Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/345

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The three kingdoms of nature—animal, vegetal and mineral—were the arena upon which men and women acted the drama of progress.

The animal kingdom.

The animal kingdom was, on the whole, in relation to human progress, the lowest of the three, inasmuch as less exalting artificiality has grown out of it for women as well as men, but more exalting for men than for women. The ever-increasing wariness and remoteness of the animal called for increase of cunning, skill and united effort in man. The apparatus had to be more ingenious and effective, the individual hunter more resourceful, and men had to be mobilized in larger numbers, for longer times and for greater distances.

When the hunter state gradually passed into the pastoral state, the same pedagogy went on, for the hunter now came to be the aggressor and defender in the care of his flocks, killing rapacious beasts and men; and the annual hunt, a marvel of temporary concerted action and intelligence, coming to be the permanent military organization.

Face to face with the animal kingdom, the zootechnic activities of women were of quite another sort. It was they who skinned and packed the game, cured the fish and converted the soft parts of animals into products for human comfort. In the slow processes by which the feral states of animals became domestication, women collected the young, often nursed them, attracted the adult. In those areas where she could best do this was her vantage ground.

In the pastoral state the muscular energies of beasts became the servants of men, lifting many burdens also from the backs of women. Herein came the saddle beast, the pack beast, the traction beast, the permanent supply for art and for sacrifice. As to woman, it brought to her door milk, flesh and wool.

The vegetal kingdom.

In contact with the vegetal kingdom men were the inventors of woodcraft and bark-craft. Women were primitive gardeners, gleaners, basket-and mat-makers, and spinners. Edge tools, therefore, were man's—ax, adz, chisel, whittling knife, all for wood-working; but carrying-baskets and spindles were women's. Sedentary village life is the product of the vegetal kingdom. In its earliest form it is womans sphere. To plant the seed, to till the ground and to gather the crop were hers. What men did all this time was to guard the women and the crops and to develop a military, regulative government. The mound region of the Mississippi Valley is an eminent example of this, where the remains of ancient corn rows survive in the midst of forts and ceremonial earthworks.