[Three Hundred Animals Contents]
IS so very different in outward appearance from the above mentioned bird that they seem to exist at the furthest extremities of the chain in the natural order of things. Stupidity in her looks, uncouthness in her walk, heaviness in her flight, are the principal characteristics of the Goose. But why should we dwell upon those defects? they are not such in the great scale of the creation. Her flesh feeds many, and is not disdained even by the great; her feathers keep us warm and call down the soporative powers on our weary limbs, and the very pen I hold in my hand was plucked from her wings. The Goose was in great veneration among the Romans, as having, by her watchfulness, saved the capitol from the attack of the Gauls. Virgil says in the seventh book of the Eneid:
The silver Goose before the shining gate
There flew, and by her cackle saved the state;
and Ovid relates, in his interesting fable of Philemon and Baucis, that the Gods who visited them desired that their only Goose, the watchful guardian of their cottage, should be spared.
The colour of this useful bird is generally white, yet we often find them of a mixture of white, grey, black, and sometimes yellow. The feet, which are palmated, are orange colour, and the beak is serrated. A longer description of a bird so well known would be an encroachment upon the reader’s time.
The Wild Goose is of course the original of the tame one; and differs much in colour from her; the general tint of the feathers being a cinerous black. They fly by night in large flocks, to distant countries; and there clang is heard, from the regions of the clouds, although the birds are out of sight.