264 GULLIVER'S TRAVELS
of cold and heat. They have a kind of tree, which, at forty years old, loosens in the root, and falls with the first storm; it grows very straight, and being pointed like stakes, with a sharp stone (for the Houyhnhnms know not the use of iron), they stick them erect in the ground about ten inches asunder, and then weave in oat-straw, or sometimes wattles, betwixt them. The roof is made after the same manner, and so are the doors.
The Houyhnhnms use the hollow part, between the pastern and the hoof, of their forefeet, as we do our hands, and this with greater dexterity than I could at first imagine. I have seen a white mare of our family thread a needle (which I lent her on purpose) with that joint. They milk their cows, reap their oats, and do all the work which requires hands in the same manner. They have a kind of hard flints, which, by grinding against other stones, they form into instruments that serve instead of wedges, axes, and hammers. With tools made of these flints they likewise cut their hay, and reap their oats, which there grow naturally in several fields: the Yahoos draw home the sheaves in carriages, and the servants tread them in certain covered huts, to get out the grain, which is kept in stores. They make a rude kind of earthen and wooden vessels, and bake the former in the sun.
If they can avoid casualties, they die only of old age, and are buried in the obscurest places that can be found, their friends and relations expressing neither joy nor grief at their departure; nor does the dying person discover the least regret that he is leaving the world, any more than if he were upon returning home from a visit to one of his neighbours. I remember my master having once made an appointment with a friend and his family to come to his house upon some affair of importance: on the day fixed the mistress and her two children came very late; she made two excuses, first for her husband, who, as she said, happened that very morning to Ihnuwnh. The word is strongly ex-