Story type: Essay
When Solomon was gathering his materials to build the Temple, his, large cedar trunks from Lebanon and his costly materials from everywhere, he used oxen, mules, camels.
With all his wisdom, he little dreamed that the day would come when his descendants, instead of using mules and huge beasts of burden, would heat water and with steam develop a force sufficient to tear his Temple from its foundation.
Still less did he dream that steam would eventually be superseded, as clumsy and primitive, by the invisible force of electricity.
When the thunder roared, the lightning flashed and his conscience troubled him, Solomon, turning away from his thousand wives and his numerous other doubtful associates, put his head under the richly embroidered pillow, worked, perhaps, by Sheba’s own fair hands–it did not enter his mind that that lightning could be tamed and put to work.
Man has been gradually controlling and employing the various animals on the earth’s surface. He taught the elephant to haul wood and water and to fight his battles. He trained the horse, the dog. He even taught falcons to bring him back birds from beyond the clouds, and otters to catch fish in the bottom of lakes and rivers.
Gradually he has made himself independent of his animal partners.
The rifle made the falcon useless; steam destroyed the importance of the horse and the ox.
But apparently we have only begun using animal life. We must run the whole gamut of the marvels of creation before conquering conditions on this earth. —-
We used to train the biggest dogs to kill wolves. The Government of the United States is now breeding darning-needles to kill mosquitoes.
A certain kind of wasp, with a black and white striped body, spends his time killing house-flies, and this creature could be bred and used to destroy the disease-spreading pests.
Even the invisible insect life can be made most useful to man and to his health.
The latest plan for disposing of city sewage involves the cultivation of microbes, to be employed as disinfectors.
Several towns in Illinois and in Wisconsin have established plants for the purification of sewage by means of microbe life. The collections of organisms invisible to the naked eye are to be kept in great antiseptic tanks, and employed in the purification of the city ‘s refuse.
Mosquitoes will ultimately be destroyed, undoubtedly, by breeding among them smaller creatures fatal to their existence.
Man, in his conquest and use of animal life, will run the gamut, from the biggest elephant, employed as a public executioner in India, to the invisible microbe, doing a work ten thousand times more important all over the globe.
These infinitesimal microbes, bred and controlled by science, will do regularly and methodically the work which buzzards and vultures have done on land, which sharks and dogfish have done at sea, throughout endless centuries.
To the marvellous workings of nature we cannot possibly give too much thought or too great admiration. Gardens are filled with beautiful flowers, and fields are fertile to-day because hundreds of years ago sea birds were devouring the carcasses of dead fish, acting as nature’s scavengers, and building up the great guano fields of South America.
There is a Peruvian millionaire in his big yacht, and there is a rose in full bloom–the millionaire’s money, the beauty of the rose, come from those birds that picked up the dead fish five hundred years ago.
It’s an interesting world.
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