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Great Nights of the Bible (3 of 16)
The Night with Wild Beasts
Clarence E. Macartney
Mother, what makes the lions roar so loudly tonight?"
The Babylonian mother clasped her child to her breast
and answered: "Because for three days they have not
been fed. The lions are famished; they are hungry.
That is why they roar so loudly."
All through the day those who live within a mile of
the den of lions can hear the savage beasts roar. Mad
with hunger, they pace restlessly up and down in their
den, lashing their tawny hides with their tails,
uncovering their cruel fangs, and every now and then
laying their jaw to the ground and emitting a
frightful, earth-shaking roar. But at the eventide,
when night has come down over Babylon and its hanging
gardens and the wind whispers among the willow trees
along the banks of the broad Euphrates, there is
silence in the den of lions. No longer do they roar.
"Mother, where are the lions? I do not hear them
"No, child," answered the mother, "the lions have been
fed. That is why they do not roar. Now they are
Yes; now the lions were quiet. They had ceased to
shake the earth with their roars, but not because they
had partaken of food, for when food was offered them
they had refused it. It was the first time the lions
had ever refused to eat.
Over in his huge brown palace, where crimson banners
float out of the windows that overlook the gardens
smelling sweet of myrrh and cassia along the
Euphrates, the king of all the world, Darius, is
unable to sleep. Armed guards pace up and down the
avenues before the gates of the palace and up and down
the corridor in front of his royal chamber. The king
lies upon a bed of ivory overlaid with gold, and his
couch is soft with the softest wool of the Persian
hills and covered with the rarest silks and satins;
yet the king cannot sleep. At length he arises, goes
over to the open window-the ...
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