As my grandfather came in sight of Kilwinning, and beheld the abbey with its lofty horned towers and spiky pinnacles and the sands of Cunningham between it and the sea, it seemed to him as if a huge leviathan had come up from the depths of the ocean and was devouring the green inland, having already consumed all the herbage of the wide waste that lay so bare and yellow for many a mile, desert, and lonely in the silent sunshine, and he ejaculated to himself that the frugal soil of poor Scotland could ne'er have been designed to pasture such enormities.
In a day when Money rules as King, its first care is to knock the horns off originality and brains. Money wants no great horned mental forces roaming the world; they might become a threat.
The stuff which looks to be sand barren, unfertile sand is the richest soil in the world. Put water on it and you can raise anything. Reclamation work is a fairly new thing with us, Conniston. Men have been content heretofore to squat in the green valleys and let the desert places remain the haunts of the horned toad and coyote.
J. J. O'Molloy resumed, moulding his words: He said of it: that stony effigy in frozen music, horned and terrible, of the human form divine, that eternal symbol of wisdom and of prophecy which, if aught that the imagination or the hand of sculptor has wrought in marble of soultransfigured and of soultransfiguring deserves to live, deserves to live. His slim hand with a wave graced echo and fall.
It was near sundown, and far across the earth's floor, which looked somewhat like a wonderful mosaic of opals and jade at this hour, a Mexican goatherd was driving his flock. That was the only sign of life to be seen or felt, if you except the noise of locusts in the mesquite near by and the spasmodic progress of a horned toad in the sand outside Sylvia's gate.
Mebby his ma was a toad. Kind of a Mormon, I guess." He leaned forward and gravely inspected the horned toad that blinked at him from the edge of the grass. The pinto realized that his rider's attention was otherwise and thoroughly occupied. With that unforgettable drop of head and arch of spine the horse bucked.
About two hundred head of steers, from six to twelve years of age, all black, brown, brindle or yellow, ne'er a red one amongst them; magnificently horned, in fair flesh, perfect health and spirits; such steers you could not "give away" to-day; but we got sixty dollars apiece for them and were well rid of them; and how they walked!
Worse than all else, was the report that oni or imps were prowling around in the dark to seize people by the hair of the head. Then they would drag them away to the mountains, tear the flesh off their bones, and eat them up. The worst place in the city, to which the horned imps came oftenest, was at the south-western gate called the Rajo-mon.
In that book we shall meet many of our old friends again, and learn something more of a venture in which the motor boys were already interested. "Boys, this has been an interesting trip for me," said Professor Snodgrass. "I have the two horned toads, seven web-footed lizards, and over fifty other valuable specimens to take back with me. I would not have missed this trip for a great deal."