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- Author: Henrietta Christian Wright
- Publisher: CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
- ISBN: N.A
- Category: United States
- Page: 207
- View: 8149
Children's Stories in American History Many ages ago in North America there was no spring or summer or autumn, but only winter all the time; there were no forests or fields or flowers, but only ice and snow, which stretched from the Arctic Ocean to Maryland. Sometimes the climate would grow a little warmer, and then the great glaciers would shrink toward the north, and then again it would grow cold, while the ice crept southward; but finally it became warmer and warmer until all the southern part of the country was quite free from the ice and snow, which could then only be seen, as it is now, in the Polar regions. Ages and ages after this, grass and trees began to appear, and at last great forests covered the land, and over the fields and through the woods gigantic animals roved—strange and terrible-looking beasts, larger than any animal now living, and very fierce and strong. Among these were the mammoth and mastodon, which were so strong and ferocious that it would take hundreds of men to hunt and kill them. These great animals would go trampling through the forests, breaking down the trees and crushing the grass and flowers under their feet, or rush over the fields in pursuit of their prey, making such dreadful, threatening noises that all the other animals would flee before them, just as now the more timid animals flee from the lion or rhinoceros. Sometimes they would rush or be driven by men into swamps and marshes, where their great weight would sink them down so deep into the mud that they could not lift themselves out again, and then, they would die of starvation or be killed by the arrows of the men who were hunting them. Besides these mammoths and mastodons there were other animals living in North America at that time, very different from those that are found here now. These were the rhinoceros, as large as the elephant of to-day, five different kinds of camels, thirty different kinds of horses, some of which had three toes, and some four, on each foot; and then there were a great many smaller animals which we no longer find here. Monkeys swung in the branches of the trees, just as they do now in other parts of the world, and great, strange birds went flying through the air and built their nests in the trees which, ages ago, crumbled away to dust. But at last all these curious animals vanished from the forests of North America—all, that is, except the reindeer, which is still found in the far north—and the only reason we have for knowing that they really lived here is that their bones have been found in the soil.