Old Calabria By Norman Douglas














































































 -  The very name of these
streams - Neto, Arvo, Lese, Ampollina - are redolent of pastoral life. All
of them are stocked - Page 330
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The Very Name Of These Streams - Neto, Arvo, Lese, Ampollina - Are Redolent Of Pastoral Life.

All of them are stocked with trout; they meander in their upper reaches through valleys grazed by far-tinkling

Flocks of sheep and goats and grey cattle - the experiment of acclimatizing Swiss cattle has proved a failure, I know not why - and their banks are brilliant with blossoms. Later on, in the autumn, the thistles begin to predominate - the finest of them being a noble ground thistle of pale gold, of which they eat the unopened bud; it is the counterpart of the silvery one of the Alps. The air in these upper regions is keen. I remember, some years ago, that during the last week of August a lump of snow, which a goat-boy produced as his contribution to our luncheon, did not melt in the bright sunshine on the summit of Monte Nero.

From whichever side one climbs out of the surrounding lowlands into the Sila plateau, the same succession of trees is encountered. To the warmest zone of olives, lemons and carobs succeeds that of the chestnuts, some of them of gigantic dimensions and yielding a sure though moderate return in fruit, others cut down periodically as coppice for vine-props and scaffoldings. Large tracts of these old chestnut groves are now doomed; a French society in Cosenza, so they tell me, is buying them up for the extraction out of their bark of some chemical or medicine. The vine still flourishes at this height, though dwarfed in size; soon the oaks begin to dominate, and after that we enter into the third and highest region cf the pines and beeches.

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