TWO IN A ZOO
He saw the Princess coming, dragging after her a large man.
TWO IN A ZOO
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY
THE BOBBS-MERRILL COMPANY
The Bobbs-Merrill Company
BRAUNWORTH & CO.
BOOKBINDERS AND PRINTERS
BROOKLYN, N. Y.
TWO IN A ZOO
FULL PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS
TWO IN A ZOO
The Roar of the Jungle
Oh, the sweet, fresh breath of the morning breeze,
And the trumpet call of my mate!
Oh, the fierce, wild wind that bends the trees
Where the great hills sit in state!
Oh, the tender twigs in the Jungle deeps!
Oh, the soft, moist earth where the long grass sweeps!
Song of the Captive Elephant.
ahmoud, swinging his wrinkled old trunk to and fro dejectedly, ignored the stack of fresh timothy which the Keeper had dumped on the floor of the Elephant House. There was a band of iron clasped tightly just above one of his great forefeet. Mahmoud had surged back in his discontent till the chain, attached to the iron and to a ring in the floor, creaked with the strain upon it. His broad ears flapped forward listlessly, but not far enough to conceal the moisture in his dim old eyes which gathered now and then into glistening drops that rolled down his cheeks and were lost in the huge wrinkles at the corners of his mouth. Duchess, his faithful mate, who stood at his side twisting up bunches of hay and tucking them into her mouth, understood and was sad. At intervals in her repast she would pause to stroke Mahmoud's furrowed cheek with the tip of her trunk. But her sorrowful mate was not to be wooed from his melancholy.
Presently, from a little distance up the Park walk leading to the door of the Elephant House, came a familiar tinkling sound that caused Mahmoud to turn his head in that direction with a show of interest. A boy was approaching, and at every step some straps of iron on his little crooked leg clanked together. The sound was not unlike that made by the iron on Mahmoud's leg. The boy's face was pale, but his eyes were blue and very bright. A little girl skipped along at his side. The boy's clothes were shabby, but the little girl's plumage was rich and as gay as that of some tropical bird. Perhaps it was this that caused the boy to call her "Princess," when he made slow and deferential response to her eager chatter. It was plain that she was accustomed to rule, for whenever she was admonished by the young woman in dark clothes who followed a few steps behind with a book under her arm, she would merely shrug her pretty shoulders. Her manner toward the boy was a trifle condescending, but it was also affectionate, for she called him "Toots."
The entire front of the Elephant House was open, for it was summer. When Toots and the Princess had reached the iron railing within a yard of Mahmoud's swaying trunk, they stopped. The young woman in dark clothes seemed to understand that this was their destination, for she seated herself on a bench at the side of the walk, and was soon deep in the pages of her book.
Mahmoud shuffled forward as far as the chain on his leg would let him, thrust forth his trunk and felt gently the iron on the boy's crippled leg.
"Oh, Toots, he knows you!" exclaimed the Princess. "That is what he did yesterday."
Though the Princess shrank back, Toots showed no fear. Appearing satisfied as to the boy's identity, Mahmoud turned to his mate, and they stood cheek by cheek, swaying their trunks in unison.
"They are talking again," said the Princess, with a little shriek of delight. "Toots, you must tell me what they are saying to each other."
Toots did not stir. A flush of pink had stolen into his pale cheeks. There was a far-away look in his eyes, yet they were sparkling. His lips were moving, but no sound came from them at first. Strange mumblings were coming from the cavernous mouths of the elephants. The Princess stamped her foot with authority and commanded:
"Toots, tell me, as you did yesterday, what the elephants are saying."
But already, in a low, monotonous voice, as though in a dream, the boy was interpreting the talk of Mahmoud and his mate.
"Behold, it is the little Limping Boy," said Mahmoud, with his lips close to the ear