Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/256

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.



projecting from a bulbous base (Fig. 3). The extremities of the needles in other species are curved and turned over, as in Figs. 2 and 5, and in others they are one or two times branched; while in the genus Microsphœria the extremities of the appendages take the most varied and most exquisite forms (Figs. 6, 7, 8, and 9).

The life and history of these little plants afford a large field for studies and investigations, which are within the reach of every one who has a good microscope, and is not engaged on any other special study. Such researches are, moreover, of great practical value. The parasitic fungi are one of the great plagues of agriculture. They fix themselves in hosts upon leaves and fruits, where they shut up the stomata and prevent the action of air and light. The hope of discovering a remedy for such evils is dependent on the study of their causes.


THE roving shepherd sows hastily a piece of land, which he leaves after harvesting his crop, to do the same the next year with another piece of land. But, when fruit-growing is combined with agriculture, this unsettled shepherd-life becomes entirely changed. The plantation of trees and vines must be inclosed, and taken care of a long time before it will bring fruit. Hence arises the sense of a settled home and of individual possession. Even the house of the planter becomes a firmer structure; the ground is more thoroughly cultivated, so that a smaller territory suffices to support the family, and individuals combine more and more into social communities. Man thus becomes accustomed to a settled order of life, and to the relations which form the foundation of lawful constitutions. Closely associated with these changes in the mode of living is the introduction of domestic animals.

In the early time, when the tribes of the Indo-European people still formed one undivided folk in its Asiatic home, the sheep and the cow had already been tamed. This is proved in the case of the sheep by the numerous varieties existing among them. The word daughter, which means "the milker," and which is common to all the Indo-European languages, bears witness to the early taming of the cow. Of both these animals, man at first used only the milk, the flesh, and the skin. Afterward the cow became man's assistant in agriculture. It was not until a much later time that the horse took the place of the cow, at first chiefly in traveling and in riding, afterward more and more in agricultural operations. Here, however, arises the important question, whether the people already possessed these tamed animals

  1. Translated from the German.