No lion could possibly be in there because there was no solid ground, only water and a tangle of vegetation. As we waded further into the stinking morass the water rose to our knees, then up to our belts, and finally we were in so deep that I had to carry my rifle over my head. If by chance a lion had come roaring out of the tangled vines we would have been helpless, but it wasn't lions that worried me. My more immediate concerns were for blood-sucking leeches, poisonous snakes, stinging insects and waterborne parasites such as the dreaded bilharzia. What were we doing?
From Samson to Tarzan to Jorge, men have viewed hand-to-claw combat with the King of Beasts as a universal symbol of courage. Throughout history, from England's Richard the Lion Hearted to the Lion King of Hollywood fame, Panthera leo has represented unrivaled bravery. Few are the royal crests of Europe that do not portray a lion as a symbol of courage. Among Masai warriors the killing of a lion with a spear declares unquestioned manhood. And in the journals of a 19th-century British explorer there is an account of an African king who walked about on his toes so that his subjects would consider him a lion. The image of a king with a crown of exotic bird feathers waving around his head and a leopard skin dangling about his loins, strutting around on his toes, somewhat challenges the imagination.