The girl who tweaked two lions’ tails.
Only later, did Daisy and I learn what happened on the safari. Not from our fourteen year old daughter, but from Charles Hamilton.
Angelina didn’t associate much with the bwanas, the big white hunters. She worked with the Swahili trackers, getting them to show her various spoor, to recognise how fresh it was, how many animals had passed that way, how grass is bent and twigs broken by passing game.
The American client got his rogue lion and was pleased as Punch. The party had stalked the old carnivore the whole day. On the way, they came across the remains of the toddler that the rogue had taken.
The lion retreated to its lair in dense bush under a tamarind tree. When the hunters approached too close, he charged them. Five people unarmed, one with a rifle. The rogue fell dead under the tamarind tree with a bullet in its brain.
The adults decided to celebrate with a sundowner although that was still an hour away.
Angelina decided to climb the tamarind tree.
‘It was the damnedest thing I’ve ever seen,’ Charles Hamilton phoned me.
‘After a couple of snorts, the client wanted his photograph taken, kneeling on one knee, holding his rifle in front of the lion. No one took any notice of your daughter on the branch above.
‘The moment before the shutter clicked, your daughter tumbled out of the tree and landed upside down on the lion’s belly.’
‘Oh hell. She ruined the photograph.’
‘The effect of her landing on the rogue’s belly, forced a gush of air
through the dead animal’s jaws, making it roar. The client got such a
fright, he leapt away to escape being eaten.’
I couldn’t help chuckling at the picture I had in my head.
Charles Hamilton laughed. ‘So the photograph shows your daughter upside down on the rogue’s stomach with arms and legs all over the place. To one side is a terrified hunter, rifle and all, fleeing for his life.’
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