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happened to be sailing over our heads, began his rarely-heard but deliciously-sweet song. I looked
up, and he managed by signs to inform me that the whole colony of sea-lions meant to move next day. This being the case, I requested a day's leave for deliberation as
to my answer, and starting away I found my little mistress crying bitterly, for she thought she had got me into some dreadful trouble. She was old enough to know that the usual time for our I leaving the Falkland Isles had nearly arrived, so when I told her the day was fixed, she was in haste for me to leave her, only making me promise that I would return next year, and meet Well, the year passed,
her at the same place.
and all the sea-lions who had been wandering through the southern ocean began swimming steadily towards the Falkland Isles. The old ones went first, and fought, as I told you before, and I was still left behind. I dashed up and down longing for the battles to be over, so that I could crawl on shore and wait for my little mistress; and at last, when the houses were full, the happy moment came. Pomara had been attracted by the dreadful noise of the conflict, and was as usual peeping from behind a rock. How she knew me I cannot make out, but she did. Again the dear little creature ran to me, and she and I played about as before; but this time was not like the year before. I soon found that every movement of mine was watched by my jealous comrades; if I swam after a fish for my dinner, they bellowed, 'He is catching it for Pomara; if I managed to crawl away from the rest of the herd, two or three spies were sent after me to watch that I did not 'betray them again;' and how could I enjoy my romps with the little Indian when I did not know what malignant spirit might be peeping at me from behind a corner and grinning with glee."
"It was very hard," said Eva, pityingly.
"It was," assented the veteran; "but that was not the worst, for one day my playfellow came down to my bath, and with many tears informed me that her parents had forced her to become servant to some white people who lived on the island.
"No, no,' they cried, 'don't trust her, she will beguile you to your doom; she only wants to get your beautiful fur and make a sealskin tippet for her brown shoulders." "And then I used to get so indignant, I would rush off and leave the suspicious, mean-spirited creatures to themselves. Things got worse and worse; Pomara had such an intense desire to see how the old sea-lions behaved, she wanted to study their habits so much, that in order to gratify her I often showed her crevices in the rocks, whence she might peep at the Rookery without being seen. But one morning she got into such an ecstasy on beholding a mother Sea-lion, which was carrying a little one in her mouth as a cat does, that the child clapped her hands with delight. Then there was a commotion; a mischief-making little fellow called Hairylips cried out that Greybeard had betrayed them; amidst barking, roaring, bleating, and hideous noises of all kinds, the whole colony rushed to the water, where they abused me to their heart's content, and then the next proceeding was to hold a court-martial upon me, at which they decided that I should be ' sent to Coventry,' unless I at once agreed to abandon my allegiance to my Indian playfellow."
"What did you do?" inquired Geoffrey.
"I listened to them very respectfully," answered Greybeard, and was on the point of telling them that nothing wld induce me to give up my playmate, when a friendly bird, who had often me in company with Pomara, and who
"A MOTHER SEA-LION... WAS CARRYING A LITTLE ONE IN HER MOUTH
"I shall have plenty of food there, and they say I shall be happy,' she sobbed, 'but I shall not have you to play with, my poor Greybeard; we shall have no more swims, or rolls, or fun; oh dear! oh dear!'
"I rubbed my head on her shoulder, and tried to console her, telling her she could sometimes creep out when she was not wanted, and come to see me; but my heart told me our good time was over, and I was not deceived. She went away,
and I was left desolate.
"At last I saw Pomara once again. She came one evening when it was getting dusk, and I scrambled to meet her; she had grown thin too, but we commiserated each other; then, with her beautiful eyes shining with excitement, she said
"I have a grand chance for you, Greybeard. I know you like changes, and that you are miserable here; so what would you say to going far away, thousands of miles, to a place where you will be taken care of, and petted, and fed, and every one will love you, and dear little white boys and girls will go to see you?'
"I could hardly understand her, so I gazed at her inquiringly, and she went on
"There is a nice white gentleman who has been very kind to me, and he said one day he wanted to get a young sea-lion to take away over the sea, to a place called England, where every one would admire him. I asked him would white people be as kind to you as I have been, and he said yes, certainly, and that he would be very grateful if I got you to go along with him; he promised faithfully that you would be very happy; so what do you say? Of course I shall miss you dreadfully, but I am afraid you are miserable, and perhaps it would be best for you to go.'
"My dears," pursued the Sea-lion, "I need hardly tell you what answer I gave her. I said 'yes' joyfully, but before we parted we had one more romp, one more swim, and then
she went back to her master.
fed me and petted me all through the voyage; but if I were to begin to tell you about that you would go to sleep, for the story is so long. Anyhow, when we reached England I was sent to the Zoological Gardens, and here I have been ever since."
"Oh, poor fellow, ever since!" cried Jeff. "Did you not want a change?"
"And did you never see Pomara again?" whispered Eva.
"I did want a change dreadfully at first," answered the hoary lion, candidly. "I fretted and longed for it, but that was years ago; I have now got accustomed to my captivity, and every one is so kind to me.
"As for seeing Pomara again," he added, with a graceful bow to Eva, "that I have never done. I have no doubt she grew up to be as kind and gentle as a woman as she had been when a girl.
So saying, and with a half apology for diving, only he had talked so much his throat was quite parched, Mr. Sea-lion disappeared into the tank.
"Ah," said the Elephant, "I'm afraid he has talked too much, and he ought not to make himself hoarse, for he is to sing at the banquet to-night."
"So am I," said a voice; and, turning round, Jeff and Eva perceived the Ostrich beside them.
"Ah!" continued the Ostrich, "you are surprised to see me on this side of the tunnel, but as it is not often I see this part of the gardens, I am making the most of it."
"So are we," answered Jeff; "and the animals are so good as to tell us a great deal about themselves. Perhaps you will tell us a story; you can't think how delightful it is for us to listen to the wonderful things that we have been hearing."
"I have nothing very wonderful to relate," replied the Ostrich; "how
THE OSTRICH'S STORY.
OST of you know, I dare
are not so foolish as
"I was born in the desert, in the wilds of South Africa. But I was happy enough, for my surroundings were such as I had been used to from my birth I had liberty, and freedom from anxiety or care. I was happy with my companions as we fed together in flocks on the scant herbage, or coursed with the speed of the winds over the wide, rolling plains-happy, had not man interfered with us.
One day, while I was quietly and peacefully feeding with my comrades, I noticed an ostrich approach close to me with whose appearance I was unfamiliar. But I merely thought that the stranger was a member of some other herd who had strayed among us, and I took no further notice of him save to give a slight inclination of the head in the way of courtesy. Suddenly I heard a sharp whiz through the air, and the next moment I felt myself struck in the leg, and a sharp, keen thrill of pain ran all through my body. I was struck by an arrow, and looking down I saw the weapon still clinging in my leg. I at once, though too late, understood what had happened. There was treachery in the wind, and the hunters, our enemies, were upon us!
"But I was resolved not to yield without a struggle. My wound might be deadly, but as yet it did not feel so. With a vigorous effort I shook the arrow from my leg, and turning from the enemy -for what I had mistaken for a stranger bird was nothing more or less, I now knew, than a bushman dressed in the skin of a dead ostrich-I fled towards a belt of brushwood some distance off.
"You have heard that the ostrich always runs in a circle. Well, so most of them do, and in this respect I must admit that they do not show much wisdom, for it makes the hunter's task in pursuing them a much simpler matter than it might be.
But now and then you find individual ostriches who are wiser than their brethren, and I, though it may seem like conceit to say so, was one of these.
"Convinced in my own mind of the truth of this theory of mine, I now put it to the proof. I held on straight for the friendly scrub, and ran as fast as my wound would permit, not even looking back to see how it fared with my companions. I reached the scrub, and then at last, turning round, saw that I was not being pursued farther. My strength was now utterly exhausted, blood was still flowing freely from my leg, and, faint and bleeding, I dropped powerless upon the ground.
"I think I must have become unconscious, for when I next became clearly aware of what was passing around me the sun was sinking behind the low hills on the horizon. I felt very weak, ill, and wretched, but the cool of the evening after the fierce heat of the African day was grateful, and brought with it some refreshment and calm to my feverish and excited frame.
"By-and-by, worn out by fatigue and weakness, I fell asleep, and, in spite of the pain I felt, slept in a broken, restless way till daybreak. My leg now felt so stiff that I could hardly move it. I could not even rise to procure myself any food.
"I sat thus, utterly forlorn and miserable, as well as in great pain, while the slow hours dragged on towards mid-day. I was beginning to feel quite hopeless and despairing, and careless what became of me, when I heard a slight rustling among the brushwood, and looking up beheld a negro youth standing close by me. He was armed with bow and arrows, and I expected nothing else than that he would despatch me with one of his darts.
"But he made no motion to attack me. On the contrary, he approached quietly and sat down near me. My wounded leg was stretched out stiff and helpless by my side, and helpless by my side, and to my surprise the boy began to examine it. At the same time I thought I saw a look of pity come into his face. Perhaps my own eyes too expressed the miserable and despairing feelings in my heart. At any rate, that my helpless condition had awakened his sympathy and compassion was very soon manifest.
"He began to collect leaves from some low bushes of a certain species that grew around, and when he had gathered a sufficient quantity he bruised them | together between his hands, until they were almost in a pulp. This he applied to my wound, wrapped it round with some larger leaves of another shrub, and bound the whole tightly with some slender fibres. When he had done this to his
satisfaction, and placed a quantity of grass and young leaves by my side, he left me, but not before I had tried to express by my looks my gratitude.
"The salve of leaves had a wonderfully healing effect, and before sundown the pain in my leg had very much decreased. Thanks to the supply of food, too, left by my succourer, my hunger was appeased and my strength revived. After another night's good sleep I felt I could walk slowly.
"I need not dwell on this part of my story. It is sufficient that my recovery to my former strength was rapid, for I was in all the vigour of youth, though I still, from time to time, felt twinges of pain from my hurt. I need not say that I never forgot my preserver, but often thought of him with feelings of the deepest gratitude.
"It was perhaps a year after this, as men reckon time, that I was one morning walking leisurely along by myself near a small river. I was approaching a ledge of rock that jutted into the stream, when I heard a low roaring. I at once knew the sound, and the next moment saw whence it proceeded. On the rock, stretched in a crouching position, lay a lion -the dreaded tyrant of the forest and the plain.
"In another moment I should have turned and fled precipitately from the spot but for a sight that now met my eyes. Crouched on the ground at the foot of the rock was a negro boy, and a second glance was enough to tell me that it was my little negro-my preserver of a year before.
"His position was one of extreme danger. The lion had him completely in his power, and escape seemed impossible. There was a savage and malicious gleam in the animal's eyes as if he were gloating over his victim's misery, while the poor little negro's face wore an expression of terrified despair.
"I at once resolved to try and help my preserver at all risks, and I saw that not a moment was to be lost. As yet the lion had not noticed my approach. I must explain clearly his position. The summit of the rock was merely a narrow ledge sloping steeply downwards on each side, the one side to the bank, the other to the water. On this ledge the great beast was crouched, and I at once saw that his position was far from being a secure one.
"I approached noiselessly to the rock. Still the lion did not see me, so absorbed was he in watching his prey. In this way I managed, without attracting his attention, to get close up to him. Then suddenly and swiftly I raised my leg, and, putting forth all my strength, struck the lion full on the side. You have heard of the great power we ostriches have in our legs; a stroke from us of this sort is no light matter, I assure you. In this instance exactly what I intended and hoped for happened. The blow I had delivered knocked the lion off his perch,
and the next moment he had rolled down the sloping rock into the stream.
"In an instant I was beside the negro, and stooping down in front of him. He leaped upon my back, and rising again with my burden, I was coursing over the plain like the wind. Turning my head presently, I saw the lion had scrambled out upon the bank from the water in which he had been floundering, and was evidently about to pursue us, while the air was rent with his roars of disappointment and rage. But I had soon left hin far behind. When I had proceeded for about half an hour, I beheld smoke rising from behind a small clump of trees. I made straight for it, and discovered that it arose from the camp-fire of a party of English hunters, and then it turned out that my little negro was attached to this very party as a sort of guide and scout. He had gone out on a little shooting expedition on his own account, in quest of small game, and whilst intent upon his sport had been surprised by the lion, and placed in the critical position in which I found him.
"At first I was a little doubtful as to my reception by the hunters, but the negro told our story so well, and how I had been the means of saving him from a miserable death, that the Englishmen resolved to keep and tame me, as they said. Their hunting expedition was drawing to an end, and in a day or two I returned with them to the coast. I travelled with them in the same ship to England, and on our arrival they made a present of me to the Zoological Gardens. And so here I am, contented and happy enough-and that is my life-history."
Jeff and Eva had listened very attentively to the Ostrich's story.
"I think it a very good story indeed," said Jeff; "I should like to know what leaves cured you."
"The plant doesn't grow here," returned the Ostrich, "so I cannot show it to you; and the name for it in the ostrich language would not help you. But I'll tell you what I can do. If you will both jump on my back I will give you two children just such a ride as I gave the little negro."
"It will be like flying!" said they.
"Up, then," said the Elephant; "fly round the garden and meet me at the clock-tower. We are going to see the camels."
And he lifted the children with his trunk and seated them on the back of the Ostrich.
"Jeff," whispered Eva, as they sped round the gardens, "should you not like to be a bird?"
"And have wings? Yes; oh, yes, what fun it
The Ostrich was so good-natured that he went twice round the gardens, running so swiftly that he arrived at the clock-tower before the elephant.
AVE either of these fellows ever crossed a desert, I wonder," said Jeff, as they stopped before two camels, who seemed to be already waiting for them.
"Oh yes!" replied the bigger one; "several times." "Oh, do tell us about it!" cried. the children; we should so like to hear." "I was born in a very different country from this," the Camel began, "a country where even the trees and the people look different."
"I dare say it was Arabia," suggested Eva. "I belonged to a man who kept a number of camels to work in some mills. None of us were very well treated, but I fell to the care of a driver who was nothing but a brute. I had very hard work, scanty food, and many a beating.
"We all greatly disliked him, and I determined that when an opportunity came, I would be revenged. Heused to lie down to sleep at night on a rug in the mill, and we were stabled in open sheds attached to it. Many a time I was strongly tempted to roll on him and crush him while he lay asleep, but I knew that would only bring me worse hardships.
"I dare say you know that camels are taught, when quite young, to go for days without food or water, so that they may endure the privations that they sometimes have when crossing the desert. It is usual to begin with short periods, and increase them gradually, but Hafir, the tyrant, not only always kept us short, but when he had any special spite against any of us, would keep us without food for five or six days, making us work just the same, and beating us more unmercifully than ever.
"One day, I had just turned into my miserable shed, after long hours' hard toil. I had tasted no food for many days. Just when I was thinking how I could repay Hafir for all his cruelty, I heard a sweet childish voice saying, 'Poor old thing, how tired he looks, and how thin he is,' and then a soft little hand patted me caressingly.
"I was so grateful for those kind words, that I turned my head to caress the child.
"Come away,' roared the harsh voice of Hafir; 'don't you see he'll snap at you.'
"But the child knew better, and put his hand up to stroke my face. Hafir came and pulled him roughly away-another injury to be rememberedand I was left alone to dream of the sweet voice that had first sounded kindly in my ears.
"A little while after the mill was closed, and we
prepared to start on a journey. Hafir's wife had come down to the place, and she and the child slept on mats as Hafir had been accustomed to do.
"One night I woke up and heard the woman weeping, and talking to Hafir very earnestly. 'I don't like taking the child away,' she said. 'It was bad enough to steal him, but he may die on the way, and we should have murder on our hands.'
"Hafir answered impatiently that it would be the best thing possible if the child did die and was left behind in the desert-that would be the safest way to preserve the secret.
'Hush,' cried the woman in alarm, if any one should hear,'
"Hafir laughed brutally. No fear,' he cried. 'There's not a soul near but ourselves.'
"Camels have ears,' the woman returned, fearfully, little dreaming how true a thing she said.
"If I only had the courage to take him back to his true parents,' the woman cried in a despairing tone, but his Highness is a proud, unforgiving man, and he'd hang me.'
"Hafir burst out into a torrent of angry words, and told her that 'if she ever said such a thing again he'd silence her tongue-she'd better dare to reveal his secret to anybody;' and then I heard blows and screams, as if he were beating her for her compunction towards the child. After a while, he made her vow not to reveal the child's identity to any one.
"At an early hour the woman rose, and continued the preparations for our journey. Several of my companions were laden with provisions and mer. chandise, but I was evidently intended to carry some human beings. Would it be Hafir himself?
"I had listened attentively to every word. So this child belonged to our pacha, and that wicked man had stolen him for some base purpose. The woman would save him from harm, but what could she do, with Hafir always at hand, to terrify and bully her into doing his will. If no one else would restore the child, perhaps the poor ill-used camel might be of some use. Who could tell?
"All night long I thought the matter over and tried to form some plan, but could think of none possible of execution, so I had to fall back on an animal's chief resource-watching and waiting. There was no fear of my forgetting. I had received too many injuries from Hafir for that.
"As soon as the day broke we started on our way, I carrying Hafir's wife and the little child; and on the second day we arrived on the borders of a great desert. As we travelled through the town we passed the end of a broad street, at which Hafir glanced