The Animal Story Book - online children's book

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

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SNAKE STORIES
47
head forward and tail raised, thus attacking with "both ends at once. If by chance it misses its aim and its tail strikes a young tree and penetrates the bark, that tree immediately begins to droop, and before long withers and dies. On the occasion when the Baron encountered it, Calooa and he had been fleeing all night fearing an attack of hostile Indians. About daylight they ventured to stop to take rest and food. While Calooa lit the fire the Baron took his gun and went in search of game. In about half an hour he returned with a wild turkey. When they had cooked and eaten it, he lay down and fell asleep, but had only slept two hours when he awoke, feeling his hand touched. It was Calooa, who woke him with a terror-stricken face. Looking in the direction she pointed, he saw about fifty yards away an enormous horned snake wound round a branch of sassafras. It was lying in wait for a poor little squirrel, that cowered in the hollow of an oak. As soon as the squirrel dared to show even the tip of its nose, the serpent flung itself at it, but in vain, as its great head could not get into the hole.
'Fortunately,' the Baron says, 'my gun was by my side. I rose and went to the rescue of the defenceless little creature. When the serpent saw me he knew he had another sort of enemy to deal with, and hissing furiously hurled himself in my direction, though without quitting his branch. I stopped and took aim. The serpent evidently understood my attitude perfectly, for unwinding himself he began to crawl with all his speed towards me. Between us there was fortunately an obstacle, a fallen chestnut tree ; to reach me he must either climb over it or go round, and he was too furious to put up with any delay. Ten paces from the tree I waited for him to appear, one knee on the ground,, my gun at my shoulder, and the other elbow resting on my knee to steady my aim. At last I saw his horrid head appear above the fallen tree, at the same moment I fired, and the ball pierced his head through
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