The settlement of Akkad lying as it does beyond the great wall of Kholinor was at one time much troubled by lions, which would leap into cattle pens by night and destroy their cows. The locals went once to attack the beasts, but returned without killing any. It is well known that if one in troop of lions is killed, the other take the message and leave that part of the country. So the next time the settlement was attacked, I went with the people in order to encourage them to rid themselves of the annoyance by destroying one of the marauders. We found the lions on a small plateau, about 200 paces in length and covered with trees. A circle of men was formed round it, and they gradually closed up, ascending pretty near to each other. Being down below on the plain I saw one of the lions sitting upon a piece of rock, within the now closed circle of men. My companion raised his bow and fired, he missed but the arrow hit the piece of rock upon which the animal was sitting. The lion immediately leaped away, breaking through the circle, to escape.
The circle of men hastily reformed and we discovered there were two lions still trapped within. The locals seemed loath to attack with their spears so seeing that we were unlikely to make a kill unless I intervened I moved closer and drew my bow; I was more accurate than my companion and put an arrow into the lions side; with this encouragement the local moved in with their spears to make the kill. Concentrating as I was on one lion I had lost track of the other, looking half round I saw him just in the act of springing upon me. He caught my shoulder as he sprang and we both came to the ground together. Growling horribly close to my ear, he shook me as dog does a rat. The shock produced a stupor, similar to that which seems to be felt by a mouse after the first shake of the cat. It caused a sort of dreaminess, in which there was no sense of pain or feeling of terror, though quite conscious of all that was happening. This singular condition was not the result of any mental process. The shake annihilated fear, and allowed no sense of horror in looking round at the beast. This peculiar state is probably produced in all animals killed by the carnivore; and, if so, is a merciful provision by the benevolent Innana for lessening the pain of death. Turning round to relieve myself of the weight, he had one paw on the back of my head, I saw his eyes directed to my companion some fifteen paces away, who was about to loose an arrow.
He hit the lion in the chest and the arrow penetrated near to the feathers, the lion immediately left me, and, attacking the archer, he bit his thigh. Meanwhile another man had arrived and attempted to spear the lion who turned and knocked him over with a swipe of his paw. At that point the lion dropped to the ground stone dead. The whole was the work of a few moments, and must have been his paroxysm of dying rage. It was good that we killed that lion because the other, assailed by the spearmen had nevertheless escaped.
I was given another thrilling story of an adventure with a lion that appears to be a recent event. It was told to me as follows:
“My wife was sitting within the house by the door, the children playing about her, and I was without, near the house, busied in doing something to my horse and cart, when suddenly, though it was midday, an enormous lion appeared, came up and laid himself quietly down in the shade upon the very threshold of the door. My wife, either frozen with fear, or aware of the danger of attempting to fly, remained motionless in her place, while the children took refuge in her arms. The cry they uttered attracted my attention, and I hastened towards the door, but my astonishment may well be conceived when I found the entrance to it barred in such a way. Although the animal had not seen me, unarmed as I was escaped seemed impossible, yet I glided gently, scarcely knowing what I meant to do, to the side of the house, up to the window of my chamber , where a new my hunting bow was standing. By as most happy chance I had set it, with a quiver of arrows, in the corner close by the window, so that I could reach it with my hand; for as you may perceive, the opening is too small to admit of my having got in, and still more fortunately, the door of the room was open, so that I could see the whole danger of the scene. The lion was beginning to move. There was no longer anytime to think; I called softly to the mother not to be alarmed, and invoking the name of Enkir, fired an arrow at the beast. The arrow passed directly over the heads of my children and lodged in the forehead of the lion, immediately above his eyes and stretched him ion the ground, so that he never stirred more.”
I shuddered as I listened to this story never was a more daring attempt hazarded. Had he failed in his aim, mother and children were all inevitably lost; if the boy had moved and been struck; the least turn in the lion and the shot had not been mortal to him; and to consummate the whole, the head of the creature was in some sort protected by the door-post.