GERARD, THE LION HUNTER 69
to the opening of the tent. But the lion was no longer to be seen at the place where she had left him. She looked all round but could see nothing of him.
' Bah, you have been dreaming ! ' said her father, as they went back into the tent.
' Indeed I can assure you that I seem to see him still,' replied Aissa.
' What was he like ? '
' He must have been between four and five feet high, and nearly eight feet long,' replied the girl.
' Well ?'
' With a superb mane.'
< Yes ? '
' Eyes as bright and yellow as gold.'
' Well ?'
' Teeth like ivory, but-----' and the girl hesitated.
' But ? ' repeated her father.
' But,' she resumed in a lower voice, ' he had not a very nice smell.'
She had barely uttered these words when a fearful roar was heard just behind the tent, then a second some five hundred yards off, and a third at about half a mile further still.
Then there was silence. Evidently the lion, who no doubt wished to hear what Aissa would say about him, had made a circle so as to listen behind the tent, and was now hastening away mortified by what he had overheard.
A month passed by, and Aissa had almost forgotten her adventure, when one day she was told to go to the forest again and cut sticks. Having got what she needed and bound them together in a faggot, she was about to leave, when she heard a slight noise behind her and turned round.
There was the lion, seated a few paces off and looking at her.
' Good morning, Aissa,' he said, in a dry tone.