You have often heard of the wonderful way in which beavers in America construct their habitations and dams. They seem, however, in these operations, to be influenced by instinct rather than by reason. I will tell you of a beaver which lived in captivity in France.

To supply him with nourishment, all sorts of things—fruits, vegetables, and small branches of trees—were thrown to him. His keepers, knowing that he came from a cold climate, bestowed little care, however, in keeping him warm. Winter coming on, one night large flakes of snow were driven by the wind into a corner of his cage. The poor beaver, who, in his own country, forms a remarkably warm house for himself, almost perished with the cold. If man would not help him, he must try and help himself to build a cell which would shelter him from the icy blast. The materials at his disposal were the branches of trees given him to gnaw. These he interwove between the bars of his cage, filling up the interstices with the carrots and apples which had been thrown in for his food. Besides this, he plastered the whole with snow, which froze during the night; and next morning it was found that he had built a wall of considerable height, which perfectly answered his purpose.

Make the best of the means at your disposal, as well as of the talents you possess.