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A LIFE FOR A LIFE. In the year 1906 I was working on the mines at Tarcoola, which is 600 miles north-west of Adelaide. One day' in ' February I was reading in my' shed, when I suddenly became aware of the presence of a visitor in the shape of an iguana lizard some two feet nine inches in length. The poor animal was apparently suffering intense agony and pain. A piece of mulga stick had pierced downward through the animal’s leg, and literally 7 skewered its thigh part of the limb to the ankle, near its sharp claws. I poured out a saucerful of water, which it greedily drank, and efrew out the splinter of wood. I then bathed the wounded leg with water, into which I put some Condy's fluid. After the operation the patient stretched itself by' the side of an old box and was soon fast asleep, apparently from exhaustion. For five, or six day 7 s I continued to bathe its wound night and morning, and at length Billy (for so I had named him) could run without a limp. Being of an independent turn of mind he used to go off every 7 morning a nd hunt for his living, returning every 7 evening a s regular as the clock. Now comes the sequel to my' story. Being extra tired one evening I did not take the usual precaution to shake up my 7 blankets afresh that night, but hastily 7 turned in. I fell asleep. Suddenly I awoke, conscious of something cold and clammy moving and twining around my wrist, for my 7 hand w a s hanging over the side of my stretcher, and was thus nearly 7 on the ground. Opening my eyes and glancing down I saw a sight which nearly froze the blood in my veins. A deadly black snake some three feet in length had fastened himself around my hand and was climbing up my arm. „ I dared not move or try to shake off the hideous reptile, as at the least movement it would send its poisonous fangs into my arm.

Then I somehow became aware of the long sinewy form of Billy swiftly, moving across the floor. I thought it best to leave my arm as it was, and let the two reptiles fight for the mastery, the stake for which was a human life. The snake was, I saw, fully aware of the presence of its enemy, for I saw its dark, wicked eyes positively gleam with venomous rage as it turned its head to meet the foe. It still kept its hold of. my wrist. As if the iguana took in the situation at a glance, he sprang between the snake’s outstretched head and my arm. I saw the forked tongue gleam out wet and dark. I felt the reptile take a firmer hold of my hand as it turned to face the raging fury of Billy. In a minute all was over. Billy’s Jaws closed with a snap on the snake’s neck and literally tore it head off, and I felt the reptile fall off my wrist, with convulsive movefhents on to the ground. It was moving when I regained consciousness. That I had not passed through some hideous nightmare was shown as my eyes fell upon the dead bodies of Billy and the snake. The body of poor Billy was swollen to a great size. He must have been bitten as he sprang between my arm and the snake’s upraised head. ■ Thus did he repay my kindness by giving his life for my life.—Prom the “Royal Magazine.”

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Anecdotal., Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 5, 4 May 1907

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Anecdotal. Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 5, 4 May 1907

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