At the last, when none could laugh any longer, the man threw his cape across the bull’s back, his arm round his neck. He flung up a hand at the gate, as Villamarti, young and commanding but not a herdsman, might have raised it, and he cried: “Gentlemen, open to me and my honourable little donkey.”
This is from “The Bull that Thought”, collected in Debits and Credits, a story set in the Rhone Delta, in southern France, bull-fighting country.
Apis is a young bull, brought up on a farm, where bulls for bull fighting were raised. From his youth he is crafty and a deadly fighter, and deals effectively with the farm lads who try to play him.
Then Apis goes into the ring, where the bulls are always killed in the end. One after another he kills three men who were try play him and disables another. He makes a fool of the star matador, whom he chasea out of the ring.
Chisto, an older matador who had been a herdsman, challenges him and the two of them put on what proves to be a superb performance. When tension rises too high, they descend into farce. With audience weak with laughter, Chisto saves Apis with a final flourish.
They open the gate and he departs to live another day.