The Red Book Of Animal Stories - online children's book

Stories of Animals, Fantastic and Mundane, Edited By Andrew Lang

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living thing—and if you had not seen a cat's eyes when it looks at a bird, you might say the same about him !
But many are the stories told in South America of the attachment of the puma to man, and the kindness it has shown him. One day, a band of men went out to hunt, and scattered in search of game all over the plains or pampas. In the evening, when they all assembled to ride home, one of the number was missing; but on reaching the farm, his horse was found quietly standing outside his stable. It was too late and dark to do anything that night, but at dawn next morning the rest set forth, and after some hours they found their missing comrade, lying on some ground, with his legs broken. The poor man had spent a terrible night, for the voices of jaguars were often heard in the distance, and most likely would have come a good deal closer, had it not been for a puma, who had never ceased walking about as if to guard him. When the jaguar's voice became louder than usual, the puma crawled silently and noiselessly away, and sounds of battle came through the darkness. No more was known of that jaguar.
There is an old legend which is to be found in every history of the Spanish settlers in South America, that seems almost like one of the stories of the early martyrs. In the year 1536, says Buy Diaz de Guzman, the Spanish settlers in the town of Buenos Ayres were closely besieged by Indians, and, after suffering frightful hardships from hunger and thirst and sickness, eighteen hundred of the unfortunate people died, and were buried, by the six hundred that were left, just outside the wooden palisade that defended them from their enemies. The graves were dug hardly below the surface of the ground, for the diggers looked up with fear between the turning of every sod to see if the Indians were approaching, and the smell of the dead bodies soon attracted swarms of wild beasts from the country round, so that on every side the Spaniards were beset with dangers.
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