264 THE LION AND THE CAT
one, but in a very few bounds and springs the lion reached his side.
' There is a bear sitting on that tree,' he whispered softly. ' He is only waiting for us to pass, to drop down on my back.'
' Ah, you are so big that he does not see I am behind you,' answered the wild cat. And, touching the ball, he just said : ' Bear, die !' And the bear tumbled dead out of the tree, and rolled over just in front of them.
For some time they trotted on without any adventures, till just as they were about to cross a strip of long grass on the edge of the forest, the lion's quick ears detected a faint rustling noise.
' That is a snake,' he cried, stopping short, for he was much more afraid of snakes than of bears.
' Oh, it is all right,' answered the cat. ' Snake, die ! ' And the snake died, and the two brothers skinned it. They then folded the skin up into a very small parcel, and the cat tucked it into his mane, for snakes' skins can do all sorts of wonderful things, if you are lucky enough to have one of them.
All this time they had had no dinner, for the snake's flesh was not nice, and the lion did not like eating bearó perhaps because he never felt sure that the bear was really dead, and would not jump up alive when his enemy went near him. Most people are afraid of some thing, and bears and serpents were the only creatures that caused the lion's heart to tremble. So the two brothers set off again and soon reached the side of a hill where some fine deer were grazing.
' Kill one of those deer for your own dinner,' said the boy-brother, ' but catch me another alive. I want him.'
The lion at once sprang towards them with a loud roar, but the deer bounded away, and they were all three soon lost to sight. The cat waited for a long while, but finding that the lion did not return, went back to the house where they lived.