SOCIABLE FISH

SOCIABLE FISH

In one of the most charming chapters of that truly charming book, Gilbert White’s “Natural History of Selborne,” the gentle author tells of some strange instances of sociability among the denizens of the farmyard, a craving for companionship that brought into intimate acquaintanceship such widely differing animals as a horse and a hen, a doe and some cattle. This, as a proof that loneliness is an abnormal condition of life even among the lesser intelligences of creation, “gives to think,” as our neighbours say; but probably few people would imagine that the same desire for society obtains even among the inhabitants of the deep and wide sea.

I do not now speak of such gregarious fish as compose the great shoals that beneficently visit the shallower waters washing populous countries, from whose innumerable multitudes whole nations may be fed without making any appreciable diminution in their apparently infinite numbers; but of those more varied and widely scattered species that are to be found near the sea-surface all over the ocean.

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