The Red Book Of Animal Stories - online children's book

Stories of Animals, Fantastic and Mundane, Edited By Andrew Lang

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There is perhaps no animal in the world so useful to man as the reindeer, at least none that can be put to so many uses. The flesh of a sheep is eaten, and its wool is woven into cloth; but then we should never think of harnessing a sheep even to a baby-carriage. A camel serves, in the desert, the purpose of a van and of a riding horse in one, and his hah' makes warm and light garments; but he would give us a very nasty dinner, and the same may be said of some other useful creatures. A reindeer, however, is good to eat, and makes an excellent steed ; its milk is nourishing ; the softer parts of its horns, when properly prepared, are considered a delicacy ; the bones are turned to account as tools; the sinews are twisted into thread, and, all the long winter, the skin and hair keep the dwellers in the far north snug and warm. Take away the reindeer, and the inhabitants of every country north of latitude 60°—sometimes even south of it—would feel as helpless as we should in England if there were no more sheep or cows !
Reindeers live, by choice, on the slopes of mountains, and require no better food than the moss, or little Alpine plants, which they find growing in the crevices of the rock. Sometimes, in very cold places, or when the winter is particularly severe, they take shelter in the forests; but when spring is in the air once more, out they come in great herds, thin and sore from the bites of newly awakened insects, and wander away in search of
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