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

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

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creatures of all sorts had tried to get at her, but had been driven off by a puma, which had stood by her side, and defended her from every enemy, and, according to one writer, dead and dying jaguars were scattered round.
When the soldiers came up, the puma retreated to a little distance, fearing twro or three men more than any number of wild beasts. But when, moved to pity by Maldonada's wronderful deliverance, they unbound the ropes that fastened her, the puma drew near again, and jumped about her, and rubbed its head on her shoulder, and showed how7 pleased it felt that all its battles had not been fought in vain. ' And in this way,' ends up the old chronicler, ' she who had been offered up to wild beasts became free. I knew her well, and think that, instead of being named " Unlucky," she should rather have been called " Lucky," and the things that happened to her show plainly that the punishment meted out to her had in no manner been deserved.'
A jaguar is a very near relation to a puma, though they are deadly foes ; and it is the biggest of all the cat tribe throughout the continent of America, measuring over six feet from nose to tail. Its skin is yellow, spotted with black, and, like the puma, it is a very clever climber, and can manage quite well to dine off the monkeys that live up on the trees, if the solid ground is flooded. It is, perhaps, the fiercest of all the wild animals of South America, and it is certainly one of the noisiest. The puma goes silently about its business, but the jaguar is always shrieking and screaming, so its prey has plenty of warning, and can often get safe out of the way.
The jaguar is found all through America, from Texas to Patagonia—an immense tract of country, that of course contains a great many different climates, to which it has to adapt its food and habits. In the forests which border 'the Amazon, and some of the huge rivers of Brazil, they make their lairs along the banks, or in the reedy shores
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