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THE MOUNTAINS. Uncle Oliver. I used to think that if I were a little bird looking down upon Persia from some high place in the sky, the country would appear to me like a grand honeycomb, in which sometimes from two to six cells are broken into one. Now, Persia is divided into such cells by moun. tains, and the cells themselves form valleys, inclosed plains, and deserts.
Jane. I can't tell what that means. How can a mountain, which is like-like-(looking for something to compare it to)-like my thimble -(setting it on end upon the table)-how can it make the side of the cell in the honeycomb? It could fill up the cell, indeed, if I put it into the hole.
U. O. Henry, if you understand me, pray explain to Jane.
Henry. Sir, I think Jane means by mountains, things like extinguishers, standing separately, like haycocks in a field; but I suppose by mountains you mean banks which rise up like thick and exceedingly high walls, and run along for a great many miles; and, from these, other banks come out, like branches from a tree, so as to divide the country in the manner you said.
U. O. Very well described, Harry! See how the mountains lie in this map. (They examine the map). Here, however, the lines of lower hills which more fully divide it are not laid down. So the country does not here seem such a honeycomb as it would appear to a bird in the sky.
J. But what are these round spots, Uncle, in the middle of the long mountains ?
U.O. They are your thimbles, and Henry's extinguishers. The outline of these long mountain-chains is generally broken into points, like the teeth of a saw, or, more exactly, like haycocks so placed in a line that one begins before another ends. But they are not all of the same height, like the teeth of a saw, or all of a size like haycocks. Some of these points rise so high above the ridge to which they belong, that the others seem quite insignificant by their side. Such peaks have commonly names of their own; and sometimes, although they are parts in chains of mountains, appear such single and distinct objects in themselves, from base to summit, as to seem almost independent. Here is Ararat, and there is Demawend. These are very striking mountains of this kind, and I will describe them to you.
H. I beg your pardon, Sir, but Ararat does not seem to be in Persia.'
U. O. Not exactly. It is upon the frontier of the three great kingdoms of Russia, Persia, and Turkey. However, though it does not belong to Persia, the present is a good opportunity to describe it. I shall have hereafter to describe few mountains more worthy your ata tention, on account of the important connexion it bears with the history of mankind. You know of what I speak ?
H. Yes ; Noah's ark rested on Mount Ararat after the flood.
U. O. If this be the same mountain, as most people believe, though some think that the Ararat of the Bible lay more to the east, it is very interesting to look back on the time when the top of this mountain shewed like a steep island in the retiring waters; and to consider that from this point the fathers of mankind are recorded to have gone forth to people the world anew. Look at this picture: it will give you a better notion of the mountains than any words of mine.
J. There are two! Which is Ararat?
U: O. The largest. The small one is called • Little Ararat.'
J. But they are so sharp! How could Noah's ark stand upon either of them?
U. O. The small scale of the picture deceives you; and if you saw the real mountain you would still be deceived by its distance or its height. No doubt there is room on these mountain tops, not only for an ark, but for a village or a town. On account of their height and bulk, mountains are seen, both by sea and land, a great way off, and while smaller and lower objects are invisible. I have often seen Mount Ætna at the distance of from 90 to 130 miles, while I could see nothing at all of the island (Sicily) on which it stands. The part of a mountain which first appears is not, as you might suppose, its large and dark parts, but its sharp and snowy top which glitters in the sunshine, and looks very