INSTINCT OF CATTLE.
The Author of letters from Buenos Ayres relates the well known
instinct of cattle in scenting water at a wonderful distance, and describes an
occasion wherein it was displayed on the approach of rain, in a similar manner as if
a river or spring had been found.
"The Negroes were sent in different directions to see how far the
scorched grass extended, and were at a considerable distance, when the Father
Provincial cried out ' Look at the oxen, they smell water,' we all eagerly turned
to the poor panting animals, and saw them stretch out their necks and raise
their heads towards the west, and snuff the air in a manner as if they would be
certain of obtaining drink could they but raise themselves in the air. At
that moment not a cloud or a single breath of air was to be seen or felt: but in
a few minutes the cattle began to move about as if mad, or possessed by some
invisible spirit, snuffing the air with most violent eagerness, and gathering
closer and closer to each other: and before we could form any rational
conjecture as to what could occasion their simultaneous motion, the most tremendous
storm came on of thunder, lightening and rain, Ever witnessed in my life. The
rain fell in perpendicular streams as if all the fountains of Heaven were
suddenly broke loose; so that, in a very few minutes, torrents of water rolled
around us, and the cattle easily drank their fill at the spot on which they stood."