Dying in the desertstretched, limp and helpless, in the darkening wastepoured out like water on the tawny sandtwo specks poised high above him in the deeper orange of the upper skya wide-winged vulture hovering and wheeling between the stricken lion and the setting sun. Dying in the desertgrim, dignified, unyielding, like a monarch slain in battle. So formidable in the morningthe herdsman's terror, the archer's dread, the savage wrestler in whose grasp horse and rider went down crushed, mangled, over-matched, like sucking fawn and unweaned childfierce, tameless, unconquereda noble adversary for the noblest champions of the plainbut ere the last red streak of evening faded on the dusky level of their wilderness, a thing for the foul night-bird to tear and buffetfor the wild ass, wincing and snorting, half in terror, half in scorn, to spurn and trample with her hoof. Pitiful in its hopelessness, the wistful pleading of eyes gradually waning to the apathy of death; pitiful the long flickering tongue, licking with something of a dog's homely patience that fatal gash of which the pain grew every moment more endurable, only because it was a death-wound; and pitiful too the utter prostration of those massive limbs, with knotted muscles and corded sinewsof that long, lean, tapering bodythe very emblem of agile strengthwhich, striving in agony to rear but half its height, sank down again in dust, writhing, powerless, like an earthworm beneath the spade. No yell, no moanonly a short quick breathing, a convulsive shiver, and the occasional effort to rise, that time by time soaked and stained his lair with darker jets of blood. So those specks on the upper sky widened into two huge soaring vultures, while the wing of a third brushed lightly against the fallen lion's mane, as the foul bird ventured nearer its coming banquet, croaking hideous invitations to others and yet others, that emerged, as if by magic, from the solemn cloudless heaven. Far back into the desert, varied here and there by clammy clotted spots, lay a single track of footprints, closer together, less sharp, round, and clearly-defined, as they dragged towards the end. Many a weary furlong had he travelled, the king of beasts, on his journey here to die; and yet he never was to reach the patch of arid reeds that instinct bade him seek for a last shelterthe scanty covert where-with nature prompted him to shield his death agony from the remorseless bird of prey.
Editore Library Of Alexandria
Formato Ebook con Adobe DRM
EAN-13 9781465537089 9781465537089