216 KIPLING'S SUSSEX
the sheep dog rounds up a captive and jumps with much show of fierceness at its neck the stranger is led to think that the poor animal is terrified and in danger. Nothing of the sort. Old Jim's manner is much sharper than his teeth, and I have often seen younger members of the flock stamping with their feet, and otherwise inviting him to a contest. Our Southdown animal friend is a fellow of great virtue and intelligence, and as the South Country shepherd remarks, " he's as cute as a Christian."
I have said but little about the dew-ponds, or to give them an alternative and better name, mist-ponds. We are told that these never fail, in the dry summer months, though as many as five hundred sheep drink from one pond each day. It is curious to note that sheep, if left to choose for themselves, prefer pond water to that of cold springs and running streams. In Sussex there are men who style themselves pond-makers, and it has been asserted that a travelling band of them exists. But this is rather doubtful, for the simple reason that mist-ponds (called in the local shibboleth ship-ponds) are quite easy to construct. There is little mystery about them. Any Sussex son of the soil, such as Hobden in Kipling's verses " The Land " (" A Diversity of Creatures ") can construct one. It is a matter of scooping out the