14749--Making Nests for the Silkworm - In a Few Days He Will Have Spun about
Himself a Wonderful Garment of Pure Silk. Japan.

When the silkworm is about ready to spin its cocoon and pass into the chrysalis state, it loses its appetite, crawls about restlessly, shrinks considerably, becomes translucent, and moves its head from side to side in an effort to find objects to which it may attach its prospective cocoon. The internal change is of great importance; the two silk glands, lying on either side of the alimentary canal, become filled with thick, transparent, semi-fluid silk-stuff, which the silkworm is ready to pour forth in a double but united thread of silk.

The breeder assists the worm to find a suitable nook for its cocoon. Various devices are used, as spreading rape-stalks over the bed, or light branches of brushwood. Bundles of straw are sometimes provided. "I observed still another method," says Dr. Rein, "quite different from these, at Nagahama on the Biwa Lake. Little cornets of straw were spread over the bed, which the caterpillars easily reached and used quite readily for going into the chrysalis state."

Most of the labor in the rearing of silkworms in Japan is performed by women.

From the collection of the Manchester Historical Society.