In China it was regarded as special good fortune to be eaten by a tiger. It is told about quite a remarkable way of hunting a lion in Africa. One trails the king of the desert, and approaches him without a gun, but with a large pack of small, furiously barking dogs. The lion, hiding in bushes, endures the barking for a long time, but finally amidst the branches his threatening paw appears. The experienced hunters say, "Now he will leap." Indeed, the dangerous beast leaps high and lands in nearby bushes. Then to the first dog pack is added a new, fresh pack. The barking increases. The experienced hunters say, "Now, it will not be very long, he cannot stand it." Then comes a strange moment when the dogs. completely infuriated, rush into the bushes. The hunters say, "Let us go in, he is finished." The king of the desert cannot stand the barking at him, and he expires from a rupture of the heart.
I had occasion to observe a monkey court in India. On a high cliff seated in a circle is a whole "Areopagus" of very old grey-bearded judges. In the center of the circle is placed the accused. He is very alarmed, apparently tries to prove something with his gestures and screams, but the "Areopagus" is inexorable. Some sort of decision is arrived at, and the accused, with his tail between his legs, emitting a pitiful squeak creeps to the top of the rock and throws himself into the rushing torrent below. So it happens in the foothills of the Himalayas.
Verily, if one but listens to the stories about the big monkeys who live near the snow mountains, complete books may be compiled. We had an opportunity to see these mountain dwellers, sitting in an orderly family circle, on a platform near a cave. The onlookers commented, "Perhaps they even have flint implements!" They are very much like men.
Also there is a feeling in animals akin to man. During a time of cold winter on the Tibetan hillsides the grazing lands disappeared under the snow. The camels were sent three or four days ahead on a path where there was supposed to be grass. This hope also proved to be futile for there was a deep snowfall and no fodder could be found. In two weeks all the camels perished. I recall a bright winter morning in our camp. Upon a distant, glistening, snowy hillside some sort of animal is moving. A camel! Without a man. Slowly and majestically a lone camel, weakened by fasting, approaches our tents. His gait is sure, and using his last strength, he hastens to where he was fed before. He recognized the camp as his home and was not mistaken. Of course, he was fed the very last remaining grains. The packsaddles were ripped open in order to get a wad of straw. And in spite of everything he remained alive, this one faithful camel. He lived and later crossed with us through all the passes, upon narrow edges, up to Sikkim. We gave him as a gift to the Maharajah of Sikkim, and he may be even still alive on his land. This was the first two-hump camel which came to India from Tibet. All the people from the neighborhood rushed to see him, and he calmly shook his head; his wise eyes, the color of dark agate, were deep and brilliant.
Most likely, the eyes of a roe deer, clouded with tears, are full of expression when the hunter hastens to finish her, already wounded by shot. Sensitive hearts, once looking into such eyes and seeing those tears, will never again raise a knife over an animal.
If people would but decide to kill animals only when extreme necessity arises, a necessity for food! All sorts of appetites for killing must be abandoned sometime. Medical statistics about the spread of cancer indicate that this scourge of humanity is especially prevalent where meat eating abounds. An experienced physician will always warn that sooner or later eating meat will have to be abandoned if gallstones or any such unpleasantness is to be avoided. And from the point of view of nutrition one reads almost constantly in the scientific journals convincing articles about vitamins, which are superior by far to a meat diet One should hope that those times have passed when animalistic physicians prescribed raw meat and blood. What a horror! To prescribe even the drinking of blood.
But, if even the problem of the preservation of health, if scientific experiments and physicians' advices do not convince one, would there not at last be a final proof if one were to look into the eyes of the animals?
The dog is the friend of the house. The eyes alone of a faithful dog can tell a lot; besides, they see more than the eyes of ordinary people. How often it can be noticed that a dog senses something invisible, sees, bristles, and warns by its growling. One recalls many stories about such sensations of the animals. It seems to us that dogs sense more than other animals, but maybe it only seems so, for we observe dogs more than other animals. The dog has entered more closely into our daily life, and people are more used to dogs' means of expression.
One sheep dog asked for coins, collected them in her mouth, and later, entering the bakery, spit them out, thus asking for a sweet roll. We knew a dog in Paris who went for a paper. Outside of any daily acts, so much is known about the self-sacrificing actions of dogs when they were ready to freeze to death in giving their warmth to their owners.
Many animal eyes can be recalled. Again and again, humans could learn a great deal from animals.
Today a new dog, "Nohor," appeared here. It means "friend" in Mongolian.
March 8, 1935