GERARD, THE LION HUNTER 77
stop at home. From the first moment of the short twilight till the following day, any Arab who has heard that warning roar feels the greatest reluctance to put a foot outside his tent. But the very reason which kept them safely indoors determined me to choose this particular hour, for this is the time when the lion awakens from his mid-day sleep and starts out in search of prey.
When I reached the place marked by Amar Ben-Sarah I found I still had a quarter of an hour's daylight, and might study the landscape.
It was the entrance to a mountain gorge. The slopes on either side and the bottom of the gorge itself were thickly wooded, the trees interspersed here and there with bare rock, which stood out like gigantic bones, and were still burning after the heat of the day.
We plunged into the gorge, Ben-Sarah acting as guide. Behind him he dragged a goat, w7ho was to serve as a decoy for the lion.
About fifty paces from the lion's lair there was a clearing, which I chose as my point of vantage. Amar cut down a sapling, sharpened one end, and planted it firmly in the middle of the clearing. Then he tied the goat to it, leaving its rope a couple of yards long.
As he was completing his operations we heard a loud and prolonged yawn at no great distance. It was the lion, only half awake as yet, but who was looking at us, and who yawned as he looked.
The bleatings of the goat had wakened him. He was quietly sitting at the foot of a rock and deliberately licking his thick lips, looking all the time full of the most magnificent contempt for us.
I hastened to order my men back, and they were not sorry to take up a position some two or three hundred yards behind me. Amida alone insisted on remaining close by me.
I carefully examined the spot. A ravine separated me