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I was reading a little story in the McGuffey Fourth Eclectic Reader.  It described a fantastic mythical animal from Africa and the efforts made in ascertaining whether any actually existed.  Let's see if YOU can figure out what it is if I leave a few strategic blanks!  Please comment and take a guess.  Interested to see what you think. 

The (Animal Name)

The (animal name) is a native of Africa.  It is of singular shape and size, and bears some resemblance both to the camel and the deer.  The mouth is small; the eyes are full and brilliant; the tongue is rough, very long, and ending in a point.  The neck is long and slender, and, from the shoulder to the top of the head, it measures between seven and eight feet; from the ground to the top of the shoulder, it is commonly ten or eleven feet; so that the height of a full-grown (animal name) is seventeen or eighteen feet.

The hair is of a deep brown color in the male, and of a light or yellowish brown in the female.  The skin is beautifully diversified with white spots.  They have short, blunt horns, and hoofs like those of the ox.  In their wild state, they feed on the leaves of a gum-bearing tree peculiar to warm climates.

The (animal name), like the horse and other hoofed animals, defends itself by kicking; and its hinder limbs are so light, and its blows so rapid, that the eye can not follow them.  They are sufficient for its defense against the lion.  It never employs its horns in resisting the attack of an enemy.  Its disposition is gentle, and it flees to its native forest upon the least alarm.

Le Vaillant (the celebrated French traveler and naturalist) was the first who gave us any exact account of the form and habits of the (animal name).  While he was traveling in South Africa, he happened one day to discover a hut covered with the skin of one of those animals; and learned to his surprise that he was now in a part of the country where the creature was found.  He could not rest contented until he had seen the animal alive, and had secured a specimen.

Having on several days obtained sight of some of them, he, with his attendants, on horseback and accompanied with dogs, gave chase; but they baffled all pursuit.  After a chase of a whole day, which effected nothing but the fatigue of the party, he began to despair of success.

"The next day," says he, "by sunrise, I was in pursuit of game, in the hope of obtaining some provisions for my men.  After several hours' fatigue, we saw, at the turn of a hill, seven (animal name)s, which my pack of dogs instantly pursued.  Six of them went off together; but the seventh, cut off by my dogs, took another way.

"I followed the single one at full speed... when I perceived her surrounded by the dogs, and endeavoring to drive them away by heavy kicks.  In a moment I was on my feet, and a shot from my carbine brought her to earth.  I was delighted with my victory, which enabled me to add to the riches of natural history.  I was now able, also, to destroy the romance which attached to this animal, and to establish the truth of its existence."


  1. I'm going to publish all the comments tomorrow along with the answer so everyone gets a chance to guess without seeing everyone else's answers. :)

  2. It seems very obviously like a giraffe. But maybe you are tricking us? What else is 18 feet tall?

    I did not like the ending, where he sics a bunch of dogs on it and then is "delighted" to shoot it.

  3. I would guess giraffe...but I've never been good at guessing games.

  4. Oh, we learned last year that this particular gentleman was quite imaginative, and often exaggerated details and descriptions with birds and animals. So, I'm going to take a wild guess and say he was describing some sort of long horned cow. lol

  5. I would think its a giraffe! we just learned about the giraffe when we did the letter letter Gg last week! I may be wrong and that is ok but who knows I may be right! Fun 'game' Mrs. your blog!

  6. Wll MrsC, I'm going to guess a giraffe 'cause it's one of the few African animals I know & the only one I know that might stand that tall. ☺

  7. Ok, trivia answer is posted! Go see how you did! :)


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