The Elkington Lion

from West with the Sun
Beryl Markham

The Elkington lion was famous within a radius of twelve miles in all directions from the farm, because, if you happened to be anywhere inside that circle, you could hear him roar when he was hungry, when he was sad, or when he just felt like roaring. If, in the night, you lay sleepless on your bed and listened to an intermittent sound that began like the bellow of a banshee trapped in the bowels of Kilimanjaro and ended like the sound of that same banshee suddenly at large and arrived at the foot of your bed, you knew (because you had been told) that this was the song of Paddy.

Two or three of the settlers in East Africa at that time had caught lion cubs and raised them in cages. But Paddy, the Elkington lion, had never seen a cage.

He had gown to full size, tawny, black-maned and muscular, without a worry or a care. He lived on fresh meat, not of his own killing. He spent his waking hours (which coincided with everybody else's sleeping hours) wandering through Elkington's fields and pastures like an affable, if apostrophic, emperor, as-troll int he gardens of his court.

These details are what make the memoir come to life.  More also the interrelationship of the last story in which she finds and saves a down aviator in the Serengetti and how we get to the story of the lion.  I'll have to see if the weaving occurs throughout the book, but so far the tapestry is tight--and as with all great tapestry, appears to be as lovely from the back as it is from the front.

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