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

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

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LION-HUNTING AND LIONS             293
lion's teeth, so that, although it was bad enough to have the bones of his arm crushed into splinters, the eleven flesh wounds on his shoulder, healed without leaving any ill-effects. The other two men, on the contrary, who had had nothing to protect them, suffered to the end of their lives from strange pains in the wounded parts, which were always particularly violent at the season of the year in which the lion had bitten them.
The next morning a great bonfire was made in the village, and the lion solemnly burnt; and from that moment the spell was pronounced broken—and the lions went away.
The idea that lions are the bravest of all animals dates from the time when very little was really known about them. Anyone who reads Mr. Livingstone's travels in South Africa will find that he tells a widely different tale. According to him, no single lion will ever attack a man by daylight or even moonlight, unless he is first attacked himself, or almost starving. Even on a dark, rainy night, the dread of falling into a trap is enough to keep him from assaulting any animal tied to a tree, and therefore at his mercy. It is curious how fear of pitfalls never leaves him! One day, an Englishman's horse, which had bolted and thrown its rider, was caught by its bridle in the fork of a tree and held fast. For two days search was made for it, but in vain. On the third they came upon the missing creature by accident, quite safe and sound, though all round it were the marks of lions' paws ! Any animal tied up seems to act as a charm against lions, by night as well as by day—they will not even attack a sheep, lest something unknown and terrible should be the consequence.
As a rule, unless they have little ones, nobody need be afraid of lions from sunrise to sunset! Livingstone and his family used often to meet them in their walks outside the camp, and after staring with surprise for a few seconds, the lion would turn slowly round and cautiously
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