272 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON
The rocks echoed it, and we felt seized with sudden terror. The dogs and the jackals also started howling horribly.
' What a diabolical concert!' said Fritz, jumping up and seizing his gun. ' Build up the fire, and while I try to discover the danger in my cajack, you retreat to the boat'
This plan appeared the best we could pursue, and I adopted it. We threw on the fire all the wood we could find ready cut, and, without losing time, we reached the boat; but it was tethered to a great stone, and whether our hands were trembling, or from whatever other cause, we fumbled at the rope without undoing it. Fritz jumped into the cajack, and was soon lost in the darkness of the night, which was now closing in.
During all this time the roarings continued, and they appeared to approach nearer to us, Our dogs gathered around the fire, uttering plaintive moans. Our poor little monkey seemed to be terrified. I imagined that the wild beast which made this hideous din must be a leopard or a panther, which had been attracted by the remains of the wild boar in the wood. My doubts did not last long, for we soon discovered by the light of our fires, a terrible lion, considerably larger and stronger than those