stealing a cobra. He was a snake charmerwhose own snake had died. Both were saved: the cobra froma life of servitude and bad music, and the man from apossible death bite. We had to deal on occasion with stonethrowers,
who found the animals too placid and wanted areaction. And we had the lady whose sari was caught by alion. She spun like a yo-yo, choosing mortal
embarrassmentover mortal end. The thing was, it wasn’t even an accident.
She had leaned over, thrust her hand in the cage and wavedthe end of her sari in the lion’s face, with what intent wenever figured out. She was not injured;
there were manyfascinated men who came to her assistance. Her flusteredexplanation to Father was, “Whoever heard of a lion eating acotton
sari? I thought lions were carnivores.” Our worsttroublemakers were the visitors who gave food to the animals.
Despite our vigilance, Dr. Atal, the zoo veterinarian, co
uld tellby the number of animals with digestive disturbances which hadbeen the busy days at the zoo. He called “tidbit-itis” the casesof enteritis or gastritis due to too many carbohydrates,especially sugar. Sometimes we wished
people had stuck tosweets. People have a notion that animals can eat anythingwithout the least consequence to their health. Not so. One ofour
sloth bears became seriously ill with severe hemorrhagicenteritis after being given fish that had gone putrid by , a manwho was convinced he was doing a good deed.
Jon’s cloak hung on a peg by the door, his sword belt on another. He donned them both and made his way to the armory. The rug where Ghost slept was
empty, he saw. Two guardsmen stood inside the doors, clad in black cloaks and iron halfhelms, spears in their hands. “Will m’lord be wanting a tail?” asked Garse.
“I think I can find the King’s Tower by myself.” Jon hated having guards trailing after him everywhere he went. It made him feel