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PREFACE

TO THE FIRST EDITION.

THOSE of my kind young friends, who, a few years since, appeared to be gratified with my stories about Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, may by this time have some curiosity to become acquainted with the subject of Animals, a subject which affords more amusing details, and more astonishing facts, and suggests more deep and important reflections, than any other in the whole range of natural science. Acting upon this conjecture, and wishing to see the History of Animated Nature become a subject, not of general reading only, but of general study in our schools, I have ventured to prepare and offer to the public the present volume. If my readers discover in it a graver manner than has heretofore been assumed by Peter Parley, let them reflect that while I cherish the pleasant memory of their childish friendship, I may deem it proper now to accommodate my speech to the more mature taste and riper judgment of my late pupils and listeners. If there are passages which appear to indicate that my mind is wandering back to other days, and that I still fancy myself to be addressing children, for these I beg the indulgence of the reader towards an old man's failings.

PETER PARLEY.

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OF THE FORM OF THE LION.

THE head, neck, and shoulders of the Lion are very large; his hinder parts are comparatively thin and small. His neck is furnished with a thick shaggy mane. His form is admirably contrived to produce great strength.

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OF HIS SIZE.

The height of the Lion is from three to four feet; his length is six to nine feet. An ordinary Lion is six feet in length, and three in height, and is in size between the tiger and stag.

OF HIS STRENGTH.

The strength of the Lion is prodigious. He can easily break the skull of a horse by a stroke of his paw. A large one can drag off a horse or an ox; there are few animals, indeed, that he cannot master. The elephant, tiger, and rhinoceros, are said to be the only animals that can withstand him. His strength and courage have given him the title of King of beasts.

OF HIS COLOUR AND APPEARANCE.

The colour of the Lion is a yellowish red; his mane is dark-coloured, and sometimes black. When he is at rest, his aspect is very grave and majestic. When he is enraged, his look is terrible. He then lashes his side with his tail, lifts up his bristly mane, curls his lip with a malicious expression, discloses his strong teeth, and his eyes sparkle with such brightness that they seem to emit fire.

OF HIS HABITS.

The Lion roams about in forests, sometimes uttering a roar so loud that it sounds like distant thunder. He crouches in thickets where antelopes, buffaloes, and other animals are wont to come for food or drink; and when one of them is near, he springs upon it with a furious bound, and seizes it in his strong claws. He then tears it in pieces and devours the flesh, and sometimes the bones. He usually seeks his prey in the night; and is sly and skulking, like a cat, in his method of pursuing other animals.

THE COUNTRIES HE INHABITS.

The Lion is a native of most parts of Africa, and the southern parts of Asia. He is much more common in Africa, however, than in Asia. In the hottest climates he grows to the greatest size, and displays the fiercest qualities. There is an animal found in South America called a Lion; but its proper name is puma or cougar.

CURIOUS PARTICULARS OF THE LION.

The Lion sometimes lives to a great age. One by the name of Pompey died in London, in the year 1760, at the age of seventy years.

Although the size or bulk of the Lion does not much exceed that of a stag, yet his weight is much greater. This arises from the very uncommon solidity of his structure. His bones are very hard and strong, and his muscles exceedingly large and compact. A smaller portion of his body is flesh, and a greater part is bone and muscle, than that of most other animals.

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The LIONESS, or female Lion, is much smaller than the Lion; she has no mane, and is less patient and more ferocious in her character. Young Lions, when a few weeks old, are only as large as very small dogs, and are harmless, pretty, and playful as kittens.

It has been common to impute many generous qualities to the Lion; and to illustrate these traits of character mul

titudes of tales have been told. And when we see a Lion in a cage, his grave and noble mien can easily persuade us to believe them. But we should consider that a Lion which has been a long time confined has lost in some measure the qualities which characterized him in the wilderness. There he is represented by travellers as a bloodthirsty and ferocious, yet sly, cowardly, and treacherous animal, stealing upon his prey like a cat, and often retreating with fear when faced by a man.

The Lion principally lives in the plains of Asia and Africa, and is always found where there are large herds of wild antelopes and other animals feeding together. The Lion follows these herds, and kills them night by night.

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He also attacks buffaloes; and such is his power that he easily slays them. To these animals the Lion is an object of unceasing dread.

It is supposed by the agitation which oxen display when a Lion is near them, that they can scent him at a considerable distance. Whatever may be his strength, therefore, and we know it is prodigious, it is evident he could not easily take these and other animals by strength alone. The instinctive fear of the creatures upon which he preys would be constantly called into action by their keen sight and

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