Did any of you ever see a lion's paw? It is soft and cushiony as a pillow of down.
"Pooh!" says some bright-eyed Frankie or Johnny, "guess it takes something harder'n that to knock down a man or an ox with one blow as a lion does. Why, everybody says, 'As strong as a lion!'"
For all that, Frankie, you never saw a cushion so soft and " springy" as this strong lion's paw. Under the cushioning there are great cords and muscles like steel, and they are carried up into the legs in such a way that with just the least motion the lion can use all his great strength as easily as you can move your finger. This terrible paw hides something else too. There are sharp claws, hooked like the bill of an eagle, and these tear the prey to pieces.
He is sometimes tamed, and makes a less dangerous pet than the tiger. A woman in Germany used to be keeper of a lion in a menagerie there. It seemed to love her, and the woman would put her hands and sometimes her head in its mouth to amuse people. But one day the lion snapped his jaws together and bit off her head.
Perhaps he felt badly about it afterward, for he pined away and died in a few days. The one who tells the story thinks it was only an accident—her long hair made him sneeze. But I don't know about that!
You want to know more about the cat-family? They are a fierce, cruel set, take them all together, at least until tamed by kindness, like your pussy here. Let us see what we can find out about the puma.
It is found in North and South America, and even in our own United States, though it is smaller here—not larger than a fox or small wolf. It is so strong, fierce and cunning, that it will kill deer, sheep, cattle and other animals, much larger than itself. On the other page you see a deer leaping along with one of these long-clawed, sharp-toothed creatures on its back. It sprang from an overhanging limb, and fastened itself so firmly that the deer cannot shake it off. Now the puma's nails and teeth tear the tender flesh. He growls and lashes his long tail, and the owls hoot and flap their wings, for they expect a share of the feast. Their expectations are not to be realized, however.
The deer has a wise head, as well as a pretty one, and a bright thought has come into it. As it dashes along it sees a huge trunk of an uprooted, fallen tree, stretched like a sort of bridge just above its path.
With a crouch and a spring, the deer goes under, and the puma — goes off!
Could you have thought of a brighter plan yourself?...