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This bird is pretty generally distributed over the face of the globe, being met with in North America, Lapland, Iceland, Arabia, and Persia. Its varieties are numerous; but in England there is only one species, which is supposed to be a native breed. The best geese are found on the borders of Suffolk, and in Norfolk and Berkshire; but the largest flocks are reared in the fens of Lincolnshire and Cambridge. They thrive best where they have an easy access to water, and large herds of them are sent every year to London, to be fattened by the metropolitan poulterers. "A Michaelmas goose," says Dr. Kitchener, "is as famous in the mouths of the million as the minced-pie at Christmas; yet for those who eat with delicacy, it is, at that time, too full-grown. The true period when the goose is in the highest perfection is when it has just acquired its full growth, and not begun to harden; if the March goose is insipid, the Michaelmas goose is rank. The fine time is between both; from the second week in June to the first in September." It is said that the Michaelmas goose is indebted to Queen Elizabeth for its origin on the table at that season. Her majesty happened to dine on one at the table of an English baronet, when she received the news of the discomfiture of the Spanish Armada. In commemoration of this event, she commanded the goose to make its appearance at table on every Michaelmas. We here give an engraving of the Emden goose.

Egyptian Goose

Especial attention has been directed to this bird by Herodotus, who says it was held sacred by the ancient Egyptians, which has been partially confirmed by modern travellers. Mr. Salt remarks, "Horus Apollo says the old geese stay with their young in the most imminent danger, at the risk of their own lives, which I have myself frequently witnessed. Vielpanser is the goose of the Nile, and wherever this goose is represented on the walls of the temples in colours, the resemblance may be clearly traced." The goose is also said to have been a bird under the care of Isis. It has been placed by Mr. Gould amongst the birds of Europe; not from the number of half-reclaimed individuals which are annually shot in Britain, but from the circumstance of its occasionally visiting the southern parts of the continent from its native country, Africa. The Toulouse goose, of which we give an engraving, is a well-known bird.


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The Book of Household Management (1861).

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