The Birds of Prey
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Part I Juveniliaand Undergraduate Writing This page intentionally left blank [ 3 The Birds of Prey Smith Academy Record, 8 (Jan 1905) [1]-2 A vulture who was sunning himself on the top of a tree suddenly flapped his wings and, after a few preliminary circles, started off to the southward. A hungry bird of prey does not fly about for exercise, and this one seemed to have a very definite destination. There were others flying in the same direction. As they progressed there came more and more, until they made rather a formidable appearance. At length they arrived at a few low hills, from which smoke was rising. There had been a great battle, and here and there the fight was still kept up. The dead lay scattered about in great heaps, which were already black with the countless scavengers who had scented them from afar. Near the little stream, almost choked by corpses, lay a body which was not more than two-thirds dead, as yet. He had painfully dragged himself there in search of water, and now lay propped against the trunk of a tree. A few yards away two of the black ghouls were ripping open the man who had fought next to him. A bird lit in the tree over his head. The two looked at each other a few moments, and the man knew that the harpy above him was waiting for him to die. The knowledge of this made him feel weaker, and he sank back helplessly . At each sign of ebbing strength, the vulture drew nearer, though watching with a wary eye. The soldier tried to grasp his gun and raise it, but sharp pains shot through his arm as he did so, and he dropped it feebly. Meanwhile, the tormentor sat solemnly by, not moving a feather. He seemed in no haste, but appeared like a faithful attendant. The soldier wondered drearily how long he would have to wait before he felt those sharp talons in his breast. He had seen his comrades devoured by vultures before, and he pictured himself in the same condition. Suddenly, he heard the great creature over him give a hoarse cry, and saw him rise into the air. At the relief from the great strain, the soldier lost consciousness , and when he came to himself, it was to find that he was in the carriage of the rescuing hospital corps. T. E. ’05 ...


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