The Skye Ze­bra

The Oban Times - - Districts -

A FEW weeks ago I wrote in this col­umn about a hyena that es­caped in the 1800s from a trav­el­ling cir­cus near Loch Hourn and lived long enough around Glen Baris­dale to ter­rorise the lo­cals.

Shortly af­ter my piece was pub­lished, a cor­re­spon­dent con­tacted me about a ze­bra of re­puted Skye ori­gin which ap­peared in a Glas­gow cir­cus in 1898.

The story goes that a Skye­man went to see Bar­num and Bai­ley’s fa­mous cir­cus where he was sur­prised to see a tall man dressed in a scar­let coat and a tile hat stand­ing in front of a large tent and shout­ing at the top of his voice: ‘Ladies and Gen­tle­men, come in and see the Skye ze­bra. The only one of its kind in the world’. Be­ing in­ter­ested, he paid a shilling and en­tered. There in­deed was an an­i­mal re­sem­bling a ze­bra. Its body was cun­ningly groomed, and its hoofs and tail were well cam­ou­flaged. Parts of its body was shaved and its horns, if it ever had any, were cut off.

On en­quir­ing which part of Skye the beast came from, he was shown a stock book in which was recorded: ‘No. 40 – Skye Ze­bra, born 1893 in Trot­ternish, Isle of Skye. Bought from John Kelly, drover, for £10 in 1896. In­sured, £1,000. The cir­cus man­ager told him that the Skye Ze­bra was the best pay­ing an­i­mal they had in the cir­cus.

The same Skye­man shortly af­ter­wards left for Amer­ica, and when he was there he re­vis­ited Bar­num & Bai­ley’s cir­cus in 1904 and found the Skye Ze­bra still be­ing ex­hib­ited and as pop­u­lar as ever.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.