ABSTRACT

The flocks are marched to the market towns, and big deals in hundreds and thousands of head of sheep are made. Or the shepherds encamp outside the town and send batches of sheep to be hawked through the streets. The Persian butchers come out and bid for their mutton. Boys run about the herd feeling the flesh of the sheep, masters weigh them in their arms or compare weights by holding a sheep in each hand. Each butcher takes one or two,or three or four, as he feels he is making a bargain or otherwise. One must not forget the twenty minutes' parley over prices. At last the business gets accomplished, and the Hock goes on down the street to other butchers and leaves its little doomed contingent at each stall. On one occasion when I was watehing, a lamb refused to be separated from a purchased brother, and, despite all efforts of the butcher and shepherd, came bleating back to the three

who were bought. The hillman hawker and the townsman exchanged so me witticism, and then the former struck a bargain and gave the affectionate lamb in cheap. I know the man' s stall and onee or twice ha ve bought mutton there. Tbe butcher does not slaughter all his sheep at once. First one goes and then another. One dead sheep or apart of one always hangs in his shop. All parts of the animal are sold at the same price, fourpence apound, and customers da not, as a ruIe, speeify leg or breast or neck, but simply the quantity they require. When the butcher buys four sheep he kills one and hangs it in his shop, and the other three live ones are under the counter eating fodder or pIaying about among the customers' legs. The sheep-ha wker makes his tour of the town and is all day at it, tramp, tramp, tramp, through mud or dust. In the evening one may see the muddied remnant of tbe Hock, tbe rejected, the unsold, being driven wearily back to the main Hock on the plains. Very melancholy the little party looks, and it is difficult to think them the fortunate ones, so woe .. begone and wretched da they appear. All movement forward is a labour to them; not a few are lame, others have succumbed, and sometimes one sees the hawker with a dead lamb on his shouider. No dogs are in attendance; none are needed.