The Fatal Tiger's Cage
( Originally Published 1902 )
ALBERT NEILSON. a lad of sixteen years, was employed to clean the cages of the animals of Bostock's Zoological exhibition in the Cyclorama Building at Indianapolis. He had just been in the cage with the baby lions, playing with and petting them as usual, when, through carelessness or rashness, he entered the cage of a dangerous Bengal tiger named Rajah, which sprang upon him, biting and tearing him in a fearful manner. Though Frank Bostock, the manager, was the only one who ever entered that cage, W. F. Tanner and "Sam" Stevenson ran to the scene, and entered at the risk of their lives to save the boy. They burned Rajah with red-hot irons, and shot seven pistol-balls into his body, but he still held on to the boy. At last they thrust a red-hot poker down his throat, and dragged the boy out of the cage ; but not until he had been so injured that he died on his way to the hospital. The tragedy called out real heroism in the two men who fought so hard for the boy's life.
The reporters of Indianapolis sent over the wires columns of the details of the accident, but they had not a word to say about the hundreds of dens in the city, where tigers wait to kill the young men who are enticed into them. Cages of Bengal tigers are scattered all over most of the cities and towns of our country, and they are full of young men who are being slaughtered in body and soul. It is high time that more persons hastened to the rescue.