The Scent

: Fables For Children, Stories For Children, Natural Science Stori

Man sees with his eyes, hears with his ears, smells with his nose,

tastes with his mouth, and feels with his fingers. One man's eyes see

better, another man's see worse. One hears from a distance, and another

is deaf. One has keen senses and smells a thing from a distance, while

another smells at a rotten egg and does not perceive it. One can tell a

thing by the touch, and another cannot tell by touch what is wood and

hat paper. One will take a substance in his mouth and will find it

sweet, while another will swallow it without making out whether it is

bitter or sweet.

Just so the different senses differ in strength in the animals. But with

all the animals the sense of smell is stronger than in man.

When a man wants to recognize a thing, he looks at it, listens to the

noise that it makes, now and then smells at it, or tastes it; but, above

all, a man has to feel a thing, to recognize it.

But nearly all animals more than anything else need to smell a thing. A

horse, a wolf, a dog, a cow, a bear do not know a thing until they smell


When a horse is afraid of anything, it snorts,--it clears its nose so as

to scent better, and does not stop being afraid until it has smelled the

object well.

A dog frequently follows its master's track, but when it sees him, it

does not recognize him and begins to bark, until it smells him and finds

out that that which has looked so terrible is its master.

Oxen see other oxen stricken down, and hear them roar in the

slaughter-house, but still do not understand what is going on. But an ox

or a cow need only find a spot where there is ox blood, and smell it,

and it will understand and will roar and strike with its feet, and

cannot be driven off the spot.

An old man's wife had fallen ill; he went himself to milk the cow. The

cow snorted,--she discovered that it was not her mistress, and would not

give him any milk. The mistress told her husband to put on her fur coat

and kerchief,--and the cow gave milk; but the old man threw open the

coat, and the cow scented him, and stopped giving milk.

When hounds follow an animal's trail, they never run on the track

itself, but to one side, about twenty paces from it. When an

inexperienced hunter wants to show the dog the scent, and sticks its

nose on the track, it will always jump to one side. The track itself

smells so strong to the dog that it cannot make out on the track whether

the animal has run ahead or backward. It runs to one side, and then only

discovers in what direction the scent grows stronger, and so follows the

animal. The dog does precisely what we do when somebody speaks very loud

in our ears; we step a distance away, and only then do we make out what

is being said. Or, if anything we are looking at is too close, we step

back and only then make it out.

Dogs recognize each other and make signs to each other by means of their


The scent is more delicate still in insects. A bee flies directly to the

flower that it wants to reach; a worm crawls to its leaf; a bedbug, a

flea, a mosquito scents a man a hundred thousand of its steps away.

If the particles which separate from a substance and enter our noses are

small, how small must be those particles that reach the organ of smell

of the insects!