The Animal Story Book - online children's book

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

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296                    STORIES ABOUT LIONS
just described. They all turn night into day, and go out at dusk to forage for prey, returning to their lair at dawn to sleep and digest in peace and quiet. Should a lion, for any reason, shift his camp during the day, it is most unlikely that he will attack, unprovoked, any creature, whether human or otherwise, whom he may chance to meet; for during the day he is ' full inside,' and the lion kills not for the sake of killing, but to satisfy his hunger. The lion is a devoted husband; when a couple go out on their nightly prowl, it is always the lioness who leads the way; when she stops he stops too, and when they arrive at the fold where they hope to procure their supper, she lies down, while he leaps into the midst of the enclosure, and brings back to her the pick of the flock. He watches her eat with great anxiety lest anything should disturb her, and never begins his own meal till she has finished hers. As a father he is less devoted; the old lion being of a serious disposition, the cubs weary him with their games, and while the family is young the father lives by himself, but at a short distance, so as to be at hand in case of danger. When the cubs are about three months old, and have finished teething (a process which often proves fatal to little lionesses), their mother begins to accustom them to eat meat by bringing them mutton to eat, which she carefully skins, and chews up small before giving to them. Between three and four months old they begin to follow their mother at night to the edge of the forest, where their father brings them their supper. At six months the whole family change their abode, choosing for the purpose a very dark night. Between eight months and a year old they begin to attack the flocks of sheep and goats that feed by day in the neighbourhood of their lair, and sometimes venture to attack oxen, but being still young and awkward, they often wound ten for one killed, and the father lion is obliged to interfere. At the age of two years they can slay with one blow an ox, horse, or camel, and can leap the hedges two yards high that surround the folds for protec-
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