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

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

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creature is feeding, as he always does at night, it will call until the clumsy form appears in the first rays of the dawn. The bird also keeps a sharp look-out for any possible danger ahead, for though the rhinoceros's ears are very sharp, his eyes are not, so it is lucky for him that there is somebody at hand who can make up for his deficiencies. In fact, so closely are both bound up together, that when the Bechuanas wish to describe a person they cannot do without, they call him ' my rhinoceros.'
The black rhinoceros is smaller than the white, and, in spite of his heavy body, can run faster than a horse. He is given to sudden fits of passion, nobody knows what for, and then he will burst «out into loud snorts, and dash at the nearest bushes with his horn, sometimes digging for hours at the ground round the roots, till he has pulled them up and worked off his bad temper both at once. Perhaps his favourite food, the branches of the tree called the 'wait-a-bit' thorn, which grows to the height of twenty feet, may be irritating. Unlike other animals, the two horns of the rhinoceros do not grow into the skull, but are attached to the skin, one behind the other, and when the animal is dead can easily be taken off with a knife. Ehinoceroses are dirty creatures and love to roll in mud, as their skins constantly show. They stand or lie about in the shade all day long, and in the evening steal out somewhere between nine and twelve to the nearest fountain, and after they have drunk their fill, they go for a long walk. It is vei'y funny to see them taking out their young. The little rhinoceros always walks in front, and if the mother gets the scent of an enemy, they both break into a sharp trot, and the mother guides her child by keeping her horn against its side, and pressing it in the direction she wishes to go. In the case of a white rhinoceros, this horn is about three feet long, but that of its black cousin is much smaller.
Fifty or sixty years ago, rhinoceroses were a great
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