This dance is executed by a female; and probably the perfection of the dance consisted in approaching and receding from the bear with great agility, so as to prevent his seizing upon her, and occasioning any interruption to the performance, which the animal, on the other hand, appears to be exceedingly desirous of effecting, being unmuzzled for the purpose, and irritated by the scourge of the juggler.
One part of the gleeman's profession, as early as the tenth century, was, teaching animals to dance, to tumble, and to put themselves into variety of attitudes, at the command of their masters.
This engraving is the copy of a curious though rude delineation, being little more than an outline, which exhibits a specimen of this pastime. The principal joculator appears in the front, holding a knotted switch in one hand, and a line attached to a bear in the other; the animal is lying down in obedience to his command; and behind them are two more figures, the one playing upon two flutes or flageolets, and elevating his left leg while he stands upon his right, supported by a staff that passes under his armpit; the other dancing, in an attitude exceedingly ludicrous. This performance takes place upon an eminence resembling a stage made with earth; and in the original a vast concourse are standing round it in a semicircle as spectators of the sport, but they are so exceedingly ill drawn, and withal so indistinct, that I did not think it worth the pains to copy them. The dancing, if I may so call it, of the flute player, is repeated twice in the same manuscript.
One great part of the joculator's profession was the teaching of bears, apes, horses, dogs, and other animals, to imitate the actions of men, to tumble, to dance, and to perform a variety of tricks, contrary to their nature; and sometimes he learned himself to counterfeit the gestures and articulations of the brutes.
Boy and girl feeding a pony an apple
Man and woman riding on donkeys
Dog asking what his mistress has.
Little toddler pointing to a blackbird
A cat eating from the counter while a lady ignores the cat
Girl feeding birds
Boy holding a bowl with bird on it
Boy and Girl looking out the window encouraging their bird to come back after escaping from its cage
Sad girl holding a bird
Meeting at the crossroads - Two men on horses, one with a gun
Man with two horses
Horse staying by his owner
Child looking after horse
Blacksmith shoeing horse
The mode of hunting with these animals was as follows: The sportsmen, preceded by their dogs, rode across country, each with a leopard sitting behind him on his saddle. When the dogs had started the game the leopard jumped off the saddle and sprang after it, and as soon as it was caught the hunters threw the leopard a piece of raw flesh, for which he gave up the prey and remounted behind his master