The lion is often called the “king of beasts,” His height varies from three to four feet, and he is from six to nine feet long. His coat is of it yellowish brown or tawny color, and about his neck is a great shaggy mane which gives his head a majestic appearance.
The strength of the lion is so great that he can easily crush the skulls of such animals as the horse or ox with one blow of his paw. No one who has not seen the teeth of a full grown lion taken out of their sockets can have any idea of their real size; one of them forms a good handful, and might easily be mistaken for a small elephant’s tooth.
The home of the lion is in the forests of Asia and Africa, where he is a terror to man and beast. He generally lies concealed during the day, but as darkness comes on he prowls about where other animals are accustomed to go for food or drink, and springs upon them unawares, with a roar that sounds like the rumble of thunder.
The lion sometimes lives to a great age. One by the name of Pompey died at London, in the year 1760, at the age of seventy years. If taken when young the lion can be tamed, and will even show marks of kindness to his keeper.
In a menagerie at Brussels, there was a cell where a large lion, called Danco, used to be kept. The cell happened to be in need of repair, and the keeper, whose name was William, desired a carpenter to come and mend it. The carpenter came, but was so afraid of the lion, that he would not go near the cell alone.
So William entered the cell, and led the lion to the upper part of it, while the other part was refitting. He played with the lion for some time; but, at last, being wearied, both he and the lion fell asleep. The carpenter went on with his work, and when he had finished he called out for William to come and see it.
He called again and again, but no William answered. The poor carpenter began to be frightened, lest the lion had made his dinner of the keeper, or else crushed him with his great paws. He crept round to the upper part of the cell, and there, looking through the railing, he saw the lion and William sleeping side by side as contentedly as two little brothers.
He was so astonished that he uttered a loud cry. The lion, awakened by the noise, stared at the carpenter with an eye of fury, and then placing his paw on the breast of his keeper, as if to say, “Touch him if you dare,” the heroic beast lay down to sleep again. The carpenter was dreadfully alarmed, and, not knowing how he could rouse William, he ran out and related what he had seen.
EXERCISE— You are the carpenter. Write a report for the story above. Use the 5W1H for report writing. Form your own conclusion to the story as well.
Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?
Some questions to help you understand the passage better.