|Sheroq Ismail [Xinhua]|
Sheroq Ismail, a 15-year-old Egyptian lion tamer, captivated the hearts of watchers around the caged circus ring in a marvelous night show.
Being very confident, Ismail was moving lightly while giving instructions to the lions inside the cage as if she was dancing with them.
"I'm probably the youngest beast tamer in the world, and I dream to be the greatest in the near future," the young female, still a high school student, told Xinhua.
The lions' show, the last chapter in performance, opens every day when Ismail is riding a lion while another two lions are topping a higher board hailing the watchers.
Inside the circus ring, Ismail presented her show along with her father with six lions.
Amid high voices of cheers, the audience loudly called Ismail's name and encouraged her to play with the lions.
With whip and small stick, she was pushing the back legs of the lions to take steps forward or back or climb to tables in preparation for passing through a ball of fire.
Mario, a 19-year-old lioness, slept over the girl on a hanged wooden board that bridged two tables. Another lion jumped from one table to another while crossing the girl and the lioness.
In another part of the show, a lion grabbed a piece of meat from Ismail's mouth at a moment. The audience glanced silently, fearing that the beast will swallow the girl's face.
Then the music got higher and lights got brighter with the audience screaming of joy that Ismail was safe and happy.
Ismail said that she started to perform with the lion cubs at the age of six.
"Since I opened my eyes to the world, I found lions around me, like my brothers," the young girl said while preparing for the performance.
She was born in a family famous for taming lions. Her grandfather was a renowned lion circus tamer star in Egypt in the 19th century.
Her mother, father and uncle are also mastered in lion taming.
However, her parents were totally against Ismail to follow the same path, deeming it dangerous and relentless.
"My father and mother were my motivation and I wanted to enter the cage with them but they prevented me many times," Ismail said.
But the young girl was stubborn. She sneaked into the cage without her parents' permission and trained the lions by herself to prove that she is capable of working with them.
According to Ismail, her first show as a tamer at the age of 12 was "catastrophic" as the lions got furious all of a sudden, and her father pushed her out of the circus ring when one of the lions was about to attack her.
"I felt helpless and disappointed as the lion caused wounds and scars in my father's back," the shy girl said with tears in her eyes.
The bad experience taught her to work harder, to fear nothing and to have more confidence during the show.
"Nothing is impossible," the young lion tamer said confidently. She plans to study in veterinary school and travel abroad to get more training in Russia and Colombia.
Ismail, who has five cubs at her house, said that "I feel more secured and safer with lions in the cage than outside with people. I never felt those animals are wild."
Nermeen Hassan, who was taking photos with Ismail and the lions by the end of the show, told Xinhua that she and her kids felt much existed to watch the king of the jungle hugging, playing with and following the instructions of the young girl.
"Sometimes, I couldn't even breathe until Ismail moved far from the lion's mouths," Hassan said, believing it is a very dangerous business.
But for Ismail, taming the lions is more than a business. It is a heritage of a family that should be preserved from one to another generation.
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