterward two children of corresponding weight, he might kill the goat, while the children would survive, because not enough virus was left after the goat was bitten seriously to harm the children; then, if whisky were given to the children, their recovery would be attributed to it, while it really had nothing to do with the matter. It is rare that an adult person dies from the bite of a rattlesnake. Whisky may, however, be regarded as physiologically antidotal, in so far as it will sustain the flagging powers while the poison is being eliminated by the excretory organs.

 

The Teak-Tree.—Teak-wood is the most important of the forest products of Siam. It is used in immense quantities throughout the East for house-building, and is largely exported to China and Europe for ship-building purposes. It is said to be unsurpassed for resisting the ravages of the white ants and the effects of the weather. It grows in the northern part of Siam and Burmah at a height of 1,200 feet and more above the sea, and reaches its greatest perfection in about a hundred and twenty years; but a good-sized tree that can be cut down when quality of wood is not an object, can be grown in ten or fifteen years. The teak district is from 100 to 150 miles wide. The forests are in charge of the governors of the provinces in which they are situated. They are generally leased for a term of ten years, and the lessee is obliged to fell and remove the greatest number of logs possible, paying a definite royalty to the governor. The trees are girdled, and are left standing for two years to allow the sap to run out and the wood to become perfectly dry. The cutting down takes place in the dry season, and the logs are left until sufficient rain has fallen to allow of their being dragged to the river with the help of elephants. After the logs are made up into rafts, they are delivered to the raftsmen to convey to Bangkok; when all is ready, the evil spirits of the river must be propitiated, the cost of which is paid by the owner of the timber. This custom remains in force, despite the efforts of the foreign and educated classes to stop it, and should any one ignore it he would be unable to procure raftsmen.

 

Discovery by Observation.—The circumstances attending an archaeological discovery recently made in German Altenburg, on the Danube, illustrate in the most striking manner the value of intelligent observation. Prof. Hauser was interested for a month in watching the colors of an extensive cornfield, which varied in every part. He found an elevated post of observation, and, after a week's close attention, declared it to be his opinion that the corn was growing over the site of an ancient amphitheatre. His drawings showed that the oblong centerpiece was somewhat concave, and the corn was quite ripe in that part, because there was much soil between the surface and the bottom of the theatre. Elliptical lines of green, growing paler the higher they rose, showed the seats, and lines forming a radius from the center showed the walls supporting the elliptical rows of seats. Excavations were made as soon as the corn had been harvested, which confirmed the professor's theory in nearly every particular. At six inches below the soil the top of the outer wall was found, and from there the soil gradually grew thicker until the bottom of the arena was reached, the pavement of which is in perfect condition. From the theatre a paved road leads to the Camp of Camuntum.

 

The Buddhist Story of the Partridge.—Among the Buddhist stories which Mr. T. W. Rhys Davids has made known to the public is a legend of 400 b. c., pertinent to the question of the standards of precedence. It runs to the effect that a partridge, a monkey, and an elephant, friends, dwelling near a great banyan-tree, discussing which should be considered first, inquired which was the oldest among them. The elephant, when asked how far back he could remember, replied that when he was a little elephant he used to walk over the banyan-tree, and its topmost twig just grazed his belly. The monkey, when quite a little monkey, could gnaw