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             299
of the miserable slaughter of her young whelps, and showing him by signs that he should look up into the tree where the bear was, which when the man saw, he conjectured that the bear had done some grievous injury unto them. He therefore took his axe, and hewed down the tree by the roots, which being so cut, the bear tumbled down headlong, which the two furious beasts seeing, they tore her all to pieces. And afterwards the lion conducted the man unto the place and work where he first met him, and there left him, without doing the least violence or harm unto him.'
Topsel, and the ancient authors from whom he quotes, who only knew lions by hearsay, had a much higher opinion of the tribe than Livingstone and modern travel­lers, who have made their personal acquaintance. He says nothing of their dread of man or ever-present dread of pitfalls! To Topsel, the lion is just a mass of noble qualities, and an example to all men in the matter of family affection. But, then, people often seem different, to those who know them best, from what they do to strangers !
' Neither do the old lions love their young ones in vain and without recompense,' he ends up, as the moral of the last story, ' for in their old age they requite it again ; then do the young ones both defend them from the annoyance of enemies and also maintain and feed them by their own labour; for they take them forth to hunting, and when, as their decrepid and withered estate is not able to follow the game, the younger pursueth and taketh it for him; having obtained it, roareth mightily like the voice of some warning piece, to signify unto his elder that he should come on to dinner, and if he delay, he goeth to seek him where he left him, or else carry the prey unto him. At the sight thereof, in gratulation of natural kindness, and also for the joy of good success, the old one first licketh and kisseth the younger, and afterward enjoy the booty in common between them.'
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