The New McGuffey Fourth Reader

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General Books LLC, 2009 - 138 pages
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This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1901 edition. Excerpt: ... surface of the soil. Night is the great feeding time in the tropics, but it is clear that darkness is no protection to the ant, and yet without coming out of the ground it cannot live. The difficulty is solved thus: It takes earth up with it. White ants may have reached the top of a tree, and yet they were underground not long ago. They took up soil with them, building it into tunnel-huts as they moved upward; and in these huts they lived securely, feasting on the wood of the tree, around which they had built solid walls of earth. Millions of trees, in some districts, are plastered over with mud tubes, galleries, and chambers. It is not unusual to find a tree having thousands of pounds of earth packed around it. The earth is conveyed by the insects up a central pipe, with which all the various galleries communicate, and which, at the downward end, connects with passages running deep into the ground. The white ant's method of working is as follows: At the foot of a tree the tiniest hole cautiously opens in the soil close to the bark. A small head appears with a tiny grain of earth clasped in its jaws. Against the tree trunk this grain is deposited and the head is withdrawn. Again the little creature returns with another grain, which is laid beside the first, tight against it, and the builder once more disappears underground in search of more of these unquarried building stones. A third grain is not placed against the tree, but against the former grains; a fourth, a fifth, and a sixth grain follow, and the plan of a foundation begins to suggest itself. The grains are formed into a semicircular wall, and the work is pushed forward by many thousands of the little masons. As the wall grows higher and higher, it takes the shape of a long perpendicular...

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