The Animal Story Book - online children's book

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

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ing is extremely acute, is soon aware of the approach of enemies, who in their turn are warned by the young men on the look-but. Finally, when the lion turns to meet the hunters the watchers shout with all their might ' Aou-likoum!' ' Look out!' At this signal the Arabs draw themselves up in battle array, if possible with their backs to a rock, and remain motionless till the lion has approached to within twenty or thirty paces; then the word of command is given, and each man, taking the best aim he can, fires, and then throws down his rifle to seize his pistol or yataghan. The lion is generally brought to the ground by this hail of bullets, but unless the heart or the brain have been pierced he will not be mortally wounded; the hunters therefore throw themselves upon him before he can rise, firing, stabbing right and left, blindly, madly, without aim, in the rage to kill. Some­times in his mortal agony the lion will seize one of the hunters, and, drawing him under his own body, will torture him, almost as a cat does a mouse before killing it. Should this happen, the nearest relation present of the unhappy man will risk his own life in the attempt to rescue him, and at the same time to put an end to the lion. This is a perilous moment; when the lion sees the muzzle of the avenger's rifle pointed at his ear he will certainly crush in the head of his victim, even if he has not the strength left to spring on his assail­ant before the latter gives him the coap$ de grace.
The Arabs in the neighbourhood of Constantine used, about fifty years ago, to send there for a famous French lion-hunter, Jules Gerard by name, to rid them of some unusually formidable foe. They never could understand his way of going to work — alone and by night — which certainly presented a great contrast to their methods. On one occasion a family of five— father, mother, and three young lions — were the aggressors. The Arab sheik, lead­ing Monsieur Gerard to the river, showed him by their footprints on the banks where this fearful family were in
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