The Animal Story Book - online children's book

Edited By Andrew Lang And With Numerous Illustrations By H. J. Ford

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Long, long ago, when the moon was still young, and some of the stars that we know best were only gradually coming into sight, the earth was covered all over with a tangle of huge trees and gigantic ferns, which formed the homes of all sorts of enormous beasts. There were no men, only great animals and immense lizards, whose skeletons may still be found embedded in rocks or frozen deep down among the Siberian marshes; for, after the period of fearful heat, when everything grew rampant, even in the very north, there came a time of equally in­tense cold, when every living creature perished in many parts of the world.
When the ice which crushed down life on the earth began to melt, and the sun once more had power to pierce the thick cold mists that had shrouded the world, animals might have been seen slowly creeping about the young trees and fresh green pastures, but their forms were no longer the same as they once were. The enormous frames of all sorts of huge monsters, and the great lizard called the ichthyosaurus, had been replaced by smaller and more graceful creatures, who could move lightly and easily through this new world. But changed though it seemed to be, one beast still remained to tell the story of those strange old times, and that was the elephant.
Now anybody who has ever stood behind a big, clumsy cart-horse going up a hill cannot fail to have been struck with its likeness to an elephant; and it is quite true that
1 From The Wild Elephant. Sir J. Emerson Tennent.
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