Post-classical history

§ Usama Helps Kill a Leopard

[110] As for leopards, fighting them is more difficult than fighting lions, thanks to their light-footedness and the long distances they can leap. In addition, leopards will go into caves and burrows like hyenas do, whereas lions will only go into forests and thickets. A leopard once appeared in our lands in a village in the district of Shayzar called Ma’arzaf.194 So my uncle Sultan (may God have mercy upon him) rode out there and sent a horseman to me while I was out riding on an errand of mine with a message: ‘Meet me at Ma’arzaf.’ So I met up with him and we went to the spot where they claimed the leopard was, but we didn’t see it. There was a pit there, so I dismounted from my charger and, taking my quntariya-spear with me, I sat at the edge of the pit. It was shallow, about the height of a man, and in its side there was a hole which looked like a burrow. So I poked my spear in that hole that was in the pit, and the leopard stuck its head out of that hole to take hold of the spear. Once we had determined that the leopard was there, a few of my comrades climbed down with me. Some of us began poking our spears into that spot, so that when the leopard came out the other man would stab it with his spear. Every time the leopard tried to climb out of the pit, we would stick it with our spears until we killed it. It was a massive creature. It’s just that it had eaten so many of the animals of the village that it was unable to defend itself.

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