On the Range

On the Range

Friday, August 13, 2010

Excerpt from Return of the Ancient Mariners

It was a long trek across the prairie. The scenery changed from streams leading to the river as we hiked on high ground flush with lush grasses. Herds of bison and camels grazed on the hillsides, apparently segregated by bulls. We skirted the boundary lands leading to the river, wild horses preferred browsing in the canyons. Nakee e booe warned me not to attempt to capture horses in the canyons. These places were full of fierce and terrible cats that lay in ambush for their favorite prey. The horses were very beautiful, their coats painted a variety of hues from tan, bay, chestnut, sorrel, dusky and black. Some were as large as 14 to 15 hands and all had dark stripes running across their legs and necks. Far to the north, Nakee e booe pointed out to Sulkeya lions attacking the bison herd. Sulkeya looking through the binoculars could see lions much like African lions but larger with dark manes proudly displayed over their head, neck, shoulders and chest. Their tales were long with dark tufts at the end. Female lions were smaller without manes and ran along with the males. Before his eyes the action enfolded, lions in pairs ran down a large bison in a quick pursuit ripping into the hide of the buttocks with huge claws and tripping up the beast to fall on the dirt. Quickly the male leaped onto the bison strangling it around the throat, blood oozed out onto the prairie soil. At least three pairs actively attacked the herd simultaneously and immature lions waited in the wings to wait their turn for the feast. As soon as blood spilled on the ground, ravens from nearby cottonwoods called out to announce the feast to their fellow ravens and allies the wolves.

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