238 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON
cut off in bunches and conveyed to the scene of action in baskets. Then I told my three horsemen to mount and ride their steeds up and down until their feet had trodden the grain from the husk. It was a curious sight.
The bull, the ass, and the ostrich rivalled each other in swiftness. My wife, Ernest, and I, each armed with a pitchfork, followed after them, throwing the grain under the feet of the animals.
When the grain was all threshed, we set to work to clear it of the straws and dirt that had become mixed with it. This was the most difficult and painful part of all the labour. But when we had finished, we found we had sixty bushels of barley, eighty of wheat, and more than a hundred of maize—enough, at all events, to insure us against a flour famine.
When the land was all cleared I sowed it again, but, in order not to exhaust the soil, I sowed wheat and oats.