THE JUNIOR CLASSICS
SELECTED AND ARRANGED BY WILLIAM PATTEN MANAGING EDITOR OF THE HARVARD CLASSICS
INTRODUCTION BY CHARLES W. ELIOT, LL. D. PRESIDENT EMERITUS OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY
WITH A READING GUIDE BY WILLIAM ALLAN NEILSON, Ph.D. PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH, HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT SMITH COLLEGE, NORTHAMPTON, MASS., SINCE 1917
Animal and Nature Stories
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Little Cyclone: The Story of a Grizzly Cub, W. T. Hornaday Some True Stories of Tigers, Wolves, Foxes, and Bears, W. H. G. Kingston Some Animal Friends in Africa, Bayard Taylor My Fight with a Catamount, Allen French In Canada with a Lynx, Roe L. Hendrick Solomon's Grouch: The Story of a Bear, Franklin W. Calkins A Droll Fox-Trap, C. A. Stephens The Horse That Aroused the Town, Lillian M. Gask What Ginger Told Black Beauty, Anna Sewell Some True Stories of Horses and Donkeys, W. H. G. Kingston "Old Mustard": A Tale of the Western Pioneers, E. W. Frentz Carlo, the Soldiers' Dog, Rush C. Hawkins A Brave Dog, Sir Samuel W. Baker Uncle Dick's Rolf, Georgiana M. Craik Scrap, Lucia Chamberlain A Fire-Fighter's Dog, Arthur Quiller-Couch Plato: The Story of a Cat, A. S. Downs Peter: A Cat O' One Tail, Charles Morley Jeff the Inquisitive, Rush C. Hawkins The Impudent Guinea-Pig, Charles F. Lummis Hard to Hit, Ernest Ingersoll That Sly Old Woodchuck, William O. Stoddard The Faithful Little Lizard, W. Hill James Toby the Wise, Rush C. Hawkins Blackamoor, Ruth Landseer A Parrot That Had Been Trained to Fire a Cannon, Sir Samuel W. Baker The Sandpiper's Trick, Celia Thaxter How Did the Canary Do It?, Celia Thaxter A Runaway Whale, Capt. O. G. Fosdick Saved by a Seal, Theodore A. Cutting Old Muskie the Rogue, Levi T. Pennington Teaching Fish to Ring Bells, C. F. Holder Marcus Aurelius, Octave Thanet Anna and the Rattler, Mrs. Cornell The Butterfly's Children, Mrs. Alfred Gatty The Dragon-Fly and the Water-Lily, Carl Ewald Powder-Post, C. A. Stephens The Queen Bee, Carl Ewald A Swarm of Wild Bees, Albert W. Tolman The Intelligence of Ants, Sir John Lubbock The Katy-Did's Party, Harriet B. Stowe The Beech and the Oak, Carl Ewald The Oak and the Snail, Mrs. Alfred Gatty The Story of a Stone, David Starr Jordan How the Stone-Age Children Played, Charles C. Abbott The Mist, Carl Ewald The Anemones, Carl Ewald The Weeds, Carl Ewald Some Voices from the Kitchen Garden, Mrs. Alfred Gatty The Wind and the Flowers, Mrs. Alfred Gatty
PHIL'S ADVENTURES AMONG THE ANIMALS
At Home With the Beavers, Lillian M. Gask Two Enemies of the Beavers, Lillian M. Gask The Squirrel's Story, Lillian M. Gask A Den in the Rocks, Lillian M. Gask Ships of the Desert, Lillian M. Gask
SOME ANIMAL STORIES
The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter Lions and Tigers, Anonymous Apes and Monkeys, Anonymous The Hippopotamus and the Rhinoceros, Anonymous The Giraffe, Anonymous Parrots, Anonymous Rab and His Friends, John Brown, M.D. A Ride With a Mad Horse in a Freight-Car, W. H. H. Murray A-Hunting of the Deer, Charles D. Warner
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
"WHAT A PRETTY LITTLE WATER-LILY!" CRIED ELLEN
The Dragon-Fly and the Water-Lily (Frontispiece illustration in color from the painting by Marie Webb)
GINGER AND I WERE STANDING ALONE IN THE SHADE What Ginger Told Black Beauty (From the painting by Maude Scrivener)
THEY LEARNT FROM THEIR FATHER TO HUNT THE STAG IN HIS COVERT
The Beech and the Oak (From the drawing by John Hassell)
PEOPLE WHO WERE OUT FOR AN EVENING STROLL The Mist (From the painting by Edmund Dulac)
LITTLE CYCLONE: THE STORY OF A GRIZZLY CUB
By W. T. Hornaday
Little Cyclone is a grizzly cub from Alaska, who earned his name by the vigor of his resistance to ill treatment. When his mother was fired at, on a timbered hillside facing Chilkat River, he and his brother ran away as fast as their stumpy little legs could carry them. When they crept where they had last seen her, they thought her asleep; and cuddling up close against her yet warm body they slept peacefully until morning.
Before the early morning sun had reached their side of the mountains, the two orphans were awakened by the rough grasp of human hands. Valiantly they bit and scratched, and bawled aloud with rage. One of them made a fight so fierce and terrible that his nervous captor let him go, and that one is still on the Chilkoot.
Although the other cub fought just as desperately, his captor seized him by the hind legs, dragged him backwards, occasionally swung him around his head, and kept him generally engaged until ropes were procured for binding him. When finally established, with collar, chain and post, in the rear of the saloon in Porcupine City, two-legged animals less intelligent than himself frequently and violently prodded the little grizzly with a long pole "to see him fight." Barely in time to save him from insanity, little Cyclone was rescued by the friendly hands of the Zoological Society's field agent, placed in a comfortable box, freed from all annoyance, and shipped to New York.
He was at that time as droll and roguish-looking a grizzly cub as ever stepped. In a grizzly-gray full moon of fluffy hair, two big black eyes sparkled like jet beads, behind a pudgy little nose, absurdly short for a bear. Excepting for his high shoulders, he was little more than a big bale of gray fur set up on four posts of the same material. But his claws were formidable, and he had the true grizzly spirit.
The Bears' Nursery at the New York Zoological Park is a big yard with a shade tree, a tree to climb, a swimming pool, three sleeping dens, and a rock cliff. It never contains fewer than six cubs, and sometimes eight.
Naturally, it is a good test of courage and temper to turn a new bear into that roystering crowd. Usually a newcomer is badly scared during his first day in the Nursery, and very timid during the next. But grizzlies are different. They are born full of courage and devoid of all sense of fear.
When little Cyclone's travelling box was opened, and he found himself free in the Nursery, he stalked deliberately to the centre of the stage, halted, and calmly looked about him. His air and manner said as plainly as English: "I'm a grizzly from Alaska, and I've come to stay. If any of you fellows think there is anything coming to you from me, come and take it."
Little Czar, a very saucy but good-natured European brown bear cub, walked up and aimed a sample blow at Cyclone's left ear. Quick as a flash out shot Cyclone's right paw, as only a grizzly can strike, and caught the would-be hazer on the side of the head. Amazed and confounded, Czar fled in wild haste. Next in order, a black bear cub, twice the size of Cyclone, made a pass at the newcomer, and he too received so fierce a countercharge that he ignominiously quitted the field and scrambled to the top of the cliff.
Cyclone conscientiously met every attack, real or feigned, that was made upon him. In less than an hour it was understood by every bear in the Nursery that that queer-looking gray fellow with the broad head and short nose could strike quick and hard, and that he could fight any other bear on three seconds' notice.
From that time on Cyclone's position has been assured. He is treated with the respect that a good forearm inspires, but being really a fine-spirited, dignified little grizzly, he attacks no one, and never has had a fight.
SOME TRUE STORIES OF TIGERS, WOLVES, FOXES AND BEARS
By W. H. G. Kingston
On one of her voyages from China, the Pitt, East Indiaman, had on board, among her passengers, a young tiger. He appeared to be as harmless and playful as a kitten, and allowed the utmost familiarity from every one. He was especially fond of creeping into the sailors' hammocks; and while he lay stretched on the deck, he would suffer two or three of them to place their heads on his back, as upon a pillow. Now and then, however, he would at dinner-time run off with pieces of their meat; and though sometimes severely punished for the theft, he bore the chastisement he received with the patience of a dog. His chief companion was a terrier, with whom he would play all sorts of tricks—tumbling and rolling over the animal in the most amusing manner, without hurting it. He would also frequently run out on the bowsprit, and climb about the rigging with the agility of a cat.
On his arrival in England, he was sent to the menagerie at the Tower. While there, another terrier was introduced into his den. Possibly he may have mistaken it for his old friend, for he immediately became attached to the dog, and appeared uneasy whenever it was taken away. Now and then the dangerous experiment was tried of allowing the terrier to remain while the tiger was fed. Presuming on their friendship, the dog occasionally ventured to approach him; but the tiger showed his true nature on such occasions by snarling in a way which made the little animal quickly retreat.
He had been in England two years, when one of the seamen of the Pitt came to the Tower. The animal at once recognized his old friend, and appeared so delighted, that the sailor begged to be allowed to go into the den. The tiger, on this, rubbed himself against him, licked his hands, and fawned on him as a cat would have done. The sailor remained in the den for a couple of hours or more, during which time the tiger kept so close to him, that it was evident he would have some difficulty in getting out again, without the animal making his escape at the same time. The den consisted of two compartments. At last the keeper contrived to entice the tiger to the inner one, when he closed the slide, and the seaman was liberated.
Even a wolf, savage as that animal is, may, if caught young, and treated kindly, become tame.
A story is told of a wolf which showed a considerable amount of affection for its master. He had brought it up from a puppy, and it became as tame as the best-trained dog, obeying him in everything. Having frequently to leave home, and not being able to take the wolf with him, he sent it to a menagerie, where he knew it would be carefully looked after. At first the wolf was very unhappy, and evidently pined for its absent master. At length, resigning itself to its fate, it made friends with its keepers, and recovered its spirits.
Fully eighteen months had passed by, when its old master, returning home, paid a visit to the menagerie. Immediately he spoke, the wolf recognized his voice, and made strenuous efforts to get free. On being set at liberty it sprang forward, and leaped up and caressed him like a dog. Its master, however, left it with its keepers, and three years passed away before he paid another visit to the menagerie. Notwithstanding this lapse of time, the wolf again recognized him, and exhibited the same marks of affection.
On its master again going away, the wolf became gloomy and desponding, and refused its food, so that fears were entertained for its life.
It recovered its health, however, and though it suffered its keepers to approach, exhibited the savage disposition of its tribe towards all strangers.
The history of this wolf shows you that the fiercest tempers may be calmed by gentleness.
Arrant thieves as foxes are, with regard to their domestic virtues they eminently shine. Both parents take the greatest interest in rearing and educating their offspring. They provide, in their burrow, a comfortable nest, lined with feathers, for their new-born cubs. Should either parent perceive in the neighbourhood of their abode the slightest sign of human approach, they immediately carry their young to a spot of greater safety, sometimes many miles away. They usually set off in the twilight of a fine evening. The papa fox having taken a survey all round, marches first, the young ones march singly, and mamma brings up the rear. On reaching a wall or bank, papa always mounts first, and looks carefully around, rearing himself on his haunches to command a wider view. He then utters a short cry, which the young ones, understanding as "Come along!" instantly obey. All being safely over, mamma follows, pausing in her turn on the top of the fence, when she makes a careful survey, especially rearward. She then gives a responsive cry, answering to "All right!" and follows the track of the others. Thus the party proceed on their march, repeating the same precautions at each fresh barrier.
When peril approaches, the wary old fox instructs his young ones to escape with turns and doublings on their path, while he himself will stand still on some brow or knoll, where he can both see and be seen. Having thus drawn attention to himself, he will take to flight in a different direction. Occasionally, while the young family are disporting themselves near their home, if peril approach, the parents utter a quick, peculiar cry, commanding the young ones to hurry to earth; knowing that, in case of pursuit, they have neither strength nor speed to secure their escape. They themselves will then take to flight, and seek some distant place of security.
The instruction they afford their young is varied. Sometimes the parents toss bones into the air for the young foxes to catch. If the little one fails to seize it before it falls to the ground, the parent will snap at him in reproof. If he catches it cleverly, papa growls his approval, and tosses it up again. This sport continues for a considerable time.
As I have said, no other animals so carefully educate their young in the way they should go, as does the fox. He is a good husband, an excellent father, capable of friendship, and a very intelligent member of society; but all the while, it must be confessed, an incorrigible rogue and thief.
A gentleman was lying one summer's day under the shelter of some shrubs on the banks of the Tweed, when his attention was attracted by the cries of wild-fowl, accompanied by a great deal of fluttering and splashing. On looking round, he perceived a large brood of ducks, which had been disturbed by the drifting of a fir branch among them. After circling in the air for a little time, they again settled down on their feeding-ground.
Two or three minutes elapsed, when the same event again occurred. A branch drifted down with the stream into the midst of the ducks, and startled them from their repast. Once more they rose upon the wing, clamouring loudly, but when the harmless bough had drifted by, settled themselves down upon the water as before. This occurred so frequently, that at last they scarcely troubled themselves to flutter out of the way, even when about to be touched by the drifting bough.
The gentleman, meantime, marking the regular intervals at which the fir branches succeeded each other in the same track, looked for a cause, and perceived, at length, higher up the bank of the stream, a fox, which, having evidently sent them adrift, was eagerly watching their progress and the effect they produced. Satisfied with the result, cunning Reynard at last selected a larger branch of spruce-fir than usual, and couching himself down on it, set it adrift as he had done the others. The birds, now well trained to indifference, scarcely moved till he was in the midst of them, when, making rapid snaps right and left, he secured two fine young ducks as his prey, and floated forward triumphantly on his raft; while the surviving fowls, clamouring in terror, took to flight, and returned no more to the spot.
A labourer going to his work one morning sight of a fox stretched out at full length under a bush. Believing it to be dead, the man drew it out by the tail, and swung it about to assure himself of the fact. Perceiving no symptoms of life, he then threw it over his shoulder, intending to make a cap of the skin, and ornament his cottage wall with the brush. While the fox hung over one shoulder, his mattock balanced it on the other. The point of the instrument, as he walked along, every now and then struck against the ribs of the fox, which, not so dead as the man supposed, objected to this proceeding, though he did not mind being carried along with his head downward. Losing patience, he gave a sharp snap at that portion of the labourer's body near which his head hung. The man, startled by this sudden attack, threw fox and mattock to the ground, when, turning round, he espied the live animal making off at full speed.
I have still another story to tell about cunning Reynard. Daylight had just broke, when a well-known naturalist, gun in hand, wandering in search of specimens, observed a large fox making his way along the skirts of a plantation. Reynard looked cautiously over the turf-wall into the neighbouring field, longing evidently to get hold of some of the hares feeding in it, well aware that he had little chance of catching one by dint of running. After examining the different gaps in the wall, he fixed on one which seemed to be the most frequented, and laid himself down close to it, in the attitude of a cat watching a mouse-hole. He next scraped small hollow in the ground, to form a kind of screen. Now and then he stopped to listen, or take a cautious peep into the field. This done, he again laid himself down, and remained motionless, except when occasionally his eagerness induced him to reconnoitre the feeding hares.
One by one, as the sun rose, they made their way from the field to the plantation. Several passed, but he moved not, except to crouch still closer to the ground. At length two came directly towards him. The involuntary motion of his ears, though he did not venture to look up, showed that he was aware of their approach. Like lightning, as they were leaping through the gap, Reynard was upon them, and catching one, killed her immediately. He was decamping with his booty, when a rifle-ball put an end to his career.
I must tell you one more story about a fox, and a very interesting little animal it was, though not less cunning than its relatives in warmer regions.
Mr. Hayes, the Arctic explorer, had a beautiful little snow-white fox, which was his companion in his cabin when his vessel was frozen up during the winter. She had been caught in a trap, but soon became tame, and used to sit in his lap during meals, with her delicate paws on the cloth. A plate and fork were provided for her, though she was unable to handle the fork herself; and little bits of raw venison, which she preferred to seasoned food. When she took the morsels into her mouth, her eyes sparkled with delight. She used to wipe her lips, and look up at her master with a coquetterie perfectly irresistible. Sometimes she exhibited much impatience; but a gentle rebuke with a fork on the tip of the nose was sufficient to restore her patience.
When sufficiently tame, she was allowed to run loose in the cabin; but she got into the habit of bounding over the shelves, without much regard for the valuable and perishable articles lying on them.
She soon also found out the bull's-eye overhead, through the cracks round which she could sniff the cool air. Close beneath it she accordingly took up her abode; and thence she used to crawl down when dinner was on the table, getting into her master's lap, and looking up longingly and lovingly into his face, sometimes putting out her little tongue with impatience, and barking, if the beginning of the repast was too long delayed.
To prevent her climbing, she was secured by a slight chain. This she soon managed to break, and once having performed the operation, she did not fail to attempt it again. To do this, she would first draw herself back as far as she could get, and then suddenly dart forward, in the hope of snapping it by the jerk; and though she was thus sent reeling on the floor, she would again pick herself up, panting as if her little heart would break, shake out her disarranged coat, and try once more. When observed, however, she would sit quietly down, cock her head cunningly on one side, follow the chain with her eye along its whole length to its fastening on the floor, walk leisurely to that point, hesitating a moment, and then make another plunge. All this time she would eye her master sharply, and if he moved, she would fall down on the floor at once, and pretend to be asleep.
She was a very neat and cleanly creature, everlastingly brushing her clothes, and bathing regularly in a bath of snow provided for her in the cabin. This last operation was her great delight. She would throw up the white flakes with her diminutive nose, rolling about and burying herself in them, wipe her face with her soft paws, and then mount to the side of the tub, looking round her knowingly, and barking the prettiest bark that ever was heard. This was her way of enforcing admiration; and being now satisfied with her performance, she would give a goodly number of shakes to her sparkling coat, then, happy and refreshed, crawl into her airy bed in the bull's-eye, and go to sleep.
The Indian believes the bear to be possessed not only of a wonderful amount of sagacity, but of feelings akin to those of human beings. Though most species are savage when irritated, some of them occasionally exhibit good humour and kindness.
A story is told of a man in Russia, who on an expedition in search of honey, climbed into a high tree. The trunk was hollow, and he discovered a large cone within. He was descending to obtain it, when he stuck fast. Unable to extricate himself, and too far from home to make his voice heard, he remained in that uncomfortable position for two days, sustaining his life by eating the honey. He had become silent from despair, when, looking up, what was his horror to see a huge bear above him, tempted by the same object which had led him into his dangerous predicament, and about to descend into the interior of the tree!
Bears—very wisely—when getting into hollows of rocks or trees, go tail-end first, that they may be in a position to move out again when necessary. No sooner, in spite of his dismay, did the tail of the bear reach him, than the man caught hold of it. The animal, astonished at finding some big creature below him, when he only expected to meet with a family of bees, against whose stings his thick hide was impervious, quickly scrambled out again, dragging up the man, who probably shouted right lustily. Be that as it may, the bear waddled off at a quick rate, and the honey-seeker made his way homeward, to relate his adventure, and relieve the anxiety of his family.
The brown bear, which lives in Siberia, may be considered among the most good-natured of his tribe. Mr. Atkinson, who travelled in that country, tells us that some peasants—a father and mother—had one day lost two of their children, between four and six years of age. It was soon evident that their young ones had wandered away to a distance from their home, and as soon as this discovery was made they set off in search of them.
Having proceeded some way through the wilds, they caught sight in the distance of a large animal, which, as they got nearer, they discovered to be a brown bear; and what was their horror to see within its clutches their lost young ones! Their sensations of dismay were exchanged for astonishment, when they saw the children running about, laughing, round the bear, sometimes taking it by the paws, and sometimes pulling it by the tail. The monster, evidently amused with their behaviour, treated them in the most affectionate manner. One of the children now produced some fruit, with which it fed its shaggy playfellow, while the other climbed up on its back, and sat there, fearlessly urging its strange steed to move on. The parents gave way to cries of terror at seeing the apparent danger to which their offspring were exposed. The little boy, however, having slipped off the bear's back, the animal, hearing the sound of other voices, left the children, and retreated quietly into the forest.
SOME ANIMAL FRIENDS IN AFRICA
By Bayard Taylor
Years ago I spent a winter in Africa. I had intended to go up the Nile only as far as Nubia, visiting the great temples and tombs of Thebes on the way; but when I had done all this, and passed beyond the cataracts at the southern boundary of Egypt, I found the journey so agreeable, so full of interest, and attended with so much less danger than I had supposed, that I determined to go on for a month or two longer, and penetrate as far as possible into the interior. Everything was favorable to my plan.
When I reached Khartoum, the Austrian consul invited me to his house; and there I spent three or four weeks, in that strange town, making acquaintance with the Egyptian officers, the chiefs of the desert tribes and the former kings of the different countries of Ethiopia. When I left my boat, on arriving, and walked through the narrow streets of Khartoum, between mud walls, very few of which were even whitewashed, I thought it a miserable place, and began to look out for some garden where I might pitch my tent, rather than live in one of those dirty-looking habitations. The wall around the consul's house was of mud like the others; but when I entered I found clean, handsome rooms, which furnished delightful shade and coolness during the heat of the day. The roof was of palm-logs, covered with mud, which the sun baked into a hard mass, so that the house was in reality as good as a brick dwelling. It was a great deal more comfortable than it appeared from the outside.
There were other features of the place, however, which it would be difficult to find anywhere except in Central Africa. After I had taken possession of my room, and eaten breakfast with my host, I went out to look at the garden. On each side of the steps leading down from the door sat two apes, who barked and snapped at me. The next thing I saw was a leopard tied to the trunk of an orange-tree. I did not dare to go within reach of his rope, although I afterwards became well acquainted with him. A little farther, there was a pen of gazelles and an antelope with immense horns; then two fierce, bristling hyenas; and at last, under a shed beside the stable, a full-grown lioness sleeping in the shade. I was greatly surprised when the consul went up to her, lifted up her head, opened her jaws so as to show the shining white tusks, and finally sat down upon her hack.
She accepted these familiarities so good-naturedly that I made bold to pat her head also. In a day or two we were great friends; she would spring about with delight whenever she saw me, and would purr like a cat whenever I sat upon her back. I spent an hour or two every day among the animals, and found them all easy to tame except the hyenas, which would gladly have bitten me if I had allowed them a chance. The leopard, one day, bit me slightly on the hand; but I punished him by pouring several buckets of water over him, and he was always very amiable after that. The beautiful little gazelles would cluster around me, thrusting up their noses into my hand, and saying "Wow! wow!" as plainly as I write it. But none of these animals attracted me as much as the big lioness. She was always good-humored, though occasionally so lazy that she would not even open her eyes when I sat down on her shoulder. She would sometimes catch my foot in her paws as a kitten catches a ball, and try to make a plaything of it,—yet always without thrusting out her claws. Once she opened Her mouth, and gently took one of my legs in her jaws for a moment; and the very next instant she put out her tongue and licked my hand. There seemed to be almost as much of the dog as of the cat in her nature. We all know, however, that there are differences of character among animals as there are among men; and my favorite probably belonged to a virtuous and respectable family of lions.
The day after my arrival I went with the consul to visit the pacha, who lived in a large mud palace on the bank of the Blue Nile. He received us very pleasantly, and invited us to take seats in the shady court-yard. Here there was a huge panther tied to one of the pillars, while a little lion, about eight months old, ran about perfectly loose. The pacha called the latter, which came springing and frisking towards him. "Now," said he, "we will have some fun." He then made the lion lie down behind one of the pillars, and called to one of the black boys to go across the court-yard on some errand. The lion lay quite still until the boy came opposite to the pillar, when he sprang out after him. The boy ran, terribly frightened; but the lion reached him in five or six leaps, sprang upon his back and threw him down, and then went back to the pillar as if quite satisfied with his exploit. Although the boy was not hurt in the least, it seemed to me like a cruel piece of fun.
The pacha, nevertheless, laughed very heartily, and told us that he had himself trained the lion to frighten the boys.
Presently the little lion went away, and when we came to look for him, we found him lying on one of the tables in the kitchen of the palace, apparently very much interested in watching the cook. The latter told us that the animal sometimes took small pieces of meat, but seemed to know that it was not permitted, for he would run away afterwards in great haste. What I saw of lions during my residence in Khartoum satisfied me that they are not very difficult to tame, only, as they belong to the cat family, no dependence can be placed on their continued good behavior....
Although I was glad to leave that wild town, with its burning climate, and retrace the long way back to Egypt, across the Desert and down the Nile, I felt very sorry at being obliged to take leave forever of all my pets. The little gazelles said, "Wow! wow!" in answer to my "Good-bye"; the hyenas howled and tried to bite, just as much as ever; but the dear old lioness I know would have been sorry if she could have understood that I was going. She frisked around me, licked my hand, and I took her great tawny head into my arms, and gave her a kiss. Since then I have never had a lion for a pet, and may never have one again. I must confess I am sorry for it; for I still retain my love for lions (four-footed ones, I mean), to this day.
MY FIGHT WITH A CATAMOUNT
By Allen French
My guide, Alaric, and I had gone in after moose to the country beyond Mud Brook, in Maine. There its watershed between the east branch and the west is cut up into valleys, in one or another of which a herd of moose, in winter, generally takes up quarters. It was not yet yarding-time, for the snow was still only about four inches deep, making it just right for the moose-hunter who is at the same time a sportsman.
Our task was a slow one; we had to examine each valley for moose tracks, tramping up one side and down the other, or as we usually managed it, separating at the valley's mouth, each taking a side, meeting at the end and then, if unsuccessful, taking the quickest way back to camp.
And unsuccessful we were, since for three days we found no trail. But Alaric was not in the least discouraged.
"You can never tell about moose," he said; "they travel so. There were moose in this country before the snow, and there are moose within a day's walk of us now. It's just as I told you; we may have to spend five days in finding where they are."
It was on the second day that we found that, while after moose, we had been tracked by a catamount. The print of its paw was generously large.
"I've seen bigger," said Alaric, "but this feller's big enough. He's just waiting round, I guess, so as to get some of the meat we kill. We'll remember him," he said, looking up at me as he knelt on the snow, "so's to see that he doesn't spoil the hide or the head."
I accepted the theory, and thought little more of the matter for twenty-four hours.
At the end of the third day we found that the catamount had for a second time been following our trail—not only our trail, but also mine.
He had followed me all day as I walked along the hillside, looking ahead and on both sides, but seldom behind. Alaric examined his tracks carefully for half a mile.
"He was in sight of you all the way," he said. "See here, where he stood for some time, just shifting about in one place, watching?" I saw—and thought.
After a while, it seemed to me, a catamount might get tired of waiting for us to kill his meat, and would start in to kill it for himself. Unquestionably the easiest game for him to get would be human.
For there were no deer in the region, and the caribou were all herded on Katahdin and Traveller. The previous severe winter had decimated the partridges, and big is the catamount that will tackle a moose. I mentioned the theory to Alaric.
"Um—yes, perhaps," he said, and eyed me dubiously.
Then I wished that I had not said anything. It is not well to let your guide think that you are afraid.
In the morning, when we had attained our valley's mouth, Alaric was about to keep with me, instead of leaving me as before; but that made our hunting much slower, for we could cover much less ground, and I sent him around the other way.
"All right," said he. "But keep a good lookout behind you now."
He disappeared in a cedar swamp, and I made my way along the slope of a hill. I watched indeed behind as well as in front, and in every fox's track I crossed I saw a catamount's, until finally I got used to the situation, and believed that the "Indian devil" had concluded to let me alone.
The day was fine. The sun shone bright, and the softening snow, dropping from the upper branches of the trees, kept up a constant movement in the woods. I took and held a good pace, and with my eyes searching the snow ahead and on all sides of me for signs of moose, walked for a full hour, seeing nothing living but the woodpeckers and the chickadees, hearing nothing but the rustle of the branches, as released of their loads they sprang back into place. Then, quite needlessly, I found insecure footing under the snow, and plunged suddenly at full length. My rifle whirled from my hand with force, and I heard it strike against the uncovered top of a sugar-loaf stone. I jumped up in fear and hastily examined it. The breech was shattered—my rifle was as useless as any stick.
Now I thought of the catamount, as, with the broken rifle in my hands, I looked about me in the woods, bright with sun and snow. I was not entirely helpless, for my revolver and knife were in my belt.
Yet a thirty-eight calibre revolver, even with a long cartridge and a long barrel, is not a sure defence against an animal as heavy as myself, which in facing me would present for a mark only a round head and a chest with muscles so thick and knotty that they would probably stop any revolver bullet. I doubted my ability to hit the eye.
Very likely I was no longer followed; and in any case, I might call Alaric. And yet he was too far away for a shout to reach him, and I dared not fire signal-shots, for in order to travel light, I had left at camp all revolver cartridges but those in the chambers.
So I started at once for the bottom of the valley, hoping to strike Alaric's trail on the opposite slope, and intending to follow it until I caught him.
My rifle I left where it was; it was useless and heavy. I cast many a glance behind me as, almost at a trot, I made my way down the long hillside.
I strode on rapidly, for I had certainly a mile to cover before I could strike Alaric's trail, much more before I could catch my nimble guide. I was cheerful and unalarmed until, pausing to look behind, I saw, a hundred yards away, a tawny animal quickly slip behind a tree.
I hastily drew my revolver and knife; but no movement came from its hidden breast, and rather than stand and wait, I pursued my retreat. I moved more slowly, yet as fast as I could and still guard myself against another fall and watch for a rush from behind. I scanned the ground in front of me, and glanced back every second. For some time I saw no more of the catamount.
But when I did see him, I was startled at his nearness; he was within fifty yards. I hurried on as he slipped aside again; but looking again in a moment, I saw him now following boldly upon my trail. I stopped, but he stopped, too, and stood regarding me. He was too far away for me to fire yet, and as he made no movement to approach, I cautiously continued my retreat, always after a few steps stopping to face him.
He stopped as I stopped, yet each time I turned away he came quickly closer. I was already thinking of awaiting him without further movement, when the way was blocked by a ravine.
It was cut by the stream that drained the valley, and its steep sides were nearly fifteen feet in height. They even overhung in places, but this I did not then know. I was in no mind to trust myself in the deep gully, where the catamount might drop upon me before I could scramble out upon the other side.
I walked into an open space, and took my stand close to a birch that grew on the very edge of the bank. For thirty feet there was no good cover for the catamount; so, armed and determined, I waited his action.
The animal skirted the bushes about me, as if examining the ground, and to my disappointment, began to come upon me along the edge of the ravine. This gave him the best cover before his charge, and at the same time assured him that the momentum of his rush would not carry him tumbling into the gully. Always keeping too well concealed for a good mark, he crept up behind a fallen tree, on the near side of which a little bush grew, and flattened himself there, watching me, I felt sure, and waiting, in the hope that he might catch me off my guard.
I cannot describe how stealthy and noiseless and altogether perfect his maneuvering was. Although the trees that grew about were all small and the bushes bare, and although the white snow gave no background for concealment, he covered himself so perfectly at one time, and slipped in and out of sight so quickly at another, that although I stood with revolver pointed and cocked, I could find no opportunity for a shot.
As he circled for position he came ever nearer, and I could see at one time the round head, with its short, pointed ears; at another the long, sinuous, muscular body; but they moved so rapidly that before I could shoot they were gone from sight.
All the time he made no sound but a little rustle. In his final concealment I saw nothing of him but his tail, that twitched and twitched and twitched.
At last I caught the glint of his pale green eye and fired. There came a snarl from behind the bush, and it was dashed to one side and the other, while round head and bared teeth and tawny body came crashing through. I pulled trigger again, and the report sounded muffled, and the smoke for an instant obscured the beast. All was white, when, like a breath, it passed, and I saw the rushing catamount not ten feet from me.
I had not time to fire or crouch, but with ready legs hurled myself to one side, and threw my left arm around the tree that grew at the edge of the bank. With an awful dread I felt the ground giving way beneath me.
I dropped my knife and caught the tree closer, when it, too, leaned to fall. It hung for a moment over the steep slope, and I could not save myself. The frost had not clamped the over-hang to the solid ground. The last fall rains had cut it under; the first spring thaw would have brought it down, had not my weight been thrown upon it.
With a twist the tree and I fell together. I clutched my revolver desperately, despite the sickening fear of the fall, and in my grasp it exploded in mid air. Then I fell, and although my body struck easily in the snow-covered ravine, my right hand had been beaten against a sharp rock, and the birch was upon me so that I could not move.
My legs were on the bank, and underneath the snow beneath my shoulders I soon felt the ice, from which stones protruded. One snow-covered rock received and supported my head. I lay upon my right side, and my right hand, swinging in a curve, had struck with force upon another stone, and lay upon the ice, the only part of my body, except my head, which was free. My left arm was pressed close to my side by the birch, which lay across my body and legs.
The weight was not so great but that I could have lifted it, could I but have gained purchase. But I must at the same time lift my own body, for my hips were lower than my feet, my shoulders lower than my hips; and I could not gather ten pounds of force in that position.
My fall confused me somewhat, and I could not at first feel anything, either the pain in my hand or the danger I was in. I noticed only the fine, powdery snow which, cast up by the fall, settled upon me as I lay. Then I saw my arm, stretched out in front of me, with a bloody hand at the end of it, and I came fully to myself.
A pain shot from finger-tip to shoulder as I closed my hand tighter upon the butt of the revolver. But I clenched my teeth and tried to rise—tried twice more before I gave it up as hopeless. Then I raised my hand and put it in a better position, propped upon a stone.
The movements hurt me terribly, but I thought of the catamount, which would surely not be satisfied with two bullets for its breakfast. I was scarcely ready when the head of the beast was thrust over the edge of the bank to look for me.
He saw, and gloated as a human enemy might have done. His savage snarl was full of intelligence, and his slow approach was deliberate torture. He stood for a moment in full view—then slipped and slid down to the surface of the ice, where, ten yards away, he stood and looked at me.
I saw his magnificent build, his superb muscular development, as with his body in profile, his head turned toward me, he waited before approaching, playing with my helplessness; but I was not entirely helpless! With shaking hand I took aim; I could not use my thumb to cock the revolver, but drew hard at the trigger, and the hammer rose and fell.
My turn for gloating had come now, for the catamount was crying with rage and pain. He fell writhing, striking with his forepaws at the snow, and raising his head to snap at nothing; but this did not last long. Slowly he dragged himself to a sitting posture, and I could understand his plight and estimate my own danger.
My first two bullets had but torn his flesh. My last had broken his back. He was paralyzed in his hind legs, as I have seen a deer, yet he had many minutes to live, perhaps hours, and was strong and angry enough to finish me. Painfully he started on that short journey to me. With his forepaws, his claws digging the snow, he began to drag himself toward me.
I could only wait. I had but one more shot, and wished to hold it till he should be close; but my torn hand was weak, and the bruised tendons had already begun to stiffen. Into that deep place, where bank and trees overhung, the sun did not come, and I felt the cold striking into my raw flesh. More than that, my weight upon my shoulder began to cut off the blood from my arm. I felt pricking in my flesh, my arm began to be numb, and I feared that I might not be able to shoot.
If he could but hurry! He dragged himself at a snail's pace. It would be so long before he came close that my hand would be useless. Yet as he crawled directly at me, the mark was a poor one. I saw with satisfaction that he would have to turn aside for one of the rocks in his path. When at last he reached it, and began to drag himself around it, he gave me my last chance.
I saw the space behind his shoulder, prayed that my bullet might miss his ribs, summoned the last force at my almost dead hand, and fired.
A little drift of air blew the smoke aside so quickly that I could see the fur fly. He bit savagely at his side, but he crawled on without stopping. From my numb hand the revolver fell without noise in the snow—my fight was finished. He came on; he was only fifteen feet away from me, when he stopped and coughed. Would he sink, unable to move farther?
No; he started again! Although his legs dragged behind him, impeding, although he left a red trail on the snow, and each step forced a snarl from him, he came on. With glittering eyes and hoarse breath, he forced himself to cross the last space. Minutes passed before he was close enough to touch me.
Ah! Even as he turned toward my hand to seize it, even as I waited to see, rather than feel, the crunching of my senseless arm, his head drooped. He raised it once more, but his power was gone. He laid his head, once so powerful, upon my hand, rested his body against the stone, that stood high enough to support him, and glared at me with his fierce, malignant eyes.
Then the fire changed in his eyes, clouded, flickered, glowed—went out. The last breath was expelled with a wheeze. He was dead.
Then my own powers sank, and I thought that I was dying, too. Somewhere in the midst of my faintness I had a sense as if I felt, rather than heard, hasty, heavy footsteps on the bank above me. As soon as I knew anything clearly, I knew that the tree had been pulled away, and that Alaric was bending over me. He had, with ears alert for any sound, and with footsteps kept as near to me as they might be with obedience to my order, come rushing to my aid at the sound at my first revolver-shot. But the distance was so great that he did not arrive until my fight was over.
IN CANADA WITH A LYNX
By Roe L. Hendrick
This adventure came about through an invitation which Ray Churchill received from his friend, Jacques Pourbiere of Two Rivers, New Brunswick. Ray had half-promised to visit his New Brunswick acquaintance during the deer-hunting season, and late in August was reminded of the fact. A second letter came in September, the carefully worded school English of the writer not being able to conceal the warmth and urgency of the invitation.
So Ray telegraphed his acceptance, and four days later arrived at Fredericton, where he secured a hunting license. The next morning he reached Two Rivers, and Jacques met him with a span of ponies, attached to a queer spring vehicle, mounted on wheels that seemed out of all proportion to the body of the carriage. Ray wondered if it was a relic of Acadia, but did not like to ask. They drove for a dozen miles through a wooded and hilly country, and arrived at their destination shortly before nightfall.
Jacques was quite alone at the time, as his parents had gone to visit their older children along the St. John River. He promised Ray at least one deer within a couple of days, and another within a week.
The Pourbiere home resembled those of the better class of habitants, but with a difference due to the greater prosperity of the family in preceding generations. The main room had a huge fireplace, used only occasionally, for there was an air-tight stove connected with the chimney just above it, to afford greater warmth in winter. The other rooms Were chiefly detached, although there was an entry-like porch on the south front of the living-room, and a huge door opening at the east end, both connecting with the yard outside.
But the wood-shed, milk-house and summer kitchen were in the rear, each being a rectangular building of heavy logs, with low lofts above. The homestead was, in fact, a cluster of houses rather than a single dwelling.
What most attracted Ray's attention were the huge bedsteads in the living-room. They were tall four-posters, such as he had seen elsewhere, but with the difference that a canopy covered them. Each had a carved wooden frame, surmounting the top of the posts like a roof. The wood was black with age, its surface being covered with elaborate foliage and armorial devices, representing the toil of some old French artisan of the seventeenth century. They probably had been brought across the Atlantic by the original emigrant, and carefully preserved ever since. They stood in diagonally opposite corners of the room, and upheld the hugest of feather beds, with gay, home-made worsted coverlets and valances that shamed the hues of the rainbow. They certainly tempted to rest in that climate and at that season, but would have seemed suffocating in a warmer region.
That evening Ray said:
"See here, Jacques, you have double windows, with no way of opening them that I can find, and your fireplace is closed to make a better draft for this stove. I'm used to fresh air at night. If I leave the end door ajar, you won't be afraid of burglars, will you?"
The Canadian shrugged his shoulders at this exhibition of his guest's eccentricity, but his hospitality was more than equal to the strain.
"Non, non!" he replied. "Nobody rob. We nevaire lock doors here," and his white teeth flashed.
Ray laughed softly as he thrust a billet of wood between the door and its frame. "But why do you say 'br-r-r!' under your breath?" he asked.
"Co-old before morning, ver' cold!"
"I know, but we'll be snug in bed, and won't feel it. You Canadians wouldn't have so much consumption if you breathed purer air when you slept."
"Oui!" was the polite reply; and nothing more was said.
Long before dawn Ray sprang from bed, closed the door and stirred up the fire. The moon, although low in the west, was still brilliant when they made their way to where a stream trickled down to Cedar Lake, and within a half-hour got their first deer, a fine three-year-old buck.
They secured some smaller game during the morning, and in the afternoon took the deer home, and skinned and dressed it. Most of the carcass was hung up in the milk-room, but Jacques carried a hind quarter in and suspended it beside the closed fireplace, later cutting off steaks for supper and breakfast.
They passed a merry evening, each telling stories of his experiences, which were so different in quality that they possessed all the charm of novelty to the respective listeners. Again Ray set the door ajar, after they had undressed, and in a few moments both were asleep.
Several hours passed. Had either young man been awake, he might have heard soft footfalls about the door. A squatty, heavily built animal, with huge feet, bob tail, and pointed ears adorned with tufts of hair, had traced the slaughtered deer to the farmhouse by means of drops of blood, and now was searching eagerly for the meat.
He sought the milk-room again and again, and even sprang to the window-ledge, but could not get inside. Then he came back and sniffed at the partly open door of the living-room.
The human smell was there, and he hesitated. But so, too, was the odor of fresh venison, and his mouth watered.
A round head was thrust inside the door. The moon, peering above the hemlocks to the southeastward, cast its rays through a window directly upon the fresh meat.
The temptation was greater than the intruder was able to withstand. Inch by inch he crowded past the swaying door, and silently crept toward the venison. The two men were breathing very loudly, but neither stirred; and at last he gathered supreme courage, and leaped upon the meat.
It fell with a crash against the stove, and the two were awakened simultaneously. As Jacques sprang from the bed, the animal backed, dragging the quarter of venison toward the door. He collided with it, knocking the billet of wood outside, and the latch fell into place with a clash.
Finding himself a prisoner, the creature advanced, spitting and growling, straight at Jacques, who, crying, "Loup cervier! loup cervier!" retreated to the bed.
But the pursuit did not end there. Seeing that the beast was about to leap upon the bed, the Canadian hastily climbed one of the posts, not a second too soon, and ensconced himself on the edge of the canopy top, with his back pressed against the timbers of the loft floor above.
Ray had been too much amazed to interfere at first, but now the time seemed ripe to reopen the door and drive the lynx out. He made a rush, but the angry creature turned and dashed at his legs so viciously that in a couple of seconds he, too, found himself perched precariously on the canopy of his own bed, with "prick-ears" spitting and snarling on the coverlet.
"Can that beast climb up here, like a cat?" he asked, with no little anxiety in his tones.
"Oui," was the reply, "he can; but loup cerviers don' climb mooch."
In a few moments the lynx went back to the venison, and began eating it voraciously, only stopping to snarl when the young men spoke or moved. The fire was very low, the room had been well aired, and the two were thinly clad. Before long their teeth were chattering.
"Eef Ah can get heem away from door, Ah'll roon an' get goon an' feex heem!" Jacques said, with marked ill-will underlying his quaint English. He clambered about the creaking canopy frame, which threatened to collapse at any moment, till he reached the side wall. Along this were suspended loops of onions. A big one hurtled through the air and hit the intruder in the side. He whirled about and dashed for the bed.
Babette, the family cat, had been concealed beneath this bed during the preceding scrimmage. She now thrust out her head just in time to be seen by the lynx, and the liveliest sort of chase about the room ensued.
When hard pressed, she somehow reached a shelf close beside Ray, climbed recklessly over him, her claws stabbing him in a dozen places, and hid behind him. The lynx was thoroughly aroused, and although clumsier and heavier, set out sturdily to follow.
Ray's hand fell on the shelf, and clutched a flat-iron, of which there were a half-dozen in a row. Leaning forward, he struck the oncomer a hard blow over the head. Prick-ears fell to the floor, and rolled, writhing, struggling and half-stunned, under the bed.
"Now, Jacques, now!" Ray yelled. His host jumped, and was outside the door in an instant. Ray grasped another flat-iron and waited. The sound of struggling beneath the bed was unabated.
In five minutes he heard a plaintive voice calling outside:
"Where you put dem goons?"
"In the milk-room."
"Oui, but where? Ah'm freezing!"
"I—I don't remember."
Jacques, saying many things in a patois he had never learned in the provincial school, went back to the milk-room. The lynx ventured to show his head, and a flat-iron dented the floor close beside it. Then the animal circled the room, dodged another missile, and hid in a dark corner.
Ray could hear Jacques tossing things about in the obscurity of the milk-room, but plainly finding no guns, and as plainly getting colder every minute.
Something must be done at once. He clutched a flat-iron in each hand, screwed his courage to the sticking point, and dropped to the floor.
As he flung the door wide open, he heard the rasping of the lynx's claws on the boards behind him. He dashed outside, threw both flat-irons wildly at his pursuer, and jumped as far as he could to one side. The lynx kept straight on, headed for the woods a few rods away.
Jacques had found his gun at last. He took a flying shot in the moonlight, hitting a tree at least a rod at the lynx's right. Then the two went inside, enlivened the fire, and dressed as hastily as possible.
"Consumption is bad, ver' bad for Canadians," said Jacques, a half-hour later, picking his words with care.
Ray grinned, but made no reply.
"Night air is good; but Ah don' lak dese—dese beeg microbes eet bring in."
SOLOMON'S GROUCH: THE STORY OF A BEAR
By Franklin W. Calkins
A pet grizzly bear had been for a number of years a feature at Hartranft's. As a puny infant, barely able to crawl, Solomon, as he was solemnly dubbed, was brought in off the Teton Mountains, and as milk was scarcer than money at the horse-ranch, he was aristocratically fed on malted milk.
On this expensive diet the cub throve amazingly. Good feeding was continued after his weaning from the rubber nipple, and at the end of three years Solomon had grown to be a fat wooly monster. He was kept chained to a post in the warm season, and had an enclosed stall in a big barn for his winter quarters. Ordinarily he was good-natured, but he was a rough and not altogether safe playfellow. The near-by bawling of cattle always aroused in him ebullitions of rage.
"Solomon's got an awful grouch agin any noise bigger than what he can make hisself," was the saying of the ranch hands.
When Joe Hartranft's sister, Mrs. Murray, and her two boys, Rufe and Perry, came to the ranch to spend the month of June, Solomon was promptly hustled into his stall in the barn. It was thought best to have no boys fooling round the grizzly.
This would undoubtedly have been the safest disposition, but for an oversight of the "stable boss." A big Percheron had been kept loose in a closed stall adjoining Solomon's, and one day, when the bear's voice was raised in remonstrance against his shrill neighing, he had turned his heels loose against the partition which separated them. His fierce battery had loosened two boards four or five feet above the floor. And the cracks he made had gone unnoted, or at least the mending had been neglected.
A few days after the visitors came, a fine shorthorn cow with a new calf was turned into the barn for the day.
Men and work-horses were at work at the alfalfa-cutting, and the bear and cow and calf were sole occupants of the barn when Rufe and Perry mounted an outside ladder and entered its loft.
This loft, with its grain-bins, its huge empty space, its cross-beams and braces, offered an attractive gymnasium. In one of the bins, used chiefly for storage, they discovered a lot of fishing-tackle, seines and spears of various sorts for taking the salmon which annually ran up the Snake River and its tributaries.
They had ventured to drag out one of the seines and unroll it on the floor of the loft, when the cow below them broke into distressful bawling. Peering down a square aperture, through which hay was lifted by machine forks in the season of storing, they saw that the calf had got in between the wheels of two buggies which were housed on one side of the driveway.
The feeble creature was stuck fast enough, and the helpless dam could only bellow her distress. The boys, in spite of some fear of the cow, would have gone down to extricate the calf, but at this instant Solomon roused in his lair, and took a hand in the demonstration.
His uproar became frightful as the cow, more than ever alarmed for her calf, continued to bawl. There was a trap-door raised for ventilation over Solomon's stall, and the boys ran eagerly to have a look at the grizzly.
They were highly entertained for a moment. Hair on end, teeth gnashing, Solomon charged back and forth in his enclosure. Then he reared up on his hind legs and clawed at the pine planks which shut him in. He had not long continued this performance when his claws caught in the crack of a loosened board. There was a ripping creak and a crash, and down came the board. Another followed, and Solomon, ceasing his violent threats for the instant, peered through a wide gap into another domain. His hesitation was brief; he scrambled through, walked out of the open door of the horse-stall into an alley, and sought wider range.
At first the boys were a little frightened, but they concluded that Solomon would not be able to climb into the loft, and that it was safer for them to stay above than to go down the ladder, for the grizzly might easily push aside one of the half-dozen sliding doors and get out of the barn.
The barn was at a considerable distance from the house, so they determined not to alarm the women unless Solomon should get outside and so make it necessary. They sat for a time listening to the monotonous bawling of the cow. Solomon seemed to have lost interest in her noise, as they heard him now and then rummaging among the empty stalls.
They had begun to hope that the bear would not find his way out of the stalls, when they heard him scrambling heavily.
Then came a resounding thump as he dropped from one of the open mangers to the floor of the barn.
Almost instantly a terrific bawling and uproar broke out below. Solomon had reached the cow at last. The boys ran to the edge of the hay-lift and peered down. The cow was directly underneath, had backed up against the buggies, and stood tossing her head and bawling like a crazy thing.
Dropping their eyes below the level of the loft floor, the lads saw Solomon coming round a pile of new alfalfa which had been unloaded in front of the central stalls. His rage was terrific, although he advanced slowly to the attack.
He came under the wide opening and swayed back and forth before the cow like a tiger in its cage, roaring his threats and watching for an opening to get by the lowered horns. He was a creature of instinct, and with a veteran's precaution before a wicked pair of horns.
Nevertheless the cow, in a lightning charge, caught him broadside on, and bore him, in a swift rush, into the midst of the heap of clover. But for that soft padding for his ribs, it would have gone hard with Solomon. He was doubled up and thrust into the soft mass, fighting wildly.
Bear and cow were buried in a storm of clover and flying hay. They twisted about. Then the bear got his back braced against a stall and his hind feet against the cow, and he bowled her into the middle of the barn.
With a huge grunt she alighted on her side and rolled clean over. As she scrambled to her feet, full of pluck and snorting fiercely, Solomon issued from the midst of the alfalfa-heap, and again the two faced each other, filling the barn with loudmouthed threats.
It was a splendid and exciting battle, but Rufe and Perry, certain that the bear would kill the cow unless prevented, felt that they must do something. They had heard their Uncle Joe say that, since Solomon was getting crosser, he would give him away if anybody could be found to come and get him.
Since nobody else was within reach, they cast about for some means of distracting Solomon from his fell purpose. Better kill the bear, if possible, than let him destroy a valuable farm animal. Suddenly, as the bear came directly beneath, Perry bethought him of the fish-spears.
In a twinkling he had one in hand, and was standing over the wide aperture.
"That's it! That's it!" shouted Rufe. "Stab him! Stick it clear into him! That'll keep him busy for a while!"
Solomon was again weaving back and forth before the threatening horns, and as he came within easy reach, Perry gave him a fierce thrust between the shoulders. As the tines pierced his muscles, the bear reared to his hind legs with a whining roar of pain. Perry, still clinging to the handle of the spear, was suddenly thrown off his perch and tumbled head foremost upon the grizzly!
Thus the peril of breaking bones in falling was avoided in the peril of rolling on the barn floor in the clutches of a mad grizzly!
The bear had twisted his neck to seize the spear-handle, and when Perry hit him, was bowled over on his side.
The spear-handle snapped in his teeth, and as he wrenched frantically at the fragment, its tines were twisted, cutting deeper into his flesh.
This wound, the first he had ever received, set Solomon crazy.
He paid not the slightest heed to boy or cow, but rolled and threshed, biting at the fragment of spear-handle, giving vent to his rage and pain in a hoarse, distressful roar.
Perry might easily have scrambled to his feet and escaped, but he also was flung at full length on the floor, and instantly Solomon, in distress, rolled over him, crushing the breath from his lungs.
The terrified Rufe, looking down upon his brother's blackened face and the bear's wicked claws waving above it, leaped to his feet and started to run to the barn-loft door, to scream for help.
At less than half the distance, his feet caught in the meshes of the unrolled net, and he measured his length on the floor.
As he quickly untangled a foot, the thought flashed into his mind, "Throw this net upon the bear's legs!" In a flash he was at the edge of the open floor and hauling the big seine in coils at his feet.
When he had a heap to the height of his knees he gathered it in his arms and dropped the coils upon Solomon's waving legs.
The bear's claws took instant hold of the stout meshes, and bruin, feeling his feet entangled, wrenched at their fastenings, rolling himself over on his side and off the body of the prostrate boy. Perry, well-nigh smothered, had barely strength enough to crawl out of reach of the whirlwind fight which now took place.
Even the cow was awed to silence by the uproar of Solomon's rage as he fought with the entangling folds of the salmon net.
The seine needed no attendance. It did its own work once the grizzly's legs had been thrust through its meshes.
Coil after coil, the hundred and fifty feet of seine came down out of the loft as the bear rolled and pitched and tumbled. The more he tore and threshed, the more meshes there were to enwrap and entangle him.
In five minutes from the time its first meshes dropped upon him, the net had Solomon so wound and bound that his legs were immovable, and he could barely wriggle his neck.
Perry soon recovered his breath, and before they ran to the field to tell of Solomon's plight, the two boys had the presence of mind to pen the cow up where she could not, should she take a notion, gore the helpless grizzly.
Amid both laughter and commiseration, blended with comments on the pluck of the two youngsters, the ranchmen performed a surgical operation on the helpless Solomon, extracting the spear from his flesh. With much greater difficulty they freed him from the seine and got him back into his lair.
A DROLL FOX-TRAP
By C. A. Stephens
When I was a boy I lived in one of those rustic neighborhoods on the outskirts of the great "Maine woods." Foxes were plenty, for about all those sunny pioneer clearings birch-partridges breed by thousands, as also field-mice and squirrels, making plenty of game for Reynard.
There were red foxes, "cross-grays," and "silver-grays;" even black foxes were reported. These animals were the pests of the farm-yards, and made havoc with the geese, cats, turkeys, and chickens. In the fall of the year, particularly after the frosts, the clearings were overrun by them night and morning. Their sharp, cur-like barks used often to rouse us, and of a dark evening we would hear them out in the fields, "mousing" around the stone-heaps, making a queer, squeaking sound like a mouse, to call the real mice out of their grass nests inside the stone-heaps. This, indeed, is a favorite trick of Reynard.
At the time of my story, my friend Tom Edwards (ten years of age) and myself were in the turkey business, equal partners. We owned a flock of thirty-one turkeys. These roosted by night in a large butternut tree in front of Tom's house—in the very top of it, and by day they wandered about the edges of the clearings in quest of beech-nuts, which were very plentiful that fall.
All went well till the last week in October, when, on taking the census one morning, a turkey was found to be missing; the thirty-one had become thirty since nightfall the previous evening. It was the first one we had lost.
We proceeded to look for traces. Our suspicions were divided. Tom thought it was "the Twombly boys," nefarious Sam in particular. I thought it might have been an owl. But under the tree, in the soft dirt, where the potatoes had recently been dug, we found fox-tracks, and two or three ominous little wads of feathers, with one long tail feather adrift. Thereupon we concluded that the turkey had accidentally fallen down out of the butternut—had a fit, perhaps—and that its flutterings had attracted the attention of some passing fox, which had, forthwith, taken it in charge. It was, as we regarded it, one of those unfortunate occurrences which no care on our part could have well foreseen, and a casualty such as turkey-raisers are unavoidably heirs to, and we bore our loss with resignation. We were glad to remember that turkeys did not often fall off their roosts.
This theory received something of a check when our flock counted only twenty-nine the next morning. There were more fox-tracks, and a great many more feathers under the tree. This put a new and altogether ugly aspect on the matter. No algebra was needed to figure the outcome of the turkey business at this rate, together with our prospective profits, in the light of this new fact. It was clear that something must be done, and at once, too, or ruin would swallow up the poultry firm.
Rightly or wrongly, we attributed the mischief to a certain "silver-gray" that had several times been seen in the neighborhood that autumn.
It would take far too much space to relate in detail the plans we laid and put in execution to catch that fox during the next two weeks. I recollect that we set three traps for him to no purpose, and that we borrowed a fox-hound to hunt him with, but merely succeeded in running him to the burrow in a neighboring rocky hill-side, whence we found it quite impossible to dislodge the wily fellow.
Meanwhile the fox (or foxes) had succeeded in getting two more of the turkeys.
Heroes, it is said, are born of great crises. This dilemma of ours developed Tom's genius.
"I'll have that fox," he said, when the traps failed; and when the hound proved of no avail he still said: "I'll have him yet."
"But how?" I asked. Tom said he would show me. He brought a two-bushel basket and went out into the fields. In the stone-heaps, and beside the old logs and stumps, there were dozens of deserted mouse-nests, each a wad of fine dry grass as large as a quart box. These were gathered up, and filled the great basket.
"There," said he, triumphantly, "don't them smell mousey?"
They did, certainly; they savored as strongly of mice as Tom's question of bad grammar.
"And don't foxes catch mice?" demanded Tom, confidently.
"Yes, but I don't see how that's going to catch the fox," I said.
"Well, look here, then, I'll show ye," said he. "Play you's the fox; and play 't was night, and you was prowling around the fields. Go off now out there by that stump."
Full of wonder and curiosity, I retired to the stump. Tom, meantime, turned out the mass of nests, and with it completely covered himself. The pile now resembled an enormous mouse-nest, or rather a small hay-cock. Pretty soon I heard a low, high-keyed, squeaking noise, accompanied by a slight rustle inside the nest. Evidently there were mice in it; and, feeling my character as fox at stake, I at once trotted forward, then crept up, and, as the rustling and squeaking continued, made a pounce into the grass—as I had heard it said that foxes did when mousing. Instantly two spry brown hands from out the nest clutched me with a most vengeful grip. As a fox, I struggled tremendously. But Tom overcame me forthwith, choked me nearly black in the face, then, in dumb show, knocked my head with a stone.
"D'ye see, now!" he demanded.
"But a fox would bite you," I objected.
"Let him bite," said Tom. "I'll resk him when once I get these two bread-hooks on him. And he can't smell me through the mouse-nests either."
That night we set ourselves to put the stratagem in operation. With the dusk we stole out into the field where the stone-heaps were, and where we had oftenest heard foxes bark. Selecting a nook in the edge of a clump of raspberry briars which grew about a great pine-stump, Tom lay down, and I covered him up completely with the contents of the big basket. He then practiced squeaking and rustling several times to be sure that all was in good trim. His squeaks were perfect successes—made by sucking the air sharply betwixt his teeth.
"Now be off," said Tom, "and don't come poking around, nor get in sight, till you hear me holler."
Thus exhorted, I went into the barn and established myself at a crack on the back side, which looked out upon the field where Tom was ambushed.
Tom, meanwhile, as he afterward told me, waited till it had grown dark, then began squeaking and rustling at intervals, to draw the attention of the fox when first he should come out into the clearing, for foxes have ears so wonderfully acute, that they are able to hear a mouse squeak twenty rods away, it is said.
An hour passed. Tom must have grown pretty tired of squeaking. It was a moonless evening, though not very dark. I could see objects at a little distance through the crack, but could not see so far as the stump. It got rather dull, watching there; and being amidst nice cozy straw, I presently went to sleep, quite unintentionally. I must have slept some time, though it seemed to me but a very few minutes.
What woke me was a noise—a sharp suppressed yelp. It took me a moment to understand where I was, and why I was there. A sound of scuffling and tumbling on the ground at some distance assisted my wandering wits, and I rushed out of the barn and ran toward the field. As I ran, two or three dull whacks came to my ear.
"Got him, Tom?" I shouted, rushing up.
Tom was holding and squeezing one of his hands with the other and shaking it violently. He said not a word, and left me to poke about and stumble on the limp warm carcass of a large fox that lay near.
"Bite ye?" I exclaimed, after satisfying myself that the fox was dead.
"Some," said Tom; and that was all I could get from him that night.
We took the fox to the house and lighted a candle. It was the "silver-gray."
Tom washed his bite in cold water and went to bed. Next morning he was in a sorry and a very sore plight. His left hand was bitten through the palm, and badly swollen. There was also a deep bite in the fleshy part of his right arm, just below the elbow, several minor nips in his left leg above the knee, and a ragged "grab" in the chin. These numerous bites, however, were followed by no serious ill effects.
The next day, Tom told me that the fox had suddenly plunged into the grass, that he had caught hold of one of its hind legs, and that they had rolled over and over in the grass together. He owned to me that when the fox bit him on the chin, he let go of the brute, and would have given up the fight, but that the fox had then actually attacked him. "Upon that," said Tom, "I just determined to have it out with him."
Considering the fact that a fox is a very active, sharp-biting animal, and that this was an unusually large male, I have always thought Tom got off very well. I do not think that he ever cared to make a fox-trap of himself again, however.
We sold the fox-skin in the village, and received thirteen dollars for it, whereas a common red fox-skin is worth no more than three dollars.
How, or by what wiles that fox got the turkeys out of the high butternut, is a secret—one that perished with him. It would seem that he must either have climbed the tree, or else have practiced sorcery to make the turkey come down.
THE HORSE THAT AROUSED THE TOWN
By Lillian M. Gask
A wise and just monarch was the good King John. His kingdom extended over Central Italy, and included the famous town of Atri, which in days gone by had been a famous harbour on the shores of the Adriatic. Now the sea had retreated from it, and it lay inland; no longer the crested waves rolled on its borders, or tossed their showers of silver spray to meet the vivid turquoise of the sky.
The great desire of good King John was that every man, woman and child in his dominions should be able to obtain justice without delay, be they rich or poor. To this end, since he could not possibly listen to all himself, he hung a bell in one of the city towers, and issued a proclamation to say that when this was rung a magistrate would immediately proceed to the public square and administer justice in his name. The plan worked admirably; both rich and poor were satisfied, and since they knew that evil-doers would be quickly punished, and wrongs set right, men hesitated to defraud or oppress their neighbours, and the great bell pealed less often as years went on.
In the course of time, however, the bell-rope wore thin, and some ingenious citizen fastened a wisp of hay to it, that this might serve as a handle. One day in the height of summer, when the deserted square was blazing with sunlight, and most of the citizens were taking their noonday rest, their siesta was disturbed by the violent pealing of the bell.
"Surely some great injustice has been done," they cried, shaking off their languor and hastening to the square. To their amazement they found it empty of all human beings save themselves; no angry supplicant appealed for justice, but a poor old horse, lame and half blind, with bones that nearly broke through his skin, was trying with pathetic eagerness to eat the wisp of hay. In struggling to do this, he had rung the bell, and the judge, summoned so hastily for so slight a cause, was stirred to indignation.
"To whom does this wretched horse belong?" he shouted wrathfully. "What business has it here?"
"Sir, he belongs to a rich nobleman, who lives in that splendid palace whose tall towers glisten white above the palm-grove," said an old man, coming forward with a deep bow. "Time was that he bore his master to battle, carrying him dauntlessly amid shot and shell, and more than once saving his life by his courage and fleetness. When the horse became old and feeble, he was turned adrift, since his master had no further use for him; and now the poor creature picks up what food he can in highways and byways."
On hearing this the judge's face grew dark with anger. "Bring his master before me," he thundered, and when the amazed nobleman appeared, he questioned him more sternly than he would have done the meanest peasant.
"Is it true," he demanded, "that you left this, your faithful servant, to starve, since he could no longer serve you? It is long since I heard of such gross injustice—are you not ashamed?"
The nobleman hung his head in silence; he had no word to say in his own defence as with scathing contempt the judge rebuked him, adding that in future he would neglect the horse at his peril.
"For the rest of his life," he said, "you shall care for the poor beast as he deserves, so that after his long term of faithful service he may end his days in peace."
This decision was greeted with loud applause by the town folk, who gathered in the square.
"Our bell is superior to all others," they said to each other, with nods and smiles, "for it is the means of gaining justice, not only for men, but for animals too in their time of need."
And with shouts of triumph they led the old war-horse back to his stable, knowing that for the future its miserly owner would not dare to begrudge it the comfort to which it was so justly entitled.
WHAT GINGER TOLD BLACK BEAUTY
By Anna Sewell
One day when Ginger and I were standing alone in the shade, we had a great deal of talk; she wanted to know all about my bringing up and breaking in, and I told her.
"Well," said she, "if I had had your bringing up, I might have had as good a temper as you, but now I don't believe I ever shall."
"Why not?" I said.
"Because it has been all so different with me," she replied. "I never had any one, horse or man, that was kind to me, or that I cared to please, for in the first place I was taken from my mother as soon as I was weaned, and put with a lot of other young colts; none of them cared for me, and I cared for none of them. There was no kind master like yours to look after me, and talk to me, and bring me nice things to eat. The man that had the care of us never gave me a kind word in my life. I do not mean that he ill-used me, but he did not care for us one bit further than to see that we had plenty to eat, and shelter in the winter. A footpath ran through our field and very often the great boys passing through would fling stones to make us gallop. I was never hit, but one fine young colt was badly cut in the face, and I should think it would be a scar for life. We did not care for them, but of course it made us more wild, and we settled it in our minds that boys were our enemies. We had very good fun in the free meadows, galloping up and down and chasing each other round and round the field; then standing still under the shade of the trees. But when it came to breaking in, that was a bad time for me; several men came to catch me, and when at last they closed me in at one corner of the field, one caught me by the forelock, another caught me by the nose and held it so tight I could hardly draw my breath; then another took my under jaw in his hard hand and wrenched my mouth open, and so by force they got on the halter and the bar into my mouth; then one dragged me along by the halter, another flogging behind, and this was the first experience I had of men's kindness; it was all force. They did not give me a chance to know what they wanted. I was high bred and had a great deal of spirit and was very wild, no doubt, and gave them, I dare say, plenty of trouble, but then it was dreadful to be shut up in a stall day after day instead of having my liberty, and I fretted and pined and wanted to get loose. You know yourself it's bad enough when you have a kind master and plenty of coaxing, but there was nothing of that sort for me.
"There was one—the old master, Mr. Ryder—who, I think, could soon have brought me round, and could have done anything with me; but he had given up all the hard part of the trade to his son and to another experienced man, and he only came at times to oversee. His son was a strong, tall, bold man; they called him Samson, and he used to boast that he had never found a horse that could throw him. There was no gentleness in him, as there was in his father, but only hardness, a hard voice, a hard eye, a hard hand; and I felt from the first that what he wanted was to wear all the spirit out of me, and just make me into a quiet, humble, obedient piece of horse-flesh. 'Horse-flesh!' Yes, that is all that he thought about," and Ginger stamped her foot as if the very thought of him made her angry. Then she went on:
"If I did not do exactly what he wanted, he would get put out, and make me run round with that long rein in the training field till he had tired me out. I think he drank a good deal, and I am quite sure that the oftener he drank the worse it was for me. One day he had worked me hard in every way he could, and when I lay down I was tired, and miserable, and angry; it all seemed so hard. The next morning he came for me early, and ran me round again for a long time. I had scarcely had an hour's rest, when he came again for me with a saddle and bridle and a new kind of bit. I could never quite tell how it came about; he had only just mounted me on the training ground, when something I did put him out of temper, and he chucked me hard with the rein. The new bit was very painful, and I reared up suddenly, which angered him still more, and he began to flog me. I felt my whole spirit set against him, and I began to kick, and plunge, and rear as I had never done before, and we had a regular fight; for a long time he stuck, to the saddle and punished me cruelly with his whip and spurs, but my blood was thoroughly up, and I cared for nothing he could do if only I could get him off. At last, after a terrible struggle, I threw him off backwards. I heard him fall heavily on the turf, and, without looking behind me, I galloped off to the other end of the field; there I turned round and saw my persecutor slowly rising from the ground and going into the stable. I stood under an oak tree and watched, but no one came to catch me. The time went on, and the sun was very hot; the flies swarmed round me and settled on my bleeding flanks where the spurs had dug in. I felt hungry, for I had not eaten since the early morning, but there was not enough grass in that meadow for a goose to live on. I wanted to lie down and rest, but with the saddle strapped tightly on, there was no comfort, and there was not a drop of water to drink. The afternoon wore on, and the sun got low. I saw the other colts led in, and I knew they were having a good feed.
"At last, just as the sun went down, I saw the old master come out with a sieve in his hand. He was a very fine old gentleman with quite white hair, but his voice was what I should know him by amongst a thousand. It was not high, nor yet low, but full, and clear, and kind, and when he gave orders it was so steady and decided, that every one knew, both horses and men, that he expected to be obeyed. He came quietly along, now and then shaking the oats about that he had in the sieve, and speaking cheerfully and gently to me: 'Come along, lassie, come along, lassie; come along, come along.' I stood still and let him come up; he held the oats to me, and I began to eat without fear; his voice took all my fear away. He stood by, patting and stroking me whilst I was eating, and seeing the clots of blood on my side he seemed very vexed. 'Poor lassie! it was a bad business, a bad business!' Then he quietly took the rein and led me to the stable; just at the door stood Samson. I laid my ears back and snapped at him. 'Stand back,' said the master, 'and keep out of her way; you've done a bad day's work for this filly.' He growled out something about a vicious brute. 'Hark ye,' said the father, 'a bad-tempered man will never make a good-tempered horse. You've not learned your trade yet, Samson.' Then he led me into my box, took off the saddle and bridle with his own hands, and tied me up; then he called for a pail of warm water and a sponge, took off his coat, and while the stableman held the pail, he sponged my sides a good while, so tenderly that I was sure he knew how sore and bruised they were. 'Whoa! my pretty one,' he said, 'stand still, stand still.' His very voice did me good, and the bathing was very comfortable. The skin was so broken at the corners of my mouth that I could not eat the hay; the stalks hurt me. He looked closely at it, shook his head, and told the man to fetch a good bran mash and put some meal into it. How good that mash was! and so soft and healing to my mouth. He stood by all the time I was eating, stroking me and talking to the man. 'If a highmettled creature like this,' said he, 'can't be broken in by fair means, she will never be good for anything.'
"After that he often came to see me, and when my mouth was healed, the other breaker, Job, they called him, went on training me; he was steady and thoughtful, and I soon learned what he wanted."
SOME TRUE STORIES OP HORSES AND DONKEYS
By W. H. G. Kingston
The horse becomes the willing servant of man, and when kindly treated looks upon him as a friend and protector.
I have an interesting story to tell you of a mare which belonged to Captain I—, an old settler in New Zealand. She and her foal had been placed in a paddock, between which and her master's residence, three or four miles away, several high fences intervened. The paddock itself was surrounded by a still higher fence.
One day, however, as Captain I—was standing with a friend in front of his house, he was surprised to see the mare come galloping up. Supposing that the fence of her paddock had been broken down, and that, pleased at finding herself at liberty, she had leaped the others, he ordered a servant to take her back. The mare willingly followed the man; but in a short time was seen galloping up towards the house in as great a hurry as before. The servant, who arrived some time afterwards, assured his master that he had put the mare safely into the paddock. Captain I—told him again to take back the animal, and to examine the fence more thoroughly, still believing that it must have been broken down in some part or other, though the gate might be secure.
Captain I—and his friend then retired into the house, and were seated at dinner, when the sound of horse's hoofs reached their ears. The friend, who had on this got up to look out of the window, saw that it was the mare come back for the third time; and observing the remarkable manner in which she was running up and down, apparently trying even to get into the house, exclaimed, "What can that mare want? I am sure that there is something the matter." Captain I—on hearing this hurried out to ascertain the state of the case. No sooner did the mare see him than she began to frisk about and exhibit the most lively satisfaction; but instead of stopping to receive the accustomed caress, off she set again of her own accord towards the paddock, looking back to ascertain whether her master was following. His friend now joined him, and the mare, finding that they were keeping close behind her, trotted on till the gate of the paddock was reached, where she waited for them. On its being opened, she led them across the field to a deep ditch on the farther side, when, what was their surprise to find that her colt had fallen into it, and was struggling on its back with its legs in the air, utterly unable to extricate itself. In a few minutes more probably it would have been dead. The mare, it was evident, finding that the servant did not comprehend her wishes, had again and again sought her master, in whom she had learned from past experience to confide. Here was an example of strong maternal affection eliciting a faculty superior to instinct, which fully merits the name of reason.
The memory of horses is remarkable. The newsman of a country paper was in the habit of riding his horse once or twice a week to the houses of fifty or sixty of his customers, the horse invariably stopping of his own accord at each house as he reached it.
But the memory of the horse was exhibited in a still more curious manner. It happened that there were two persons on the route who took one paper between them, and each claimed the privilege of having it first on each alternate week. The horse soon became accustomed to this regulation, and though the parties lived two miles distant, he stopped once a fortnight at the door of the half-customer at one place, and once a fortnight at the door of the half-customer at the other; and never did he forget this arrangement, which lasted for several years.
I was once travelling in the interior of Portugal with several companions. My horse had never been in that part of the country before. We left our inn at daybreak, and proceeded through a mountainous district to visit some beautiful scenery. On our return evening was approaching, when I stopped behind my companions to tighten the girths of my saddle. Believing that there was only one path to take, I rode slowly on, but shortly reached a spot where I was in some doubt whether I should go forward or turn off to the left. I shouted, but heard no voice in reply, nor could I see any trace of my friends. Darkness was coming rapidly on. My horse seeming inclined to take the left hand, I thought it best to let him do so. In a short time the sky became overcast, and there was no moon. The darkness was excessive. Still my steed stepped boldly on. So dense became the obscurity, that I could not see his ears; nor could I, indeed, distinguish my own hand held out at arms-length. I had no help for it but to place the reins on my horse's neck and let him go forward.
We had heard of robberies and murders committed; and I knew that there were steep precipices, down which, had my horse fallen, we should have been dashed to pieces. Still the firm way in which he trotted gave me confidence. Hour after hour passed by. The darkness would, at all events, conceal me from the banditti, if such were in wait—that was one consolation; but then I could not tell where my horse might be taking me. It might be far away from where I hoped to find my companions.