Page:Omniana.djvu/154

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136
OMNIANA.

Maulequi, the soldan of Babylon, had sworn to throw Palmerin into the lion's den; this oath he could not break, but, at his daughter Alchidiana's request, he gave orders that he should be put in the den and the gates shut upon him, and then instantly let out again. There were fifteen lions in the den, twelve royal ones, and three pardos; these three attacked him, for he did not chuse to retreat (c. 79). As all fifteen are called Lions, and the keeper is called Leonero, it is evident that the leones pardos are not meant to be leopards, but that it is some imaginary distinction. For though, according to old fabulous history, this was a species of mule beast, produced by the lioness and leopard having conjunction together, or the lion and leopardess, there was an enmity between the true lion and these bastards, so that they never could have been kept in one den. The true lion is jealous of the leopard, who "is a very tyrant, and advouterous in his kind;" and he knoweth,