Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/116
SAWDUST AND SPANGLES
clusion that some peculiar influence had seized upon them, blunting their ordinary sense of fear and precaution. Had I been more accustomed to prairie life I would probably have realized at once the nature of the trouble; like all of the men on the wagon with me I was a rank tenderfoot.
In the course of the next ten minutes several flocks of birds passed over us, flying low but very rapidly. The grass on both sides of the trail seemed suddenly to swarm with animal life.
Before I had arrived at any conclusions regarding the peculiar actions of the prairie creatures the captive animals in the darkened cages began to show signs of unusual restlessness. The lions and tigers began a strange moaning unlike their ordinary roars and growls. From the monkey cages came plaintive, half-human cries. These sounds were taken up by all the animals big and little. The elephants trumpeted, the camels screamed, and every animal took part in the weird chorus, which rapidly increased in volume. Then the air seemed to take on a hazy appearance, particularly in the direction from which we had come.Finally the truth dawned upon me—the