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

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

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The little greyhound pups are petted from the time they are born, and the villagers bring presents of milk and other things to the mother. There is no flattery they will spare, and no promise they do not give, for the chance of getting one of the puppies for their own. ' I am your friend, my brother,' they will say; ' grant me, I pray you, the favour that I ask. When you start for the hunt, I will go with you ; I will serve you and help you as a friend may.' Then the master of the grey­hound answers that in seven days he will make up his mind whether he will part with the puppy or not, and till then the man must wait. This is because in every litter of greyhound puppies, one is always better than the rest, and in order to find out which is the cleverest the owner will take it away from its mother's side before it is seven days old, and see if it can get back by itself. If it can, he believes the pup will turn out a great prize, worth the best negro slave that could be offered him. It would be dreadful indeed, if he found he had given away such a treasure!
After fourteen days the little fellows are fed upon the milk of goats or camels, with as many dates as they like to eat, and as soon as they are three or four months old, their education begins. The boys let out some small animal under the puppy's nose, and while he is still watching it in a puzzled way, set him on to catch it. It does not take long to awaken his sporting instincts, and in a few weeks he is shown higher game. When he is five or six months, he is considered old enough to learn how to hunt hares—not at all an easy task, and one which requires a great deal of preparation. The puppy is held in a leash, and led by some of the men to a place where hares are known to lie. The hare is roused and made to run away, and the greyhound is taught to follow it until, after repeated trials, he learns how to hunt it down. When he has thoroughly mastered this lesson, he is pro­moted to the chase of gazelles, which needs a great deal
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