"If there is one problem which caused much talk and good-natured discusion among naturalists and hunters - one subject othen debated and never settled - it has been the question of realtive strength between the Lion and the Tiger. East Indian Shikaries, or native hunters and mighty English nimrods of Bengal have maintained that the Tiger is the true king of the cat family and able to thrash any Lion that ever roared by nightfull. Other Englishmen who have hunted in South Africa as sloutly declare that the Lion is what the picture books have ever made him - monarch of all beasts and un over-match for any Tiger that may question his royal diginity.
The Asiatic Lion - or, at least, the yellow beast of Hindostan - is acknowledged to be too small and too limorous to cope with the Bengal Tiger, while the Tiger does not inhabit Africa, the homes of the gigantic black mained and created Lione, largest of their family. A meeting on equal terms the Asiatic Tiger and an African Lion would be the only really satisfactory test of the powers of the two great cats, and until a few weeks ago such a meeting had never occured.
On the morning of November 10th both animlals were reported wild with hunger and in their prime condition for the fray. Everybody hastened to the arena, and there fror hours they were entertianed royally by the prince
Each beast had been transfered from his pen into a wooden cage, and these cages were then rolled into the arena. Ropes were attached to the fastenings of the doors, and the Gaekwur, purched on high in his royal box with the English realdent and several other diguitaries, trook the ropes in hand.
The Tiger was the first to emerge, darting into the ring with a frightful snarl. There was a shout of terror and admiration as the great beast, brown and black and yellow, went racing around the enclosure. No such Tiger had ever been seen in Baroda, and the English declared that the animal was a large man-eater as was ever caught in India. He was evidently more than ten feet long, over fourteen tail and all, and over four feet high at the shoulder. His teeth were long and white, with claws of tremendous strength and his shoulders great masses of tendons, moving with supple grace.
Restore the prince could answer and great yellow bend came through the door of the second cage, and the Lion leasurlely came decended into the arena. If the Tiger was the personificationof graceful strength nad supple energy, the Lion was the embodiment of massive power and muscle. Carrying his head more proudly than the Tiger, he lookeed taller, while his heavy mane gave him the appearance of greater size - an appearance made more conclusive by evidently large diameter of the huge legs and the bulk of his enormous paws.
There was little time for further speculation, for the Tiger was crawling forward, crouched almost flat upon the ground and evidentl measuring the distance for a spring, while the Lion, lashing, his sides with his heavy tail, emiltled a deep-voice roar. The Tiger got his balance gauged and rose into the air like a great yellow rocket. As he shot through space the Lion rose on his hind legs and recieved him even as the Highlanders at waterloo took Napoleons cavalry uopn their bayonets. There was a crash, a chorus of horrible yells and blood-curdling snarls, and then the two great bodies rolled over and over in a cloaud of sand.
The mighty fighters regained their feet and shook themselves free. As they parted from the clinch the Lion slung his right paw squarely at the Tiger's head. The blow shot in so fast that even the supple cat could not avoid the stroke, and the huge claws ripped away an ear and tore the skin on the Tiger's head in frightful fashion. Over in and a heep rolled the Tiger, and the Lion rushed in to complete its victory. His claws tore only dust, for the Tiger, regaining his presense of mind, twisted aside and escaped annihitation
The Lion advanced, growling, lashing with his tail, and evidently looking for a chance to deal one decisive blow. The Tiger retreated , feinting from side to side, till he felt his tail brush the wood of the side wall, Then, just as the Lion rushed on, the Tiger sprang high in to the air and bounded clearly over his enemy's back landing twenty feet away. There was a roar of applause and the lion looked disgusted
Again the Lion forced the Tiger back against the wall. This time, instead of escaping with a leap, the Tiger suddenly ran in, head almost to the ground, aiming for the Lion's legs. Atlas met him with a downward wack which would of broken the neck of a bull, but did not even shake the Tiger's head. Then they rose on their hind legs, exactly as fighting dogs are othen seen to do, and exchanged right and left swings for at least three minutes, while the crowd went wild with delight and cheered like madmen.
Infighting did not seem to please either combatant. When they broke away they were seamed and gashed and the blood was pouring down their flanks. The Tiger had landed three blows to the Lion's one, but the Lion swings evidently bad much more force in them, for the gashes in the Tiger's hide were deeper and apparently the more enfeebling. The Tiger slunk away and hugged the wall, trying to regain his wind, while Atlas roaring furiously, stood his ground in the centre, the blood dripping from twenty ugly wounds.
After a few moments' rest the Tiger came forward and began to circle round and round the enemy. A couple of short rushes by the Lion failed to effect anything and the African monarch worried. Seeing an apparently favourable opening, he charged at the Tiger who darted out of danger, and then, turning like a bird upon the wing, leaped upon the Lion's back. There was another fearful struggle; the big bodies, now streaked with blood and brown with dust, rolled half way across the ring and the Lion shook himself free, delivering one of his terrible right swings as the Tiger backed away. The jungle terror, staggered by the blow, made off to a safe distance and then sat upon his haunches, watching and studying the effect of the last tussle.
The Lion had been badly mauled. There were two long rips across his back, and blood streamed from deep tooth prints on his shoulders. He was panting hoursely, and it was evident that his wind was not as good as his adversary's. The Tiger inspected him for a moment and then came circling on again. There was another bull-like rush by the Lion, and the Tiger met him fairly, plying his claws like a demon. When the next breathing spell came out, the Lion, evidently out of breath sank heavily to his kness, while the Tiger, his stripes obliterated by the fast flowing blood, seemed far the stronger of the two.
It was the Tiger's fight and he knew it. He sprang at the staggering Lion, took a fearful chop on the nose without flinching and set his teeth in to the African's bary throat. They wrestled desperately, and the Lion's heavy mane saved him from suffocation. Great mouthfulls of long cosrse hair catching in the Tiger's teeth not only preventing him from getting a death grip, but so interfered with his with his respiration that he had to release the hold, whereupon the Lion swatted him with a tremendous uppercut and snt him tumbling twenty feet away.
It was evidently nearing the finish, despite the rallying power and the indoubtable couarge of the Lion. He could hardly turn to follow the motions of the Tiger, and the striped fellow, still strong upon his legs was again moving snake-like around his victim. The Tiger darted and the Lion missed clean with both claws. Over they went; the Tiger worked fore and hind paws frantically, and in less than fourty seconds had ripped the Lion's body fairly into shreds. Atlas, with one last effort, threw the Tiger off, strove to roar, fell prostrate on the sand and died. "