Post-classical history

§ The Holy-Warrior Leopard

Of all the animals, the leopard alone can jump more than forty cubits. In the church at Hunak,195 there was a window forty cubits in height above the floor. A leopard used to go there during the hottest part of the day, jump up to the window and sleep there until the end of the day, then jump down and go away. At the time, the landlord196 of Hunak was a Frankish knight called Sir Adam, a real devil of a Frank. He was told the story of the leopard, and he said, ‘When you see the leopard, inform me of it.’

The leopard came as usual and jumped up to that window, so one of the peasants went and informed Sir Adam. Sir Adam put on his hauberk, mounted his charger, took up his shield and spear and went off to the church, which was in ruins except for one standing wall where the window was located. When [111] the leopard saw Sir Adam, it pounced down from the window on top of him while Sir Adam was still on his charger and broke his back, killing him. It then went away. The peasants of Hunak used to call that leopard ‘the holy-warrior leopard’.197

One of the special qualities of the leopard is that if it wounds a man, and a mouse urinates on the wound, the man will die. A mouse never gives up trying to reach a man wounded by a leopard: one person, out of fear of the mice, even had a bed made for himself sitting in the water, with cats tied all around it.

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