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-Harold's Answer.—Gurth's Advice.- Battle of
ENGLAND BEFORE THE NORMAN CONQUEST.
BRITAIN UNINHABITED.-PROBABILITIES ABOUT THE FIRST
INHABITANTS. THE CELTS : DESCENDANTS OF NOAH.THE THREE EUROPEAN RACES. - SETTLED PEOPLE AND NOMADIC RACES.--LIFE IN CITIES.- LIFE IN TENTS.
THERE was a time, very long ago, when the Islands of Great Britain and Ireland, now so populous and busy, had no human inhabitants.
Old tradition says, that the first discoverers found “bears, wolves, oxen with humps," and other wild animals. The beasts prowled about in the thick forests, or went abroad over the plains, and no man disturbed them.
No road had ever been cut in any part of
the Islands; no canals had been dug, no houses built. Some of the rivers were bordered by thick forests, the trees near the brink dipped their branches into the water; and when, by its continual action, the water had worn away the earth from their roots, they fell with a crash into the stream, and were floated off to sea. The sea birds screamed round the coasts in rocky places. They had never been startled by the report of a gun; and neither the river fish, nor those shoals which come out of the deeper waters to shallow places, where the art of man can reach them, had ever been either angled for or trapped in nets.
Whales, which now seldom venture into the ports which man has occupied by his fleets, might then float securely to the mouths of the rivers, without fear of the harpoon.
The first people who landed on the coasts of England, may have been driven here in much terror by tempestuous winds, or perhaps they had so great a love of adventure, as to peril their lives in search of a new
undiscovered country. However this was, they must have been of a hardy race, well prepared to overcome difficulties, for there were no conveniences ready to their hands to make a settlement in this new country desirable. Most likely they had with them some instruments for felling wood, and thus they could clear a portion of forest land, build huts with the trunks of trees, lay the branches over the top, and thatch them with turfs. We are told that holes in the sides of hills and caves served as houses for some. They would fence their little settlement as securely all round as they could, and perhaps at night kindle fires, to keep away the wolves. What food they could have when there were no corn-fields, no flocks of sheep, no cows, no trading vessels to bring them such variety of eatables as we now call the “necessaries of life,” it is difficult to say ; but all writers who tell of the early Britons, speak of them as living in huts and feeding on roots. The root now so much used for food (the potatoe) was not