Jesus' Precepts and Deeds through His Three Years of Teaching

Jesus near Caesarea Philippi (cont.)

- Chapter 259 -
Examples of the intelligence of animals.

(The black:) "We watched them for half a day undisturbed and had a nice conversation with them, since with each step of these little animals we could clearly recognize a certain order and a well calculated plan and were at the same time highly astonished about the special skill, by which these truly superhumanly intelligent beings carried out their work. I thought about a tiredness of these workers; but no trace about this. The longer the work continued, it always started with even a bigger zeal than before.
After about three hours according to your time measurement the male came back and said: With this sandbank they could not finish within four days, and at the opposite shore is also a sandbank with many crocodile eggs buried. They must also be destroyed otherwise it would be swarming with crocodiles and in ten years there would be so many that no human could walk one step in the lower area, without stepping on to a crocodile. The people of these regions therefore could not be thankful enough towards the ichneumons for their continues effort to destroy crocodile eggs at both shores in the lower- and upper regions of this river.
But my servant asked the cheerful male, how it happens with such diligence that there are still crocodiles in the river and flourish. The male said by being very serious: 'The great Spirit of all nature wants it like this that the crocodiles of this stream should never be completely exterminated; since also their destination is to serve the earth and its inhabitants. However, they are not allowed to become dominant; therefore we are there to keep their multiplication within boundaries. The great Spirit has all this foreseen wisely and everything must happen like that, so that one life finds its perfection in another. The transitions are always bitter, but for this the higher being is pleasant!'
Then the servant asked him how he came to the knowledge of a highest Spirit. The little male started to giggle and this was a kind of a laughter. When the male finished giggling, it said to the servant: 'We then daily see His sun in the sky, and how all kind of good spirits are streaming from the sun towards us! From where else should they come than from the large light-spirit of the sun?!'
And the servant again asked the little male: 'Do you also honour such great light-spirit?' Said the male: 'This is quite a strange question from a big human! You surely will not be more silly than we weak animals? If we all the time do with pleasure and undauntedly what His will placed into our nature-life, we then honour the great Spirit in the best manner possible?! See, therein lies everything, that one does the will of him, whom you really honour!' With this the male left us again and returned with all diligence to his work. However, we left the place and went home to engage our domestic activities.
A few days afterwards we provided the little animals with milk and cheese, which they consumed with great pleasure, and upon this they rested for a whole day from the work.
The servant asked the little male if crocodile meat could also be eaten by people, of course when cooked on the fire before. The male said: 'The meat of the stomach yes, since this is digestible; but with the other meat nothing can be done because it is indigestible hard. The hippopotamus would be better and even better the hippopotamus calf, which however stays mostly near the sea deep underwater and comes only to the surface during times of underwater storms and then plays with the vessels of the people.'
After this explanation all seven sprung up and swam to the opposite shore where we did not follow them, since we had sufficiently learned about their nature and their character.
I only have told you about this example of the ichneumons, since this was something completely new for me and because I have never found so much cleverness in any other animal known to me.
Also among the birds one find very wise characters. Especially the ibises and storks, cranes, wild geese and swallows belong to it. Among the four foot earth animals the camel and even more so the elephant, the donkey, the dog, apes, goats, then the fox, the bear and the lion are the most intelligent and use a quite clear language. The intelligence of other domestic animals is weaker and their language is more incomprehensible and silly. Among the cold blooded animals the large lizard is tops; with us it is regarded almost as a prophet and informs us often for a few days in advance what is about to happen. Therefore we look after these animals quite well and feed them with milk and cheese.
It is in the highest degree astonishing where these animals are getting their knowledge from. Now, I surely did not tell you a fable, although this what I have told you now must appear to the inexperienced whites as a fable. However, if they cannot believe it at all, that everything is just like I told you, for a practical demonstration bring a completely foreign donkey here, and my servant will ask him a few questions and tell him to do certain things, and the animal will surely punctually carry out what the servant ask him to do!"