I Rode At Him
Again, Putting My Pony To A Trot, And When Within Two Yards Of Him He
All At Once Swung His Body Round In A Quaint Way Towards Me, And
Breaking Into A Sort Of Dancing Trot Brushed Past Me.
Pulling up again and looking back I found he was ten or twelve yards
behind me, once more quietly engaged in cropping clover leaves!
Again and again this bird, and one of the others I rode at, practised
the same pretty trick, first appearing perfectly unconcerned at my
presence and then, when I made a charge at them, with just one little
careless movement placing themselves a dozen yards behind me.
But this same trick of the rhea is wonderful to see when the hunted
bird is spent with running and is finally overtaken by one of the
hunters who has perhaps lost the bolas with which he captures his
quarry, and who endeavours to place himself side by side with it so as
to reach it with his knife. It seems an easy thing to do: the bird is
plainly exhausted, panting, his wings hanging, as he lopes on, yet no
sooner is the man within striking distance than the sudden motion
comes into play, and the bird as by a miracle is now behind instead of
at the side of the horse. And before the horse going at top speed can
be reined in and turned round, the rhea has had time to recover his
wind and get a hundred yards away or more.
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