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

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

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Monsieur Alexandre Dumas, who was so fond of animals, and has given us such a delightful account of Pritchard and his ways, was once passing a few months in a palace at Naples.
It was a beautiful palace, with a garden that had been made long ago by a rich Roman noble, and terraces that sloped down to the sea itself. These terraces and gardens were filled with fine trees and covered with flowrers, and on their walls and stones there basked in the sunshine, thousands of grey and golden lizards.
Now anyone that has ever watched the behaviour of lizards for long together, knows what strange little creatures they are. How quick, and yet how still; how shy, and yet how readily tamed; how unnoticeable amidst the grey rocks and stones, yet how easily detected by their bright glittering eyes.
Amongst all the lizards that made their homes in the gardens of M. Dumas' palace, there was one which seemed as if it had been charged by all its relations to prove to M. Dumas and his guest, M. Goujon, the truth of the proverb, 'the lizard is the friend of man.' This particular lizard was a very bold little person, and very fond of flies, which it would even come to seek by the windows of M. Goujon's room, opening on to the terrace.
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