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The wife threw herself upon it, and the elephant stood by, respecting her grief. It was a touching spectacle. The woman lamented loudly, turning now and then to the elephant to reproach him; whilst he stood as if conscious of his crime, looking sadly at her.
« Once or twice the unconscious infant caught at his trunk and played with it. He had no doubt played with it often before, for it is no uncommon thing to see the mahout's child playing about the legs of the elephant; or the elephant waving his trunk over it, allowing it to go a little distance, and then carefully bringing it back again, as tenderly as a mother would.
"Let the woman call him off,' shouted the king: 'he will attend to her.'
“She did so, and Malleer came back just as a spaniel would do at the call of his master!
“Let the woman mount with her child, and take him away,' was the king's order. It was communicated to her. The elephant knelt at her command. She mounted : Malleer gave her, first, the mutilated carcase of her husband, and then her infant son. She sat upon his neck, in her husband's place, and led him quietly away.
“From that day she was his keeper, his mahout: he would have no other. Even when in a fury of excitement she had but to command, and he obeyed. The touch of her hand on his trunk was enough to calm his most violent outbursts of temper.”
SLAUGHTER OF TWO ELEPHANTS.
We were on the side of a fine green valley, studded here and there with trees, and cut up by numerous rivulets. For the sake of quietness, I had retired among some rocks, when I beheld an elephant and her calf at the end of the valley about two miles distant. The calf was rolling in the mud, and the dam was standing fanning herself with her huge
As I looked at them through my glass, I saw a long string of my own men appearing on the other side of them, and Sekwebu came and told me that these had gone off, saying, “Our father will see to-day what sort of men he has got."
I then went higher up the side of the valley, in order to have a distinct view of their mode of hunting. The noble beast, totally unconscious of the approach of an enemy, stood for some time suckling her young one, which seemed about two years old. They then went into a pit containing mud, and smeared themselves all over with it, the little one frisking about the dam, flapping its ears - and tossing its
trunk incessantly. The dam kept flapping her ears and wagging her tail, as if in the height of enjoyment.
Then began the piping of her enemies, which was performed by blowing into a tube, or the hands closed together, as boys sometimes do. They called out to attract the animal's attention :
“O chief! chief! we have come to kill you,
The gods have said it,” &c. &c. Both animals expanded their ears and listened, then left their bath as the crowd rushed towards them. The little one ran forward towards the end of the valley, but, seeing the men there, returned to the dam. She placed herself on the
danger-side of her calf, and passed her trunk over it again and again, as if to assure it of safety. She frequently looked back at the men, who kept up a continual shouting, singing and piping. Then she would look at her young one and run after it, sometimes sideways; as if her feelings were divided between anxiety to protect her offspring, and desire to revenge the rashness of her enemies. Some of the men kept about a hundred yards behind her; others about the same distance from her side : they continued thus until she was obliged to cross a rivulet.
After the first shot, she appeared with her sides red with blood; and, beginning to flee for her own life, seemed to think no more of her young one. I had previously sent off Sekwebu with orders to spare the calf. It ran very fast, but neither young nor old ever enter into a gallop: their quickest pace is only a sharp walk. Before Sekwebu could reach them, the calf had taken refuge in the water, killed.
The pace of the dam gradually became slower. She turned with a shriek of rage, and made a furious charge back among the men. They vanished sideways, and as she ran straight on, she went through the whole party, but came near no one, except a man who wore a piece of red cloth on his shoulders, which is a dangerous thing on such occasions. She charged three or four times, and, except in the first instance, never went farther than a hundred yards. She often stood, after she had crossed a rivulet, and faced the men, though she received fresh spears every moment. From constant spearing, she lost much blood ; and at last, making a short charge, she staggered round, and sank dead in a kneeling posture.
SAÏ, THE LEOPARD. This interesting animal was so completely tamed that it was suffered to roam about the house unwatched. Its chief resting-place was under a sofa, the only indications of his presence being a protruding paw, or an occasional
peep from behind the cover. Strangers were naturally rather astonished when they saw so powerful an animal at liberty, especially as the leopard appeared to have gained entrance from the woods, and hidden himself for no good purpose.
Saï was a very affectionate creature, and could not bear being separated from his master. One evening, his master, who had been absent from home the whole day, returned to his own room, and began to write. Presently he heard Saï coming up stairs, and on seeing the animal make a great spring upon him, he gave himself up for lost.
The leopard only meant to show his joy at again finding his master; and, by rubbing his cheek against his head, to show his affection.
He was full of play, and was by no means averse from a practical joke, such as jumping on the back of a domestic, as he once did, while she was stooping down to clean the floor with her little broom. The poor woman was of course in a terrible fright, never doubting that she was intended to form a dinner for the leopard. Saï had no such intention, but stood there in great glee, waving his tail about, while the poor woman, not daring to stir, screamed piteously. The other servants came to see what was the matter, but soon set off as fast as they could, leaving the poor woman to her fate. She kept screaming, the leopard wagging his tail, until his master came and released her.
So perfectly tamed was this animal, that the children used to fight with it for the possession of one of the win
dows at which the leopard was accustomed to lie with his chin resting between his forepaws on the sill. On several occasions the children, finding him in their way, pulled him down by the tail.
Saï's life was not to end without adventure. He was sent to England, and we are told that when he reached the ship he was completely cowed and subdued. His cage had been placed in a canoe, the crew of which were so frightened, when he moved, that they contrived to upset the whole affair, and poor Saï got a thorough ducking. After that time he got on pretty well until the ship was boarded by pirates *, who took away almost all the provisions, so that Saï would have starved had it not been for a large number of parrots on board. One parrot a day was all his food barely enough to keep him from starving.
On his arrival in England he was presented to the Duchess of York. One morning his mistress called to see him, when he appeared to be in his usual health; but in the evening he was dead.
Anecdotes of Animal Life.
* Pirates, sea-robbers.