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THE WOODS.   15

 

we depend upon them for wood of all kinds, but without them streams and springs would become dry, rainfalls would quickly run away and evaporate, where now the water is retained in cool shades and slowly fed to the sources of great rivers. With the disappearance of trees would go great troops of birds that feed on the insects or fruits that are found on them.

Trees are associated with the history of our race more intimately than any other natural feature of the earth. They have played an in-dispensable part in the creation of mankind. If there had been no fruit-trees there would never have been evolved an animal to climb them, and help himself to the concentrated foods. No great advancement of brain could be reached on other lines. But the hands of monkeys, apes and men are all of the same pattern. Human hands were evolved before our ancestors were human. This marvellous instrument was formed in the long run for climbing, and swinging from branch to branch, for breaking the shells of nuts, and all purposes for which apes use it to-day. The hand was the pioneer of our race. It be-came the servant of the brain. Slowly released from the drudgery of bearing the body, it entered the service of the mind. And the first of our ancestors who used his fingers to fasten a


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