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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/559

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SHETLAND PONIES.

say that, by preference, it does nothing of the kind. As far as our experience enables us to judge, a straying pony, wherever it may be, traverses the line of least resistance.

We have said that they are exported in large numbers annually. The wonder, in our opinion, is that they are not still more extensively purchased. They are singularly affectionate and repay any amount of attention. Their uses are manifold, as they are capital saddle animals—one of forty-seven inches being quite up to an ordinary riding weight—are as a rule sure-footed and reliable, go well either singly or paired in harness, make the best of hill ponies, give little trouble, and are the most captivating of all possible pets. Take them all in all, they are by far the best of the pony race. Perhaps their only drawback is their almost infinite teachableness, which tends to make them acquire bad as well as good habits; but this is a question of training. In nine cases out of ten their breaking-in is intrusted to inexperienced boys, with the usual result of developing a tendency to shy or to throw their rider, at which latter manœuvre they may become perfect adepts. These tricks are never unlearned. But, with an ordinary amount of skilled attention from the first, they may be perfectly disciplined.

Mr. J. Sands is the poet of this special subject—perhaps the only singer the Shetland pony ever had. In touching verse he pictures the mother pony with her downy foal feeding together on the wind-swept grassy hills of Shetland, the latter soon to be parted from her to go to work in the grimy coal-mine. A fine touch of nature this, but not without its share of, apparently inevitable, fallacy. For mine-ponies, though certainly condemned to life-long imprisonment, are well looked after and carefully tended. Assuredly their lot underground is preferable to ill-treatment above ground, and though a pony may suffer from something like "home-sickness" for a few days in a new dwelling, the attack seldom lasts long. Our pony, though somewhat of a pessimist, is a philosopher, and adapts itself with wonderful facility to a change of home and ownership.—Cornhill Magazine.

 


 
One of the traits of recent historical investigation, which is well illustrated in Welzhofer's History of the Early Greek People, is its reaction against the skeptical school of inquirers. The disposition to disbelieve the old stories, or to resolve them into poetical fancies, is giving way to speculations concerning the real facts on which they may or are supposed to have been founded. Mr. F. T. Richards suggests, in the Academy, that anthropology has done something to bring about this change of mind, by finding, still existent, institutions, incidents, legends, and states of mind closely parallel or akin to early Greek and Roman affairs; while the credit of many of the old stories is strengthened by incidents in which the unlettered traditions of savages have been found to be true.