The Animal Story Book - online children's book

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

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STORIES ABOUT LIONS
299
news from one to another, and the spectators crowd in such numbers that they nearly edge each other into the pit. When everyone has thrown his stone and hurled his imprecation, men armed with guns come to put an end to the noble animal's torture; but often ten shots have been fired before, raising his majestic head to look con­temptuously on his tormentors, he falls dead. Not till long after this last sign of life do the bravest venture to let them­selves down into the pit, by means of ropes, to pass a net under the body of the lion, and to hoist it up to the surface by means of a stake planted there for the purpose. When the lion is cut up, the mothers of the tribe receive each a small piece of his heart, which they give to their sons to eat to make them strong and courageous; with the same object they make themselves amulets of hairs dragged out from his mane.
Other tribes make use of the ambush, which may be either constructed underground or on a tree. If under­ground a hole is dug, about one yard deep, and three or four wide, near a path frequented by the lion; it is covered with branches weighted down by heavy stones, ixnd loose earth is thrown over all. Four or five little openings are left to shoot through, and a larger one to Berve as a doorway, which may be closed from within by a block of stone. In order to ensure a good aim the Arabs kill a boar and lay it on the path opposite the ambush; the lion inevitably stops to sniff this bait, and then they all fire at once. Nevertheless he is rarely killed on the spot, but frantically seeking his unseen enemies, who are beneath his feet, he makes with frenzied bounds for the nearest forest, there sometimes to recover from his wounds, sometimes to die in solitude. The ambush in a tree is conducted on the same lines as the other, except that the hunters are above instead of below their quarry, from whom they are screened by the branches.
There are, however, in the province of Constantine some tribes of Arabs who hunt the lion in a more sports-
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