Lion Scares in Erie Basin, 1921

In The Brooklyn  Standard Union’s column about  reader’s interesting experiences, Gustave tells how a BIG cat gave him the shock of his life when he visited a tramp steamer docked in Erie Basin.  (A tramp steamer is ship without a fixed schedule or published port of call; a ship which followed the opportunities.)

Text of the article:

The Brooklyn Standard Union, Saturday, March 19, 1921

Gustave in the Lion’s Den

"It is a well known fact that  skippers of tramp steamers have  pets of different sorts," writes Gustave W.  "A tramp steamer was recently  In a dry dock at Erie Basin and it had  for a mascot a young  lion.  This lion was about five  months' old and any of the crew  could make it do all sorts of tricks  without it showing temper.  The  captain would whistle, and no matter  where the lion was he would come  bounding and wagging his tall; in  fact, to any of the crew he was just  like a dog. But to strangers he  showed the utmost contempt, and  unless you were protected by one of  the crew he would treat you roughly if you came on deck.  While the  vessel was in dry dock the lion was  chained up with a chain about ten  feet long One of my men, knowing  that the lion was on board (meanwhile I knew nothing), told me that  I was, wanted on dock, starboard amidships (where the lion was chained). Unconscious of what was awaiting me, I went up the ladder  and climbed on board and found myself in the presence of Mr. Lion my hair stood on end when I confronted him, and with one bound he was on top of me, roaring and otherwise mauling me, but not hurting me. I thought sure my last moment had come and resigned myself to my fate when one of the crew, who was watching and laughing, spoke a word to the lion and he bounded aw a y from me.  Later it was  explained that the lion only wanted to play with me.  I don't care for that kind of playing, however,  as it took me nearly an hour to get over the shock."



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  • “Gustave in the Lion’s Den,” The Brooklyn Standard Union, Saturday, March 19, 1921

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