Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/447

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427
POPULAR MISCELLANY.

to wear a crown—a small circlet of gold set with strange jewels, that brings good luck to any one who finds and knows how to deal with it—otherwise it may bring more harm than good. When it or any other treasure is found, it must not be touched first with the hands, but a part of the clothing should be cast over it. A maiden should use her apron for this purpose, but a man may take his coat or even his pocket-handkerchief. If a bat or any part of the headgear is used, the finder will go mad. These snakes are thought to have a queen who is far more terrible than they. A legend is current at Friedbach that, in the old days when it was vexed with snakes, a stranger, Fridelo, came along, and promised to relieve them, provided, if he should be killed, they would say a mass for his soul every year. He ordered a fire built around an oak-tree, under which he placed himself. As the fire burned, Fridelo began to sing, or whistle, or call, and the snakes rushed into the fire and perished. Finally, a white serpent appeared, passed the fire, and bore Fridelo to the fire on the other side, where both were consumed. The district was ever afterward free from venomous creatures, and in gratitude for the riddance a church was built where the tree stood, in which serpent masses are said.

 

A Church-going Dog.—A story of almost reasoning intelligence is told of a dog belonging to the Rev. R. Ashton, superintendent of an Indian school and pastor of the church at Brantford, Ontario. He attends the church with the ninety Indian children of the school, and rises and sits down with the congregation. One day when a stranger-clergyman had preached too long for the dog, he bethought himself of a method for closing the service: he would have the collection taken which he had associated with the end of the sermon. He ran to the boy who was accustomed to carry the plate, and gazed steadfastly in his face. Finding that no notice was taken of this, he sat up and "begged" persistently for some time. This also receiving no attention, he put his nose under the lad's knee and tried with all his strength to force him out of his place, continuing this at intervals till the sermon was concluded.

 

Agricultural Maxims.—In the new edition of Stephens's "Book of the Farm" the student of agricultural science is advised to enter upon his course early in the winter, because most farming operations are begun at that time. Two years are considered necessary for a thorough grasp of the subject, for he "can not understand the object of a single operation in the first year of his pupilage." Those who have not been bred upon a farm and who can afford it, will find it better to spend their time at an agricultural college with a farm attached, than with some "practical" man as a private tutor, who is not gifted with teaching abilities. Of the branches of science applicable to agriculture are named botany, chemistry, germs, zoölogy, entomology, geology, meteorology, mechanics, and engineering. Among practical hygrometric indications is mentioned the vapor issuing from the funnel of a locomotive steam-engine, "for when the air is saturated with vapor, it can not absorb the spare steam as it is ejected from the funnel, and hence a long stream of white steam, sometimes four hundred yards in length, is seen attached to the train. When the air is dry, the steam is absorbed as it issues from the funnel, and little of it is seen." Other signs of weather are drawn from the behavior of animals. According to the calculations given in this book, most plowing, including turning and time spent in occasional stoppages, is done at the rate of about a mile an hour; and "a ridge of no more than seventy-eight yards in length requires five hours and eleven minutes out of every ten hours for turning at the landings, with a ten-inch furrow-slice; whereas a ridge of two hundred and seventy-four yards in length only requires one hour and twenty-two minutes for turning—making a difference of three hours and forty-nine minutes in favor of the long ridge as regards the saving of time" in one day's work.

 

Distribution of Lakes on the Globe.—The distribution of lakes on the earth has been studied by Dr. Bohm, of Vienna. Assuming that lakes usually exist in groups, and their origin is connected with the glaciers, the author shows that there is a relation between their situation and their altitude. It seems proved that the height of mountain