Fox's Earth to Mountain Tarn Days among the wild animals of
Scotland by J. H. Crawford (1907)
THIS book is a contribution
to the natural history of Scotland. It tells of days among the wild
creatures; days selected from many days, because more crowded with incident,
against a picturesque background. It starts from the earth of a lowland fox,
and ends by a lonely mountain tarn. It ranges from the border to Shetland,
from burn to river, from shaded lane to fenceless moor and bare mountain
top. Trout and salmon, singing-bird to eagle, field mouse to deerall find a
place. The current ripples; the rings break out on the pools; in the
twilight the voles come forth from their tunnels. The rod flashes its
silvered line; the bay of the hound, the crack of the gun echo through the
pages. It is confined to the north. Scotland is, perhaps, the only part of
the British Isles where the term wild life has much meaning.
The object is to open the
general eye to the charm, to waken an interest in the general mind. Nothing
is so fatal as indifference. Rare forms have passed out of existence, others
are passing. Our land is poorer than she was, and richer than she will be.
Against this depletion I strive with all my might.
Alike to pursuer and pursued,
Sport is bright and bracing. Pleasant are her footmarks along the stream
bank above the sedges; her breath, the purple moorland breeze that brushes
the heather. But she may be ugly, and try the patience of those who love her
most wisely. Modern sport selects such as she cares to follow, and kills out
their enemies. A wild creature without natural check is ever, more or less,
tame and unfit. Among the doomed are the wild cat, the greater weasels, and
the birds of prey. More than any others these forms make of Scotland an
interesting land, and ought to be her chief charge. Sport owes much to them.
Without eagle and falcon were no twelfth of August.
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