making for me, for he couldn't have known anything of my relations
toward Dian. At any rate he leaped full upon her back and dragged
her down. There ensued forthwith as terrible a battle as one would
wish to see if battles were gaged by volume of noise and riotousness
of action. I thought that both the beasts would be torn to shreds.
When finally the female ceased to struggle and rolled over on her
back, her forepaws limply folded, I was sure that she was dead.
Raja stood over her, growling, his jaws close to her throat. Then
I saw that neither of them bore a scratch. The male had simply
admin-istered a severe drubbing to his mate. It was his way of
teaching her that I was sacred.
After a moment he moved away and let her rise, when she set about
smoothing down her rumpled coat, while he came stalking toward
Dian and me. I had an arm about Dian now. As Raja came close I
caught him by the neck and pulled him up to me. There I stroked
him and talked to him, bidding Dian do the same, until I think he
pretty well understood that if I was his friend, so was Dian.
For a long time he was inclined to be shy of her, often baring his
teeth at her approach, and it was a much longer time before the
female made friends with us. But by careful kindness, by never
eating without sharing our meat with them, and by feeding them from
our hands, we finally won the confidence of both animals. However,
that was a long time after.
With the two beasts trotting after us, we returned to where we had
left Juag. Here I had the dickens' own time keeping the female from<<BackPagesTo menuNext>>