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Uncle Oliver. I am now going to tell you several things about the natural history of Persia. If I were to speak particularly about every beast, bird, insect, or plant in the country, it would take up too many of our evenings, and it would not be of much use, because many of the same are common in other countries. I will therefore tell you which are the principal, and if you want to know more about them, you can look into your books which describe them. If I recollect any thing remarkable about the creature or plant which I name, I will tell you of it, particularly if it be a native of Persia.
Frank. But are they all natives that are born there?
U. O. Why, yes, in one sense. But I mean such as are found there only, or such as seem to have spread into other countries from thence. We will begin with the domestic animals. They are the horse, the ass, the mule, the camel, the cow, the buffalo, the sheep, the goat, the dog, and the cat.
Henry. That is nearly the same as ours.
U. O. Yes, nearly; but which are the exceptions ?
H. Camels and buffaloes.
U. O. Yes. Let us go over the list again to see if any of them give occasion for remark. The horse has been already described, and so has the domestic ass; but now I must tell you that Persia is one of the countries in which the ass is found wild. It is hunted as game, and its flesh is considered a great delicacy.
U. O. I have eaten it, and thought it very good, though I hardly remember what it is like. I don't agree in your “ pah,” Jane. In the country east of Persia, horse-flesh is much esteemed. Horses and asses feed on vegetables the same as oxen; and if their flesh is palatable and nourishing, I see no reason against our eating it, except that these animals are too valuable for other purposes to be reared for the shambles.
H. But is the wild ass exactly like the tame ass ?