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








































































 -  It was not until twelve or fourteen years later that I
discovered that it was even as I had conjectured - Page 240
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It Was Not Until Twelve Or Fourteen Years Later That I Discovered That It Was Even As I Had Conjectured.

At a distance of about forty miles from my home, or rather from the home of my boyhood where

I no longer lived, I found a snake that was new to me, the _Philodryas scotti_ of naturalists, a not uncommon Argentine snake, and recognized it as the same species as the one found coiled up on my little sister's rug and presumably as my mysterious black serpent. Some of the specimens which I measured exceeded six feet in length.

CHAPTER XVII

A BOY'S ANIMISM

The animistic faculty and its survival in us - A boy's animism and its persistence - Impossibility of seeing our past exactly as it was - Serge Aksakoff's history of his childhood - The child's delight in nature purely physical - First intimations of animism in the child - How it affected me - Feeling with regard to flowers - A flower and my mother - History of a flower - Animism with regard to trees - Locust-trees by moonlight - Animism and nature-worship - Animistic emotion not uncommon - Cowper and the Yardley oak - The religionist's fear of nature - Pantheistic Christianity - Survival of nature-worship in England - The feeling for nature - Wordsworth's pantheism and animistic emotion in poetry.

These serpent memories, particularly the enduring image of that black serpent which when recalled restores most vividly the emotion experienced at the time, serve to remind me of a subject not yet mentioned in my narrative: this is animism, or that sense of something in nature which to the enlightened or civilized man is not there, and in the civilized man's child, if it be admitted that he has it at all, is but a faint survival of a phase of the primitive mind.

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