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

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

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ELEPHANT SHOOTING                   247
to do; his horse Colesberg was in mortal terror of the huge, strange creature, and plunged wildly. A shot was at length fired, but without much result, and the noise at such close quarters ended by upsetting Colesberg's nerves completely. In vain his master attempted to get near enough to jump on his back; Colesberg only plunged and reared and swung round towards the wounded ele­phant. At this moment a loud trumpeting noise was heard from behind, and out from the trees came a stone-deaf old dog, followed, unknown to himself, by the friend of the wounded elephant, who had come to the help of his comrade. The men looked on from afar ; but, less loyal or brave than the elephant, they did nothing, and Colonel Gordon Cumming's hunting days would have ended there and then had it not been for the dogs who yapped at the knees of the elephants, and took off their attention—for elephants are horribly afraid of dogs. When their trunks were almost touching him he managed, goaded by the danger, to spring into the saddle, and dashed off to wrhere the men were standing for a second rifle. Then, aiming as well as his frightened steed would let him, he soon ended the sufferings of his first victim, which fell to the ground, bringing down a huge tree in her fall.
Her friend, seeing the case was hopeless, charged straight at the murderer, who was forced to fly for several hundred yards before he could contrive to get a shot. At last he was able to turn and place a ball in her shoulder, when, evidently hard hit, she gave it up and made for cover.
Some old writers have left us very curious stories of the elephants which were first seen in Europe in the wars of Pyrrhus with Rome. ' The beast which hath between its eyes a serpent for a hand,' was much used in battles in those days, and when steady and well-trained, was most useful, both in charging the enemy, and in carrying a kind of fort filled with light
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