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             295
could, and the third took no notice whatever. This gave the men time to reload, and a ball passed straight through his shoulder blade. Then he thought he had better retire ; but he had not gone very far before a bullet in his heart put an end to him.
Lions are fond of hunting in families, sometimes six or eight at once, and in any country where game is abundant lions may also be looked for. They will very rarely molest a full-grown animal, if they can get hold of a young one, and if a buffalo mother finds a lion trying to carry off her calf a fearful fight takes place, in which, if the lion is alone, he is pretty certain to get the worst of it. ' One toss from a buffalo bull,' says Livingstone, ' would kill the strongest lion that ever breathed.' Even a number of lions have been known to be kept at bay by an equal number of buffaloes, who put the little ones and mothers carefully in the rear, and stood with their horns steadily turned to the enemy.
But, as old Topsel says, ' There is no creature that loveth her young ones better than the lioness, for both shepherds and hunters, frequenting the mountains, do oftentimes see how irefully she fighteth in their defence, receiving the wounds of many darts, and the strokes of many stones, standing invincible, never yielding till death ; yea, death itself were nothing to her, so that her young ones might never be taken out of her den. It is also reported, that the male will lead abroad the young ones, but it is not likely that the lion, which refuseth to accompany his female in hunting, will so much abase his noble spirit as to undergo the lioness' duty in leading abroad her young ones. In a mountain of Thracia,' he goes on to relate, ' there was a lioness which had whelps in her den, the which den was observed by a bear, the which bear on a day finding the den unfortified both by the absence of the lion and the lioness, entered into the same and slew the lion's whelps, afterward went away, and fearing a revenge, for her better security against the
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