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THE BLUE FAIRY BOOK. With 138 Illustrations.
Crown 8vo. 6.1.

THE RED FAIRY BOOK. With 100 Illustrations.
Crown 8vo. Gs.

THE GREEN FAIRY BOOK. With 99 Illustrations.

Crown 8vo. 6.t.

THE YELLOW FAIRY BOOK. With 104 Illustra-
lions Crown 8vo. 6s.

THE PINK FAIRY BOOK. With 67 Illustrations.
Crown 8vo. 6s.

THE BLUE POETRY BOOK. With 100 Illustrations.
Crown 8vo. 61.


without Illustrations. Fop. 8vo. 2i. 6(7.

THE TRUE STORY BOOK. With 66 Illustrations.
Crown 8vo. G..

tratious. Crown 8vo. 6s.

THE ANIMAL STORY BOOK. With 67 Illustrations.
Crown 8vo. 6s.


With 66 Illustrations. Crown 8vo. 6s.

LONGMANS, GREEN, 4 CO., 39 Paternoster Row, London
New York and Bombay.

rtiR LION F/llLSiNI I.UVF. WITH /\lss/v


-/ : ..-.:. ':








AH riehts reserved

Copyright 1899



7 s ! *



Author of ' Animal Land' 'Sybil's Garden of Pleasant Beasts'
and ' Epiotic Poems '

Sybil, the Beasts we bring to you
Are not so friendly, not so odd,

As those that all amazed we view,
The brutes created by your nod
The Wuss, the Azorkon, and the Pod;

But then our tales are true !

Fauna of fancy, one and all

Obey your happy voice, we know ;

A garden zoological

Is all around, where'er you go.
Mellys and Ranks walk to and fro,

And Dids attend your call.

We have but common wolves and bears,
Lion and leopard, hawk and hind,

Tigers, and crocodiles, and hares :
But yet they hope you will be kind,
And mark with sympathetic mind

These moving tales of theirs.


CHILDREN who read this book will perhaps ask
whether all the stories are true ? Now all the
stories are not true ; at least, w r e never meet the
Phoenix now in any known part of the world. To
be sure, there are other creatures, such as the
Mastodon and the Pterodactyl, which are not found
alive anywhere, but their bones remain, turned into
stones or fossils. It is unlikely that they were
changed into rocks by a witch, or by Perseus with
the Gorgon's Head, in the Greek story. It must
have been done in some other way. However, the
bones, now stones, show that there were plenty of
queer beasts that have died out. Possibly the sight
of the stone beasts and birds made people believe,
long ago, in such creatures as Dragons, and the
water-bulls that haunt the lochs in the Highlands.
One of these was seen by a shepherd about eighty
years since, and an account of it was sent to Sir
Walter Scott. There is also the Bunyip, a strange
creature which both white and black men say that
thev have seen in the lakes of Australia. Then there


is the Sea Serpent; many people have seen him
alive, but no specimen of a dead Sea Serpent is in
any of the museums. About 1,300 years ago, more
or less, St. Columba saw a great water-beast, which
lived in the river Ness, and roared as it pursued men ;
but the Saint put an end to its adventures. For my
part, I do not disbelieve that there may be plenty of
strange animals which scientific men have not yet
dissected and named by long names. Some of the
last of these may have been remembered and called
Dragons. For, if there were never any Dragons,
why did all sorts of nations tell stories about them ?
The Fire Drake, however, also the Ice Beast, or
Remora, do seem very unlikely creatures, and perhaps
they are only a sort of poetical inventions. The
stories about these unscientific animals are told by
Mr. H. S. C. Everard, who found them in very
curious old books.

The stories about Foxes are by Miss B. Grieve,
who is a great friend of Foxes, and takes their side
when they are hunted by the Duke of Buccleuch's
hounds. I am afraid she would not tell where the
Fox was hiding, if she knew (as she sometimes
does), just as you would not have told his enemies,
if you had known that Charles II. was hiding in the
oak tree. Not that it is wrong to hunt foxes, but
a person who is not hunting naturally takes the
weaker side. And, after all, the fun is to pursue the
fox, not to catch him. The same lady wrote about
sheep in ' Sheep Farming on the Border.'


The stories about ' Tom the Bear ' are taken
from the French works on natural history by
M. Alexandre Dumas. We cannot be sure that
every word of them is true, for M. Dumas wrote
novels chiefly, which you must read when you are
older. One of these novels is about Charles I., and
it is certainly not all true, so we cannot believe every
word that M. Dumas tells us. He had a great deal
of imagination enough for about thirteen thousand
living novelists.

Most of the other tales are written by Mrs.
Lang, and are as true as possible ; while Miss Lang
took the adventures of a Lion Tamer, and ' A Boar
Hunt by Moonlight,' out of French and German
books. The story of greedy Squouncer, by Mrs.
Lang, is true, every word, and I wrote 'The Life
and Death of Pincher,' who belonged to a friend of
mine. 1 Squouncer's portrait is from a photograph,
and does justice to his noble expression.

Miss Blackley also did some of the stories. Most
of the tales of ' Thieving Dogs and Horses ' were
published, about 1819, by Sir Walter Scott, in
' Blackwood's Magazine,' from which they are taken
by Mrs. Lang.

I have tried to make it clear that this is not
altogether a scientific book ; but a great deal of it is
more to be depended on than ' A Bad Boy's Book of
Beasts,' or Miss Sybil Corbet's books, 'Animal
Land,' and ' Sybil's Garden of Pleasant Beasts.'

1 From Longman's Magazine.


These are amusing, but it is not true that ' the
Garret Lion ate Sybil's mummy.' Indeed, I think
that when people, long ago, invented the Fire Drake,
and the Ice Beast, they were just like Miss Corbet,
when she invented the Kank, the Wuss, and other
animals. That is to say, they were children in their
minds, though grown up in their bodies. They
fancied that they saw creatures which were never

If this book has any moral at all, it is to be kind
to all sorts and conditions of animals that will let
you. Most girls are ready to do this, but boys used
to be apt to be unkind to Cats when I was a boy.
There is no reason why an exception should be made
as to Cats, and a boy ought to think of this before
he throws stones or sets dogs at a cat. Now, in
London, we often see the little street boys making
friends with every cat they meet, but this is not so
common in the country. If anything in this book
amuses a boy, let him be kind to poor puss, and
protect her, for the sake of his obedient friend,



The Phoenix .1

Griffins and Unicorns ... ... 4

About Ants, Amphisbcenas, and Basilisks .... 12

Dragons . . . . - . . . . 20

The Story of Beowulf, Grendel, and GrendeVs Mother . 33

The Story of Beowulf and the Fire Drake . . . . 43

A Fox Tale 49

An Egyptian Snake Charmer 55

An Adventure of Gerard, the Lion Hunter ... 61

Pumas and Jaguars in South America 84

Mathurin and Math-urine ....... 98

Joseph : Whose proper name was Josephine . . , . 102

The Homes of the Vizcachas 108

Guanacos : Living and Dying ....... 112

In the American Desert 117

The Story of Jacko II 128

' Princess '.......... 135

The Lion and the Saint 138

The Further Adventures of ' Tom,' a Bear, in Paris . 143

Recollections of a Lion Tamer 154

Sheep Farming on the Border 171

When the World was Young ....... 177

Bats and Vampires ........ 196

The Ugliest Beast in the World 200

The Games of Orang-Outangs, and Kees the Baboon . 206

Greyhounds and their Masters . . . . . . 224



The Great Father, and Snakes' Ways . . . .232

Elephant Shooting 238

Hyenas and Children 2 52

A Fight with a Hippopotannis 257

Kanny, the Kangaroo 26 1

Collies, or Sheep Dogs 266

Two Big Dogs and a Little One 273

Crocodile Stories ......... 280

Lion-Hunting and Lions ....... 285

On the Trail of a Man-eater 304

Greyhounds and their Arab Masters ..... 310

The Life and Death of Pincher 317

.-1 Boar Hunt by Moonlight ...... 321

Thieving Dogs and Horses ....... 328

To the Memory of Squouncer 339

How Tom the Bear was born a Frenchman . . . 344

Charley 357

Fairy Rings; and the Fairies who make them . . . 364

How the Reindeer Live ....... 370

The Cow and the Crocodile .... 376



The Lion falls in love witli A : issa . . . . Frontispiece

The Griffin ........ to face p. 4

Hoio the Unicorn was Trapped .... 8

Finding a Mermaid ...... ,,16

Victor carried up the Cliasm by the Dragon . . ,,26

Queen Waltheoiu and Beowulf .... ,,84

Grendel's Mother drags Beowulf to the bottom of

the Lake ........ ,,38

The Death of Beowulf ,,44

The Lion falls in love with Aissa . . . . ,, 62

Aissa's Father finds her Axe .... ,,70

The Lion appears at the top of the Ravine . . ,,78

Maldonada guarded by the Puma ... ,,88

The Jaguar besieged by Peccaries .... ,,92

Joseph's Breakfast ....... 104

St. Jerome draws out the Thorn .... 138

Tom frightens the Little Girl .... 144

Just in time to save Tom ..... 150

Securing a Mammoth ...... ,, 178

Megatheria ......... 184

The Vampire Bat ,,196

How the Namaquas hunt the lihinoceros . . 202

Orang-Outangs eating Oysters on the Sea-shore . 208
The Orang determines to throiv the rival Monkeys

overboard ........ 212




Wlien this Prise was laid at, the feet of the Lady,
the Giver might ask in return for anything

he chose to face p. 224

Baker shooting the Elephants at Hie Island . . 240

Hannibal's Elephants 248

Tlie Lion wa in the air close to him ... 290
The Woodman and the Lions get the best of the

Bear ,,296

Tlie Highwayman's Horse ..... 334

Tlie Captain had a Strange Dream ... 346
The Bear instantly rose on its hind legs and began

to Dance 352

Tlien a soft nose touched him .... 358


The Phnenir 2

The Odenthos 13

The Demon of Cathay . . . . . . . . 15

liagnar does battle with the Serpents . . . .23

De Gozon and his Dogs fight the Dragon . . . . 31

The Snake Charmer ........ 57

The Lion said to the Gazelles, ' Do not flee ' . . . 67

The Lion laughs at the Marabout's Question ... 75

Mathurin and Mathurinc . . . . . . . 99

Spaniards meeting a Caravan of Llamas .... 113

Watching the Combat 121

The Moccason Snake fascinates the Orioles . . . 123

' Princess ' and the Invalid 136

The Lion rescues the Ass from tlie Caravan . . . 142

/ seized him by the scruff of the neck 159

The Lion Tamer offers to wake the (stuffed) Crocodile ! . 163

Digging the imprisoned Sheep out of the Snow . . 175

Stcgosaurus ...... 189



Pterodactyl 193

Le Vaillant and Kees out hunting . . . . . . 217

The Baboon who looked after the Goats .... 221

The Snakes found in the Lame Man's Bed . . . . 235

Oswell's narrow Escape ....... 245

How the Hippopotamus attacked the Boat . . . . 259

The Neiv Arrival 262

Kanny frightens the Carpenters . . . . . . 264

The Faithful Messenger 267

Finding the Necklace 283

The Lion in the Camp . . . . . . . 301

Cummzng's Cap frightens the Tiger 305

The Elephant tried to gore the Tiger with his Tusks . 308

The Summons to the Hunt 313

Vomhammel in Danger 325

A Portrait of Greedy Squouncer . . . . . . 341

Hunting the Bison ........ 367


IN former times, when hardly anybody thought of
travelling for pleasure, and there were no Zoological
Gardens to teach us what foreign animals and birds were
really like, men used to tell each other stories about all
sorts of strange creatures that lived in distant lands.
Sometimes these tales were brought by the travellers
themselves, who loved to excite the wonder of their friends
at home, and knew there was nobody to contradict them.
Sometimes they may have been invented by people to
amuse their children ; but, anyway, the old books are full
of descriptions of birds and beasts very interesting to read

One of the most famous of these was the Phoenix,
a bird whose plumage was, according to one writer,
'partly red and partly golden,' while its size was ' almost
exactly that of the eagle.' Once in five hundred years
it ' comes out of Arabia,' says one old writer, ' all the way
to Egypt, bringing the parent bird, plastered over with
myrrh, to the Temple of the Sun (in the city of Heliopolis),
and then buries the body. In order to bring the body, they
say, it first forms a ball of myrrh as big as it can carry,
puts the parent inside, and covers the opening with fresh
myrrh ; the ball is then exactly the same weight as at
first ; thus it brings the body to Egypt, plastered over as
I have said, and deposits it in the Temple of the Sun.'
This is all that the writer we have been quoting seems
to know about the Phoenix ; but we are told by someone


else that its song was 'more beautiful than that of
any other bird,' and that it was 'a very king of the
feathered tribes, who followed it in fear, while it flew
swiftly along, rejoicing as a bull in its strength.
ing its brilliant plumage in the sun, it went its way till it


reached the town of Heliopolis. ' In that city,' says
another writer, whose account is not quite the same as the
story told by the first ' in that city there is a temple
made round, after the shape of the Temple at Jerusalem.
The priests of that temple date their writings from the
visits of the Phoenix, of which there is but one in all the


world. And he cometh to burn himself upon the altar of
the temple at the end of five hundred years, for so long
he liveth. At the end of that time the priests dress up
their altar, and put upon it spices and sulphur, and other
things that burn easily. Then the bird Phoenix cometh
and burneth himself to ashes. And the first day after
men find in the ashes a worm, and on the second day
they find a bird, alive and perfect, and on the third day
the bird flieth away. He hath a crest of feathers upon
his head larger than the peacock hath, his neck is yellow
and his beak is blue ; his wings are of purple colours, and
his tail yellow and red in stripes across. A fair bird he is
to look upon when you see him against the sun, for he
shineth full gloriously and nobly.'

It is very hard to believe that the man who wrote
this had not actually seen this beautiful creature, he seems
to know it so well, and perhaps sometimes he really
fancied that one day it had dazzled his eyes as it darted
by. The Phoenix was a living bird to old travellers and
those to whom they told their stories, although they are
not quite agreed about its habits, or even about the
manner of its death. Sometimes, as we have seen, the
Phoenix has a father, sometimes there is only one bird. In
general it bums itself on a spice-covered altar ; but,
according to one writer, when its five hundred years of life
are over it dashes itself on the ground, and from its
blood a new bird is born. At first it is small and helpless,
like any other young thing; but soon its wings begin
to show, and in a few days they are strong enough to
carry the parent to the city of Heliopolis, where, at sun-
rise, it dies. The new Phoenix then flies back home,
where it builds a nest of sweet spices cassia, spikenard
and cinnamon ; and the food that it loves is another spice,
drops of frankincense.


SOME of the creatures that we read about in the books
of the old travellers are quite easy to believe in, for,
after all, they are not very unlike the birds and beasts that
are to be seen to-day in different parts of the world. The
Phoenix, though bigger, was not more beautiful than
the tiny humming birds that dart through tropical forests,
nor more splendid than the noisy macaws, and we can
picture it to ourselves without any difficulty. But nobody
now will ever go in search of the gourd that grows on a
tree, and contains a little flesh-and-blood lamb ; or expect,
in travelling through Scotland, to tind a Barnacle-Goose
tree, with ducks instead of fruit, as a very clever gentle-
man who later became Pope did about four hundred and
fifty years ago !

To us, who can look at a giraffe or a rhinoceros
any day we choose, there is nothing so particularly
strange about a griffin, which had the body of a lion, and
the wings and head of an eagle, and was as strong as
ten lions, or a hundred eagles. ' He will carry,' we are
told, ' flying to his nest, a great horse, or two oxen yoked
together as they go at the plough, or a man in full
armour. For he hath his talons (claws) so long and so
large and great upon his feet, as though they were the
horns of great oxen, so that men make cups of them
to drink of : and of his ribs and wing-feathers they make
a very strong bow, to shoot with arrows and querrels.'
A '<jiiurrel,' it is needful to explain, was a bolt shot from
a crossbow.

Griffins were not to be met with every day, nor in
every country ; but they roamed freely through the
Caucasus Mountains, in search of gold and precious
stones. Indeed, so fond of gold was the griffin, that
after he had dug out a large heap with his powerful
claws, he would roll about in it with delight, or sit and
look at it by the hour together.

But, unluckily, the griffin was not allowed to enjoy this
innocent pleasure undisturbed. The gold mines were the
property of an ugly one-eyed race, who dwelt near a cave
which is the home of the north wind, and when they
found they were being quietly robbed, they consulted
what they should do to punish the thief. It was not an
easy task, for the griffin was much cleverer and quicker
than his enemies, and, indeed, he nearly always got the
best of it. Whenever they went out to dig for gold and
emeralds, the griffin would hide until they had collected
a large store, and then jump on them, flapping his
great wings, and shaking his terrible claws, till they ran
away in terror, dropping all their hard-earned treasure.
There was only one way in which they could revenge
themselves, and that was by carrying off the griffin's egg,
that had the power of curing every disease from which
mankind can suffer. But it was seldom that any one was
fortunate enough or clever enough to win this prize, for
the griffin is a very cunning creature, and more than a
match for the one-eyed race. Still, now and then, an egg
was discovered by some accident, and then how the
whole nation rejoiced and prospered, till the precious
thing got broken in some careless hands !

We all know about the battle, in ' Alice in Wonder-
land,' between the lion and the unicorn for the possession
of the crown, and how the unicorn was worsted, and
' beaten all round the town,' by the victorious lion. Since
that victory the lion has waved triumphantly from the
English flag; but he and the unicorn are deadly foes
still, and glare furiously at each other across the arms of


England. ' The unicorn and the lion being enemies by
nature,' says a man who wrote three hundred and fifty
years ago, ' as soon as the lion sees the unicorn, he
betakes himself to a tree ; whereupon the unicorn, in his
fury, and with all the swiftness of his course, running at
him, sticks his horn fast in the tree, and then the lion
falls upon him and kills him.' The same story is told by
other people, and this is what Shakespeare means \vhen
he says in one of his plays that unicorns may be betrayed
with trees. Thei'e was only one way by which a uni-
corn could be taken alive, for ' the greatness of his mind
is such that he chooseth rather to die,' one writer tells
us ; but this was a way which has been tried ever since
the days of Samson, and even before him !

A beautiful young lady was dressed in her best clothes,
covered with jewels, and seated in a lonely place in the
middle of a forest to wait till the unicorn passed by ; the
hunters meanwhile lying hidden in a neighbouring thicket.
By and-bye a crackling would be heard among the
branches, and after a little while the unicorn would come
in sight, his sharp horn thrust out from his nose. Directly
he saw the young lady he always went straight up to her,
and laying his head on her lap, fell fast asleep. Then
the hunters would steal out very softly, and throw ropes
round the sleeping unicorn, and cany him off to the
king's palace, sure of receiving much gold for their prize.

Living or dead the unicorn was held to be of great
value for many reasons, but chiefly because his horn was
used for drinking cups, and showed at once if any poison
mingled with the wine. This was an excellent quality in
times when people thought nothing of poisoning their
nearest relations, and after the tiniest quarrel both parties
went about in fear of their lives. The power of the
unicorn's horn sometimes went even further, and dis-
pelled the poison, for we read in an old chronicle of what
happened in the waters of Marah, which Moses made
sweet by striking them with his staff. ' Evil and unclean



beasts,' says the chronicler, ' poison it after the going
down of the sun ; but in the morning, after the powers of
darkness have disappeared, the unicorn comes from the
sea and dips its horn into the stream, and thereby dis-
pels the poison, so that the other animals can drink of
it during the day.' A few unicorns would be very useful
on the banks of the rivers which water our manufactur-
ing towns nowadays.



IN the far-off country ruled by Prester John many
wonders were to be seen, and among them hills of gold,
'kept by ants full diligently.' Now anybody who has
studied the history of ants knows that there is no end
to their ingenuity and cleverness ; but they are not usually
found as guardians of gold or precious stones. How-
eve^ these ants were not at all like the little brown
creatures we are accustomed to see, but as big as dogs,
and very savage, thinking nothing of eating a man, and
gobbling him up in one mouthful. So the people of the
country found that if they wanted the gold they would have
to obtain it by a trick, and began to watch and plan how
to get the better of the careful ants.

Their chance came in the great heat of summer, as the
ants used sometimes to fall asleep in the middle of the day.
Then the people who had spies on the w r atch, day and
night, collected hastily all the camels, dromedaries, horses
and asses they could find, and loaded them with gold,
and were off and out of danger before the ants, who were
heavy sleepers, woke up. This did very well so long as
the weather was hot, but w r hen it grew cooler the ants
worked hard all day, melting the gold in the fire ; and
then some other stratagem had to be thought of. One
thing after another was proposed, but was rejected as
being unpractical, till at last a man, who was cleverer
than the rest, hit upon a way of turning a well-known



quality of all ants against themselves. The industrious
creatures could not bear to see anything standing empty
or useless, and the treasure seekers, being aware of this,
got together several mares, who had young foals, and
placed on their backs empty vessels, which were open at
the top, and reached nearly to the ground. As soon as
the mares approached the hill, and began to graze, out

came the ants and began to fill the vessels. While this
was going on, the foals had somehow been kept at a
distance by the men, but as soon as they guessed the
vessels to be almost full, they drove out the little creatures,
who began to whinny after their mothers. At the sound
of their cries, away galloped the mares, gold and all, and
however often this trick was repeated, it never failed to
be successful.


There is no time to tell of all the strange monsters
that men used to invent just to frighten themselves with !
There was a creature called the Odenthos, which had
three horns instead of one, and felt a special hatred of
elephants. There was the little Amphisbaena, which was
something between a lizard and a snake, and had a head
at each end of its body, so that it never needed to turn
round. This must have made it very creepy to meet, but
besides being horrid to look at it was very dangerous, as

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Online LibraryAndrew LangThe red book of animal stories → online text (page 1 of 22)