This section is from the "The New Student's Reference Work Volume 5: How And Why Stories" by Elinor Atkinson.
There is one baby animal that rides when he goes bye-bye. He isn't carried on his mother's back, or in her breast pocket. He rides in a hammock on the back of a trained nurse. Something dreadful would happen to that nurse if he should stumble and drop the baby. Its mother follows close behind them all day, watching with her big brown eyes. The owner of the animals watches, too. That is a precious baby. If he lives to grow up he will be worth as much as a fine horse.
It is the baby camel that rides in this way. Although he is three feet high, and heavier than a bossy calf when he is born, he is so weak and wobbly on his legs that he can scarcely walk. Without his mother's milk he would die. The mother has to go with the caravan of hundreds of other camels. A caravan, or passenger and freight train of camels, travels fifty or more miles a day across the burning sand and rocky hills of the deserts of Sahara and Arabia. So the helpless baby camel is put into a hammock, and swung from one side of a big, two-humped freight camel. The nurse may carry half a ton of other things beside,—leather bags of water, bales of cloth and dates, jugs of oil and blocks of rock salt. All day long the nurse swings along at a rocking gait. The baby must feel much as a human baby feels when rocked in a cradle.
There is a curious reason why the baby isn't put on his mother's back. Camels are very stupid animals. If the mother could not see her baby, even if it was on her own back, she would be apt to think he had been left behind. Then she might turn and bolt for the last camping place. On the nurse-camel she can see him, and she follows contentedly.
A camel isn't really a wild animal, and he isn't really tame. He is too stupid to be either one or the other. For many hundreds of years the camel has been one of the most useful animals to men, because of his great strength, and his endurance of heat, thirst and hunger. But he has never learned to do more than a few simple things. He never seems to know or to care for his driver, or for a master who may have brought him up from a baby. He looks very wise and meek and good-tempered. But really, he has as little sense as a sheep, is as ill-tempered as a cross bull, and as stubborn as a mule. He works, but not willingly, as a horse does. If he had as good a mind as the elephant, no man could make him work at all.
A Freight Train Of The Desert. A caravan of camels carrying spices, silks, rugs and other merchandise.
A Desert &Quot;Limited." A swift camel speeding his master across the sands.
An Arab Family With Their Camels Resting Near An Encampment.
Photo, Brown Bros.