The Animal Story Book - online children's book

Edited By Andrew Lang And With Numerous Illustrations By H. J. Ford

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SAI THE PANTHER
15
and his teeth and claws were filed so that he should not hurt anyone, even in play. When he got a little accustomed to the place, he was allowed to go where he liked within the castle grounds, and a boy was told off to look after him. Sometimes the boy would go to sleep when he ought to have been watching his charge, and then Sai, who knew perfectly well that this was not at all right, would steal quietly away and amuse himself till he thought his keeper would be awake again. One day, when he re­turned from his wanderings, he found the boy, as usual, comfortably curled up in a cool corner of the doorstep sound asleep. Sai looked at him for a moment, and then, thinking that it was full time for him to be taught his duty, he gave him one pat on his head, which sent the boy over like a ninepin and gave him a good fright, though it did not do him any harm.
Sai was very popular with everybody, but he had his own favourites, and the chief of these was the governor, whom he could not bear to let out of his sight. When his master went out he would station himself at the drawing-room window, where he could watch all that was going on, and catch the first sight of his returning friend. Being by this time nearly grown up, Sai's great body took up all the,space, to the great disgust of the children, who could see nothing. They tried to make him move, first by coaxings and then by threats, but as Sai did not pay the smallest attention to either one or the other, they at last all took hold of his tail and pulled so hard that he was forced to move.
Strange to say, the black people were a great deal more afraid of Sai than any of the white ones, and one of his pranks nearly caused the death of an old woman who was the object of it. It was her business to sweep out and keep clean the great hall of the castle, and one morn­ing she was crouching down on all fours with a short broom in her hand, thinking of nothing but how to get the dust out of the floor, when Sai, who had hidden him-
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