Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 46.djvu/587

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dred and fifty or two hundred, and found that everything could be taught by historic plays and games. Then we began the history of games, and found that education used to be play, and now it has become hard work. A little while ago older people used to play. It was the spontaneous activity. We have composed a programme of all the school studies taught only by plays and games. I won't say that it is yet practicable; I simply say it can be done. It shows that spontaneities have done everything, just as in the world everything we know has originally been spontaneity, either of geniuses or great discoverers or inventors. I do not go so far as some enthusiasts, but we are realizing that everything in Nature is to be found in the child. Nations as well as associations, institutions as well as colleges and schools, religions and everything else, when judged by the highest standard of right and wrong, will be pronounced good or evil exactly in proportion as they have ministered and conformed to the nature and needs of childhood, adolescence, and growth. That civilization, that school, that college, is best that has devised the most efficient methods for this."


A White Bear's Bath.—The bath of the younger bear in the London Zoölogical Gardens is thus described in Mr. C. J. Cornish's recently published Life at the Zoo: "Fresh water is let into the bath two or three times a week, and as soon as the bottom is covered the younger bear rolls in and 'cuts capers,' to use the keeper's phrase. She always prefers to take a 'header,' but not after the orthodox fashion; for when her nose touches the bottom she turns a somersault slowly, and then floats to the surface on her back. Then she climbs out, shakes herself, and gallops round the edge of the bath. In spite of her bulk, this bear is as active as a cat, and can go at speed round the circle without pausing or missing a step. Her next object is to find something to i)lay with in the water. Anything will do; but if nothing else is handy, she usually produces a nasty bit of stale fish, which she seems to keep hidden in some handy place, and dives for it, coming up to the surface with the fish balanced on her nose, or on all four paws. If the water is still running in, she will lie under the spout, and let it run through her jaws. But the most amusing game which the writer has seen was played with a large round stone. After knocking it into the water and jumping in to fish it out, she took it into her mouth and tried to push it into the hole from which the water was still running. This was a difficult matter, for the stone was as large as a tennis ball, and the pipe was not much wider. Several times the stone dropped out, though the bear held it delicately between her lips and tried to push it in with her tongue. At last she sat up and, holding the stone between her fore paws, put it up to the pipe and pushed it in with her nose. This was a great triumph, and she retired and contemplated the result with much satisfaction. Later, being apparently tired of this achievement, she threw water at it with her head, and, failing to wash it down, picked it out with her claws and went on diving for it in the bath."


Nature's Commerce.—Even before the first human commerce Nature, as Prof. O. T. Mason shows in his Technogeography, had her great centers of superabounding material, and took pains to convert this excess into supply against scarcity. Thus, all over the earth bees gather honey from ephemeral plants that man can not eat, and store it away in enduring form to be used in time of need. In certain regions of California the piñon seeds grew so abundantly that the Indians could not gather them; but the squirrels laid them up in vast quantities, fed on them in winter, and were themselves eaten by the savages at a time when meat diet was most necessary. They thus gave the Indians a lesson in economy and storage. As an example of the way in which Nature uses the excess of one locality to supply the dearth of another locality, Prof. Mason cites the case of the wild rice, which covers thousands of acres in some places along the Great Lakes and feeds millions of waterfowl. These same creatures are the source of food for the Eskimos, who never saw a spear of grass or ate a mouthful of vegetable diet. Seeds of plants enter into migration by a natural transportation through rivers and ocean currents, by means of winds and the agency of birds, and set up in their progeny new centers of supply on distant shores. The most marvelous of these commercial enterprises