Sketches of Natural History of Ceylon eBook

J. Emerson Tennent
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 590 pages of information about Sketches of Natural History of Ceylon.
of our men, who was walking foremost, seen the animal at the distance of some fifteen or twenty fathoms, than he exclaimed, ‘There! there!’ and immediately took to his heels, and we all followed his example.  The elephant did not see us until we had run some fifteen or twenty paces from the spot where we turned, when he gave us chase, screaming frightfully as he came on.  The Englishman managed to climb a tree, and the rest of my companions did the same; as for myself I could not, although I made one or two superhuman efforts.  But there was no time to be lost.  The elephant was running at me with his trunk bent down in a curve towards the ground.  At this critical moment Mr. Lindsay held out his foot to me, with the help of which and then of the branches of the tree, which were three or four feet above my head, I managed to scramble up to a branch.  The elephant came directly to the tree and attempted to force it down, which he could not.  He first coiled his trunk round the stem, and pulled it with all his might, but with no effect.  He then applied his head to the tree, and pushed for several minutes, but with no better success.  He then trampled with his feet all the projecting roots, moving, as he did so, several times round and round the tree.  Lastly, failing in all this, and seeing a pile of timber, which I had lately cut, at a short distance from us, he removed it all (thirty-six pieces) one at a time to the root of the tree, and piled them up in a regular business-like manner; then placing his hind feet on this pile, he raised the fore part of his body, and reached out his trunk, but still he could not touch us, as we were too far above him.  The Englishman then fired, and the ball took effect somewhere on the elephant’s head, but did not kill him.  It made him only the more furious.  The next shot, however, levelled him to the ground.  I afterwards brought the skull of the animal to Colombo, and it is still to be seen at the house of Mr. Armitage.”

4.  “One night a herd of elephants entered a village in the Four Corles.  After doing considerable injury to plaintain bushes and young coco-nut trees, they retired, the villagers being unable to do anything to protect their fruit trees from destruction.  But one elephant was left behind, who continued to scream the whole night through at the same spot.  It was then discovered that the elephant, on seeing a jak fruit on a tree somewhat beyond the reach of his trunk, had raised himself on his hind legs, placing his fore feet against the stem, in order to lay hold of the fruit, but unluckily for him there happened to be another tree standing so close to it that the vacant space between the two stems was only a few inches.  During his attempts to take hold of the fruit one of his legs happened to get in between the two trees, where, on account of his weight and his clumsy attempts to extricate himself, it got so firmly wedged that he could not remove it, and in this awkward position he remained for some days, till he died on the spot.”

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Sketches of Natural History of Ceylon from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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