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
23
recover from his fright, it was very long before Sai could forget the shock he had received. Day and night he watched and listened, and sometimes, when he fancied his enemy was near, he would give a low growl and arch his back and set up his tail; yet, as far as we know, he had never from his babyhood killed anything.
But when at last the winds were favourable, and the ship set sail for the open sea, other adventures were in store for the passengers. Pirates infested the coast of Africa in those days, and they came on board and carried off everything of value, including the stores of provisions. The only things they did not think worth removing were the parrots, of which three hundred had been brought by the sailors, and as these birds could not stand the cold, and died off fast as the ship steered north, Sai was allowed one a day, which just managed to keep him alive. Still, there is very little nourishment to be got out of a parrot, especially when you eat it with the feathers on, and Sai soon became very ill and did not care even for parrots. His keeper felt his nose and found it dry and feverish, so she begged that she might take him out of his cage and doctor him herself. A little while before, Sai would have been enchanted to be free, but now he was too ill to enjoy anything, and he just stretched himself out on deck, with his head on his mistress's feet. Luckily she had some fever medicine with her, good for panthers as well as men and women, and she made up three large pills which she hoped might cure Sai. Of course it was not to be expected that he would take them of his own free will, so she got the boy who looked after him to hold open his mouth, while she pushed down the pills. Then he was put back into his cage, the boy insisting on going with him, and both slept comfortably together. In a few days, with the help of better food than he had been having, he got quite well, and on his arrival in England won the admiration of the Duchess of York, his new mistress, by his beauty and gentle ways. As his country house was
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