170 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON
its restraints, and to ride it as we had done with the buffalo, still keeping the fore feet tied ; but, notwithstanding this precaution, it proved as fierce and unruly as ever. The monkey, who was first put on its back, held on pretty well by clinging to its mane, while the onagra furiously reared and plunged, but it was impossible for any of the boys to mount. When tied up the onagra seemed tolerably quiet and gentle, but the moment it was in any degree unshackled it became wholly ferocious and unmanageable.
I was at length reduced to my last chance, and I made up my mind that, if it did not answer, I would set the animal at liberty. I tried to mount the onagra, and, as it reared to prevent me, I seized one of its long ears with my teeth, and bit it till it bled. The onagra became motionless and as stiff as a stake. Fritz seized the moment, and sprang on its back; Jack, with the help of his mother, did the same, holding on by his brother. Then I let go of the ear ; the onagra made a few springs, but, checked by the cords on its feet, it gradually submitted, began to trot up and down more quietly, and at last grew tractable.
I explained to the boys that I had heard of this extraordinary mode of taming from a horse-breaker