OUR ISLANDS AND THEIR PEOPLE.
flock of them in the water, would imagine that a den of snakes were out for a bath. Some naturalists claim that all fowls were originally serpents, and that they have attained their present form through the law of evolution, the scales having a evolveda into feathers, etc. The snake-bird of the Philippines has enough of the serpent in his physical makeup to justify an argument along this line.
The water-cock is another singular species of bird. It has a long tail like a rooster, and in swimming sinks itself until only the head and tail appear above the water. They are found along the shallows where the lotus plant grows, and they run about on the broad leaves of this plant, spread out over the water, in quest of their food. Their cry is harsh and singular, and they have sharp spurs on their wings, which they use with effect in defense or combat.
In former times the greatest plague of the Philippine Islands was the locust, and in 1851 the government imported a lot of martins from China, with the hope of exterminating this pest. When the birds arrived at Manila they were accorded a royal reception by a large body of Spanish troops, a band of music accompanying them, with great ceremony, to Santa Mesa. Here they were set at
adversary in close contact. The sportsman will experience no trouble in finding any variety of game that he may desire, and he can arrange the excitement of the chase to suit his personal feelings. But he must fortify himself to endure the pests along with the sport of hunting. A lady, writing on this subject from Manila, says:
a We are comfortable during the day, but at night the rats make sleep impossible. One of the soldiersa wives lives with us, and last night a rat bit her toe. But we havena t any snakes. There are millions of mosquitoes, ants, lizards and roaches in the houses. I shake all my clothes before dressing, so as not to wear ants or lizards. We are troubled greatly with insects. I have seen no pretty thin goods for dresses, except the pineapple cloth, which is very expensive.a
The following stories, told by a soldier in a letter to his home folks, will be appreciated by old veterans:
a The first night we found that a bridge had been burned, so we camped in the open, with timber on one side of us. I fixed my litter under a bamboo bush, and was thinking of Bolomen be-
NATIVE VILLAGE NEAR BULUCAN. ISLAND OF LUZON.
In many portions of the island of Luzon it is difficult to obtain good water, and this explains the frequent appearance of rain troughs and water jars at Filipino houses.
liberty, and the public was forbidden, under heavy penalties, to destroy any of them. At that time there were millions of locusts among the crops, and, while still one of the great pests of the islands, they are not so bad as formerly. As every one is familiar with the appearance and peculiarities of the locust, it is not worth while to describe them here. They are so perfectly harmless that native children catch and play with them, and they constitute a popular food among some classes of the people. It is said that in a certain portion of Tayabas Province locusts are regarded as such a dainty dish that the peasants offered the parish priest a considerable sum of money to say mass and pray for the continuance of the luxury.
In concluding this chapter, it may be added that nearly all the animals of the tropics, and many which belong to the temperate zones are found in the Philippines. Among those not previously mentioned are the lion, the tiger, the hyena, leopard and bear. There is also a flying squirrel, greatly prized for its fine skin and fur. Crocodiles infest most of the rivers, and are a dangerous
fore I went to sleep. I had not been asleep long, when some one let out a loud yell. The first thought I had was Bolomen in the brush, and, oh, my! I went straight up, and lit in the middle of the road, which was full of sharp rocks. Several of us were jumping up and down and yelling a Bolomen/ and there was a general stampede in Company F. The cause of it all was that some fellow was thinking of snakes before he went to sleep, and a little frog dropped on his hand, and he thought it was a snake, so he let out the first yell, which almost put the entire battalion on a stampede. I did not get over the scare for some time. When it subsided there was a roar of laughter all over the camp. Well, it was something funny, some yelling a Bolomen/ and some yelling a snakes/
a Our rations were running a little short, and we had strict orders not to steal anything, like chickens, hogs, etc. But the temptation was too great. I resisted, but could not stand it, so I said to one of the boys, a Come on, leta s get a pig/ The cook said he would cook whatever we brought in. Finally we found a pig, chased it for two hours, could not get it, and came back for dinner*