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

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

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Fifty years ago, when Colonel Gordon Cumming, then a young man, was sent out to join his regiment in the country of the Mahrattas, India was full of tigers, bears, wild boars, and other fierce beasts, who were the terror of the native villages. The district is hilly and rocky, and abounds in rivers and thick jungles, which afford shelter for even the largest animals, who would comedown at night and carry off goats, oxen, or even men. The English sol­diers asked nothing better than to be allowed to put a stop to this state of things, and many were the adventures that happened to them in their shooting expeditions.
Here and there, indeed, an old man was to be found who, like old Kamah, was at peace with the tigers, and looked on any injury done them as an insult to himself. ' 1 have no quarrel with tigers,' he exclaimed indignantly, when the hunters found him beating his fifteen-year-old son for shooting a tiger who had carried off a tame buffalo. ' I live in the jungle, and the tigers are my friends. I never injured one of them, they never injured me ; and while there was peace between us I went among them without fear. But now, now-----'
Kamah's view of the tigers was, however, not common; and, in general, the natives would gladly turn out to help in hunting down their natural enemies.
Sometimes platforms were built in the trees, carefully chosen near the track the tiger was likely to follow, but this was not always very safe, for tigers are great jumpers,
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