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

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

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

permission to make my bow before the audience, whose sympathies I had thus involuntarily aroused. I ad­mit that my clothes were hardly in a fit condition for a public appearance—I was covered from head to foot with blood and sand; one sleeve was in rags, the lappets torn off my coat, and the collar altogether missing. Then I had to submit to be taken home, put to bed, and let the doctors examine my wounds. These numbered no less than seventeen : my arms were lacerated, my shoulders were beaten black and blue, while my throat—and this was the most painful of all—was torn open. Three weeks was I obliged to keep my bed, it was even reported that I would never leave it. But, at length, I regained my liberty, and the first use I made of it was to revisit the menagerie. I had grown a thick beard, the collar of my coat was turned up, and the brim of my hat slouched down over my face, rendering me almost unrecognisable ; but I had hardly set foot in the arena than Sultan scented me and greeted me with an angry growl. Flattening himself against the bars, he stood, his claws stretched out, ready to spring upon me ; his eyes blazing with rage, and every bristle on end, while the evil expression on his horribly contorted face, plainly said: ' What! not dead yet ? Wait till the next time I get hold of you ! ' I could with difficulty be prevented going into his cage and paying off old scores at once ; but I was constrained to content myself with visiting all my other friends, while Sultan followed my every movement with an angry eye.
I was impatient, as soon as my health should be com­pletely re-established, to begin my performances. When that happy evening at length arrived I entered the cages as calmly as of old, and the exercises were gone through without any impediment. When it came to Sultan's turn, to my surprise he contented himself with growling, and did not attempt to attack me. I kept none the less on my guard, for I knew that he was revengeful, and
Previous Contents Next