Reading comprehension exercise 1
I was lying on a ridge scanning with field glasses a rock cliff opposite me. On a ledge halfway up the cliff, a tahr, the most sure-footed of all Himalayan goats, and her kid were lying asleep. Presently the tahr got to her feet, stretched herself, and the kid immediately began to feed. After a minute the mother freed herself, took a few steps along the ledge, poised for a moment, then jumped down on to another and a narrower ledge some twelve to fifteen feet below her. As soon as it was left alone the kid started running backwards and forwards, stopping every now and then to peer down at its mother, but unable to summon the courage to jump down to her for, below the narrow ledge, was a sheer drop of a thousand feet. I was too far away to hear whether the mother was encouraging her young, but from the way her head was turned I believe she was doing so. The kid was getting more and more agitated and, possibly fearing that it would do something foolish, the mother went to what looked like a mere crack in the vertical rock face and, climbing it, rejoined her young. Immediately on doing so she lay down, presumably to prevent the kid from feeding.
After a while she got to her feet again, allowed the kid to drink for a minute, poised carefully on the brink, and jumped down, while the kid again ran backwards and forwards above her. Seven times in the course of the next half-hour this procedure was gone through, until finally the kid, abandoning itself to its fate, jumped, and landing safely beside its mother was rewarded by being allowed to drink its fill. The lesson for her young, that it was safe to follow where she led, was over for that day.
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