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the head well set on, and carried rather high ; the ears large and rounded, not ragged or indented at the margin; the eyes of a dark hazel colour, free from specks; the roof of the mouth and tongue without dark or black spots of any considerable size; the trunk large, and the tail long, with a tuft of hair reaching nearly to the ground.
There are some other points of less consequence which are taken notice of by the natives as well as Europeans; but the qualities above mentioned ought to be associated in every animal for which the full price is demanded, whatever may be its race or variety.
Two principal varieties of elephant are recognised in Bengal, viz. the Koomereah (or princely caste) and the Merghee (or hunting caste); and these are not distinguished by the size or form of the tusks, which serve merely to characterize subordinate varieties in these two principal forms. The koomereah is a deep-bodied, strong, compact elephant, with a large trunk, and the legs short but thick in proportion to the size of the animal. The merghee when full grown is generally taller than the former, but has not so compact a form, nor is he so strong, or so capable of bearing fatigue. His legs are long ; he travels fast; has a lighter body, and his trunk is both short and slender in proportion to his height. A large trunk is always esteemed a great beauty in an elephant ; so that the koomereah is preferred, not only for this, but for its superior strength, by which it can undergo greater fatigue and carry heavier loads than the merghee.
A breed from a pure koomereah and merghee is termed Sunkareah (or mixed breed): but besides these three, several other varieties are generally to be found in the same herd; but the nearer an elephant approaches to the true koomereah caste the more he is preferred, especially by the natives, and the higher price he will consequently bear. Europeans are not so particular, and will sometimes prefer a merghee female for hunting and riding on, when she is known to have remarkably good paces, and to be of a mild and tractable disposition.
The incisors or cutting teeth assume in the elephant the peculiar form which has obtained for them the name of tusks. They exist in the upper jaw only, and are two in number. In the females of the Asiatic species they are so small as not to appear beyond the lip; in the African species they are very large, and of equal size in both the sexes. In the Asiatic males they project in some individuals to a considerable distance from the mouth, whilst in others their size scarcely exceeds that of the tusks in the female.
Now both these varieties are found in the koomereah as well as
in the merghee castes. The long-tusked males are termed Dauntelahs (or toothed males); the short-tusked ones, Mooknahs (or face-males).
The animal figured at the commencement of the present Number is a mooknah of the koomereah variety, and is hardly to be distinguished by his head from a female of the same kind.
Notwithstanding the difference in the appearance of a mooknah and a dauntelah, yet if they are of the same caste, size, and disposition, and free from any defect or blemish, there is scarcely any difference in their price.
The dauntelah is generally more daring and less manageable than the mooknah: for this reason, until the temper and disposition of the two species are ascertained, Europeans will prefer the mooknah; but the natives, who are fond of show, generally take their chance and prefer the dauntelah, which, when known to be of a mild and gentle disposition, will always be preferred both by Europeans and natives.
It is obvious that particulars similar to those above recited, could only have been ascertained after a long and intimate association of the elephant with the wants and luxuries of civilized man: and as this stupendous quadruped is not, like the ordinary domesticated animals, a born slave, but in every instance must be withdrawn by fraud and force from its native
swamps and forests, our readers we are sure will excuse our digressing from the strictly descriptive account to which we had proposed to limit ourselves in the present Number, in order to lay before them a brief sketch of the modes in which the elephant is entrapped.
The rudest of these contrivances, and probably the one which was earliest adopted, is to dig a pit, and cover the mouth over with a light wooden platform, concealed by branches of trees, grass, and herbs of which the elephant is fond. A trap of this kind must however have rarely proved successful, in consequence of the intuitive caution which the elephant uniformly manifests when treading upon insecure and suspicious ground. In the event of one being thus captured, he is left in the pit until his violence subsides, and he is rendered sufficiently tractable by starvation; and he is liberated, by throwing in sheaves of jungle grass, which the sagacious animal treading under foot, at length attains, as they accumulate, an elevation which enables him to step out of the pit. Thus subdued, the captive elephant is soon made the instrument of enslaving his species ; and in this he exercises considerable ingenuity, courage, and perseverance. Mr. Corse observes*, “In the month of November, when the
* Asiatic Researches, vol. iii,
weather has become cool, and the swamps and marshes formed by the rains in the five preceding months are lessened, and some of them dried up, a number of people are employed to go in quest of elephants.
“At this season the males come from the recesses of the forest into the borders and outskirts thereof, whence they make nocturnal excursions into the plains in search of food, and where they often destroy the labours of the husbandman, by devouring and trampling down the rice, sugar-canes, &c. that they meet with. A herd or drove of elephants, as far as I can learn, has never been seen to leave the woods ; some of the largest males often stray to a considerable distance, but the young ones always remain in the forest under the protection of the Palmai (or leader of the herd), and of the larger elephants. The Goondahs (or large males), come out singly or in small parties, sometimes in the morning, but commonly in the evening, and they continue to feed all night upon the long grass that grows amidst the swamps and marshes, and of which they are extremely fond. As often, however, as they have an opportunity, they commit depredations on the ricefields, sugar--canes, and plantain-trees that are near, which oblige the farmers to keep regular watch, under a small cover, erected on the tops of a few long bamboos about fourteen feet from the ground, and this precaution is necessary to protect them from the tigers, with which this province abounds. From this lofty station the alarm is soon communicated from one watchman to another, and to the neghbouring villages, by means of a rattle, with which every one is provided. With their shouts and cries and noise of the rattles, the elephants are generally scared, and retire. It sometimes, however, happens that the males advance even to the villages, overturn the houses, and kill those who unfortunately come in their way, unless they have had time to light a number of fires ;this element seems to be the most dreaded by wild elephants, and a few lighted wisps of straw or dried grass seldom fail to stop their progress.
“To secure one of the males, a very different method is employed from that which is taken to secure a herd : the former is taken by Koomkees, (or female elephants trained for the purpose), whereas the latter is driven into a strong inclosure called a Keddah. As the hunters know the places where the elephants come out to feed, they advance towards them in the evening with four koomkees, which is the number of which each hunting party consists ; when the nights are dark, --and these are the most favourable nights for their purpose, -the male elephants are discorered by the noise they make in
cleaning their food by whisking and striking it against their fore legs, and by moonlight they can see them distinctly at some distance. As soon as they have determined on the Goondah they mean to secure, three of the koomkees (or decoy elephants) are conducted silently and slowly by their Mahotes (drivers) at a moderate distance from each other, near to the place where he is feeding; the koomkees advance very cautiously, feeding as they go along, and appear like wild elephants that had strayed from the herd. When the male perceives them approaching, if he takes the alarm and is viciously inclined, he beats the ground with his trunk and makes a noise, showing evident marks of his displeasure, and that he will not allow them to approach nearer; and if they persist, he will immediately attack and gore them with his tusks ; for which reason they take care to retreat in good time. But should he be amorously disposed, as is generally the case, (as these males are supposed to be driven from the herd at a particular period by their seniors, to prevent their having connexion with the females of that herd,) he allows the females to approach, and sometimes even advances to meet them. When from these appearances the mahotes judge that he will become their prize, they conduct two of the females, one on each side, close to him, and make them advance backwards and press gently against his neck and shoulders; the third female then comes up and places herself directly across his tail : in this situation, so far from suspecting any design against his liberty, he begins to toy with the females and caress them with his trunk : while thus engaged, the fourth female is brought near, with ropes and proper assistants, who immediately get under the belly of the third female, and put a slight cord (the Chilkah) round his hind legs; should he move, it is easily broken, in which case, if he takes no notice of this slight confinement, nor appears suspicious of what was going forward, the hunters then proceed to tie his legs with a strong cord (called Bunda), which is passed alternately, by means of a forked stick and a kind of hook, from one leg to the other, forming a figure of 8; and as these ropes are short, for the convenience of being more readily put around his legs, six or eight are generally employed, and they are made fast by another cord (the Dagbearee), which is passed a few turns perpendicularly between his legs, where the folds of the bundahs intersect each other. A strong cable (called the Phand,) with a running noose, sixty cubits long, is next put round each hind leg, immediately above the bundahs; and again above them, six or eight additional bundahs, according to the size of the elephant, are made fast, in the same manner as the
others were. The putting on these ropes generally takes up about twenty minutes, during which the utmost silence is observed; and the mahotes, who keep flat upon the necks of the females, are covered with dark-coloured cloths, which serve to keep them warm, and at the same time do not attract the notice of the elephant.—While the people are busily employed in tying the legs of the goondah, he caresses sometimes one, sometimes another, of the seducers.....In case of accidents, however, should the goondah get loose, the people upon the first alarm can always mount on the backs of the tame elephants, by a rope which hangs ready for the purpose, and thus get out of his reach. When his hind legs are properly secured, they leave him to himself, and retire to a small distance; as soon as the koomkees leave him, he attempts to follow, but, finding his legs tied, he is roused to a proper sense of his situation, and retreats towards the jungle; the mahotes follow at a moderate distance from him on the tame elephants, accompanied by a number of people that had been previously sent for, and who, as soon as the goondah passes near a stout tree, make a few turns of the phands (or long cables that are trailing behind him,) around its trunk : his progress being thus stopt, he becomes furious, and exerts his utmost force to disengage himself, nor will he then allow any of the koomkees to come near him ; he is outrageous for some time, falling down and goring the earth with his tusks. If by these exertions the phands are once broken, which sometimes is effected, and he escapes into the thick jungle, the mahotes dare not advance for fear of the other wild elephants, and are therefore obliged to leave him to his fate; and in this hampered situation, it is said, he is even ungenerously attacked by the other wild elephants. As the cables are very strong and seldom give way, when he has exhausted himself by his exertions, the koomkees are again brought near, and take their former positions, viz. one on each side, and the other behind. After getting him nearer the tree, the people carry the ends of the long cables around his legs, then back and about the trunk of the tree, making if they can two or three turns, so as to prevent even the possibility of his escape. It would be almost impossible to secure an elephant in any other manner, as he would tear up any stake that could at the time be driven into the ground, and even the noise of doing it would frighten the elephant; therefore nothing less than a strong tree is ever trusted to by the hunters.
“ For still further security, as well as to confine him from moving to either side, his fore legs are tied exactly in the same