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Animal Parables

Animal Stories From The Bible

The Stork

From The Scripture Alphabet Of Animals
Harriet Newell Cook (1814-1843)
Published In 1842 – Public Domain

The Bible name of this bird means gentleness or affection, and the stork very well deserves such a name. It is very kind indeed to its young ones, and takes pains to find some things for them that it does not itself eat. It is said that when a house, on the top of which was a stork’s nest, once took fire, the mother bird would not fly away, because the young ones were not large or strong enough to go with her, and so they were all burned together. They are very kind to the old birds, too; and I have read that the younger storks sometimes carry the old ones on their wings when they have become tired with flying a great way; and bring food to them in their nests just as the old ones used to bring it to them. I am not quite certain that this is true, though many people have said so; but if it is, I am sure it is a beautiful example for every child, teaching him to repay his parents in every way he can for all their love and care.

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The Sheep

From The Scripture Alphabet Of Animals
Harriet Newell Cook (1814-1843)
Published In 1842 – Public Domain

I suppose you think you already know as much about sheep and lambs as I can tell you, and perhaps you do. Yet I dare say you never took up your Bible to see how many times they are mentioned there, or how many beautiful things are said about them.

Abel, who, as you know, was the third man that lived on the earth, was a “keeper of sheep;” and there have always been a great many shepherds in the world from that time to this. Some of the men who lived in old times had a great many sheep. Job had seven thousand, which God allowed to be taken from him; but afterwards gave him twice as many-fourteen thousand. At the time when Solomon’s beautiful temple was dedicated to God, he offered a sacrifice of a hundred and twenty thousand sheep. If you want to know how many that is, try to think of a pasture with a hundred sheep in it-then think of a hundred pastures, just like it, with just as many sheep in each-then think of those hundred pastures taken twelve times over, and you will begin to understand how many there were. It is not common with us to have persons whose whole business it is to take care of sheep, but that was always the way in Bible countries. This was not done by servants, at least not always; for a great many rich men employed their children as shepherds. Rachel, who was afterwards the wife of Jacob, “kept her father’s sheep”-so did Jacob’s twelve sons-so did Moses for his father-in-law.

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The Scorpion

From The Scripture Alphabet Of Animals
Harriet Newell Cook (1814-1843)
Published In 1842 – Public Domain

This frightful creature is several times mentioned in the Bible. It is the largest among insects, and more dangerous than any of them. It is sometimes found in Europe, and is there about four inches long; but those of hot countries are sometimes more than a foot in length. The scorpion is very easily made angry, and then its sting is terrible; it very often causes death, but not always. In Revelation, 9:5, 6, we read, “And their torment was as the torment of a scorpion when he striketh a man; and in those days shall men seek death and shall not find it: and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.” This shows that the pain caused by their sting is very great. When a person has been stung by a scorpion, the part around the wound swells and becomes very painful, the hands and feet become cold, the skin is pale, and there is a feeling as though there were needles in every part of it. This pain often increases and rages until the person dies in great suffering.

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The Roe, Or Gazelle

From The Scripture Alphabet Of Animals
Harriet Newell Cook (1814-1843)
Published In 1842 – Public Domain

The roe belongs to the class of antelopes-animals very much resembling the deer; they are equally innocent and beautiful, and are often mentioned together in the Bible. The form of the antelope is, if possible, still more graceful than that of the deer, and its limbs still more delicate; but the principal difference between them is in the horns. Those of the deer grow from the bone of the forehead, and are at first small; but they are renewed every spring-the old horns falling off, and being succeeded by larger ones which grow in their place. They are at first covered with a soft, downy substance, called “the velvet;” but this soon comes off in fragments, leaving the horn white and smooth. The antelope never sheds its horns.

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The Raven

From The Scripture Alphabet Of Animals
Harriet Newell Cook (1814-1843)
Published In 1842 – Public Domain

The raven has always been very well known to man, and is mentioned almost at the beginning of the Bible. You remember that this was the first bird that Noah sent out of the ark to see whether the waters had begun to dry up; and that it did not go back to him again. I suppose it was very glad to be at liberty after it had been shut up more than a year; and as it lives upon the flesh of other animals, it probably found food enough from the bodies of those that had been drowned. It is a large bird, considerably larger than the crow; and its feathers are very black, very glossy, and very beautiful. People in ancient times seem to have liked a black color, and were especially pleased with black hair; so we read in the Song of Solomon, where one who is beautiful is described, “His locks are bushy, and black as a raven.”

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The Quail

From The Scripture Alphabet Of Animals
Harriet Newell Cook (1814-1843)
Published In 1842 – Public Domain

The quail is about the size of a pigeon. It is called a bird of passage, because it does not always live in the same place, but spends the winter in one country, and in the spring flies away to another. In their journeys, they fly together in very large flocks, as you have perhaps seen wild geese or pigeons do. A great many spend the summer north of the Black Sea, and when autumn comes they fly away to spend the winter in some warmer place, farther south. They usually start early some fine evening in August, when there is a north wind to help them on, and fly perhaps a hundred and fifty miles before morning. The people on the opposite shore of the Black Sea know about what time to look for them, and catch a great many of them for food.

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The Pelican

From The Scripture Alphabet Of Animals
Harriet Newell Cook (1814-1843)
Published In 1842 – Public Domain

The pelican is a large bird, and a curious one. It sometimes measures nearly six feet from the top of the head to the end of the tail; and you know that this is the height of a tall man. It may be called a water-bird, because it lives on the sea-coast, or on the borders of lakes and rivers and lives upon fish only. It has a very long bill, and under this is a curious bag or pouch to hold the fish which it takes. When there is nothing in it, you would hardly notice it, because it is drawn up close under the bill; but it is so large that it will hold two or three gallons of water.

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The Peacock

From The Scripture Alphabet Of Animals
Harriet Newell Cook (1814-1843)
Published In 1842 – Public Domain

The peacock is first mentioned in the Bible in the time of Solomon. He used to send his vessels to distant countries, and they came back once in three years, “bringing gold, and silver, and ivory, and apes, and peacocks.” Solomon was the richest among all the kings that the Bible tells us about. When he first became king God spoke to him in a dream, and told him to ask for any thing he wished. If God should speak so to you, what would you ask for?

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The Ostrich

From The Scripture Alphabet Of Animals
Harriet Newell Cook (1814-1843)
Published In 1842 – Public Domain

The ostrich is sometimes called the “camel-bird,” because it is so very large, because it can go a long time without water, and because it lives in desert and sandy places, as the camel does. It is often taller than the tallest man you ever saw, and it neck alone is more than a yard in length.

Each of the wings is a yard long when the feathers are spread out; but although the wings are so large, the bird cannot fly at all. One reason of this is, because it is so very heavy, and another is that its wings are not of the right sort for flying. They are made of what we call ostrich-plumes, and if you have ever noticed these beautiful feathers, you will remember that they are very different from others that you have seen. If you take a quill from the wing of a goose, you will find that the parts of the feather lie close together, so that you cannot very easily separate them; but in an ostrich plume they are all loose and open, and would not support the bird at all in flying. The feathers are generally either white or black. There are none under the wings, or on the sides of the body, and only a few small ones on the lower part of the neck. The upper part of the neck, as well as the head, is covered with hair.

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The Nighthawk

From The Scripture Alphabet Of Animals
Harriet Newell Cook (1814-1843)
Published In 1842 – Public Domain

I believe this is the only animal of any kind mentioned in the Bible, the name of which begins with N. It is named in Leviticus 11, among other birds, such as the owl, the cuckoo and the raven, which the children of Israel were not allowed to eat.

It is somewhat like the owl in its shape, and in its large, full, round eyes. It flies at evening, and hides itself during the day from the bright light of the sun. It likes to live in lonely, dark woods, and when it comes out at twilight to get the insects that it lives upon, you could hardly hear the sound of its wings, it flies so very gently. It has a very wide, gaping mouth, which helps it to seize upon moths and flies, and its mouth is bordered with a row of stiff bristles, so that the insects may not escape again after they have been caught.

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