The Animal Story Book - online children's book

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

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HOW THE CAYMAN WAS KILLED
plunge again under water. Suddenly there broke forth a fearful noise, unlike the cry of any other creature. As one cayman called another answered; and although caymans are not very common anywhere, that night you would have thought that the world was full of them.
The three men stopped eating their supper of turtle and turned and looked over the river. Waterton could see nothing, but the Indian silently pointed to a black log that lay in the stream, just over the place where they had baited a hook with a large fish, and bound it on a board. At the end of the board a rope was fastened, and this was also made fast to a tree on the bank. By-and-bye the black log began to move, and in the bright moonlight he was clearly seen to open his long jaws and to take the bait inside them. But the watchers on shore pulled the rope too soon, and the cayman dropped the bait at once. Then for an hour he lay quite still, thinking what he should do next, but feeling cross at having lost his supper, he made up his mind to try once more, and cautiously took the bait in his mouth. Again the rope was pulled, and again the bait was dropped into the river; but in the end the cayman proved more cunning than the Indians, for after he had played this trick for three or four times he managed to get the fish without the hook, and when the sun rose again, Waterton knew that cay­man hunting was over for that day.
For two or three nights they watched and waited, but did not ever get so near success as before. Let them conceal a hook in the bait ever so cleverly, the cayman was sure to be cleverer than they, and when morning came, the bait was always gone and the hook always left. The Indians, however, had no intention of allowing the cayman to beat them in the long run, and one of them invented a new hook, which this time was destined to better luck. He took four or five pieces of wood about a foot long, barbed them at each end, and tied them firmly to the end of a rope, thirty yards long. Above the barb
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