1. The King of Beasts: stands for courage.
2 Not really very brave.
3. Does a lot of damage.
4. “Thrown to the lions.”
The lion is often called the King of Beasts or the King of the Forest; and as it stands with its head held up, its long mane about its neck, and its tail swinging to and fro, it looks very grand and royal. The lion stands for courage; and when we say that a man is a lion, or has the heart of a lion, we mean he is very brave. One of the Kings of England, Richard I who was a brave knight and loved battle and danger, was called Richard Coeur de Lion, which means, Richard the Lionhearted. Lala Lajpat Rai was called the lion of Punjab.
But the lion is not really a very brave animal. It is not so brave nor so savage as the tiger. Of course, if it is attacked and driven into a corner, it will fight fiercely for its life; but as a rule, it will not attack if it is not attacked, and it will get away if it can.
Like all the cat-tribe (for the lion, like the tiger and leopard, is really a big cat), the lion hunts at night. It is not now found in India, but it still hunts in the African forests. When it is hunting it often roars, and a lion’s roar in a lonely forest at night is a dreadful sound to hear. Lions kill and eat large animals, like wild deer; and they do a lot of damage to African villagers by stealing their sheep and goats, and cows. They will also kill men when they get the chance.
When the ancient Emperors persecuted their enemies long ago, they often used to throw them to the lions. Fierce lions were caught and kept hungry in cages, and thousands of people used to come together to see these lions let out of their cages to kill and eat the poor victims who were given to them.