168 THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON
So I got ready at once a long cord with a running knot, one end of which I tied fast to the root of a tree. This I entrusted to Fritz, as he was more skilful in throwing it than I was. The two animals drew nearer and nearer to us. Fritz, holding in his hand the open noose, moved softly on from behind the tree where we were concealed. The onagra started at first on seeing him. It sprang backward, then stopped to examine the unknown form ; but as Fritz now remained quite still, the animal resumed its composure, and continued to browse. Soon after he approached the donkey, and held out a handful of oats.
Grizzle ran up to take his favourite food, and the stranger drew near, raised its head, and eventually came so close that Fritz, seizing the opportunity, succeeded in throwing the rope round its neck, but the motion so frightened the animal that it instantly sprang off. It was soon checked by the cord, which drew tight, and almost strangled it. It could go no farther, and, after many exhausting efforts, it sank panting upon the ground. I loosened the cord, and quickly threw our donkey's halter over its head ; then I fixed in its nose a split cane that I had previously got ready. This had the effect of a pair of pincers I fastened the halter