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

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

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The great White Nile river, which flows north, out of Lake Victoria Nyanza, and joins the Blue Nile at Khartoum, is full of hippopotami, who lie concealed in grassy swamps on the river bank by day, and come out to play in the cool of the evening. In many places this river is choked up by mud and vegetation, so that very often the water is not more than five or six feet deep, therefore only small boats can float easily. Under these circumstances a huge heavy beast, like the hippopotamus (which means in Greek ' river-horse'), can do great damage, and travellers and explorers have many tales to tell of their narrow escapes.
Nobody had more adventures with these troublesome animals than Sir Samuel Baker, when, thirty years ago, he set out from Khartoum on his journey south. Some­times the hippopotamus would be seen leaving his grassy bed, where he had been sleeping during the long hot day, his hard skin preserving him from the flies which are the pests of those countries. But more often his presence would be guessed by an agitation on the surface of the stream, and a loud snorting noise, and then his ugly, shape­less head would be thrust out.
With such a thick hide to deal with, Sir Samuel pre­ferred, in his encounter with a hippopotamus, to use a weapon more certain than an ordinary bullet. He liked to allow the animal to get within thirty yards of him, and k                                                                            S
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