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Lilith George MacDonald

Lona's Narrative

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"I know both the beasts," I said. "Spotty is a bad beast. She hates the children, and would kill every one of them. But Whitey loves them. She ran at them only to frighten them away, lest Spotty should get hold of any of them. No one needs be afraid of Whitey!"

By this time the Little Ones were coming back, and with much noise, for they had no care to keep quiet now that they were at open war with the giants, and laden with good stones. They mounted to their nests again, though with difficulty because of their burdens, and in a minute were fast asleep. Lona retired to her tree. I lay where I was, and slept the better that I thought most likely the white leopardess was still somewhere in the wood.

I woke soon after the sun, and lay pondering. Two hours passed, and then in truth the giants began to appear, in straggling companies of three and four, until I counted over a hundred of them. The children were still asleep, and to call them would draw the attention of the giants: I would keep quiet so long as they did not discover me. But by and by one came blundering upon me, stumbled, fell, and rose again. I thought he would pass heedless, but he began to search about. I sprang to my feet, and struck him in the middle of his huge body. The roar he gave roused the children, and a storm as of hail instantly came on, of which not a stone struck me, and not one missed the giant. He fell and lay. Others drew near, and the storm extended, each purblind creature becoming, as he entered the range of a garrisoned tree, a target for converging stones. In a short time almost every giant was prostrate, and a jubilant pćan of bird-song rose from the tops of fifty trees.

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Many elephants came hurrying up, and the children descending the trees like monkeys, in a moment every elephant had three or four of them on his back, and thus loaded, began to walk over the giants, who lay and roared. Losing patience at length with their noise, the elephants gave them a few blows of their trunks, and left them.

Until night the bad giants remained where they had fallen, silent and motionless. The next morning they had disappeared every one, and the children saw no more of them. They removed to the other end of the orchard valley, and never after ventured into the forest.

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