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for your guidance among ruins, that it does not follow that every village whose houses are built, in whole or in part, of large old stone, must necessarily be ancient, not even if it should itself be now a ruin. That village to the west of us is almost entirely made of such stone, taken from here, and it is fast falling into decay, though it may not be five hundred years old.
What a wild, broken region spreads up the mountain to the east of us !
Those ravines are different branches of the great wady Jelo, which enters the plain of Tyre nearly opposite the city. Our road lies in the bottom of this branch from the southeast, called wady Habis, and it is time we should descend into it and prosecute our journey; and, when in, we shall not get out for two hours, but must wind about according to its own eccentricities, sometimes between cliffs perpendicular and bare, at others less precipitous, and clothed with beautiful oak woods. Here comes in the road from Kânâ, and high up the face of this rampart on our left is a tomb cut in the rock. He who made it must have been, like Edom, ambitious to place his nest as high as the eagle; and yet, saith the Lord, I will bring thee down from thence.' And, long ages ago, his dust was scattered in this brawling brook, and swept away to the sea of Tyre. Here is an extraordinary growth of cactus, climbing the face of the cliff for many hundred feet, the only thing of the kind I have seen in Syria. We begin to hear the tinkling of our mulebells, and now and then the song of the driver comes echoing down between these gigantic cliffs. And there is the sharp crack of Salîm's gun. They are evidently enjoying our romantic valley and this delicious air.
What bird is that whose call rings responsive from side to side?
The red-legged partridge, of which there are countless flocks in these hills and wadies of Naphtali. It is at them that Salîm is exercising his skill. Should he succeed we shall have the better dinner, for they are twice as large as
1 Jer. xlix. 16.
our American quail, to which, in other respects, they bear a close resemblance. Hear how they cackle and call to one another directly above our heads. They are very wary, however, and often lead the vexed hunter over many a weary mile of rough mountains before he can get a shot at them. The emeers and feudal chiefs of the country hunt them with the hawk, and keep up, with great
pride, the ancient sport of falconry. The birds are generally brought from Persia and the cold mountains of Armenia, and do not thrive well in this climate. They are of two kinds, a large one for woodcock and red-legged partridges, and a smaller for the quail.
The Beg at the castle of Tibnîn which we are now approaching, always keeps several of these large falcons on their perches in his grand reception-hall, where they are
tended with the utmost care. I have been out on the mountains to see them hunt, and it is a most exciting scene.
The emeers sit on their horses, holding the birds on their wrists, and the woods are filled with their retainers, beating about and shouting, to start up and drive toward them the poor partridges. When near enough, the falcon is launched from the hand, and swoops down upon his victim like an eagle hasting to the prey.
After he has struck his quarry, the falcon flies a short distance, and lights on the ground, amid the redoubled shouts of the sportsmen. The keeper darts forward, secures both, cuts the throat of the partridge, and allows his captor to suck its blood. This is his reward. Notwithstanding the exhilaration of the sport, I could never endure the falcon himself. There is something almost satanic in his eye, and in the ferocity with which he drinks the warm life-blood of his innocent victim. I once saw some men of Tortosa catching the Syrian quail with a small hawk. This was done on
foot, each sportsman carrying his bird on the right wrist, and beating the bushes with a stick held in his left hand. These quails are less than the American; are migratory, coming here in early spring, and passing on to the north. They hide under the bushes, and will not rise on the wing unless forced to do so by a dog, or by the hunter himself. I was surprised
to see how quickly and surely the little hawk seized his game. His reward, also, was merely the blood of the bird. I do not know whether or not the Jews in ancient days were acquainted with falconry, but David complains that Saul hunted for his blood as one doth hunt for a partridge in the mountains;' and this hunting of the same bird on these mountains, and giving their blood to the hawk, reminds one of the sad complaint of the persecuted son of Jesse.
In the neighborhood of Aleppo the smaller falcon is taught to assist the sportsman to capture the gazelle. Neither horse nor greyhound can overtake these fleet creatures on the open desert, and therefore the Arabs have taught the hawk to fasten on their forehead, and blind them by inces
11 Sam. xxvi. 20.
sant flapping of their wings. Bewildered and terrified, they leap about at random, and are easily captured. They are also trained to attack the bustard in the same region. This bird is about as large as a turkey, and highly prized by the lovers of game; but as they keep on the vast level plains, where there is nothing to screen the cautious hunter, it is almost impossible to get within gunshot of them. When they rise in the air, the little falcon flies up from beneath and fastens on one of their wings, and then both come whirling over and over to the ground, when the hunter quickly seizes the bustard, and delivers his brave bird from a position not particularly safe or comfortable. They will even bring down the largest eagle in the same way; but in this desperate game they are sometimes torn to pieces by the insulted majesty of the feathered kingdom.
And now we have gained the summit of this long ravine, let me inform
you that it is but one of many which cut down, in all directions, from the high plateaus of Naphtali. We shall be obliged to regulate our march in all cases according to their dictation. Yonder is Tibnîn, crowning the top of a lofty Tell, partly natural and partly artificial. It rises like a huge haystack at least two hundred feet above all its surroundings. The present buildings are comparatively modern, but it figured in the wars of the Crusaders, by whom it was called Toron. No doubt those mailed champions of the Cross often dashed up Wady Habis in a style very different from our peaceful and pleasant saunter, and on a very different errand, for they had to encounter the victorious squadrons of the terrible Saladin. Toron is not, probably, the most ancient name of this castle. A place so conspicuous, so strong, and so central must have always been occupied, as it is now, by the family that governed the province around it, and there are not wanting traces of that more ancient castle. The top of the Tell is perforated like a honey-comb with old cisterns; and on the east side are heavy foundations, the stones of which have the Phoenician bevel. They may have been there at the time of Joshua, and Tibnîn probably represents some one of the places given to