Bertie knew there was something in the wind. His mother had been sad in recent days, not sick，just strangely sad. The lion had just lain down beside him，his head warm on Bertie，s feet， when Father cleared his throat and began, “You’ll soon be eight, Bertie. A boy needs a proper education. We’ve found the right place for you, a school near Salisbury in England. ”
His heart filled with a terrible fear, all Bertie could think of was his white lion. “But the lion,” he cried, “What about the lion?”
“I’m afraid there’s something else I have to tell you, ” his father said. Looking across at Bertie’s mother, he took a deep breath. Then he told Bertie he had met a circus owner from France, who was over in Africa looking for lions to buy. He would come to their farm in a few days.
“No! You can’t send him to a circus!” said Bertie. “People will come to see him. He’ll be shut up behind bars. I promised him he never would be. And they will laugh at him. He’d rather die. Any animal would ! ” But as he looked across the table at them, he knew their minds were quite made up.
Bertie felt completely betrayed. He waited until he heard his father’s deep breathing next door. With his white lion at his heels，he crept downstairs in his pyjamas ，took down his father’s rifle from the rack and stepped out into the night. He ran and ran till his legs could run no more. As the sun came up over the grassland, he climbed to the top of a hill and sat down, his arms round the lion’s neck. The time had come.
“Be wild now”，he whispered. “You’ve got to be wild. Don’t ever come home. All my life I’ll think of you. I promise I will. ” He buried his head in the Iion5S neck. Then, Bertie clambered down the hill and walked away.
When he looked back, the lion was still sitting there watching him; but then he stood up, yawned, stretched, and sprang down after him. Bertie shouted at him, but he kept coming. He threw sticks. He threw stones. Nothing worked.
There was only one thing left to do. With tears filling his eyes and his mouth，he lifted the rifle to his shoulder and fired over the Iion9S head.