A HERMIT IN THE HIMALAYAS One afternoon a man arrives at the house in a pitiable state. He has been attacked by a rampaging bear only half a mile away and in brilliant sunlight. His head is broken open, one eye has been torn, has face, shoulders and arms are a mass of ugly wounds. His clothes are in pieces and clotted with blood. The poor fellow has claw-marks and deep gashes all over his breast. Fortunately the palace doctor is still in Pratap- nagar, although due to go on leave within a few days. The bear's victim is patched up, his wounds stitched, the bleeding stopped and his head and arms swathed in bandages. The next day, when the poor fellow has rested and recovered himself somewhat, I hear his story of the encounter. He is a young- looking man and, I surmise, an educated one. He is probably a Brahmin by caste. "I write letters and petitions for those who are illiterate," he tell? me. "Two days ago I left my village to travel on foot to Tehri town, where I had some business to attend to. My servant, a small boy ten years old, accompanied me. Yesterday afternoon, at about five o'clock, I was nearing the point where the mountain path forks into two, one going upwards to the top of this ridge and leading to the palace, and the other turning downwards to the river valley along which lies Tehri. Suddenly I heard a terrific growl. I looked up and saw, high on the mountain-side and among the forest trees, a huge blackish-brown bear with two cubs. The animal rushed down the slope directly towards me like an avalanche, grunting ferociously all the time. Its speed was terrific and I realized that it was useless to run away and that we stood no chance of escape. But as I know the habits of these bears I prepared to defend myself. The only weapon I had was an umbrella. I pushed the weeping boy behind me in order to protect him, shielded my face with the left hand and held the umbrella forward with my right. It seemed only a minute before the bear had descended the slope and reached the path. I saw that it was a female—always more dangerous and more vicious than the opposite sex. It had a thick furry coat, large fluffy ears, a black nose, and a shaggy mane of hair which fell over its forehead and nearly covered one eye. It flew at me, clawed me around the head, the face and the upper part of my body. I jabbed my umbrella into its angry face until the cloth shade was torn to shreds. After the beast had wounded me frightfully several times and when four or five minutes of this terrible fight had passed, the bear seemed satisfied with what it had done and returned to its cubs in the forest I was glad I could save the boy from being injured. I then managed to stagger here, with the blood streaming along the trail all the way."