Far Away And Long Ago A History Of My Early Life By W. H. Hudson








































































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The house where I was born, on the South American pampas, was quaintly
named _Los Veinte-cinco Ombues,_ which means - Page 10
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The House Where I Was Born, On The South American Pampas, Was Quaintly Named _Los Veinte-Cinco Ombues,_ Which Means "The Twenty-Five Ombu Trees," There Being Just Twenty-Five Of These Indigenous Trees - Gigantic In Size, And Standing Wide Apart In A Row About 400 Yards Long.

The ombu is a very singular tree indeed, and being the only representative of tree-vegetation, natural to the soil, on those great level plains, and having also many curious superstitions connected with it, it is a romance in itself.

It belongs to the rare Phytolacca family, and has an immense girth - forty or fifty feet in some cases; at the same time the wood is so soft and spongy that it can be cut into with a knife, and is utterly unfit for firewood, for when cut up it refuses to dry, but simply rots away like a ripe water-melon. It also grows slowly, and its leaves, which are large, glossy and deep green, like laurel leaves, are poisonous; and because of its uselessness it will probably become extinct, like the graceful pampas grass in the same region. In this exceedingly practical age men quickly lay the axe at the root of things which, in their view, only cumber the ground; but before other trees had been planted the antiquated and grand-looking ombu had its uses; it served as a gigantic landmark to the traveller on the great monotonous plains, and also afforded refreshing shade to man and horse in summer; while the native doctor or herbalist would sometimes pluck a leaf for a patient requiring a very violent remedy for his disorder.

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