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

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

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290             LION-HUNTING AND LIONS
one of the animals sitting on a rock behind a small bush, and this time Livingstone resolved to take the law into his own hands, and not to trust to the Bechuanas. When thirty yards distant, he fired both barrels at the sitting lion, straight through the bush, and heard a cry of triumph from the natives. The lion might be shot, but he certainly was not dead, for his tail stood up in a threatening way. Thinking that the men would run forward before it was safe, and would attract the notice of the wounded beast, Livingstone called out to them to stop till he could reload his gun. He was just putting in the charge, when a cry caused him to look round. The lion was in the air, close to him. In sweeping by he seized the missionary's shoulder between his teeth, and brought him to the ground from the hummock on which he was standing, growling and shaking him all the while. After the first moment, Livingstone felt nothing. He lay still as if in a dream, not even frightened as to what was coming next, and quite unconscious of any pain ; but gazing at the lion who stood above him, keeping his great paw on the head of his prey. From the position of the lion's eyes, Livingstone at once guessed that he was watching the schoolmaster Mebalwe, who, braver than his fellows, was trying to shoot him with a clumsy old gun, from a distance of fifteen yards. Both barrels missed, and with a roar the lion let go Livingstone and leapt upon Mebalwe, whom he caught by the thigh. On this a man thrust a spear into the lion from behind, and was instantly seized by the shoulder; but the bullets which were poured into the brute from other quarters now took effect, and the great beast fell back stone dead. In the excitement of the battle, which, after all, had lasted only a few moments, the wounded men had hardly been aware of pain ; but when they were all satisfied that their enemy was really dead, they began to examine their injuries. Livingstone had been partly saved by his jacket, which had received most of the poison of the
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