The Red Book Of Animal Stories - online children's book

Stories of Animals, Fantastic and Mundane, Edited By Andrew Lang

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was found that it had been in the habit of hiding till dark in the pen with some calves, which it never tried to touch, as it knew it was sure of the sheep.
In many places in Patagonia, where horses are bred, farmers have been obliged to turn their attention to something else, as the colts invariably fall victims to the pumas. They will lie patiently in wait for them to pass, and, never caring for the man, or men, who may be bringing the drove back from pasture, will spring out from behind a bush right on the back of the colt, place one pawr on its head, and the other on its bosom, and bring the head back with a jerk. Then, before the driver has had time to come up, the puma is deep in the bushes again.
There is nothing mean about a puma; it is all the same to this great big cat whether the beast it is hunting is large or small, fierce or tame. It will trot, or rather bound, after a peccary, a jaguar, or a grizzly bear, quite as cheerfully as if it were stalking a colt or a sheep. Only one animal has been known to get the better of a puma, and that is the last you would ever expect—a donkey. It is the fable of the hare and the tortoise over again. The puma may jump on his back as much as it likes, the donkey puts down his head, so that the puma cannot seize his neck, and kicks so hard that the puma is at last shaken off; or if that does not do, the donkey takes to bucking, and anybody who has ridden much knows very well what the end of bucking is likely to be.
But when pumas can be kept away from all other beasts, and be seen only with man, or with each other, what charming and graceful creatures they show themselves ! Fancy watching pumas chasing butterflies for the pure fun of it; or playing with their babies as if they were so many kittens, rolling them over and stretching out their tails for the little ones to catch, or having a game of hide and seek behind the rocks and bushes. It seems almost absurd to think that a puma could ever wrant to hurt any
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