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

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

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It would be difficult to find any collection of Ghost stories which did not contain one or two tales of Vam­pires—horrid creatures that steal out of their graves at night to suck the blood of human beings. They make one's flesh creep to read about, but of course they are not alive, and never were.
Now, among the great bat tribe there are most likely several kinds who really do what the stories tell of the Vampires. Indeed, there is one species of big bat, with wings two feet wide, and a horny, prickly tongue, which is known to people who study natural history as the Spectre Vampire. Poor bat, it suffers, as is not uncom­mon, for the faults of others, for in reality it cares nothing for human blood and has never sucked anybody.
Still, even if we cannot believe all the blood-curdling stories told by travellers in South America and some of the Pacific Islands, as to the proceedings of the Vampire bat, they are very interesting to read, and are true to a great extent about others of the tribe. It is not every­body, fortunately for themselves, that could be sucked by a bat, and no doubt the creatures soon find this out, and fly off to a more promising victim. A curious account is given of their ways by a certain Captain Stedman, who spent five years on the north coast of South America, a long while ago, and he declares that he himself had fallen a prey to their bloodthirsty appetite. According to Captain Stedman, when a bat intends to suck you, he flutters slowly to the ground, and stands by your feet, fanning his wings slowly all the while, to keep you cool and comfortable, and to prevent your waking. TheD he
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