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Full text of "Wild animals I have known : and 200 drawings"











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THE 
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PRESENTED BY 

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&n d -2.00- Drawings 
by 

Ernest*Seton*rhompson 



NATURALIST- T-THE GVERN 
ME N T F- MAN ITBA- AUTHR-F- 



f-IAMMA I S f -M AN I TBA' Jfft- 
^RT-ANATM V-F ANIMALS' 



Being the Personal Histrie$ of 
Lb 

Silverspt 



Bing 

The Springfield F>x 
The Pa 
\Vully 
MidRedruff 




PUBLISHED-Ey-CHARLE^-SCRlBNER'5-50NS-NEW-YORK-CITY-A'D'l8 < ?8- 




Copyright, 1898, by 
Grncst Sctoti Cbompaon 



, , c i i 

< I I ' ' . I ' 

' . . I t C ' < 



T 

5V 

S 



OF THE 
SW YORK 



(3 



This BOOK 
Is Dedicated 



TO Jim 




.... 1 11 
I , ' < t 

! ' ' t i ' 



A List of the Stories in this Book 

And their Full-page Drawings 

Page 

Lobo, the King of Currumpaw . . . 15 
Lobo Showing the Pack How to Kill 

Beef 23 

Tannerey, with his Dogs, came Gallop- 
ing up the Canon 27 

Lobo Exposing the Traps . . . . 38 

Lobo and Blanca 42 

Lobo Rex Currumpae 55 

Silverspot, the Story of a Crow 57 

Silverspot 61 

The Handle of a China-cup, the Gem 

of the Collection 73 

Roost in a Row, like Big Folks ... 78 

The Track of the Murderer .... 85 

The Death of Silverspot 89 

5 



A List of the Stories in this Book 

Page 

Raggylug, the Story of a Cottontail 

Rabbit 91 

Face to Face with an Enormous Black 

Serpent 97 

Rag Followed the Snow-white Beacon 118 
The Hound came Sniffing along the 

Log 126 

No Chance to Turn Now . . . . 139 

Bingo, the Story of JVIy Dog . . . . 145 
Frank Retreated Each Time the Wolf 

Turned 149 

Bingo and the She-wolf 167 

Bingo Watched while Curley Feasted 172 

Tail-piece 183 

Che Springfield fox 185 

They Tussled and Fought, while their 
Mother Looked On with Fond De- 
light 196 

"Vix Shows the Cubs How to Catch Mice 202 

There She had Lain and Mourned . 218 

Vix 225 

6 



A List of the Stories in this Book 

Page 

Che pacing l^uatatig ...... 227 

Away Went the Mustang at his Famous 
Pace .......... 261 



, the Story of a Y*Uer Dog . . 273 

The Three Maroons ...... 277 

Once more a Sheep-dog in Charge of 

a Flock ......... 287 

Wully Studied her Calm Face . . 299 

Redruff, the Story of the Don Valley 

partridge ........ 305 

In the Moonlight ....... 321 

Redruff Saving Runtie ..... 340 

The Owl ......... 356 

The Thought. (Tail-piece) . . . . 359 



Note to the Reader 

THESE STORIES are true. Although I 
have left the strict line of historical truth in 
many places, the animals in this book were all 
real characters. They lived the lives I have 
depicted, and showed the stamp of heroism and 
personality more strongly by far than it has been 
in the power of my pen to tell. 

I believe that natural history has lost much 
by the vague general treatment that is so com- 
mon. What satisfaction would be derived from 
a ten-page sketch of the habits and customs of 
Man ? How much more profitable it would be 
to devote that space to the life of some one 
great man. This is the principle I have en- 
deavored to apply to my animals. The real 
personality of the individual, and his view of 
life are my theme, rather than the ways of the 

9 



Note to the Reader 

race in general, as viewed by a casual and hos- 
tile human eye. 

This may sound inconsistent in view of my 
having pieced together some of the characters, 
but that was made necessary by the fragmentary 
nature of the records. There is, however, al- 
most no deviation from the truth in Lobo, Bin- 
go, and the Mustang. 

Lobo lived his wild romantic life from 1889 
to 1894 in the Currumpaw region, as the ranch- 
men know too well, and died, precisely as re- 
lated, on January 31, 1894. 

Bingo was my dog from 1882 to 1888, in 
spite of interruptions, caused by lengthy visits 
to New York, as my Manitoban friends will re- 
member. And my old friend, the owner of 
Tan, will learn from these pages how his dog 
really died. 

The Mustang lived not far from Lobo in the 
early nineties. The story is given strictly as it 
occurred, excepting that there is a dispute as to 
the manner of his death. According to some 
testimony he broke his neck in the corral that 

10 



Note to the Reader 

he was first taken to. Old Turkeytrack is where 
he cannot be consulted to settle it. 

Wully is, in a sense, a compound of two dogs ; 
both were mongrels, of some collie blood, and 
were raised as sheep-dogs. The first part of 
Wully is given as it happened, after that it was 
known only that he became a savage, treacher- 
ous sheep-killer. The details of the second part 
belong really to another, a similar yaller dog, 
who long lived the double life a faithful sheep- 
dog by day, and a bloodthirsty, treacherous 
monster by night. Such things are less rare 
than is supposed, and since writing these stories 
I have heard of another double-lived sheep-dog 
that added to its night amusements the crown- 
ing barbarity of murdering the smaller dogs of 
the neighborhood. He had killed twenty, and 
hidden them in a sand-pit, when discovered by 
his master. He died just as Wully did. 

Redruff really lived in the Don Valley north 
of Toronto, and many of my companions will 
remember him. He was killed in 1889, be- 
tween the Sugar Loaf and Castle Frank, by a 



Note to the Reader 

creature whose name I have withheld, as it is 
the species, rather than the individual, that I 
wish to expose. 

Silverspot, Raggylug, and Vixen are founded 
on real characters. Though I have ascribed to 
them the adventures of more than one of their 
kind, every incident in their biographies is from 
life. 

The fact that these stories are true is the rea- 
son why all are tragic. The life of a wild ani- 
mal always has a tragic end. 

Such a collection of histories naturally sug- 
gests a common thought a moral it would have 
been called in the last century. No doubt each 
different mind will find a moral to its taste, but 
I hope some will herein find emphasized a 
moral as old as Scripture we and the beasts 
are kin. Man has nothing that the animals 
have not at least a vestige of, the animals have 
nothing that man does not in some degree share. 

Since, then, the animals are creatures with 
wants and feelings differing in degree only from 
our own, they surely have their rights. This 

12 



Note to the Reader 

fact, now beginning to be recognized by the 
Caucasian world, was emphasized by the Buddh- 
ist over 2,000 years ago. 

THIS BOOK was made by my wife, Grace 
Gallatin Thompson. Although the handiwork 
throughout is my own, she chiefly is responsible 
for designs of cover, title page, and general 
make-up. Thanks are due her also for the lit- 
erary revision, and for the mechanical labor of 
seeing the book through the press. 



Seton Cbompson. 



144 FIFTH AVE., NEW YORK CITY, 

August 14, 1898. 










Lobo 

The King of 
Currumpaw 



Lobo 

The King of Currumpaw 




URRUMPAW is a vast cattle range in 
northern New Mexico. It is a land 
of rich pastures and teeming flocks 
and herds, a land of rolling mesas and 
precious running waters that at length 
unite in the Currumpaw River, from 
which the whole region is named. 
And the king whose despotic power was felt 
over its entire extent was an old gray wolf. 

Old Lobo, or the king, as the Mexicans called 
him, was the gigantic leader of a remarkable 
pack of gray wolves, that had ravaged the Cur- 
rumpaw Valley for a number of years. All the 
shepherds and ranchmen knew him well, and, 



Lobo 

wherever he appeared with his trusty band, ter- 
ror reigned supreme among the cattle, and wrath 
and despair among their owners. Old Lobo 
was a giant among wolves, and was cunning and 
strong in proportion to his size. His voice at 
night was well-known and easily distinguished 
from that of any of his fellows. An ordi- 
nary wolf might howl half the night about the 
herdsman's bivouac without attracting more 
than a passing notice, but when the deep roar 
of the old king came booming down the canon, 
the watcher bestirred himself and prepared to 
learn in the morning that fresh and serious in- 
roads had been made among the herds. 

Old Lobo's band was but a small one. This 
I never quite understood, for usually, when a 
wolf rises to the position and power that he had, 
he attracts a numerous following. It may be 
that he had as many as he desired, or perhaps 
his ferocious temper prevented the increase of 
his pack. Certain is it that Lobo had only five 
followers during the latter part of his reign. 
Each of these, however, was a wolf of renown, 
most of them were above the ordinary size, one 
in particular, the second in command, was a 

18 



Lobo 

veritable giant, but even he was far below the 
leader in size and prowess. Several of the band, 
besides the two leaders, were especially noted. 
One of those was a beautiful white wolf, that 
the Mexicans called Blanca ; this was supposed 
to be a female, possibly Lobo's mate. Another 
was a yellow wolf of remarkable swiftness, which, 
according to current stories had, on several oc- 
casions, captured an antelope for the pack. 

It will be seen, then, that these wolves were 
thoroughly well-known to the cowboys and 
shepherds. They were frequently seen and 
oftener heard, and their lives were intimately 
associated with those of the cattlemen, who 
would so gladly have destroyed them. There 
was not a stockman on the Currumpaw who 
would not readily have given the value of 
many steers for the scalp of any one of Lobo's 
band, but they seemed to possess charmed lives, 
and defied all manner of devices to kill them. 
They scorned all hunters, derided all poisons, 
and continued, for at least five years, to exact 
their tribute from the Currumpaw ranchers to 
the extent, many said, of a cow each day. Ac- 
cording to this estimate, therefore, the band had 

19 



Lobo 

killed more than two thousand of the finest 
stock, for, as was only too well-known, they 
selected the best in every instance. 

The old idea that a wolf was constantly in a 
starving state, and therefore ready to eat any- 
thing, was as far as possible from the truth in 
this case, for these freebooters were always 
sleek and well-conditioned, and were in fact 
most fastidious about what they ate. Any ani- 
mal that had died from natural causes, or that 
was diseased or tainted, they would not touch, 
and they even rejected anything that had been 
killed by the stockmen. Their choice and 
daily food was the tenderer part of a freshly 
killed yearling heifer. An old bull or cow 
they disdained, and though they occasionally 
took a young calf or colt, it was quite clear 
that veal or horseflesh was not their favorite 
diet. It was also known that they were not 
fond of mutton, although they often amused 
themselves by killing sheep. One night in 
November, 1893, Blanca and the yellow wolf 
killed two hundred and fifty sheep, apparently 
for the fun of it, and did not eat an ounce of 
their flesh. 

20 



Lobo 



These are examples of many stories which 
I might repeat, to show the ravages of this 
destructive band. Many new devices for their 
extinction were tried each year, but still they 
lived and throve in spite of all the efforts of 
their foes. A great price was set on Lobo's 
head, and in consequence poison in a score of 
subtle forms was put out for him, but he never 
failed to detect and avoid it. One thing only 
he feared that was firearms, and knowing full 
well that all men in this region carried them, 
he never was known to attack or face a human 
being. Indeed, the set policy of his band was 
to take refuge in flight whenever, in the day- 
time, a man was descried, no matter at what 
distance. Lobo's habit of permitting the pack 
to eat only that which they themselves had 
killed, was in numerous cases their salvation, 
and the keenness of his scent to detect the taint 
of human hands or the poison itself, completed 
their immunity. 

On one occasion, one of the cowboys heard 
the too familiar rallying-cry of Old Lobo, and 
stealthily approaching, he found the Currum- 
paw pack in a hollow, where they had ' round- 

21 




Lofco 

ed up ' a small herd of cattle. Lobo sat apart 
on a knoll, while Blanca with the rest was en- 
deavoring to ' cut out ' a young cow, which 
they had selected ; but the cattle were standing 
in a compact mass with their heads outward, 
and presented to the foe a line of horns, un- 
broken save when some cow, frightened by a 
fresh onset of the wolves, tried to retreat into 
the middle of the herd. It was only by taking 
advantage of these breaks that the wolves had 
succeeded at all in wounding the selected cow, 
but she was far from being disabled, and it 
seemed that Lobo at length lost patience with 
his followers, for he left his position on the hill, 
and, uttering a deep roar, dashed toward the herd. 
The terrified rank broke at his charge, and he 
sprang in among them. Then the cattle scattered 
like the pieces of a bursting bomb. Away went 
the chosen victim, but ere she had gone twenty- 
five yards Lobo was upon her. Seizing her by 
the neck he suddenly held back with all his 
force and so threw her heavily to the ground. 
The shock must have been tremendous, for the 
heifer was thrown heels over head. Lobo also 
turned a somersault, but immediately recovered 

22 




03 

3 

O 



I 



O 
C/3 

O 
Xi 
O 



Lofco 



himself an^ ^is followers falling on the poor 
cow killed h er i n a f ew secon ds. Lobo took 
no part in the killing after having thrown the 
victim he seeme d to say, " Now, why could 
not some X vou have done that at once with- 
out wasting so much time?" 

The mar 1 now rO( ^ e U P shouting, the wolves 
as usual re^ re( ^' ano - he, having a bottle of 
strychnine quickly poisoned the carcase in 
three place' s ' then went away, knowing they 



would retu rn to 



as they had killed the 



animal ther nse ' ves - But next morning, on go- 
ing to look f r his expected victims, he found 
that although the wolves had eaten the heifer, 
they had c^ re ^ u ^y cut out an( ^ thrown aside all 
those parts ^ at ^ a( ^ ^ een poisoned. 

The drea^ ^ ^is great wolf spread yearly 
among the ranchmen, and each year a larger 
price was se'* 1 on ^ s head, until at last it reached 
$ i ooo an unparalleled wolf-bounty, surely; 
many a so?^ man has been hunted down for 
less. TeniP te d ^Y the promised reward, a 
Texan rang er name d Tannerey came one day 
galloping uP t ^ ie ca n n f the Currumpaw. He 
had a super^ outfit for wolf-hunting the best 

25 




Lobo 

of guns and horses, and a pack of enormous 
wolf-hounds. Far out on the plains of the 
Pan-handle, he and his dogs had killed many 
a wolf, and now he never doubted that, within 
a few days, old Lobo's scalp would dangle at 
his saddle-bow. 

Away they went bravely on their hunt in the 
gray dawn of a summer morning, and soon the 
great dogs gave joyous tongue to say that they 
were already on the track of their quarry. 
Within two miles, the grizzly band of Cur- 
rumpaw leaped into view, and the chase grew 
fast and furious. The part of the wolf-hounds 
was merely to hold the wolves at bay till the 
hunter could ride up and shoot them, and this 
usually was easy on the open plains of Texas ; 
but here a new feature of the country came into 
play, and showed how well Lobo had chosen 
his range ; for the rocky canons of the Currum- 
paw and its tributaries intersect the prairies in 
every direction. The old wolf at once made 
for the nearest of these and by crossing it 
got rid of the horsemen. His band then scat- 
tered and thereby scattered the dogs, and when 
they reunited at a distant point of course all of 

26 



i 









Tannerey, with his Dogs, came Galloping up the Canon. 



Lobo 

the dogs did not turn up, and the wolves no 
longer outnumbered, turned on their pursuers 
and killed or desperately wounded them all. 
That night when Tannerey mustered his dogs, 
only six of them returned, and of these, two 
were terribly lacerated. This hunter made 
two other attempts to capture the royal scalp, 
but neither of them was more successful than 
the first, and on the last occasion his best 
horse met its death by a fall ; so he gave up 
the chase in disgust and went back to Texas, 
leaving Lobo more than ever the despot of the 
region. 

Next year, two other hunters appeared, de- 
termined to win the promised bounty. Each 
believed he could destroy this noted wolf, the 
first by means of a newly devised poison, which 
was to be laid out in an entirely new manner ; 
the other a French Canadian, by poison as- 
sisted with certain spells and charms, for he 
firmly believed that Lobo was a veritable 
' loup-garou,' and could not be killed by or- 
dinary means. But cunningly compounded 
poisons, charms, and incantations were all of 
no avail against this grizzly devastator. He 

29 




Lobo 

made his weekly rounds and daily banquets as 
aforetime, and before many weeks had passed, 
Calone and Laloche gave up in despair and 
went elsewhere to hunt. 

In the spring of 1893, after his unsuccessful 
attempt to capture Lobo, Joe Calone had a 
humiliating experience, which seems to show 
that the big wolf simply scorned his enemies, 
and had absolute confidence in himself. Ca- 
lone' s farm was on a small tributary of the 
Currumpaw, in a picturesque cafion, and among 
the rocks of this very canon, within a thousand 
yards of the house, old Lobo and his mate se- 
lected their den and raised their family that 
season. There they lived all summer, and 
killed Joe's cattle, sheep, and dogs, but laughed 
at all his poisons and traps, and rested securely 
among the recesses of the cavernous cliffs, while 
Joe vainly racked his brain for some method of 
smoking them out, or of reaching them with 
dynamite. But they escaped entirely unscathed, 
and continued their ravages as before. " There's 
where he lived all last summer," said Joe, 
pointing to the face of the cliff, "and I couldn't 
do a thing with him. I was like a fool to him." 

30 



Lobo 



II 



THIS history, gathered so far from the cow- 
boys, I found hard to believe until in the fall 
of 1893, I made the acquaintance of the wily 
marauder, and at length came to know him 
more thoroughly than anyone else. Some 
years before, in the Bingo days, I had been 
a wolf-hunter, but my occupations since then 
had been of another sort, chaining me to stool 
and desk. I was much in need of a change, 
and when a friend, who was also a ranch-owner 
on the Currumpaw, asked me to come to New 
Mexico and try if I could do anything with 
this predatory pack, I accepted the invitation 
and, eager to make the acquaintance of its 
king, was as soon as possible among the mesas 
of that region. I spent some time riding about 
to learn the country, and at intervals, my guide 
would point to the skeleton of a cow to which 
the hide still adhered, and remark, "That's 
some of his work. ' ' 

It became quite clear to me that, in this 
rough country, it was useless to think of pur- 



Lobo 




suing Lobo with hounds and horses, so that 
poison or traps were the only available expe- 
dients. At present we had no traps large 
enough, so I set to work with poison. 

I need not enter into the details of a hun- 
dred devices that I employed to circumvent 
this ' loup-garou ' ; there was no combination 
of strychnine, arsenic, cyanide, or prussic acid, 
that I did not essay ; there was no manner of 
flesh that I did not try as bait ; but morning 
after morning, as I rode forth to learn the result, 
I found that all my efforts had been useless. 
The old king was too cunning for me. A 
single instance will show his wonderful sagacity. 
Acting on the hint of an old trapper, I melted 
some cheese together with the kidney fat of a 
freshly killed heifer, stewing it in a china dish, 
and cutting it with a bone knife to avoid the 
taint of metal. When the mixture was cool, I 
cut it into lumps, and making a hole in one 
side of each lump, I inserted a large dose of 
strychnine and cyanide, contained in a capsule 
that was impermeable by any odor ; finally I 
sealed the holes up with pieces of the cheese 
itself. During the whole process, I wore a 

32 



Lobo 

pair of gloves steeped in the hot blood of the 
heifer, and even avoided breathing on the 
baits. When all was ready, I put them in a 
raw-hide bag rubbed all over with blood, and 
rode forth dragging the liver and kidneys of 
the beef at the end of a rope. With this I 
made a ten-mile circuit, dropping a bait at 
each quarter of a mile, and taking the utmost 
care, always, not to touch any with my hands. 

Lobo, generally, came into this part of the 
range in the early part of each week, and 
passed the latter part, it was supposed, around 
the base of Sierra Grande. This was Monday, 
and that same evening, as we were about to 
retire, I heard the deep bass howl of his ma- 
jesty. On hearing it one of the boys briefly re- x; ^ 
marked, " There he is, we'll see." "^'f 

The next morning I went forth, eager to 
know the result. I soon came on the fresh 
trail of the robbers, with Lobo in the lead his 
track was always easily distinguished. An or- 
dinary wolf's forefoot is 4^ inches long, that 
of a large wolf 4^ inches, but Lobo's, as 
measured a number of times, was $y inches 
from claw to heel ; I afterward found that his 

33 




Lobo 

other proportions were commensurate, for he 
stood three feet high at the shoulder, and 
weighed 150 pounds. His trail, therefore, 
though obscured by those of his followers, was 
never difficult to trace. The pack had soon 
found the track of my drag, and as usual fol- 
lowed it. I could see that Lobo had come to 
the first bait, sniffed about it, and finally had 
picked it up. 

Then I could not conceal my delight. " I've 
got him at last," I exclaimed; "I shall find 
him stark within a mile," and I galloped on 
with eager eyes fixed on the great broad track 
in the dust. It led me to the second bait and 
that also was gone. How I exulted I surely 
have him now and perhaps several of his band. 
But there was the broad paw-mark still on the 
drag ; and though I stood in the stirrup and 
scanned the plain I saw nothing that looked 
like a dead wolf. Again I followed to find 
now that the third bait was gone and the 
king-wolf's track led on to the fourth, there to 
learn that he had not really taken a bait at all, 
but had merely carried them in his mouth. 
Then having piled the three on the fourth, he 

34 




Lobo 

scattered filth over them to express his utter 
contempt for my devices. After this he left 
my drag and went about his business with the 
pack he guarded so effectively. 

This is only one of many similar experiences 
which convinced me that poison would never 
avail to destroy this robber, and though I con- 
tinued to use it while awaiting the arrival of 
the traps, it was only because it was meanwhile 
a sure means of killing many prairie wolves and 
other destructive vermin. 

About this time there came under my obser- 
vation an incident that will illustrate Lobo's 
diabolic cunning. These wolves had at least 
one pursuit which was merely an amusement, it 
was stampeding and killing sheep, though they 
rarely ate them. The sheep are usually kept in 
flocks of from one thousand to three thousand 
under one or more shepherds. At night they 
are gathered in the most sheltered place avail- 
able, and a herdsman sleeps on each side of the 
flock to give additional protection. Sheep are 
such senseless creatures that they are liable to 
be stampeded by the veriest trifle, but they 
have deeply ingrained in their nature one, and 

35 



Lobo 




perhaps only one, strong weakness, namely, to 
follow their leader. And this the shepherds 
turn to good account by putting half a dozen 
goats in the flock of sheep. The latter recog- 
nize the superior intelligence of their bearded 
cousins, and when a night alarm occurs they 
crowd around them, and usually are thus saved 
from a stampede and are easily protected. But it 
was not always so. One night late in last No- 
vember, two Perico shepherds were aroused by 
an onset of wolves. Their flocks huddled 
around the goats, which being neither fools 
nor cowards, stood their ground and were 
bravely defiant ; but alas for them, no common 
wolf was heading this attack. Old Lobo, the 
weir-wolf, knew as well as the shepherds that 
the goats were the moral force of the flock, so 
hastily running over the backs of the densely 
packed sheep, he fell on these leaders, slew 
them all in a few minutes, and soon had the 
luckless sheep stampeding in a thousand differ- 
ent directions. For weeks afterward I was al- 
most daily accosted by some anxious shepherd, 
who asked, "Have you seen any stray OTO 
sheep lately ? ' ' and usually I was obliged to 

36 



Lobo 

say I had ; one day it was, " Yes, I came on 
some five or six carcasses by Diamond Springs; 
or another, it was to the effect that I had seen 
a small < bunch ' running on the Malpai Mesa ; 
or again, " No, but Juan Meira saw about 
twenty, freshly killed, on the Cedra Monte 
two days ago." 

At length the wolf traps arrived, and with 
two men I worked a whole week to get them 
properly set out. We spared no labor or pains, 
I adopted every device I could think of that 
might help to insure success. The second day 
after the traps arrived, I rede around to inspect, 
and soon came upon Lobo's trail running from 
trap to trap. In the dust I could read the 
whole story of his doings that night. He had 
trotted along in the darkness, and although the 
traps were so carefully concealed, he had in- 
stantly detected the first one. Stopping the 
onward march of the pack, he had cautiously 
scratched around it until he had disclosed the 
trap, the chain, and the log, then left them 
wholly exposed to view with the trap still un- 
sprung, and passing on he treated over a dozen 
traps in the same fashion. Very soon I noticed 

39 




/-> ^V 

". ,-i?5!.< 




Lobo 

that he stopped and turned aside as soon as 
he detected suspicious signs on the trail and a 
new plan to outwit him at once suggested itself. 
I set the traps in the form of an H ; that is, 
with a row of traps on each side of the trail, 
and one on the trail for the cross-bar of the H. 
Before long, I had an opportunity to count an- 
other failure. Lobo came trotting along the trail, 
and was fairly between the parallel lines be- 
fore he detected the single trap in the trail, but 
he stopped in time, and why or how he knew 
enough I cannot imagine, but without turning 
an inch to the right or left, he slowly and cau- 
tiously backed on his own tracks, putting each 
paw exactly in its old track until he was off 
the dangerous ground. Then returning at one 
side he scratched clods and stones with his hind 
feet till he had sprung every trap. This he did 
on many other occasions, and although I varied 
my methods and redoubled my precautions, he 
was never deceived, his sagacity seemed never 
at fault, and he might have been pursuing his 
career of rapine to-day, but for an unfortunate 
alliance that proved his ruin and added his 
name to the long list of heroes who, unassail- 

40 







rt 
o 



; 



S ' 



Lobo 

able when alone, have fallen through the indis- 
cretion of a trusted ally. 



Ill 



Once or twice, I had found indications that 
everything was not quite right in the Currum- 
paw pack. There were signs of irregularity, I 
thought ; for instance there was clearly the trail 
of a smaller wolf running ahead of the leader, 
at times, and this I could not understand until 
a cowboy made a remark which explained the 
matter. 

"I saw them to-day, " he said, "and the 
wild one that breaks away is Blanca." Then 
the truth dawned upon me, and I added, ' ' Now, 
I know that Blanca is a she-wolf, because were 
a he-wolf to act thus, Lobo would kill him at 



once.' 



This suggested a new plan. I killed a heifer, 
and set one or two rather obvious traps about 
the carcass. Then cutting off the head, which 
is considered useless offal, and quite beneath 
the notice of a wolf, I set it a little apart and 
around it placed six powerful steel traps proper - 

43 




Loto 

ly deodorized and concealed with the utmost 
care. During my operations I kept my hands, 
boots, and implements smeared with fresh blood, 
and afterward sprinkled the ground with the 
same, as though it had flowed from the head ; 
and when the traps were buried in the dust I 
brushed the place over with the skin of a coyote, 
and with a foot of the same animal made a 
number of tracks over the traps. The head 
was so placed that there was a narrow passage 
between it and some tussocks, and in this pas- 
sage I buried two of my best traps, fastening 
them to the head itself. 

Wolves have a habit of approaching every 
carcass they get the wind of, in order to ex- 
amine it, even when they have no intention of 
eating of it, and I hoped that this habit would 
bring the Currumpaw pack within reach of my 
latest stratagem. I did not doubt that Lobo 
would detect my handiwork about the meat, 
and prevent the pack approaching it, but I did 
build some hopes on the head, for it looked as 
though it had been thrown aside as useless. 

Next morning, I sallied forth to inspect the 
traps, and there, oh, joy ! were the tracks of 

44 



Lobo 

the pack, and the place where the beef-head 
and its traps had been was empty. A hasty 
study of the trail showed that Lobo had kept 
the pack from approaching the meat, but one, 
a small wolf, had evidently gone on to examine 
the head as it lay apart and had walked right 
into one of the traps. 

We set out on the trail, and within a mile 
discovered that the hapless wolf was Blanca. 
Away she went, however, at a gallop, and al- 
though encumbered by the beef-head, which 
weighed over fifty pounds, she speedily dis- 
tanced my companion who was on foot. But 
we overtook her when she reached the rocks, 
for the horns of the cow's head became caught 
and held her fast. She was the handsomest 
wolf I had ever seen. Her coat was in perfect 
condition and nearly white. 

She turned to fight, and raising her voice 
in the rallying cry of her race, sent a long 
howl rolling over the canon. From far away 
upon the mesa came a deep response, the cry 
of Old Lobo. That was her last call, for now 
we had closed in on her, and all her energy and 
breath were devoted to combat. 



\ 



. 
*..! 
* ' 
J * 




* f 



* 

* 





Lofco 




Then followed the inevitable tragedy, the 
idea of which I shrank from afterward more 
than at the time. We each threw a lasso over 
the neck of the doomed wolf, and strained our 
horses in opposite directions until the blood 
burst from her mouth, her eyes glazed, her 
limbs stiffened and then fell limp. Homeward 
then we rode, carrying the dead wolf, and ex- 
ulting over this, the first death-blow we had 
been able to inflict on the Currumpaw pack. 

At intervals during the tragedy, and afterward 
as we rode homeward, we heard the roar of 
Lobo as he wandered about on the distant 
mesas, where he seemed to be searching for 
Blanca. He had never really deserted her, but 
knowing that he could not save her, his deep- 
rooted dread of firearms had been too much for 
him when he saw us approaching. All that day 
we heard him wailing as he roamed in his quest, 
and I remarked at length to one of the boys, 
" Now, indeed, I truly know that Blanca was 
his mate." 

As evening fell he seemed to be coming tow- 
ard the home canon, for his voice sounded con- 
tinually nearer. There was an unmistakable 

46 



Lobo 

note of sorrow in it now. It was no longer the 
loud, defiant howl, but a long, plaintive wail ; 
" Blanca ! Blanca ! " he seemed to call. And 
as night came down, I noticed that he was not 
far from the place where we had overtaken her. 
At length he seemed to find the trail, and when 
he came to the spot where we had killed her, 
his heart-broken wailing was piteous to hear. 
It was sadder than I could possibly have be- 
lieved. Even the stolid cowboys noticed it, 
and said they had " never heard a wolf carry 
on like that before." He seemed to know ex- 
actly what had taken place, for her blood had 
stained the place of her death. 

Then he took up the trail of the horses and 
followed it to the ranch-house. Whether in 
hopes of finding her there, or in quest of re- 
venge, I know not, but the latter was what he 
found, for he surprised our unfortunate watch- 
dog outside and tore him to little bits within fifty 
yards of the door. He evidently came alone 
this time, for I found but one trail next morn- 
ing, and he had galloped about in a reckless 
manner that was very unusual with him. I had 
half expected this, and had set a number of ad- 

47 




Lobo 

ditional traps about the pasture. Afterward I 
found that he had indeed fallen into one of 
these, but such was his strength, he had torn 
himself loose and cast it aside. 

T believed that he would continue in the 
neighborhood until he found her body at least, 
so I concentrated all my energies on this one 
enterprise of catching him before he left the 
region, and while yet in this reckless mood. 
Then I realized what a mistake I had made in 
killing Blanca, for by using her as a decoy 1 
might have secured him the next night. 

I gathered in all the traps I could command, 

one hundred and thirty strong steel wolf-traps, 

and set them in fours in every trail that led into 

the canon ; each trap was separately fastened to 

a log, and each log was separately buried. In 

burying them, I carefully removed the sod and 

every particle of earth that was lifted we put 

^ in blankets, so that after the sod was replaced 

*% / f and all was finished the eye could detect no trace 

;'' \ of human handiwork. When the traps were 

concealed I trailed the body of poor Blanca 

&, ^ over each place, and made of it a drag that 

^_ .--,, .-- circled all about the ranch, and finally I took 

&,J"\ 







~ ,' ">..-' 
"'..--' f-~-'~'' 



Lobo 

off one of her paws and made with it a line of 
tracks over each trap. Every precaution and 
device known to me I used, and retired at a late 
hour to await the result. 

Once during the night I thought I heard Old 
Lobo, but was not sure of it. Next day I rode 
around, but darkness came on before I completed 
the circuit of the north canon, and I had noth- 
ing to report. At supper one of the cowboys 
said. " There was a great row among the cattle 
in the north canon this morning, maybe there 
is something in the traps there." It was after- 
noon of the next day before I got to the place re- 
ferred to, and as I drew near a great grizzly form 
arose from the ground, vainly endeavoring to 
escape, and there revealed before me stood Lobo, 
King of the Currumpaw, firmly held in the 
traps. Poor old hero, he had never ceased to 
search for his darling, and when he found the 
trail her body had made he followed it reckless- 
ly, and so fell into the snare prepared for him. 
There he lay in the iron grasp of all four traps, 
perfectly helpless, and all around him were nu- 
merous tracks showing how the cattle had gath- 
ered about him to insult the fallen despot, without 

49 



Lobo 

daring to approach within his reach. For two 
days and two nights he had lain there, and now 
was worn out with struggling. Yet, when I went 
near him, he rose tip with bristling mane and 
raised his voice, and for the last time made the 
canon reverberate with his deep bass roar, a call 
for help, the muster call of his band. But there 
was none to answer him, and, left alone in his 
extremity, he whirled about with all his strength 
and made a desperate effort to get at me. All 
in vain, each trap was a dead drag of over three 
hundred pounds, and in their relentless fourfold 
grasp, with great steel jaws on every foot, and the 
heavy logs and chains all entangled together, 
he was absolutely powerless. How his huge 
ivory tusks did grind on those cruel chains, and 
when I ventured to touch him with my rifle- 
barrel he left grooves on it which are there to 
this day. His eyes glared green with hate and 
fury, and his jaws snapped with a hollow 
' chop,' as he vainly endeavored to reach me 
and my trembling horse. But he was worn 
out with hunger and struggling and loss of 
blood, and he soon sank exhausted to the 
ground. 

50 



Lobo 

Something like compunction came over me, 
as I prepared to deal out to him that which so 
many had suffered at his hands. 

" Grand old outlaw, hero of a thousand law- 
less raids, in a few minutes you will be but a 38^3= 
great load of carrion. It cannot be otherwise." 
Then I swung my lasso and sent it whistling 
over his head. But not so fast ; he was yet far 
from being subdued, and, before the supple 
coils had fallen on his neck he seized the noose 
and, with one fierce chop, cut through its hard 
thick strands, and dropped it in two pieces at 
his feet. 

Of course I had my rifle as a last resource, but 
I did not wish to spoil his royal hide, so I gal- 
loped back to the camp and returned with a 
cowboy and a fresh lasso. We threw to our 
victim a stick of wood which he seized in his 
teeth, and before he could relinquish it our 
lassoes whistled through the air and tightened 
on his neck. 

Yet before the light had died from his fierce 
eyes, I cried, " Stay, we will not kill him ; let 
us take him alive to the camp." He was so 
completely powerless now that it was easy to 




Lobo 

put a stout stick through his mouth, behind his 
tusks, and then lash his jaws with a heavy cord 
which was also fastened to the stick. The stick 
kept the cord in, and the cord kept the stick 
in so he was harmless. As soon as he felt his 
jaws were tied he made no further resistance, 
and uttered no sound, but looked calmly at us 
and seemed to say, " Well, you have got me at 
last, do as you please with me." And from that 
time he took no more notice of us. 

We tied his feet securely, but he never 
groaned, nor growled, nor turned his head. 
Then with our united strength were just able to 
put him on my horse. His breath came evenly 
as though sleeping, and his eyes were bright 
and clear again, but did not rest on us. Afar 
on the great rolling mesas they were fixed, his 
passing kingdom, where his famous band was 
now scattered. And he gazed till the pony 
descended the pathway into the canon, and the 
rocks cut off the view. 

By travelling slowly we reached the ranch in 
safety, and after securing him with a collar and 
a strong chain, we staked him out in the past- 
ure and removed the cords. Then for the first 

52 



Lobo 

time I could examine him closely, and proved 
how unreliable is vulgar report when a living 
hero or tyrant is concerned. He had not a 
collar of gold about his neck, nor was there on 
his shoulders an inverted cross to denote that 
he had leagued himself with Satan. But I did 
find on one haunch a great broad scar, that 
tradition says was the fang-mark of Juno, the 
leader of Tannerey's wolf-hounds a mark 
which she gave him the moment before he 
stretched her lifeless on the sand of the canon. 

I set meat and water beside him, but he paid 
no heed. He lay calmly on his breast, and 
gazed away past me down through the gateway 
of the canon, over the open plains his plains 
with those steadfast yellow eyes ; nor moved a 
muscle when I touched him. When the sun 
went down he was still gazing fixedly across the 
prairie. I expected he would call up his band 
when night came, and prepared for them, but 
he had called once in his extremity, and none 
had come; he would never call again. 

A lion shorn of his strength, an eagle robbed 
of his freedom, or a dove bereft of his mate, all 
die, it is said, of a broken heart ; and who will 

53 




Lobo 

aver that this grim bandit could bear the three- 
fold brunt, heart-whole? This only 1 know, 
that when the morning dawned, he was lying 
there still in his position of calm repose, but his 
spirit was gone the old king- wolf was dead. 

I took the chain from his neck, a cowboy 
helped me to carry him to the shed where lay 
the remains of Blanca, and as we laid him beside 
her, the cattle-man exclaimed: "There, you 
would come to her, now you are together again." 



54 



. \'V 






Sf''>S' 

tw 




Silverspot 

The Story of a Crow 



Silverspot 
The Storyr of a Crow 




r OW many of us have ever got to 
know a wild animal? I do not 
mean merely to meet with one once 
or twice, or to have one in a cage, 
but to really know it for a long 
time while it is wild, and to get an 
insight into its life and history. The trouble 
usually is to know one creature from his fellow. 
One fox or crow is so much like another that 
we cannot be sure that it really is the same 
next time we meet. But once in awhile there 
arises an animal who is stronger or wiser than 
his fellow, who becomes a great leader, who is, 
as we would say. a genius, and if he is bigger, 

59 



Silverspot 

or has some mark by which men can know 
him, he soon becomes famous in his country, 
and shows us that the life of a wild animal may 
be far more interesting and exciting than that 
of many human beings. 

Of this class were Courtrand, the bob-tailed 
wolf that terrorized the whole city of Paris for 
about ten years in the beginning of the four- 
teenth century ; Clubfoot, the lame grizzly bear 
that in two years ruined all the hog-raisers, and 
drove half the farmers out of business in the 
upper Sacramento Valley ; Lobo, the king- 
wolf of New Mexico, that killed a co\v every 
day for five years, and the Soehnee panther that 
in less than two years killed nearly three hun- 
dred human beings and such also was Silver- 
spot, whose history, as far as I could learn it, I 
shall now briefly tell. 

Silverspot was simply a wise old crow ; his 
name was given because of the silvery white 
spot that was like a nickel, stuck on his right 
side, between the eye and the bill, and it was 
owing to this spot that I was able to know him 
from the other crows, and put together the 
parts of his history that came to my knowledge. 

60 




Silverspot. 



Silverspot 

Crows are, as you must know, our most in- 
telligent birds ' Wise as an old crow ' did 
not become a saying without good reason. 
Crows know the value of organization, and are 
as well drilled as soldiers very much better 
than some soldiers, in fact, for crows are al- 
ways on duty, always at war, and always de- 
pendent on each other for life and safety. 
Their leaders not only are the oldest and wisest 
of the band, but also the strongest and bravest, 
for they must be ready at any time with sheer 
force to put down an upstart or a rebel. The 
rank and file are the youngsters and the crows 
without special gifts. 

Old Silverspot was the leader of a large band 
of crows that made their headquarters near 
Toronto, Canada, in Castle Frank, which is a 
pine-clad hill on the northeast edge of the city. 
This band numbered about two hundred, and 
for reasons that I never understood did not in- 
crease. In mild winters they stayed along the 
Niagara River ; in cold winters they went much 
farther south. But each year in the last week 
of February Old Silverspot would muster his 
followers and boldly cross the forty miles of 

63 



Silverspot 

open water that lies between Toronto and Ni- 
agara ; not, however, in a straight line would 
he go, but always in a curve to the west, 
whereby he kept in sight of the familiar land- 
mark of Dundas Mountain, until the pine-clad 
hill itself came in view. Each year he came 
with his troop, and for about six weeks took up 
his abode on the hill. Each morning there- 
after the crows set out in three bands to forage. 
One band went southeast to Ashbridge's Bay. 
One went west up the Don, and one, the largest, 
went northwestward up the ravine. The last 
Silverspot led in person. Who led the others 
I never found out. 

On calm mornings they flew high and straight 
away. But when it was windy the band flew 
low, and followed the ravine for shelter. My 
windows overlooked the ravine, and it was thus 
that in 1885 I first noticed this old crow. I 
was a new-comer in the neighborhood, but an 
old resident said to me then ' ' that there old 
crow has been a-flying up and down this ravine 
for more than twenty years." My chances to 
watch were in the ravine, and Silverspot dog- 
gedly clinging to the old route, though now it 

64 




Silverspot 

was edged with houses and spanned by bridges, 
became a very familiar acquaintance. Twice 
each day in March and part of April, then again 
in the late summer and the fall, he passed and 
repassed, and gave me chances to see hismove- 
, ments, and hear his orders to his bands, and 
so, little by little, opened my eyes to the fact 
that the crows, though a little people, are of 
great wit, a race of birds with a language and 
a social system that is wonderfully human in 
many of its chief points, and in some is better 
carried out than our own. 

One windy day I stood on the high bridge 
across the ravine, as the old crow, heading his 
long, straggling troop, came flying down home- 
ward. Half a mile away I could hear the con- 
tented 'At/'s well, come right along!' 1 as we 

No. i. 



i 



Caw Caw 

should say, or as he put it, and as also his lieu- 
tenant echoed it at the rear of the band. They 
were flying very low to be out of the wind, and 

65 



Silverspot 

would have to rise a little to clear the bridge 
on which I was. Silverspot saw me standing 
there, and as I was closely watching him he 
didn't like it. He checked his flight and called 
out, ' Be on your guard, ' or 

No. 2. 



~V~- cr^ 

. ' 

Caw 

and rose much higher in the air. Then seeing 
that I was not armed he flew over my head 
about twenty feet, and his followers in turn did 
the same, dipping again to the old level when 
past the bridge. 

Next day I Avas at the same place, and as 
the crows came near I raised my walking stick 
and pointed it at them. The old fellow at once 
cried out 'Danger,' and rose fifty feet higher 

No. 3. 



Ca 

than before. Seeing that it was not a gun, he 
ventured to fly over. But on the third day I 

66 



Sflvcrspot 



took with me a gun, and at once he cried out, 
' Great danger a gun.' His lieutenant re- 
No. 4 . 




m m 



cacacaca Caw 

peated the cry, and every crow in the troop 
began to tower and scatter from the rest, till 
they were far above gun shot, and so passed 
safely over, coming down again to the shelter 
of the valley when well beyond reach. An- 
other time, as the long, straggling troop came 
down the valley, a red-tailed hawk alighted on 
a tree close by their intended route. The 
leader cried out, 'Hawk, hawk, 1 and stayed 

No. 5. 






Caw Caw 

his flight, as did each crow on nearing him, 
until all were massed in a solid body. Then, 
no longer fearing the hawk, they passed on. 
But a quarter of a mile farther on a man with 
a gun appeared below, and the cry, ' Great 

67 



Silverspot 



danger a gun, a gun; scatter for your lives, 1 
at once caused them to scatter widely and tower 



No. 6. 






cacacaca Caw 

till far beyond range. Many others of his 
words of command I learned in the course of 
my long acquaintance, and found that sometimes 
a very little difference in the sound makes a 
very great difference in meaning. Thus while 
No. 5 means hawk, or any large, dangerous 
bird, this means 'wheel around, ,' evidently a 

No. 7. 






Caw Caw cacacaca 

combination of No. 5, whose root idea is dan- 
ger, and of No. 4, whose root idea is retreat, and 
this again is a mere 'good day' to a far away 

No. 8. 




Caw 



Caw 

68 



Silvcrspot 



comrade. This is usually addressed to the 
ranks and means ' attention.'' 

No. 9. 




Early in April there began to be great 
doings among the crows. Some new cause of 
excitement seemed to have come on them. 
They spent half the day among the pines, in- 
stead of foraging from dawn till dark. Pairs 
and trios might be seen chasing each other, and 
from time to time they showed off in various 
feats of flight. A favorite sport was to dart 
down suddenly from a great height toward 
some perching crow, and just before touching 
it to turn at a hairbreadth and rebound in the air 
so fast that the wings of the swooper whirred 
with a sound like distant thunder. Sometimes 
one crow would lower his head, raise every 
feather, and coming close to another would gur- 
gle out a long note like 

No. 10. 




C-r-r-r-a 




Silverspot 

What did it all mean? I soon learned. They 
were making love and pairing off. The males 
were showing off their wing powers and their 
voices to the lady crows. And they must have 
been highly appreciated, for by the middle of 
April all had mated and had scattered over the 
country for their honeymoon, leaving the som- 
bre old pines of Castle Frank deserted and 
silent. 

II 

The Sugar Loaf hill stands alone in the Don 
Valley. It is still covered with woods that join 
with those of Castle Frank, a quarter of a mile 
off. In the woods, between the two hills, is a 
pine-tree in whose top is a deserted hawk's nest. 
Every Toronto school-boy knows the nest, and, 
excepting that I had once shot a black squirrel 
on its edge, no one had ever seen a sign of life 
about it. There it was year after year, ragged 
and old, and falling to pieces. Yet, strange to 
tell, in all that time it never did drop to pieces, 
like other old nests. 

One morning in May I was out at gray dawn, 
and stealing gently through the woods, whose 

70 



Silverspot 

dead leaves were so wet that no rustle was made. 
I chanced to pass under the old nest, and was 
surprised to see a black tail sticking over the 
edge. I struck the tree a smart blow, off flew 
a crow, and the secret was out. I had long 
suspected that a pair of crows nested each year 
about the pines, but now I realized that it was 
Silverspot and his wife. The old nest was 
theirs, and they were too wise to give it an air 
of spring-cleaning and housekeeping each year. 
Here they had nested for long, though guns in 
the hands of men and boys hungry to shoot 
crows were carried under their home every day. 
I never surprised the old fellow again, though I 
several times saw him through my telescope. 

One day while watching I saw a crow crossing 
the Don Valley with something white in his 
beak. He flew to the mouth of the Rosedale 
Brook, then took a short flight to the Beaver 
Elm. There he dropped the white object, and 
looking about gave me a chance to recognize 
my old friend Silverspot. After a minute he 
picked up the white thing a shell and walked 
over past the spring, and here, among the docks 
and the skunk-cabbages, he unearthed a pile of 




Silver spot 

shells and other white, shiny things. He spread 
them out in the sun, turned them over, lifted 
them one by one in his beak, dropped them, 
nestled on them as though they were eggs, toyed 
with them and gloated over them like a miser. 
This was his hobby, his weakness. He could 
not have explained :chy he enjoyed them, any 
more than a boy can explain why he collects 
postage-stamps, or a girl why she prefers pearls 
to rubies ; but his pleasure in them was very real, 
and after half an hour he covered them all. in- 
cluding the new one. with earth and leaves, and 
flew oft". I went at once to the spot and ex- 
amined the hoard ; there was about a hatful in 
all. chiefly white pebbles, clam-shells, and some 
bits of tin. but there was also the handle of a 
china cup. which must have been the gem of 
the collection. That was the last time I saw 
them. Silverspot knew that I had found his 
treasures, and he removed them at once ; where 
I never knew. 

During the space that 1 watched him so 
closely he had many little adventures and 
escapes. He was once severely handled by a 
sparrowhawk. and often he was chased and 





The Handle of a China-cup, the Gem of the Collection. 



Silvcrspot 

worried by kingbirds. Not that these did him 
much harm, but they were such noisy pests 
that he avoided their company as quickly as 
possible, just as a grown man avoids a conflict 
with a noisy and impudent small boy. He 
had some cruel tricks, too. He had a way 
of going the round of the small birds' nests 
each morning to eat the new laid eggs, as 
regularly as a doctor visiting his patients. But 
we must not judge him for that, as it is just 
what we ourselves do to the hens in the barn- 
yard. 

His quickness of wit was often shown. One 
day I saw him flying down the ravine with a 
large piece of bread in his bill. The stream 
below him was at this time being bricked over 
as a sewer. There was one part of two hundred 
yards quite finished, and, as he flew over the 
open water just above this, the bread fell from 
his bill, and was swept by the current out of 
sight into the tunnel. He flew down and 
peered vainly into the dark cavern, then, act- 
ing upon a happy thought, he flew to the down- 
stream end of the tunnel, and awaiting the re- 
appearance of the floating bread, as it was swept 

75 






Silvcrspot 

onward by the current, he seized and bore it 
off in triumph. 

Silverspot was a crow of the world. He 
was truly a successful crow. He lived in a 
region that, though full of dangers, abounded 
with food. In the old, unrepaired nest he 
raised a brood each year with his wife, whom, 
by the way, I never could distinguish, and 
when the crows again gathered together he was 
their acknowledged chief. 

The reassembling takes place about the end 
of June the young crows with their bob-tails, 
soft wings, and falsetto voices are brought by 
their parents, whom they nearly equal in size, 
and introduced to society at the old pine woods, 
a woods that is at once their fortress and col- 
lege. Here they find security in numbers and 
in lofty yet sheltered perches, and here they 
begin their schooling and are taught all the 
secrets of success in crow life, and in crow life 
the least failure does not simply mean begin 
again. It means death. 

The first week or two after their arrival is 
spent by the young ones in getting acquainted, 
for each crow must know personally all the 

76 



Silverspot 

others in the band. Their parents meanwhile 
have time to rest a little after the work of rais- 
ing them, for now the youngsters are able to 
feed themselves and roost on a branch in a row, 
just like big folks. 

In a week or two the moulting season comes. 
At this time the old crows are usually irritable 
and nervous, but it does not stop them from be- 
ginning to drill the youngsters, who, of course, 
do not much enjoy the punishment and nagging 
they get so soon after they have been mamma's 
own darlings. But it is all for their good, as 
the old lady said when she skinned the eels, and 
old Silverspot is an excellent teacher. Some- 
times he seems to make a speech to them. 
What he says I cannot guess, but, judging by 
the way they receive it, it must be extremely 
witty. Each morning there is a company 
drill, for the young ones naturally drop into 
two or three squads according to their age and 
strength. The rest of the day they forage with 
their parents. 

When at length September comes we find a 
great change. The rabble of silly little crows 
have begun to learn sense. The delicate blue 

79 




Silverspot 




iris of their eyes, the sign of a fool-crow, has 
given place to the dark brown eye of the old 
stager. They know their drill now and have 
learned sentry duty. They have been taught 
guns and traps and taken a special course in 
wire-worms and greencorn. They know that 
a fat old farmer's wife is much less dangerous, 
though so much larger, than her fifteen-year-old 
son, and they can tell the boy from his sister. 
They know that an umbrella is not a gun, and 
they can count up to six, which is fair for 
young crows, though Silverspot can go up 
nearly to thirty. They know the smell of gun- 
powder and the south side of a hemlock-tree, 
and begin to plume themselves upon being 
crows of the world. They always fold their 
wings three times after alighting, to be sure 
that it is neatly done. They know how to 
worry a fox into giving up half his dinner, and 
also that when the kingbird or the purple mar- 
tin assails them they must dash into a bush, for 
it is as impossible to fight the little pests as it is 
for the fat apple-woman to catch the small boys 
who have raided her basket. All these things 
do the young crows know ; but they have taken 

80 




Silverspot 



no lessons in egg-hunting yet, for it is not the 
season. They are unacquainted with clams, 
and have never tasted horses' eyes, or seen 
sprouted corn, and they don't know a thing 
about travel, the greatest educator of all. They 
did not think of that two months ago, and 
since then they have thought of it, but have 
learned to wait till their betters are ready. 

September sees a great change in the old 
crows, too. Their moulting is over. They 
are now in full feather again and proud of their 
handsome coats. Their health is again good, 
and with it their tempers are improved. Even 
old Silverspot, the strict teacher, becomes quite 
jolly, and the youngsters, who have long ago 
learned to respect him, begin really to love him. 

He has hammered away at drill, teaching 
them all the signals and words of command in 
use, and now it is a pleasure to see them in the 
early morning. 

' Company i ! ' the old chieftain would cry 
in crow, and Company i would answer with a 
great clamor. 

'Fly.'' and himself leading them, they would 
all fly straight forward. 

Si 




Silverspot 




' Mount ! ' and straight upward they turned 
in a moment. 

' Bunch / ' and they all massed into a dense 
black flock. 

' Scatter ! ' and they spread out like leaves 
before the wind. 

' Form line ! ' and they strung out into the 
long line of ordinary flight. 

' Descend .' ' and they all dropped nearly to 
the ground. 

' Forage ! ' and they alighted and scattered 
about to feed, while two of the permanent sen- 
tries mounted duty one on a tree to the right, 
the other on a mound to the far left. A minute 
or two later Silverspot would cry out, ' A man 
with a gun ! ' The sentries repeated the cry 
and the company flew at once in open order as 
quickly as possible toward the trees. Once be- 
hind these, they formed line again in safety and 
returned to the home pines. 

Sentry duty is not taken in turn by all the 
crows, but a certain number whose watchfulness 
has been often proved are the perpetual sentries, 
and are expected to watch and forage at the 
same time. Rather hard on them it seems to 

82 



Silverspot 

us, but it works well and the crow organization 
is admitted by all birds to be the very best in 
existence. 

Finally, each November sees the troop sail 
away southward to learn new modes of life, new 
landmarks and new kinds of food, under the 
guidance of the ever-wise Silverspot. 



Ill 



There is only one time when a crow is a fool, 
and that is at night. There is only one bird 
that terrifies the crow, and that is the owl. 
When, therefore, these come together it is a 1 
woful thing for the sable birds. The distant 
hoot of an owl after dark is enough to make 
them withdraw their heads from under their 
wings, and sit trembling and miserable till 
morning. In very cold weather the exposure 
of their faces thus has often resulted in a crow 
having one or both of his eyes frozen, so that 
blindness followed and therefore death. There 
are no hospitals for sick crows. 

83 



Srlverspot 

But with the morning their courage comes 
again, and arousing themselves they ransack 
the woods for a mile around till they find that 
owl, and if they do not kill him they at least 
worry him half to death and drive him twenty 
miles away. 

In 1893 the crows had come as usual to Cas- 
tle Frank. I was walking in these woods a few 
days afterward when I chanced upon the track 
of a rabbit that had been running at full speed 
over the snow and dodging about among the 
trees as though pursued. Strange to tell, I 
could see no track of the pursuer. I followed 
the trail and presently saw a drop of blood on 
the snow, and a little farther on found the part- 
ly devoured remains of a little brown bunny. 
What had killed him was a mystery until a care- 
ful search showed in the snow a great double- 
toed track and a beautifully pencilled brown 
feather. Then all was clear a horned owl. 
Half an hour later, in passing again by the place, 
there, in a tree, within ten feet of the bones of 
his victim, was the fierce-eyed owl himself. The 
murderer still hung about the scene of his crime. 
For once circumstantial evidence had not lied. 

S4 




D 

X- 

T5 



H 
<u 



Silvcrspot 

At my approach he gave a guttural ' grrr-oo' 
and flew off with low flagging flight to haunt 
the distant sombre woods. 

Two days afterward, at dawn, there was a great 
uproar among the crows. I went out early to 
see, and found some black feathers drifting over 
the snow. I followed up the wind in the direc- 
tion from which they came and soon saw the 
bloody remains of a crow and the great double- 
toed track which again told me that the mur- 
derer was the owl. All around were signs of the 
struggle, but the fell destroyer was too strong. 
The poor crow had been dragged from his perch 
at night, when the darkness had put him at a 
hopeless disadvantage. 

I turned over the remains, and by chance 
unburied the head then started with an ex- 
clamation of sorrow. Alas ! It was the head 
of old Silverspot. His long life of usefulness 
to his tribe was over slain at last by the owl 
that he had taught so many hundreds of young 
crows to beware of. 

The old nest on the Sugar Loaf is abandoned 
now. The crows still come in spring-time to 
Castle Frank, but without their famous leader 

87 



Silverspot 

their numbers are dwindling, and soon they will 
be seen no more about the old pine-grove in 
which they and their forefathers had lived and 
learned for ages. 



S3 




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Raggylug 
The Story of a 
Cottontail Rabbit 



Raggylug 

The Story of a Cottontail Rabbit 

RAGGYLUG, or Rag, was the name of a young 
cottontail rabbit. It was given him from his 
torn and ragged ear, a life-mark that he got 
in his first adventure. He lived with his mother 
in Olifant's swamp, where I made their acquaint- 
ance and gathered, in a hundred different ways, 
the little bits of proof and scraps of truth that at 
length enabled me to write this history. 

Those who do not know the animals well 
may think I have humanized them, but those 
who have lived so near them as to know some- 
what of their ways and their minds will not 
think so. 

Truly rabbits have no speech as we under- 
stand it, but they have a way of conveying ideas 
by a system of sounds, signs, scents, whisker- 

93 



Raggylug 

touches, movements, and example that answers 
the purpose of speech ; and it must be remem- 
bered that though in telling this story I free- 
ly translate from rabbit into English, / repeat 
nothing that they did not say. 




The rank swamp grass bent over and con- 
cealed the snug nest where Raggylug's mother 
had hidden him. She had partly covered him 
with some of the bedding, and, as always, her 
last warning was to ' lay low and say nothing, 
whatever happens.' Though tucked in bed, 
he was wide awake and his bright eyes were 

94 



taking in that part of his little green world that 
was straight above. A bluejay and a red- 
squirrel, two notorious thieves, were loudly be- 
rating each other for stealing, and at one time 
Rag's home bush was the centre of their fight ; 
a yellow warbler caught a blue butterfly but six 
inches from his nose, and a scarlet and black 
ladybug, serenely waving her knobbed feelers, 
took a long walk up one grassblade, down 
another, and across the nest and over Rag's 
face and yet he never moved nor even winked. 

After awhile he heard a strange rustling of 
the leaves in the near thicket. It was an odd, 
continuous sound, and though it went this way 
and that way and came ever nearer, there was 
no patter of feet with it. Rag had lived his 
whole life in the Swamp (he was three weeks 
old) and yet had never heard anything like 
this. Of course his curiosity was greatly 
aroused. His mother had cautioned him to 
lay low, but that was understood to be in case 
of danger, and this strange sound without foot- 
falls could not be anything to fear. 

The low rasping went past close at hand, 
then to the right, then back, and seemed going 

95 



away. Rag felt he knew what he was about ; 
he wasn't a baby ; it was his duty to learn 
what it was. He slowly raised his roly-poly 
body on his short fluffy legs, lifted his little 
round head above the covering of his nest and 
peeped out into the woods. The sound had 
ceased as soon as he moved. He saw nothing, 
so took one step forward to a clear view, and 
instantly found himself face to face with an 
enormous Black Serpent. 

" Mammy," he screamed in mortal terror as 
the monster darted at him. With all the strength 
of his tiny limbs he tried to run. But in a 
flash the Snake had him by one ear and whipped 
around him with his coils to gloat over the 
helpless little baby bunny he had secured for 
dinner. 

" Mam-my Mam-my," gasped poor little 
Raggylug as the cruel monster began slowly 
choking him to death. Very soon the little 
one's cry would have ceased, but bounding 
through the woods straight as an arrow came 
Mammy. No longer a shy, helpless little Molly 
Cottontail, ready to fly from a shadow : the 
mother's love was strong in her. The cry of 

96 




Face to Face with an Enormous Black Serpent. 



Raggylug; 



her baby had filled her with the courage of a 
hero, and hop, she went over that horrible 
reptile. Whack, she struck down at him with 
her sharp hind claws as she passed, giving him 
such a stinging blow that he squirmed with 
pain and hissed with anger. 

" M-a-m-m-y," came feebly from the little 
one. And Mammy came leaping again and 
again and struck harder and fiercer until the 
loathsome reptile let go the little one's ear 
and tried to bite the old one as she leaped over. 
But all he got was a mouthful of wool each 
time, and Molly's fierce blows began to tell, 
as long bloody rips were torn in the Black 
Snake's scaly armor. 

Things were now looking bad for the Snake ; 
and bracing himself for the next charge, he 
lost his tight hold on Baby Bunny, who at 
once wriggled out of the coils and away into 
the underbrush, breathless and terribly fright- 
ened, but unhurt save that his left ear was much 
torn by the teeth of that dreadful Serpent. 

Molly now had gained all she wanted. She 
had no notion of fighting for glory or revenge. 
Away she went into the woods and the little 

99 




one followed the shining beacon of her snow- 
white tail until she led him to a safe corner of 
the Swamp. 

II 

Old Olifant's Swamp was a rough, brambly 
tract of second-growth woods, with a marshy 
pond and a stream through the middle. A few 
ragged remnants of the old forest still stood 
in it and a few of the still older trunks were 
lying about as dead logs in the brushwood. 
The land about the pond was of that willow- 
grown sedgy kind that cats and horses avoid, 
but that cattle do not fear. The drier zones 
were overgrown with briars and young trees. 
The outermost belt of all, that next the fields, 
was of thrifty, gummy - trunked young pines 
whose living needles in air and dead ones on 
earth offer so delicious an odor to the nostrils 
of the passer-by, and so deadly a breath to 
those seedlings that would compete with them 
for the worthless waste they grow on. 

All around for a long way were smooth 
fields, and the only wild tracks that ever crossed 

100 



Ragfgylug; 

these fields were those of a thoroughly bad and 
unscrupulous fox that lived only too near. 

The chief indwellers of the swamp were 
Molly and Rag. Their nearest neighbors were 
far away, and their nearest kin were dead. 
This was their home, and here they lived to- 
gether, and here Rag received the training that 
made his success in life. 

Molly was a good little mother and gave him 
a careful bringing up. The first thing he 
learned was ' to lay low and say nothing. ' His 
adventure with the snake taught him the wis- 
dom of this. Rag never forgot that lesson ; af- 
terward he did as he was told, and it made the 
other things come more easily. 

The second lesson he learned was 'freeze.' 
It grows out of the first, and Rag was taught it 
as soon as he could run. 

' Freezing ' is simply doing nothing, turning 
into a statue. As soon as he finds a foe near, 
no matter what he is doing, a well-trained Cot- 
tontail keeps just as he is and stops all move- 
ment, for the creatures of the woods are of the 
same color as the things in the woods and 
catch the eye only while moving. So when 

101 



Raggylug 

enemies chance together, the one who first sees 
the other can keep himself unseen by ' freez- 
ing ' and thus have all the advantage of choos- 
ing the time for attack or escape. Only those 
who live in the woods know the importance of 
this ; every wild creature and every hunter 
must learn it ; all learn to do it well, but not 
one of them can beat Molly Cottontail in the 
doing. Rag's mother taught him this trick 
by example. When the white cotton cushion 
that she always carried to sit on went bobbing 
away through the woods, of course Rag ran his 
hardest to keep up. But when Molly stopped 
and 'froze,' the natural wisli to copy made 
him do the same. 

But the best lesson of all that Rag learned 
from his mother was the secret of the Brierbrush. 
It is a very old secret now, and to make it 
plain you must first hear why the Brierbrush 
quarrelled with the beasts. 



102 



Rag-gfyltigf 




Long ago the Roses used 
to grow on bushes that had no thorns. 
But the Squirrels and Mice used to 
climb after them, the Cattle used to knock 
them off with their horns, the Possum 
would twitch them off with his long tail, 
and the Deer, with his sharp hoofs, would 
break them down. So the Brierbrush 
armed itself with spikes to protect its roses 
and declared eternal war on all creatures that 
climbed trees, or had horns, or hoofs, or long 
tails. This left the Brierbrush at peace with 
none but Molly Cottontail, who could not climb, 
was hornless, hoofess, and had scarcely any 
tail at all. 

In truth the Cottontail had never harmed a 
Brierrose, and having now so many enemies 
the Rose took the Rabbit into especial friend- 
ship, and when dangers are threatening' poor 
Bunny he flies to the nearest Brierbrush, cer- 
tain that it is ready with a million keen and 
poisoned daggers to defend hint. 

103 




So the secret that Rag learned from his mother 
was, ' The Brierbush is your best friend.' 

Much of the time that season was spent in 
learning the lay of the land, and the bramble 
and brier mazes. And Rag learned them so 
well that he could go all around the swamp by 
two different ways and never leave the friendly 
briers at any place for more than five hops. 

It is not long since the foes of the Cotton, 
tails were disgusted to find that man had 
brought a new kind of bramble and planted it 
in long lines throughout the country. It was 
so strong that no creatures could break it down, 
and so sharp that the toughest skin was torn by 
it. Each year there was more of it and each 
year it became a more serious matter to the 
wild creatures. But Molly Cottontail had no 
fear of it. She was not brought up in the briers 
for nothing. Dogs and foxes, cattle and sheep, 
and even man himself might be torn by those 
fearful spikes: but Molly understands it and 
lives and thrives under it. And the further it 
spreads the more safe country there is for the 
Cottontail. And the name of this new and 
dreaded bramble is the barbed-wire fence. 

104 




III 



Molly had no other children to look after 
now, so Rag had all her care. He was unusu- 
ally quick and bright as well as strong, and he 
had uncommonly good chances ; so he got on 
remarkably well. 

All the season she kept him busy learning the 
tricks of the trail, and what to eat and drink 
and what not to touch. Day by day she worked 
to train him; little by little she taught him, 
putting into his mind hundreds of ideas that her 
own life or early training had stored in hers, 
and so equipped him with the knowledge that 
makes life possible to their kind. 

Close by her side in the clover-field or the 
thicket he would sit and copy her when she 
wobbled her nose ' to keep her smeller clear,' 
and pull the bite from her mouth or taste her 
lips to make sure he was getting the same kind 
of fodder. Still copying her, he learned to 
comb his ears with his claws and to dress his 
coat and to bite the burrs out of his vest and 
socks. He learned, too, that nothing but clear 

105 




dewdrops from the briers were fit for a rabbit 
to drink, as water which has once touched the 
earth must surely bear some taint. Thus he 
began the study of woodcraft, the oldest of all 
sciences. 

As soon as Rag was big enough to go out 
alone, his mother taught him the signal code. 
Rabbits telegraph each other by thumping on 
the ground with their hind feet. Along the 
ground sound carries far ; a thump that at six 
feet from the earth is not heard at twenty yards 
will, near the ground, be heard at least one 
hundred yards. Rabbits have very keen hear- 
ing, and so might hear this same thump at two 
hundred yards, and that would reach from end to 
end of Olifant's Swamp. A single thump means 
' look out ' or ' freeze. ' A slow thump thump 
means ' come.' A fast thump thump means 
' danger ; ' and a very fast thump thump thump 
means ' run for dear life. ' 

At another time, when the weather was fine 
and the bluejays were quarrelling among them- 
selves, a sure sign that no dangerous foe was 
about, Rag began a new study. Molly, by 
flattening her ears, gave the sign to squat. Then 

106 



she ran far away in the thicket and gave the 
thumping signal for ' come.' Rag set out at a 
run to the place but could not find Molly. He 
thumped, but got no reply. Setting carefully 
about his search he found her foot-scent and 
following this strange guide, that the beasts all 
know so well and man does not know at all, he 
worked out the trail and found her where she 
was hidden. Thus he got his first lesson in 
trailing, and thus it was that the games of hide 
and seek they played became the schooling for 
the serious chase of which there was so much in 
his after life. 

Before that first season of schooling was over 
he had learnt all the principal tricks by which 
a rabbit lives and in not a few problems showed 
himself a veritable genius. 

He was an adept at 'tree,' 'dodge,' and 
'squat,' he could play 'log-lump,' with 'wind' 
and ' baulk ' with ' back-track ' so well that he 
scarcely needed any other tricks. He had not 
yet tried it, but he knew just how to play 
' barb-wire,' which is a new trick of the brill- 
iant order ; he had made a special study of 
'sand,' which burns up all scent, and he was 

107 



Raggylug 

deeply versed in 'change-off,' 'fence/ and 
' double ' as well as ' hole-up,' which is a trick 
requiring longer notice, and yet he never forgot 
that ' lay-low ' is the beginning of all wisdom 
and ' brierbush ' the only trick that is always 
safe. 

He was taught the signs by which to know 
all his foes and then the way to baffle them. 
For hawks, owls, foxes, hounds, curs, minks, 
weasels, cats, skunks, coons, and men, each 
have a different plan of pursuit, and for each 
and all of these evils he was taught a remedy. 

And for knowledge of the enemy's approach 
he learnt to depend first on himself and his 
mother, and then on the bluejay. " Never 
neglect the bluejay's warning," said Molly; "he 
is a mischief-maker, a marplot, and a thief all the 
time, but nothing escapes him. He wouldn't 
mind harming us, but he cannot, thanks to the 
briers, and his enemies are ours, so it is well to 
heed him. If the woodpecker cries a warning 
you can trust him, he is honest ; but he is a fool 
beside the bluejay, and though the bluejay of- 
ten tells lies for mischief you are safe to believe 
him when he brings ill news." 

108 




The barb-wire trick takes a deal of nerve and 
the best of legs. It was long before he vent- 
ured to play it, but as he came to his full pow- 
ers it became one of his favorites. 

"It's fine play for those who can do it," 
said Molly. " First you lead off your dog on a 
straightaway and warm him up a bit by nearly 
letting him catch you. Then keeping just one 
hop ahead, you lead him at a long slant full tilt 
into a breast-high barb-wire. I've seen many a 
dog and fox crippled, and one big hound killed 
outright thisway. But I've also seen more than 
one rabbit lose his life in trying it." 

Rag early learnt what some rabbits never 
learn at all, that ' hole-up ' is not such a fine 
ruse as it seems ; it may be the certain safety of 
a wise rabbit, but soon or late is a sure death- 
trap to a fool. A young rabbit always thinks 
of it first, an old rabbit never tries it till all 
others fail. It means escape from a man or 
dog, a fox or a bird of prey, but it means sud- 
den death if the foe is a ferret, mink, skunk, or 
weasel. 

There were but two ground-holes in the 
Swamp. One on the Sunning Bank, which was 

109 








:: :vr_-<f remans 





Raggylug 

a dry sheltered knoll in the South-end. It was 
open and sloping to the sun. and here on fine 
days the Cottontails took their sunbaths. They 
stretched out among the fragrant pine needles 
and winter-green in odd cat-like positions, and 
turned slowly over as though roasting and wish- 
ing all sides well done. And they blinked and 
panted, and squirmed as if in dreadful pain : 
yet this was one of the keenest enjoyments they 
knew. 

Tust over the brow of the knoll was a large 
pine stump. Its grotesque roots wriggled out 
above the yellow sand-bank like dragons, and 
under their protecting claws a sulky old wood- 
chuck had digged a den long ago. He became 
more sour and ill-tempered as weeks went by. 
and one day waited to quarrel with Olifant's 
dog instead of going in so that Molly Cotton- 
tail was able to take possession of the den an 
hour later. 

This, the pine-root hole, was afterward very 
coolly taken by a self-sufficient young skunk who 
with less valor might have enjoyed greater lon- 
gevity, for he imagined that even man with a 
gun would fly from him. Instead of keeping 

no 



Molly from the den for good, therefore, his 
reign, like that of a certain Hebrew king, was 
over in four days. 

The other, the fern-hole, was in a fern thicket 
next the clover field. It was small and damp, 
and useless except as a last retreat. It also was 
the work of a woodchuck, a well-meaning 
friendly neighbor, but a hare-brained youngster 
whose skin in the form of a whip-lash was now 
developing higher horse-power in the Olifant 
working team. 

"Simple justice," said the old man. "for 
that hide was raised on stolen feed that the team 
would a' turned into horse-power anyway. 1 ' 

The Cottontails were now sole owners of the 
holes, and did not go near them when they 
could help it, lest anything like a path should be 
made that might betray these last retreats to an 
enemy. 

There was also the hollow hickory, which, 
though nearly fallen, was still green, and had 
the great advantage of being open at both ends. 
This had long been the residence of one Lotor. 
a solitary old coon whose ostensible calling was 
frog-hunting, and who. like the monks of old, 

HI 





Ragfgfylug: 

was supposed to abstain from all flesh food. 
But it was shrewdly suspected that he needed 
but a chance to indulge in diet of rabbit. When 
at last one dark night he was killed while raid- 
ing Olifant's hen-house, Molly, so far from feel- 
ing a pang of regret, took possession of his cosy 
nest with a sense of unbounded relief. 



IV 

Bright August sunlight was flooding the 
Swamp in the morning. Everything seemed 
soaking in the warm radiance. A little brown 
swamp-sparrow was teetering on a long rush in 
the pond. Beneath him there were open spaces 
of dirty water that brought down a few scraps 
of the blue sky, and worked it and the yellow 
duckweed into an exquisite mosaic, with a little 
wrong-side picture of the bird in the middle. 
On the bank behind was a great vigorous growth 
of golden green skunk-cabbage, that cast dense 
shadow over the brown swamp tussocks. 

The eyes of the swamp-sparrow were not 
trained to take in the color glories, but he saw 
what we might have missed ; that two of the 

112 



numberless leafy brown bumps under the broad 
cabbage-leaves were furry living things, with 
noses that never ceased to move up and down 
whatever else was still. 

It was Molly and Rag. They were stretched 
under the skunk-cabbage, not because they liked 
its rank smell, but because the winged ticks 
could not stand it at all and so left them in 
peace. 

Rabbits have no set time for lessons, they 
are always learning ; but what the lesson is de- 
pends on the present stress, and that must 
arrive before it is known. They went to this 
place for a quiet rest, but had not been long 
there when suddenly a warning note from the 
ever-watchful bluejay caused Molly's nose and 
ears to go up and her tail to tighten to her 
back. Away across the Swamp was Olifant's 
big black and white dog, coming straight 
toward them. 

" Now," said Molly, "squat while I go and 
keep that fool out of mischief." Away she 
went to meet him and she fearlessly dashed 
across the dog's path. 

" Bow-ow-ow," he fairly yelled as he bound- 

"3 




Raggylug: 

ed after Molly, but she kept just beyond his 
reach and led him where the million daggers 
struck fast and deep, till his tender ears were 
scratched raw, and guided him at last plump into 
a hidden barbed-wire fence, where he got such a 
gashing that he went homeward howling with 
pain. After making a short double, a loop and a 
baulk in case the dog should come back, Molly 
returned to find that Rag in his eagerness was 
standing bolt upright and craning his neck to 
see the sport. 

This disobedience made her so angry that she 
struck him with her hind foot and knocked him 
over in the mud. 

^ ne ^ a y as ^y ^ on ^ e near c ^ over fi e ld 
a red-tailed hawk came swooping after them. 

Molly kicked up her hind legs to make fun of 
him and skipped into the briers along one of 
their old pathways, where of course the hawk 
could not follow. It was the main path from 
the Creekside Thicket to the Stove-pipe brush- 
pile. Several creepers had grown across it, and 
Molly, keeping one eye on the hawk, set to work 
and cut the creepers off. Rag watched her, 
than ran on ahead, and cut some more that 

114 



Raggylug 



were across the path. " That's right," said 
Molly, " always keep the runways clear, you 
will need them often enough. Not wide, but 
clear. Cut everything like a creeper across 
them and some day you will find you have 
cut a snare. "A what?" asked Rag, as he 
scratched his right ear with his left hind foot. 

"A snare is something that looks like a 
creeper, but it doesn't grow and it's worse than 
all the hawks in the world," said Molly, glanc- 
ing at the now far-away red-tail, " for there it 
hides night and day in the runway till the 
chance to catch you comes." 

"I don't believe it could catch me," said 
Rag, with the pride of youth as he rose on his 
heels to rub his chin and whiskers high up on a 
smooth sapling. Rag did not know he was doing 
this, but his mother saw and knew it was a sign, 
like the changing of a boy's voice, that her little 
one was no longer a baby but would soon be a 
grown-up Cottontail. 




Raggylug; 



There is magic in running water. Who does 
not know it and feel it? The railroad builder 
fearlessly throws his bank across the wide bog or 
lake, or the sea itself, but the tiniest rill of run- 
ning water he treats with great respect, studies 
its wish and its way and gives it all it seems to 
ask. The thirst-parched traveller in the poi- 
sonous alkali deserts holds back in deadly fear 
from the sedgy ponds till he finds one down 
whose centre is a thin, clear line, and a faint 
flow, the sign of running, living water, and joy- 
fully he drinks. 

There is magic in running water, no evil 
spell can cross it. Tarn O'Shanter proved its 
potency in time of sorest need. The wild-wood 
creature with its deadly foe following tireless on 
the trail scent, realizes its nearing doom and 
feels an awful spell. Its strength is spent, its 
every trick is tried in vain till its good angel 
leads it to the water, the running, living water, 
and dashing in it follows the cooling stream, 
and then with force renewed takes to the woods 
again. 

116 




Rajr Followed the Snow-white Beacon. 



Raggylug 

There is magic in running water. The 
hounds come to the very spot and halt and cast 
about ; and halt and cast in vain. Their spell 
is broken by the merry stream, and the wild 
thing lives its life. 

And this was one of the great secrets that 
Raggylug learned from his mother " after the 
Brierrose, the Water is your friend." 

One hot, muggy night in August, Molly led 
Rag through the woods. The cotton-white 
cushion she wore under her tail twinkled ahead 
and was his guiding lantern, though it went out 
as soon as she stopped and sat on it. After a 
few runs and stops to listen, they came to the 
edge of the pond. The hylas in the trees above 
them were singing 'sleep, sleep,' and away out 
on a sunken log in the deep water, up to his 
chin in the cooling bath, a bloated bullfrog was 
singing the praises of a 'jug o 1 rum.' 

"Follow me still," said Molly, in rabbit, 
and ' flop ' she went into the pond and struck 
out for the sunken log in the middle. Rag 
flinched but plunged with a little 'ouch,' 
gasping and wobbling his nose very fast but 
still copying his mother. The same move- 

119 




ments as on land sent him through the water, 
and thus he found he could swim. On he went 
till he reached the sunken log and scrambled up 
by his dripping mother on the high dry end, 
with a rushy screen around them and the Water 
that tells no tales. After this in warm black 
nights when that old fox from Springfield came 
prowling through the Swamp, Rag would note 
the place of the bullfrog's voice, for in case ol 
direst need it might be a guide to safety. 
And thenceforth the words of the song that 
the bullfrog sang were, ' Come, come, in danger 
come. ' 

This was the latest study that Rag took up 
with his mother it was really a post-graduate 
course, for many little rabbits never learn it at 
all. 

VI 

No wild animal dies of old age. Its life has 
soon or late a tragic end. It is only a question 
of how long it can hold out against its foes. 
But Rag's life was proof that once a rabbit passes 
out of his youth he is likely to outlive his prime 

120 



Raggylug 

and be killed only in the last third of life, the 
downhill third we call old age. 

The Cottontails had enemies on every side. 
Their daily life was a series of escapes. For 
dogs, foxes, cats, skunks, coons, weasels, minks, 
snakes, hawks, owls, and men. and even insects 
were all plotting to kill them. They had hun- 
dreds of adventures, and at least once a day they 
had to fly for their lives and save themselves by 
their legs and wits. 

More than once that hateful fox from Spring- 
field drove them to taking refuge under the 
wreck of a barbed-wire hog-pen by the spring. 
But once there they could look calmly at him 
while he spiked his legs in vain attempts to 
reach them. 

Once or twice Rag when hunted had played 
off the hound against a skunk that had seemed 
likely to be quite as dangerous as the dog. 

Once he was caught alive by a hunter who 
had a hound and a ferret to help him. But 
Rag had the luck to escape next day, with a 
yet deeper distrust of ground holes. He was 
several times run into the water by the cat, and 
many times was chased by hawks and owls, but , ^ 

: vfe- 
-K/^r. 






Raggylug 

for each kind of danger there was a safeguard. 
His mother taught him the principal dodges, 
and he improved on them and made many new 
ones as he grew older. And the older and wiser 
he grew the less he trusted to his legs, and the 
more to his wits for safety. 

Ranger was the name of a young hound in 
the neighborhood. To train him his master 
used to put him on the trail of one of the Cot- 
tontails. It was nearly always Rag that they 
ran, for the young buck enjoyed the runs as 
much as they did, the spice of danger in them 
being just enough for zest. He would say : 

" Oh, mother ! here comes the dog again, I 
must have a run to-day." 

" You are too bold, Raggy, my son ! " she 
might reply. " I fear you will run once too 
often." 

" But, mother, it is such glorious fun to tease 
that fool dog, and it's all good training. I'll 
thump if I am too hard pressed, then you can 
come and change off while I get my second 
wind." 

On he would come, and Ranger would take the 
trail and follow till Rag got tired of it. Then 

122 



Raggylugf 

he either sent a thumping telegram for help, 
which brought Molly to take charge of the dog, 
or he got rid of the dog by some clever trick. 
A description of one of these shows how well 
Rag had learned the arts of the woods. 

He knew that his scent lay best near the 
ground, and was strongest when he was warm. 




..-- 

'' 



1 



So if he could get off the ground, and be left in 
peace for half an hour to cool off, and for the 
trail to stale, he knew he would be safe. When, 
therefore, he tired of the chase, he made for 
the Creekside brier-patch, where he 'wound' 
that is, zigzagged till he left a course so crooked 
that the dog was sure to be greatly delayed in 
working it out. He then went straight to D 

123 



Raggylug 

in the woods, passing one hop to windward of 
the high log E. Stopping at D, he followed 
his back trail to F, here he leaped aside and ran 
toward B. Then, returning on his trail to J, 
he waited till the hound passed on his trail at I. 
Rag then got back on his old trail at H, and 
followed it to E, where, with a scent-baulk or 
great leap aside, he reached the high log, and 
running to its higher end, he sat like a bump. 

Ranger lost much time in the bramble maze, 
and the scent was very poor when he got it 
straightened out, and came to D. Here he be- 
gan to circle to pick it up, and after losing 
much time, struck the trail which ended sud- 
denly at G. Again he was at fault, and had to 
circle to find the trail. Wider and wider the 
circles, until at last, he passed right under the 
log Rag was on. But a cold scent, on a cold 
day, does not go downward much. Rag never 
budged nor winked, and the hound passed. 

Again the dog came round. This time he 
crossed the low part of the log, and stopped to 
smell it. 'Yes, clearly it was rabbity,' but it 
was a stale scent now ; still he mounted the log. 

It was a trying moment for Rag, as the great 

124 




The Hound Came Sniffing Along' the Log. 



hound came sniff-sniffing along the log. But his 
nerve did not forsake him; the wind was right ; 
he had his mind made up to bolt as soon as 
Ranger came halfway up. But he didn't come. 
A yellow cur would have seen the rabbit sitting 
there, but the hound did not, and the scent 
seemed stale, so he leaped off the log, and Rag 
had won. 

VII 

Rag had never seen any other rabbit than 
his mother. Indeed he had scarcely thought 
about there being any other. He was more 
and more away from her now, and yet he never 
felt lonely, for rabbits do not hanker for com- 
pany. But one day in December, while he was 
among the red dogwood brush, cutting a new 
path to the great Creekside thicket, he saw all at 
once against the sky over the Sunning Bank the 
head and ears of a strange rabbit. The new- 
comer had the air of a well-pleased discoverer 
and soon came hopping Rag's way along one of 
his paths into his Swamp. A new feeling rushed 
over him, that boiling mixture of anger and 
hatred called jealousy. 

127 




The stranger stopped at one of Rag's rubbing- 
trees that is, a tree against which he used to 
stand on his heels and rub his chin as far up as 
he could reach. He thought he did this simply 
because he liked it ; but all buck-rabbits do so, 
and several ends are served. It makes the tree 

- rabbity, so that other rabbits know that this 

~ 

swamp already belongs to a rabbit family and 

is not open for settlement. It also lets the 
next one know by the scent if the last caller 
was an acquaintance, and the height from the 
ground of the rubbing-places shows how tall 
the rabbit is. 

Now to his disgust Rag noticed that the new- 
comer was a head taller than himself, and a 
big, stout buck at that. This was a wholly new 
experience and filled Rag with a wholly new 
feeling. The spirit of murder entered his 
heart ; he chewed very hard with nothing in 
his mouth, and hopping forward onto a smooth 
piece of hard ground he struck slowly : 

1 Thump thump thump,' which is a rabbit 
telegram for, ' Get out of my swamp, or fight. ' 

The new-comer made a big V with his ears, 
sat upright for a few seconds, then, dropping on 

128 



Raggylugf 

his fore-feet, sent along the ground a louder, 
stronger, ' Thump thump thump.' 

And so war was declared. 

They came together by short runs side-wise, 
each one trying to get the wind of the other 
and watching for a chance advantage. The 
stranger was a big, heavy buck with plenty of 
muscle, but one or two trifles such as treading 
on a turnover and failing to close when Rag 
was on low ground showed that he had not 
much cunning and counted on winning his 
battles by his weight. On he came at last and 
Rag met him like a little fury. As they came 
together they leaped up and struck out with 
their hind feet. Thud, thud they came, and 
down went poor little Rag. In a moment the 
stranger was on him with his teeth and Rag 
was bitten, and lost several tufts of hair before 
he could get up. But he was swift of foot and 
got out of reach. Again he charged and again 
he was knocked down and bitten severely. He 
was no match for his foe, and it soon became a 
question of saving his own life. 

Hurt as he was he sprang away, with the stran- 
ger in full chase, and bound to kill him as well 

129 



i to oust tin T r : -. : 

bam. r.z; ? fr ; r:r ;:;: iri 
: 7r f rnrie: ^25 big and so he 

f f : :r. rr f . :-.t . .i-r --~.i f -;'.'. :: : 

poor Rag that t _.i :':: sgettn g stiff 

T: : : : :? i ; z - : :ri } : 

: TTi" '- -~ - -.-".:: : : ?.;r His 

:-;. -." j :=.; "reer -.: .s: . _ ; ::r_ ; fifi ; 
BCD, and so on. bat whs: :: i: trhe- chased 
by another ral I be - : r : : kno^w. - 1 . : 
knew w- -: tfll he v~ :":_r: then 

~ 

Poor Ktde W as ronqiete-; :err:r zed: 

sbe could not he". Rag and : . 
- IT Bet Ac : :ck soon fo-^ii 
: :: She tr.ri trrir r : : t : ; 

: : -: : ' a= 7 ir The ; ::i".f: n =i; 
noattemp:: f c idelovf -. : 

-: t .i;-r ?hr hite-d ^:~ a~f tried :: - 
tws be treafte ET sbamd 

- T : - - : 

often, fariots at her last ' . : t : be 
knock her down aad tear out i :: i 

- '-. ~" - .. ':. : rare :: : t: : : r/t " ---. " -~ -. 
-' T - r: i:' ~-~ :ie. B:: r riied 
:; 



purpose was to kill Rag, whose escape seemed 
hopeless. There was no other swamp he could 
go to, and whenever he took a nap now he 
had to be ready at any moment to dash for his 
life. A dozen times a day the big stranger came 
creeping up to where he sk t, but each time 
the watchful Rag awoke in time to escape. To 
escape yet not to escape. He saved his life in- 
deed, but oh! what a miserable life it had be- 
come. How maddening to be thus helpless, 
to see his little mother daily beaten and torn. 
as well as to see all his favorite feeding-grounds, 
the cosy nooks, and the pathways he had m 

. so much labor, forced from him by this 
hateful brute. Unhappy Rag realized that to 
the victor belong the spoils, and he hated him 
more than ever he did fox or ferre: 

How was it to end ? He was wearing out 
with running and watching and bad food, and 
little Molly's strength and spirit were breaking 
down under the long persecution. The stra: . E 
was ready to go to all lengths to destroy poor 
Rag. and at last stooped to the worst crime 
known among rabbits. However much they 
may hate each other, all good rabbits former 







their feuds when their common enemy appears. 
Yet one day when a great goshawk came swoop- 
ing over the swamp, the stranger, keeping well 
under cover himself, tried again and again to 
drive Rag into the open. 

Once or twice the hawk nearly had him, but 
still the briers saved him, and it was only when 
the big buck himself came near being caught 
that he gave it up. And again Rag escaped, 
but was no better off. He made up his 
mind to leave, with his mother, if possible, next 
night and go into the world in quest of some 
new home when he heard old Thunder, the 
hound, sniffing and searching about the out- 
skirts of the swamp, and he resolved on playing 
a desperate game. He deliberately crossed the 
hound's view, and the chase that then began was 
fast and furious. Thrice around the Swamp 
they went till Rag had made sure that his 
mother was hidden safely and that his hated 
foe was in his usual nest. Then right into that 
nest and plump over him he jumped, giving him 
a rap with one hind foot as he passed over his 
head. 

" You miserable fool, I kill you yet," cried 

132 



the stranger, and up he jumped only to find him- 
self between Rag and the dog and heir to all 
the peril of the chase. 

On came the hound baying hotly on the 
straight-away scent. The buck's weight and 
size were great advantages in a rabbit fight, but 
now they were fatal. He did not know many 
tricks. Just the simple ones like ' double,' 
' wind,' and ' hole-up,' that every baby Bunny 
knows. But the chase was too close for doub- 
ling and winding, and he didn't know where 
the holes were. 

It was a straight race. The brier-rose, kind 
to all rabbits alike, did its best, but it was no 
use. The baying of the hound was fast and 
steady. The crashing of the brush and the 
yelping of the hound each time the briers tore 
his tender ears were borne to the two rabbits 
where they crouched in hiding. But suddenly 
these sounds stopped, there was a scuffle, then 
loud and terrible screaming. 

Rag knew what it meant and it sent a shiver 
through him, but he soon forgot that when all 
was over and rejoiced to be once more the 
master of the dear old Swamp. 





VIII 

Old Olifant had doubtless a right to burn all 
those brush-piles in the east and south of the 
Swamp and to clear up the wreck of the old 
barbed-wire hog-pen just below the spring. But 
it was none the less hard on Rag and his mother. 
The first were their various residences and out- 
posts, and the second their grand fastness and 
safe retreat. 

They had so long held the Swamp and felt it 
to be their very own in every part and suburb, 
-including Olifant's grounds and buildings 
that they would have resented the appearance 
of another rabbit even about the adjoining 
barnyard. 

Their claim, that of long, successful occu- 
pancy, was exactly the same as that by which 
most nations hold their land, and it would be 
hard to find a better right. 

During the time of the January thaw the 
Olifants had cut the rest of the large wood 
about the pond and curtailed the Cottontails' 
domain on all sides. But they still clung to the 
dwindling Swamp, for it was their home and 



Ragfgylug 



they were loath to move to foreign parts. 
Their life of daily perils went on, but they were 
still fleet of foot, long of wind, and bright of 
wit. Of late they had been somewhat troubled 
by a mink that had wandered up-stream to their 
quiet nook. A little judicious guidance had 
transferred the uncomfortable visitor to Oli- 
fant's hen-house. But they were not yet quite 
sure that he had been properly looked after. So 
for the present they gave up using the ground- 
holes, which were, of course, dangerous blind- 
alleys, and stuck closer than ever to the briers 
and the brush-piles that were left. 

That first snow had quite gone and the 
weather was bright and warm until now. Molly, 
feeling a touch of rheumatism, was somewhere 
in the lower thicket seeking a teaberry tonic. 
Rag was sitting in the weak sunlight on a bank 
in the east side. The smoke from the fa- 
miliar gable chimney of Olifant's house came 
fitfully drifting a pale blue haze through the 
underwoods and showing as a dull brown 
against the brightness of the sky. The sun-gilt 
gable was cut off midway by the banks of brier- 
brush, that purple in shadow shone like rods of 




Raggylugf 

blazing crimson and gold in the light. Beyond 
the house the barn with its gable and roof, new 
gilt as the house, stood up like a Noah's ark. 

The sounds that came from it, and yet more 
the delicious smell that mingled with the smoke, 
told Rag that the animals were being fed cab- 
bage in the yard. Rag's mouth watered at the 
idea of the feast. He blinked and blinked as 
he snuffed its odorous promises, for he loved 
cabbage dearly. But then he had been to the 
barnyard the night before after a few paltry 
clover -tops, and no wise rabbit would go two 
nights running to the same place. 

Therefore he did the wise thing. He moved 
across where he could not smell the cabbage and 
made his supper of a bundle of hay that had 
been blown from the stack. Later, when about 
to settle for the night, he was joined by Molly, 
who had taken her teaberry and then eaten her 
frugal meal of sweet birch near the Sunning 
Bank. 

Meanwhile the sun had gone about his busi- 
ness elsewhere, taking all his gold and glory 
with him. Off in the east a big black shutter 
came pushing up and rising higher and higher; 

136 



it spread over the whole sky, shut out all light 
and left the world a very gloomy place indeed. 
Then another mischief-maker, the wind, taking 
advantage of the sun's absence, came on the scene 
and set about brewing trouble. The weather 
turned colder and colder ; it seemed worse than 
when the ground had been covered with snow. 

" Isn't this terribly cold ? How I wish we 
had our stove-pipe brush-pile," said Rag. 

" A good night for the pine-root hole," re- 
plied Molly, " but we have not yet seen the 
pelt of that mink on the end of the barn, and 
it is not safe till we do." 

The hollow hickory was gone in fact at this 
very moment its trunk, lying in the wood-yard, 
was harboring the mink they feared. So the 
Cottontails hopped to the south side of the pond 
and, choosing a brush-pile, they crept under and 
snuggled down for the night, facing the wind 
but with their noses in different directions so as 
to go out different ways in case of alarm. The 
wind blew harder and colder as the hours went 
by, and about midnight a fine icy snow came 
ticking down on the dead leaves and hissing 
through the brush heap. It might seem a poor 



Raggylug 

night for hunting, but that old fox from Spring- 
field was out. He came pointing up the wind 
in the shelter of the Swamp and chanced in the 
lee of the brush-pile, where he scented the 
sleeping Cottontails. He halted for a moment, 
then came stealthily sneaking up toward the 
brush under which his nose told him the rabbits 
were crouching. The noise of the wind and 
the sleet enabled him to come quite close be- 
fore Molly heard the faint crunch of a dry 
leaf under his paw r . She touched Rag's whis- 
kers, and both were fully awake just as the fox 
sprang on them; but they al \vays slept with their 
legs ready for a jump. Molly darted out into 
the blinding storm. The fox missed his spring 
but followed like a racer, while Rag dashed off 
to one side. 

There was only one road for Molly; that was 
straight up the wind, and bounding for her 
life she gained a little over the unfrozen mud 
that would not carry the fox, till she reached 
the margin of the pond. No chance to turn 
now, on she must go. 

Splash ! splash ! through the weed she went, 
then plunge into the deep water. 

138 



f 















No Chance to Turn Now. 



And plunge went the fox close behind. But 
it was too much for Reynard on such a night. 
He turned back, and Molly, seeing only one 
course, struggled through the reeds into the deep 
water and struck out for the other shore. But 
there was a strong headwind. The little waves, 
icy cold, broke over her head as she swam, and 
the water was full of snow that blocked her 
way like soft ice, or floating mud. The dark 
line of the other shore seemed far, far away, 
with perhaps the fox waiting for her there. 

But she laid her ears flat to be out of the gale, 
and bravely put forth all her strength with wind 
and tide against her. After a long, weary 
swim in the cold water, she had nearly reached 
the farther reeds when a great mass of floating 
snow barred her road ; then the wind on the 
bank made strange, fox-like sounds that robbed 
her of all force, and she was drifted far back- 
ward before she could get free from the floating 
bar. 

Again she struck out, but slowly oh so 
slowly now. And when at last she reached the 
lee of the tall reeds, her limbs were numbed, 
her strength spent, her brave little heart was 

141 



Ragrgylug 

sinking, and she cared no more whether the fox 
were there or not. Through the reeds she did 
indeed pass, but once in the weeds her course 
wavered and slowed, her feeble strokes no longer 
sent her landward, the ice forming around her, 
stopped her altogether. In a little while the 
cold, weak limbs ceased to move, the furry nose- 
tip of the little mother Cottontail wobbled no 
more, and the soft brown eyes were closed in 
death. 

But there was no fox waiting to tear her with 
ravenous jaws. Rag had escaped the first onset 
of the foe, and as soon as he regained his wits 
he came running back to change-off and so help 
his mother. He met the old fox going round 
the pond to meet Molly and led him far and 
away, then dismissed him with a barbed-wire 
gash on his head, and came to the bank and 
sought about and trailed and thumped, but all 
his searching was in vain; he could not find his 
little mother. He never saw her again, and he 
never knew whither she went, for she slept her 
never-waking sleep in the ice-arms of her friend 
the Water that tells no tales. 

142 



Raggylogf 

Poor little Molly Cottontail ! She was a true 
heroine, yet only one of unnumbered millions 
that without a thought of heroism have lived 
and done their best in their little world, and 
died. She fought a good fight in the battle of 
life. She was good stuff; the stuff that never 
dies. For flesh of her flesh and brain of her 
brain was Rag. She lives in him, and through 
him transmits a finer fibre to her race. 

And Rag still lives in the Swamp. Old Olifant 
died that winter, and the unthrifty sons ceased 
to clear the Swamp or mend the wire fences. 
Within a single year it was a wilder place than 
ever ; fresh trees and brambles grew, and falling 
wires made many Cottontail castles and last re- 
treats that dogs and foxes dared not storm. 
And there to this day lives Rag. He is a big 
strong buck now and fears no rivals. He has 
a large family of his own, and a pretty brown 
wife that he got no one knows where. There, no 
doubt, he and his children's children will flour- 
ish for many years to come, and there you may 
see them any sunny evening if you have learnt 
their signal code, and choosing a good spot on 
the ground, know just how and when to thump it. 








Bingo 

The Story of 
My Dog 



Bingo 



"12e JFrancfcelsn's Z>oggc leape?> over a 
Hno ^e? yclept |jf m i^ttel JBingo, 



Bnt> ret yclept bim I^ttcl Ctngo. 



Jranchclsn's wgfe brewe^ mittesbrown 
be tcUpt sttc rare gooJe Stingo, 



Bn& be yclept iette rare gootie Stingo. 

How v;s not tbis a prettse rbsme, 
f tb^nfee stte ye b^e 3tngo, 



146 



Bingo 

The Story of My Dog 




T was early in November, 1882, and 
the Manitoba winter had just set in. 
I was tilting back in my chair for a 
few lazy moments after breakfast 
idly alternating my gaze from the 
one window-pane of our shanty, 
through which was framed a bit of 
the prairie and the end of our cowshed, to the 
old rhyme of the 'Franckelyn's dogge' pinned 
on the logs near by. But the dreamy mixture 
of rhyme and view was quickly dispelled by 
the sight of a large gray animal dashing across 
the prairie into the cowshed, with a smaller 
black and white animal in hot pursuit. 

"47 



Bingo 

" A wolf," I exclaimed, and seizing a rifle 
dashed out to help the dog. But before I 
could get there they had left the stable, and 
after a short run over the snow the wolf again 
turned at bay, and the dog, our neighbor's 
collie, circled about watching his chance to 
snap. 

I fired a couple of long shots, which had 
the effect only of setting them off again over 
the prairie. After another run this matchless 
dog closed and seized the wolf by the haunch, 
but again retreated to avoid the fierce return 
chop. Then there was another stand at bay, 
and again a race over the snow. Every few 
hundred yards this scene was repeated. The 
dog managing so that each fresh rush should be 
toward the settlement, while the wolf vainly 
tried to break back toward the dark belt of 
trees in the east. At last after a mile of this 
fighting and running I overtook them, and the 
dog, seeing that he now had good backing, 
closed in for the finish. 

After a few seconds the whirl of struggling 
animals resolved itself into a wolf, on his back, 
with a bleeding collie, gripping his throat, and 

148 




f . | 



j 



Frank Retreated Each Time the Wolf Turned. 




Bingo 

it was now easy for me to step up and end the 
fight by putting a ball through the wolfs head. 

Then, when this dog of marvellous wind 
saw that his foe was dead, he gave him no sec- 
ond glance, but set out at a lope for a farm 
four miles across the snow where he had left his 
master when first the wolf was started. He 
was a wonderful dog, and even if I had not 
come he undoubtedly would have killed the 
wolf alone, as I learned he had already done 
with others of the kind, in spite of the fact that 
the wolf, though of the smaller or prairie race, 
was much larger than himself. 

I was filled with admiration for the dog's 
prowess and at once sought to buy him at any 
price. The scornful reply of his owner was, 
" Why don't you try to buy one of the chil- 
dren ?" 

Since Frank was not in the market I was 
obliged to content myself with the next best 
thing, one of his alleged progeny. That is, a son 
of his wife. This probable offspring of an illus- 
trious sire was a roly-poly ball of black fur that 
looked more like a long-tailed bear-cub than a 
puppy. But he had some tan markings like 




Bingo 

those on Frank's coat, that were, I hoped, guar- 
antees of future greatness, and also a very char- 
acteristic ring of white that he always wore on 
his muzzle. 

Having got possession of his person, the next 
thing was to find him a name. Surely this 
puzzle was already solved. The rhyme of the 
' Franckelyn's dogge ' was inbuilt with the foun- 
dation of our acquaintance, so with adequate 
pomp we ' yclept him little Bingo." 



II 



The rest of that winter Bingo spent in onr 
shanty, living the life of a lubberly, fat, well- 
meaning, ill-doing puppy; gorging himself with 
food and growing bigger and clumsier each day. 
Even sad experience failed to teach him that he 
must keep his nose out of the rat-trap. His most 
S .*?'"') friendly overtures to the cat were wholly mis- 
understood and resulted only in an armed neu- 
trality that, varied by occasional reigns of terror, 
continued to the end ; which came when Bingo, 
who early showed a mind of his own, got a 

152 




Bingfo 

notion for sleeping at the barn and avoiding the 
shanty altogether. 

When the spring came I set about his serious 
education. After much pains on my behalf and 
many pains on his, he learned to go at the word 
in quest of our old yellow cow, that pastured at 
will on the unfenced prairie. 

Once he had learned his business, he became 
very fond of it and nothing pleased him more 
than an order to go and fetch the cow. Away 
he would dash, barking with pleasure and leap- 
ing high in the air that he might better scan the 
plain for his victim. In a short time he would 
return driving her at full gallop before him, and 
gave her no peace until, purring and blowing, she 
was safely driven into the farthest corner of her 
stable. 

Less energy on his part would have been 
more satisfactory, but we bore with him until 
he grew so fond of this semi -daily hunt that 
he began to bring ' old Dunne ' without being 
told. And at length not once or twice but a 
dozen times a day this energetic cowherd would 
sally forth on his own responsibility and drive 
the cow home to the stable. 



Bingo 

At last things came to such a pass that when- 
ever he felt like taking a little exercise, or had 
a few minutes of spare time, or even happened 
to think of it, Bingo would sally forth at racing 
speed over the plain and a few minutes later 
return, driving the unhappy yellow cow at full 
gallop before him. 

At first this did not seem very bad, as it kept 
the cow from straying too far ; but soon it was 
seen that it hindered her feeding. She became 
thin and gave less milk ; it seemed to weigh on 
her mind too, as she was always watching ner- 
vously for that hateful dog, and in the mornings 
would hang around the stable as though afraid 
to venture off and subject herself at once to an 
onset. 

This was going too far. All attempts to 
make Bingo more moderate in his pleasure were 
failures, so he was compelled to give it up al- 
together. After this, though he dared not bring 
her home, he continued to show his interest by 



lying at her stable door while she was being 

ViT'NM milked. 

$? V As the summer came on the mosquitoes be- 

came a dreadful plague, and the consequent 




il 



'if 

f if?* 



Bingo 

vicious switching of Dunne's tail at milking- 
time even more annoying than the mosquitoes. 

Fred, the brother who did the milking, was 
of an inventive as well as an impatient turn of 
mind, and he devised a simple plan to stop the 
switching. He fastened a brick to the cow's 
tail, then set blithely about his work assured of 
unusual comfort while the rest of us looked on 
in doubt. 

Suddenly through the mist of mosquitoes 
came a dull whack and an outburst of ' lan- 
guage.' The cow went on placidly chewing till 
Fred got on his feet and furiously attacked her 
with the milking-stool. It was bad enough to 
be whacked on the ear with a brick by a stupid 
old cow, but the uproarious enjoyment and ridi- 
cule of the bystanders made it unendurable. 

Bingo, hearing the uproar, and divining that 
he was needed, rushed in and attacked Dunne 
on the other side. Before the affair quieted 
down the milk was spilt, the pail and stool 
were broken, and the cow and the dog severely 
beaten. 

Poor Bingo could not understand it at all. 
He had long ago learned to despise that cow, 




^., 

'.. 



Bingo 

and now in utter disgust he decided to for- 
sake even her stable door, and from that time 
he attached himself exclusively to the horses 
and their stable. 

The cattle were mine, the horses were my 
brother's, and in transferring his allegiance from 
the cow-stable to the horse-stable Bingo seemed 
to give me up too, and anything like daily 
companionship ceased, and, yet, whenever any 
emergency arose Bingo turned to me and I to 
him, and both seemed to feel that the bond be- 
tween man and dog is one that lasts as long as 
life. 

The only other occasion on which Bingo 
acted as cowherd was in the autumn of the 
same year at the annual Carberry Fair. Among 
the dazzling inducements to enter one's stock 
there was, in addition to a prospect of glory, a 
cash prize of ' two dollars, ' for the ' best col- 
lie in training.' 

Misled by a false friend, I entered Bingo, 
and early on the day fixed, the cow was driven 
to the prairie just outside of the village. When 
the time came she was pointed out to Bingo 
and the word given 'Go fetch the cow.' It 

156 



Bingfo 

was the intention, of course, that he should 
bring her to me at the judge's stand. 

But the animals knew better. They hadn't 
rehearsed all summer for nothing. When Dunne 
saw Bingo's careering form she knew that her 
only hope for safety was to get into her stable, 
and Bingo was equally sure that his sole mission 
in life was to quicken her pace in that direction. 
So off they raced over the prairie, like a wolf 
after a deer, and heading straight toward their 
home two miles away, they disappeared from 
view. 

That was the last that judge or jury ever saw 
of dog or cow. The prize was awarded to the 
only other entry. 



Ill 

Bingo's loyalty to the horses was quite re- 
markable; by day he trotted beside them, and 
by night he slept at the stable door. Where the 
team went Bingo went, and nothing kept him 
away from them. This interesting assumption 
of ownership lent the greater significance to the 
following circumstance. 




ICMBHK 




Bingo 

I was not superstitious, and up to this time 
had had no faith in omens, but was now deep- 
ly impressed by a strange occurrence in which 
Bingo took a leading part. There were but 
two of us now living on the De Winton Farm. 
One morning my brother set out for Boggy 
Creek for a load of hay. It was a long day's 
journey there and back, and he made an early 
start. Strange to tell, Bingo for once in his life 
did not follow the team. My brother called to 
him, but still he stood at a safe distance, and 
eying the team askance, refused to stir. Sud- 
denly he raised his nose in the air and gave vent 
to a long, melancholy howl. He watched the 
wagon out of sight, and even followed for a 
hundred yards or so, raising his voice from time 
to time in the most doleful howlings. All that 
day he stayed about the barn, the only time 
that he was willingly separated from the horses, 
and at intervals howled a very death dirge. I 
4 was alone, and the dog's behavior inspired me 
with an awful foreboding of calamity, that 
weighed upon me more and more as the hours 
passed away. 

About six o'clock Bingo's howlings became 

158 




Bingo 

unbearable, so that for lack of a better thought 
I threw something at him, and ordered him 
away. But oh, the feeling of horror that filled 
me ! Why did I let my brother go away alone ? 
Should I ever again see him alive? I might 
have known from the dog's actions that some- 
thing dreadful was about to happen. 

At length the hour for his return arrived, and 
there was John on his load. I took charge of 
the horses, vastly relieved, and with an air of as- 
sumed unconcern, asked, " All right? " 

"Right," was the laconic answer. 

Who now can say that there is nothing in 
omens ? 

And yet, when long afterward, I told this to 
one skilled in the occult, he looked grave, and 
said, "Bingo always turned to you in a crisis ? " 

"Yes." 

" Then do not smile. It was you that were 
in danger that day ; he stayed and saved your 
life, though you never knew from what." 



159 



Bingo 



IV 



Early in the spring I had begun Bingo's 
education. Very shortly afterward he began 
mine. 

Midway on the two-mile stretch of prairie 
that lay between our shanty and the village of 
Carberry, was the corner -stake of the farm; it 
was a stout post in a low mound of earth, and 
was visible from afar. 

I soon noticed that Bingo never passed with- 
out minutely examining this mysterious post. 
Next I learned that it was also visited by the 
prairie wolves as well as by all the dogs in the 
neighborhood, and at length, with the aid of a 
telescope, I made a number of observations that 
helped me to an understanding of the matter 
and enabled me to enter more fully into Bingo's 
private life. 

The post was by common agreement a regis- 
try of the canine tribes. Their exquisite sense 
of smell enabled each individual to tell at once 
by the track and trace what other had recently 
been at the post. When the snow came much 

1 60 



Bingo 

more was revealed. I then discovered that this 
post was but one of a system that covered the 
country : that in short, the entire region was 
laid out in signal stations at convenient inter- 
vals. These were marked by any conspicuous 
post, stone, buffalo skull, or other object that 
chanced to be in the desired locality, and ex- 
tensive observation showed that it was a very 
complete system for getting and giving the 
news. 

Each dog or wolf makes a point of calling at 
those stations that are near his line of travel 
to learn who has recently been there, just as a 
man calls at his club on returning to town and 
looks up the register. 

I have seen Bingo approach the post, sniff, 
examine the ground about, then growl, and 
with bristling mane and glowing eyes, scratch 
fiercely and contemptuously with his hind feet, 
finally walking off very stiffly, glancing back 
from time to time. All of which, being inter- 
preted, said : 

" Grrrh! woof ! there's that dirty cur of 
McCarthy's. Woof! I'll 'tend to him to-night. 
Woof! woof!" On another occasion, after 

101 



Bingo 

the preliminaries, he became keenly interested 
and studied a coyote's track that came and 
went, saying to himself, as I afterward learned : 

"A coyote track coming from the north, 
smelling of dead cow. Indeed? Pollworth's 
old Brindle must be dead at last. This is worth 
looking into." 

At other times he would wag his tail, trot 
about the vicinity and come again and again to 
make his own visit more evident, perhaps for 
the benefit of his brother Bill just back from 
Brandon ! So that it was not by chance that 
one night Bill turned up at Bingo's home and 
was taken to the hills where a delicious dead 
horse afforded a chance to suitably celebrate 
the reunion. 

At other times he would be suddenly aroused 
by the news, take up the trail, and race to the 
next station for later information. 

Sometimes his inspection produced only an 
air of grave attention, as though he said to him- 
self, "Dear me, who the deuce is this?" or 
' ' It seems to me I met that fellow at the Por- 
tage last summer." 

One morning on approaching the post Bin- 
162 







Bingo 

go's every hair stood on end, his tail dropped 
and quivered, and he gave proof that he was 
suddenly sick at the stomach, sure signs of 
terror. He showed no desire to follow up or 
know more of the matter, but returned to the 
house, and half an hour afterward his mane was 
still bristling and his expression one of hate or 
fear. 

I studied the dreaded track and learned that 
in Bingo's language the half-terrified, deep- 
gurgled 'grrr-w/' means < timber wolf .' 

These were among the things that Bingo 
taught me. And in the after time when I 
might chance to see him arouse from his frosty 
nest by the stable door, and after stretching 
himself and shaking the snow from his shaggy 
coat, disappear into the gloom at a steady trot 
trot, trot, I used to think : 

"Aha! old dog, I know where you are off 
to, and why you eschew the shelter of the 
shanty. Now I know why your nightly trips 
over the country are so well timed, and how 
you know just where to go for what you want, 
and when and how to seek it." 



163 



Bingo 



In the autumn of 1884, the shanty at De 
Winton farm was closed and Bingo changed 
his home to the establishment, that is, to the 
stable, not the house, of Gordon Wright, our 
most intimate neighbor. 

Since the winter of his puppyhood he had 
declined to enter a house at any time excepting 
during a thunder-storm. Of thunder and guns 
he had a deep dread no doubt the fear of the 
first originated in the second, and that arose 
from some unpleasant shot-gun experiences, the 
cause of which will be seen. His nightly 
couch was outside the stable, even during the 
coldest weather, and it was easy to see that he 
enjoyed to the full the complete nocturnal liberty 
entailed. Bingo's midnight wanderings ex- 
tended across the plains for miles. There was 
plenty of proof of this. Some farmers at very 
remote points sent word to old Gordon that if 
he did not keep his dog home nights, they 
would use the shotgun, and Bingo's terror of 
firearms would indicate that the threats were 

164 



BingfO 

not idle. A man living as far away as Petrel, 
said he saw a large black wolf kill a coyote on 
the snow one winter evening, but afterward he 
changed his opinion and ' reckoned it must 'a' 
been Wright's dog.' Whenever the body of 
a winter-killed ox or horse was exposed, Bingo 
was sure to repair to it nightly, and driving 
away the prairie wolves, feast to repletion. 

Sometimes the object of a night foray was 
merely to maul some distant neighbor's dog, 
and notwithstanding vengeful threats, there 
seemed no reason to fear that the Bingo breed 
would die out. One man even avowed that he 
had seen a prairie wolf accompanied by three 
young ones which resembled the mother, ex- 
cepting that they were very large and black 
and had a ring of white around the muzzle. 

True or not as that may be, I know that late 
in March, while we were out in the sleigh 
with Bingo trotting behind, a prairie wolf was 
started from a hollow. Away it went with 
Bingo in full chase, but the wolf did not greatly 
exert itself to escape, and within a short dis- 
tance Bingo was close up, yet strange to tell, 
there was no grappling, no fight ! 

165 



Bingo 

Bingo trotted amiably alongside and licked 
the wolfs nose. 

'\Ye were astounded, and shouted to urge 
Bingo on. Our shouting and approach several 
times started the wolf off at speed and Bingo 
again pursued until he had overtaken it, but 
his gentleness was too obvious. 

It is a she-wolf, he won't harm her." I 
exclaimed as the truth dawned on me. And 
Gordon said : " Well. I be darned." 

So we called our unwilling dog and drove on. 

For weeks after this we were annoyed by 
the depredations of a prairie wolf who killed 
our chickens, stole pieces of pork from the end 
of the house, and several times terrified the 
children by looking into the window of the 
shanty while the men were away. 

Against this animal Bingo seemed to be no 
safeguard. At length the wolf, a female, was 
killed, and then Bingo plainly showed his hand 
by his lasting enmity toward Oliver, the man 
who did the deed. 



166 




and the She-V. 



Bingo 



VI 



It is wonderful and beautiful how a man and 
his dog will stick to one another, through thick 
and thin. Butler tells of an undivided Indian 
tribe, in the Far North which was all but ex- 
terminated by an internecine feud over a dog 
that belonged to one man and was killed by 
his neighbor ; and among ourselves we have 
lawsuits, fights, and deadly feuds, all pointing 
the same old moral, ' Love me, love my dog.' 

One of our neighbors had a very fine hound 
that he thought the best and dearest dog in the 
world. I loved him, so I loved his dog, and 
when one day poor Tan crawled home terribly 
mangled and died by the door, I joined my 
threats of vengeance with those of his master 
and thenceforth lost no opportunity of tracing 
the miscreant, both by offering rewards and by 
collecting scraps of evidence. At length it 
was clear that one of three men to the south- 
ward had had a hand in the cruel affair. The 
scent was warming up, and soon we should 
have been in a position to exact rigorous justice 

169 



Bingo 

at least, from the wretch who had murdered poor 
old Tan. 

Then something took place which at once 
changed my mind and led me to believe that 
the mangling of the old hound was not by any 
means an unpardonable crime, but indeed on 
second thoughts was rather commendable than 
otherwise. 

Gordon Wright's farm lay to the south of us, 
and while there one day, Gordon, Jr., knowing 
that I was tracking the murderer, took me 
aside and looking about furtively, he whispered, 
in tragic tones : 

" It was Bing done it." 

And the matter dropped right there. For I 
confess that from that moment I did all in my 
power to baffle the justice I had previously 
striven so hard to further. 

I had given Bingo away long before, but the 
feeling of ownership did not die; and of this in- 
dissoluble fellowship of dog and man he was 
soon to take part in another important illus- 
tration. 

Old Gordon and Oliver were close neigh- 
bors and friends ; they joined in a contract to 

170 





Bine:o Watched while Curley Feasted. 



Bingo 

cut wood, and worked together harmoniously 
till late on in winter. Then Oliver's old horse 
died, and he, determining to profit as far as 
possible, dragged it out on the plain and laid 
poison baits for wolves around it. Alas, for 
poor Bingo ! He would lead a wolfish life, 
though again and again it brought him into 
wolfish misfortunes. 

He was as fond of dead horse as any of his 
wild kindred. That very night, with Wright's 
own dog Curley, he visited the carcass. It 
seemed as though Bing had busied himself 
chiefly keeping off the wolves, but Curley feasted 
immoderately. The tracks in the snow told the 
story of the banquet ; the interruption as the 
poison began to work, and of the dreadful 
spasms of pain during the erratic course back 
home where Curley, falling in convulsions at 
Gordon's feet, died in the greatest agony. 

' Love me, love my dog,' no explanations 
or apology were acceptable ; it was useless to 
urge that it was accidental, the long-standing 
feud between Bingo and Oliver was now remem- 
bered as an important side-light. The wood- 
contract was thrown up, all friendly relations 



Bingo 

ceased, and to this day there is no county big 
enough to hold the rival factions which were 
called at once into existence and to arms by 
Curley's dying yell. 

It was months before Bingo really recovered 
from the poison. We believed indeed that he 
never again would be the sturdy old-time Bingo. 
But when the warm spring weather came he 
began to gain strength, and bettering as the grass 
grew, he was within a few weeks once more in 
full health and vigor to be a pride to his friends 
and a nuisance to his neighbors. 

VII 

Changes took me far away from Manitoba, 
and on my return in 1886 Bingo was still a 
member of Wright's household. I thought he 
would have forgotten me after two years ab- 
sence, but not so. One .day early in the winter, 
after having been lost for forty-eight hours, he 
crawled home to Wright's with a wolf-trap and 
a heavy log fast to one foot, and the foot frozen 
to stony hardness. No one had been able to 
approach to help him, he was so savage, when I, 

174 



Bingo 

the stranger now, stooped down and laid hold 
of the trap with one hand and his leg with the 
other. Instantly he seized my wrist in his 
teeth. 

Without stirring I said, " Bing, don't you 
know me? " 

He had not broken the skin and at once re- 
leased his hold and offered no further resistance, 
although he whined a good deal during the re- 
moval of the trap. He still acknowledged me 
his master in spite of his change of residence 
and my long absence, and notwithstanding my 
surrender of ownership I still felt that he was 
my dog. 

Bing was carried into the house much against 
his will and his frozen foot thawed out. Dur- 
ing the rest of the winter he went lame and two 
of his toes eventually dropped off. But before 
the return of warm weather his health and 
strength were fully restored, and to a casual 
glance he bore no mark of his dreadful experi- 
ence in the steel trap. 




V 



Bingfo 



VIII 

During that same winter I caught many wolves 
and foxes who did not have Bingo's good luck 
in escaping the traps, which I kept out right 
into the spring, for bounties are good even when 
fur is not. 

Kennedy's Plain was always a good trapping 
ground because it was unfrequented by man and 
yet lay between the heavy woods and the set- 
tlement. I had been fortunate with the fur 
here, and late in April rode in on one of my 
regular rounds. 

The wolf-traps are made of heavy steel and 
have two springs, each of one hundred pounds 
power. They are set in fours around a buried 
bait, and after being strongly fastened to con- 
cealed logs are carefully covered in cotton and 
in fine sand so as to be quite invisible. 

A prairie wolf was caught in one of these. I 
killed him with a club and throwing him aside 
proceeded to reset the trap as I had done so 
many hundred times before. All was quickly 
done. I threw the trap-wrench over toward the 

176 



Bingo 

pony, and seeing some fine sand near by, I 
reached out for a handful of it to add a good 
finish to the setting. 

Oh, unlucky thought ! Oh, mad heedless- 
ness born of long immunity ! That fine sand 
was on the next wolf -trap and in an instant I 
was a prisoner. Although not wounded, for 
the traps have no teeth, and my thick trapping 
gloves deadened the snap, I was firmly caught 
across the hand above the knuckles. Not 
greatly alarmed at this, I tried to reach the 
trap-wrench with my right foot. Stretching 
out at full length, face downward, I worked 
myself toward it, making my imprisoned 
arm as long and straight as possible. I 
could not see and reach at the same time, but 
counted on my toe telling me when I touched 
the little iron key to my fetters. My first effort 
was a failure ; strain as I might at the chain my 
toe struck no metal. I swung slowly around 
my anchor, but still failed. Then a painfully 
taken observation showed I was much too far to 
the west. I set about working around, tapping 
blindly with my toe to discover the key. Thus 
wildly groping with my right foot I forgot 

177 



Bingfo 

about the other till there was a sharp ' clank ' 
and the iron jaws of trap No. 3 closed tight on 
my left foot. 

The terrors of the situation did not, at 
first, impress me, but I soon found that all my 
struggles were in vain. I could not get free 
from either trap or move the traps together, 
and there I lay stretched out and firmly staked 
to the ground. 

What would become of me now ? There was 
not much danger of freezing for the cold weather 
was over, but Kennedy's Plain was never visited 
excepting by the winter wood-cutters. No one 
knew where I had gone, and unless I could man- 
age to free myself there was no prospect ahead 
but to be devoured by wolves, or else die of cold 
and starvation. 

As I lay there the red sun went down over the 
spruce swamp west of the plain, and a shorelark 
on a gopher mound a few yards off twittered his 
evening song, just as one had done the night be- 
fore at our shanty door, and though the numb 
pains were creeping up my arm, and a deadly chill 
possessed me, I noticed how long his little ear- 
tufts were. Then my thoughts went to the com- 

178 



Bingfo 

fortable supper-table at Wright's shanty, and I 
thought, now they are frying the pork for sup- 
per, or just sitting down. My pony still stood 
as I left him with his bridle on the ground 
patiently waiting to take me home. He did not 
understand the long delay, and when I called, 
he ceased nibbling the grass and looked at me 
in dumb, helpless inquiry. If he would only go 
home the empty saddle might tell the tale and 
bring help. But his very faithfulness kept him 
waiting hour after hour while I was perishing of 
cold and hunger. 

Then I remembered how old Girou the trap- 
per had been lost, and in the following spring 
his comrades found his skeleton held by the leg 
in a bear-trap. I wondered which part of my 
clothing would show my identity. Then a new 
thought came to me. This is how a wolf feels 
when he is trapped. Oh! what misery have 
I been responsible for ! Now I'm to pay for it. 

Night came slowly on. A prairie wolf howled, 
the pony pricked up his ears and walking nearer 
to me, stood with his head down. Then another 
prairie wolf howled and another, and I could 
make out that they were gathering in the neigh- 

179 




Bingo 

borhood. There I lay prone and helpless, won- 
dering if it would not be strictly just that they 
should come and tear me to pieces. I heard 
them calling for a long time before I realized 
that dim, shadowy forms were sneaking near. 
The horse saw them first, and his terrified snort 
drove them back at first, but they came nearer 
next time and sat around me on the prairie. 
Soon one bolder than the others crawled up and 
tugged at the body of his dead relative. I 
shouted and he retreated growling. The pony 
ran to a distance in terror. Presently the 
wolf returned, and after two or three of these 
retreats and returns, the body was dragged off 
and devoured by the rest in a few minutes. 

After this they gathered nearer and sat on 
their haunches to look at me, and the boldest 
one smelt the rifle and scratched dirt on it. 
He retreated when I kicked at him with my 
free foot and shouted, but growing bolder as I 
grew weaker he came and snarled right in my 
face. At this several others snarled and came 
up closer, and I realized that I was to be de- 
voured by the foe that I most despised, when 
suddenly out of the gloom with a guttural roar 

1 80 



Bingo 

sprang a great black wolf. The prairie wolves 
scattered like chaff except the bold one, which 
seized by the black new-comer was in a few 
moments a draggled corpse, and then, oh hor- 
rors ! this mighty brute bounded at me and 
Bingo noble Bingo, rubbed his shaggy, pant- 
ing sides against me and licked my pallid face. 

" Bingo Bing old boy --Fetch me the 
trap- wrench ! " 

Away he went and returned dragging the 
rifle, for he knew only that I wanted some- 
thing. 

" No Bing the trap-wrench." This time 
it was my sash, but at last he brought the 
wrench and wagged his tail in joy that it was 
right. Reaching out with my free hand, after 
much difficulty I unscrewed the pillar-nut. 
The trap fell apart and my hand was re- 
leased, and a minute later I was free. Bing 
brought the pony up, and after slowly walk- 
ing to restore the circulation I was able to 
mount. Then slowly at first but soon at a 
gallop, with Bingo as herald careering and bark- 
ing ahead, we set out for home, there to 
learn that the night before, though never taken 

181 



Bingo 

on the trapping rounds, the brave dog had acted 
strangely, whimpering and watching the tim- 
ber-trail ; and at last when night came on, in 
spite of attempts to detain him he had set out 
in the gloom and guided by a knowledge that 
is beyond us had reached the spot in time to 
avenge me as well as set me free. 

Stanch old Bing he was a strange dog. 
Though his heart was with me, he passed me 
next day with scarcely a look, but responded 
with alacrity when little Gordon called him to 
a gopher-hunt. And it was so to the end ; 
and to the end also he lived the wolfish life 
that he loved, and never failed to seek the win- 
ter-killed horses and found one again with a 
poisoned bait, and wolfishly bolted that ; then 
feeling the pang, set out, not for Wright's but 
to find me, and reached the door of my shanty 
where I should have been. Next day on re- 
turning I found him dead in the snow with his 
head on the sill of the door the door of his 
puppyhood's days ; my dog to the last in his 
heart of hearts --it was my help he sought, 
and vainly sought, in the hour of his bitter ex- 
tremity. 

182 







The 
Springfield Fox 



The Springfield Fox 




HE hens had been mysteriously disap- 
pearing for over a month ; and when 
I came home to Springfield for the 
summer holidays it was my duty to 
find the cause. This was soon done. 
The fowls were carried away bodily 
one at a time, before going to roost 
or else after leaving, which put tramps and 
neighbors out of court ; they were not taken 
from the high perches, which cleared all coons 
and owls ; or left partly eaten, so that weasels, 
skunks, or minks were not the guilty ones, and 
the blame, therefore, was surely left at Rey- 
nard's door. 

The great pine wood of Erindale was on the 
other bank of the river, and on looking care- 

187 




The Springfield Fox 

fully about the lower ford I saw a few fox-tracks 
and a barred feather from one of our Plymouth 
Rock chickens. On climbing the farther bank 
in search of more clews, I heard a great outcry 
of crows behind me, and turning, saw a number 
of these birds darting down at something in the 
ford. A better view showed that it was the old 
story, thief catch thief, for there in the middle 
of the ford was a fox with something in his 
jaws he was returning from our barnyard with 
another hen. The crows, though shameless rob- 
bers themselves, are ever first to cry ' Stop 
thief,' and yet more than ready to take 'hush- 
money ' in the form of a share in the plunder. 

And this was their game now. The fox to 
get back home must cross the river, where he 
was exposed to the full brunt of the crow mob. 
He made a dash for it, and would doubtless have 
gotten across with his booty had I not joined in 
the attack, whereupon he dropped the hen, 
scarce dead, and disappeared in the woods. 

This large and regular levy of provisions 
wholly carried off could mean but one thing, a 
family of little foxes at home ; and to find them 
1 now was bound. 

188 



The Springfield Fox 

That evening I went with Ranger, my hound, 
across the river into the Erindale woods. As 
soon as the hound began to circle, we heard 
the short, sharp bark of a fox from a thickly 
wooded ravine close by. Ranger dashed in at 
once, struck a hot scent and went off on a lively 
straight-away till his voice was lost in the dis- 
tance away over the upland. 

After nearly an hour he came back, panting 
and warm, for it was baking August weather, 
and lay down at my feet. 

But almost immediately the same foxy ' Yap 
yurrr ' was heard close at hand and off dashed 
the dog on another chase. 

Away he went in the darkness, baying like a 
foghorn, straight away to the north. And the 
loud ' Boo, boo, ' became a low ' oo, oo,' 
and that a feeble ' o-o ' and then was lost. 
They must have gone some miles away, for even 
with ear to the ground I heard nothing of them 
though a mile was easy distance for Ranger's 
brazen voice. 

As I waited in the black woods I heard a 
sweet sound of dripping water : ' Tink tank 
tenk tink, Ta fink tank tenk tank' 

189 



The Springfield Fox 

I did not know of any spring so near, and in 
the hot night it was a glad find. But the sound 
led me to the bough of an oak-tree, where I 
found its source. Such a soft sweet song ; full 
of delightful suggestion on such a night : 

Tank tank tenk link 
Ta tink a tank a tank a (ink a 
Ta ta tink tank ta ta tank tink 
Drink a tank a drink a drunk. 

It was the ' water-dripping ' song of the 
saw-whet owl. 

But suddenly a deep raucous breathing and 
a rustle of leaves showed that Ranger was back. 
He was completely fagged out. His tongue 
hung almost to the ground and was dripping with 
foam, his flanks were heaving and spume-flecks 
dribbled from his breast and sides. He stopped 
panting a moment to give my hand a dutiful 
lick, then flung himself flop on the leaves to 
drown all other sounds with his noisy panting. 

But again that tantalizing ' Yap yurrr ' was 
heard a few feet away, and the meaning of it 
all dawned on me. 

We were close to the den where the little 
190 



The Springfield Fox 

foxes were, and the old ones were taking turns 
in trying to lead us away. 

It was late night now, so we went home feel- 
ing sure that the problem was nearly solved. 



II 



It was well known that there was an old fox 
with his family living in the neighborhood, but 
no one supposed them so near. 

This fox had been called ' Scarface, ' be- 
cause of a scar reaching from his eye through 
and back of his ear ; this was supposed to have 
been given him by a barbed-wire fence during 
a rabbit hunt, and as the hair came in white 
after it healed, it was always a strong mark. 

The winter before I had met with him and had 
had a sample of his craftiness. I was out shoot- 
ing, after a fall of snow, and had crossed the 
open fields to the edge of the brushy hollow 
back of the old mill. As my head rose to a 
view of the hollow I caught sight of a fox 
trotting at long range down the other side, in 
line to cross my course. Instantly I held mo- 
tionless, and did not even lower or turn my 

191 




The Springfield Fox 

head lest I should catch his eye by moving, 
until he went on out of sight in the thick cover 
at the bottom. As soon as he was hidden I 
bobbed down and ran to head him off where 
he should leave the cover on the other side, and 
was there in good time awaiting, but no fox 
came forth. A careful look showed the fresh 
track of a fox that had bounded from the cover, 
and following it with my eye I saw old Scar- 
face himself far out of range behind me, sitting 
on his haunches and grinning as though much 
amused. 

A study of the trail made all clear. He had 
seen me at the moment I saw him, but he, also 
like a true hunter, had concealed the fact, put- 
ting on an air of unconcern till out of sight, 
when he had run for his life around behind me 
and amused himself by watching my stillborn 
trick. 

In the springtime I had yet another instance 
of Scarface's cunning. I was walking with 
a friend along the road over the high pasture. 
We passed within thirty feet of a ridge on which 
were several gray and brown bowlders. When 
at the nearest point my friend said : 

192 



The Springfield Fox 

" Stone number three looked to me very 
much like a fox curled up." 

But I could not see it, and we passed. We 
had not gone many yards farther when the wind 
blew on this bowlder as on fur. 

My friend said, "I am sure that is a fox, 
lying asleep." 

"We'll soon settle that," I replied, and 
turned back, but as soon as I had taken one 
step from the road, up jumped Scarface, for it 
was he, and ran. A fire had swept the middle 
of the pasture, leaving a broad belt of black ; 
over this he skurried till he came to the unburnt 
yellow grass again, where he squatted down and 
was lost to view. He had been watching us all 
the time, and would not have moved had we 
kept to the road. The wonderful part of this is, 
not that he resembled the round stones and dry 
grass, but that he knew he did, and was ready 
to profit by it. 

We soon found that it was Scarface and his 
wife Vixen that had made our woods their 
home and our barnyard their base of supplies. 

Next morning a search in the pines showed 
a great bank of earth that had been scratched 



The Springfield Fox 

up within a few months. It must have come 
from a hole, and yet there was none to be seen. 
It is well known that a really cute fox, on dig- 
ging a new den, brings all the earth out at the 
first hole made, but carries on a tunnel into 
some distant thicket. Then closing up for good 
the first made and too well-marked door, uses 
only the entrance hidden in the thicket. 

So after a little search at the other side of a 
knoll, I found the real entry and good proof 
that there was a nest of little foxes inside. 

Rising above the brush on the hillside was a 
great hollow bass wood. It leaned a good deal 
and had a large hole at the bottom, and a smaller 
one at top. 

We boys had often used this tree in playing 
Swiss Family Robinson, and by cutting steps 
in its soft punky walls had made it easy to go up 
and down in the hollow. Now it came in handy, 
for next day when the sun was warm I went 
there to watch, and from this perch on the roof, 
I soon saw the interesting family that lived in 
the cellar near by. There were four little foxes ; 
they looked curiously like little lambs, with 
their woolly coats, their long thick legs and in- 

194 




u 

Q 



r- 



The Springfield Fox 

nocent expressions, and yet a second glance 
at their broad, sharp-nosed, sharp-eyed visages 
showed that each of these innocents was the 
makings of a crafty old fox. 

They played about, basking in the sun, or 
wrestling with each other till a slight sound 
made them skurry under ground. But their 
alarm was needless, for the cause of it was their 
mother; she stepped from the bushes bringing 
another hen number seventeen as I remember. 
A low call from her and the little fellows came 
tumbling out. Then began a scene that I 
thought charming, but which my uncle would 
not have enjoyed at all. 

They rushed on the hen, and tussled and 
fought with it, and each other, while the mother, 
keeping a sharp eye for enemies, looked on with 
fond delight. The expression on her face was 
remarkable. It was first a grinning of delight, 
but her usual look of wildness and cunning was 
there, nor were cruelty and nervousness lacking, 
but over all was the unmistakable look of the 
mother's pride and love. 

The base of my tree was hidden in bushes 
and much lower than the knoll where the den 

197 




The Springfield Fox 

was. So I could come and go at Avill without 
scaring the foxes. 

For many days I went there and saAv much 
of the training of the young ones. They early 
learned to turn to statuettes at any strange 
sound, and then on hearing it again or finding 
other cause for fear, run for shelter. 

Some animals have so much mother-love that 
it overflows and benefits outsiders. Not so old 
Vixen it Avould seem. Her pleasure in the cubs 
led to most refined cruelty. For she often 
brought home to them mice and birds alive, and 
with diabolic gentleness would avoid doing 
them serious hurt so that the cubs might have 
larger scope to torment them. 

There Avas a Avoodchuck that lived over in 
the hill orchard. He Avas neither handsome 
nor interesting, but he kne\v IIOAV to take care 
of himself. He had digged a den betAveen the 
roots of an old pine stump, so that the foxes 
could not follow him by digging. But hard 
Avork Avas not their way of life ; Avits they be- 
lieved Avorth more than elbo\v-grease. This 
Avoodchuck usually sunned himself on the stump 
each morning. If he saAV a fox near he Avent 

198 



The Springfield Fox 

down in the door of his den, or if the enemy 
was very near he went inside and stayed long 
enough for the danger to pass. 

One morning Vixen and her mate seemed to 
decide that it was time the children knew some- 
thing about the broad subject of Woodchucks, 
and further that this orchard woodchuck would 
serve nicely for an object-lesson. So they went 
together to the orchard-fence unseen by old 
Chuckie on his stump. Scarface then showed 
himself in the orchard and quietly walked in 
a line so as to pass by the stump at a dis- 
tance, but never once turned his head or al- 
lowed the ever-watchful woodchuck to think 
himself seen. When the fox entered the field 
the woodchuck quietly dropped down to the 
mouth of his den ; here he waited as the fox 
passed, but concluding that after all wisdom is 
the better part, went into his hole. 

This was what the foxes wanted. Vixen had 
kept out of sight, but now ran swiftly to the 
stump and hid behind it. Scarface had kept 
straight on, going very slowly. The woodchuck 
had not been frightened, so before long his head 
popped up between the roots and he looked 

199 



The Springfield Fox 

around. There was that fox still going on, 
farther and farther away. The woodchuck grew 
bold as the fox went, and came out farther, and 
then seeing the coast clear, he scrambled onto 
the stump, and with one spring Vixen had him 
and shook him till he lay senseless. Scarface 
had watched out of the corner of his eye and 
now came running back. But Vixen took the 
chuck in her jaws and made for the den, so he 
saw he wasn't needed. 

Back to the den came Vix, and carried the 
chuck so carefully that he was able to struggle 
a little when she got there. A low ' woof 1 at 
the den brought the little fellows out like school- 
boys to play. She threw the wounded animal 
to them and they set on him like four little 
furies, uttering little growls and biting little 
bites with all the strength of their baby jaws, 
but the woodchuck fought for his life and beat- 
ing them off slowly hobbled to the shelter of a 
thicket. The little ones pursued like a pack 
of hounds and dragged at his tail and flanks, but 
could not hold him back. So Vix overtook 
him with a couple of bounds and dragged him 
again into the open for the children to worry. 

200 




Vix Shows the Cubs Hnw to Catch Mice. 



The Springfield Fox 

Again and again this rough sport went on till 
one of the little ones was badly bitten, and his 
squeal of pain roused Vix to end the woodchuck's 
misery and serve him up at once. 

Not far from the den was a hollow overgrown 
with coarse grass, the playground of a colony 
of field-mice. The earliest lesson in woodcraft 
that the little ones took, away from the den, 
was in this hollow. Here they had their first 
course of mice, the easiest of all game. In 
teaching, the main thing was example, aided by 
a deep-set instinct. The old fox, also, had 
one or two signs meaning "lie still and watch," 
" come, do as I do," and so on, that were much 
used. 

So the merry lot went to this hollow one 
calm evening and Mother Fox made them lie 
still in the grass. Presently a faint squeak 
showed that the game was astir. Vix rose up 
and went on tip-toe into the grass not crouch- 
ing but as high as she could stand, sometimes 
on her hind legs so as to get a better view. The 
runs that the mice follow are hidden under the 
grass tangle, and the only way to know the 
whereabouts of a mouse is by seeing the slight 

203 



The Springfield Fox 

shaking of the grass, which is the reason why 
mice are hunted only on calm days. 

And the trick is to locate the mouse and 
seize him first and see him afterward. Vix 
soon made a spring, and in the middle of the 
bunch of dead grass that she grabbed was a 
field-mouse squeaking his last squeak. 

He was soon gobbled, and the four awkward 
little foxes tried to do the same as their mother, 
and when at length the eldest for the first time 
in his life caught game, he quivered with excite- 
ment and ground his pearly little milk-teeth 
into the mouse with a rush of inborn savage- 
ness that must have surprised even himself. 

Another home lesson was on the red-squir- 
rel. One of these noisy, vulgar creatures, lived 
close by and used to waste part of each day 
scolding the foxes, from some safe perch. The 
cubs made many vain attempts to catch him as 
he ran across their glade from one tree to an- 
other, or spluttered and scolded at them a foot 
or so out of reach. But old Vixen was up in 
natural history she knew squirrel nature and 
took the case in hand when the proper time 
came. She hid the children and lay down flat 

204 



The Springfield Fox 

in the middle of the open glade. The saucy 
low-minded squirrel came and scolded as usual. 
But she moved no hair. He came nearer and 
at last right overhead to chatter : 

" You brute you, you brute you." 

But Vix lay as dead. This was very per- 
plexing, so the squirrel came down the trunk 
and peeping about made a nervous dash across 
the grass, to another tree, again to scold from 
a safe perch. 

' ' You brute you, you useless brute, scarrr- 
scarrrrr." 

But flat and lifeless on the grass lay Vix. 
This was most tantalizing to the squirrel. He 
was naturally curious and disposed to be venture- 
some, so again he came to the ground and skur- 
ried across the glade nearer than before. 

Still as death lay Vix, ' ' surely she was dead. ' ' 
And the little foxes began to wonder if their 
mother wasn't asleep. 

But the squirrel was working himself into 
a little craze of foolhardy curiosity. He had 
dropped a piece of bark on Vix's head, he had 
used up his list of bad words and he had done 
it all over again, without getting a sign of life. 

205 




r<? 




The Springfield Fox 

So after a couple more dashes across the glade 
he ventured within a few feet of the really watch- 
ful Vix, who sprang to her feet and pinned him 
in a twinkling. 

" And the little ones picked the bones e-oh. ' ' 

Thus the rudiments of their education were 
laid, and afterward as they grew stronger they 
were taken farther afield to begin the higher 
branches of trailing and scenting. 

For each kind of prey they were taught a way 
to hunt, for every animal has some great strength 
or it could not live, and some great weakness 
or the others could not live. The squirrel's 
weakness was foolish curiosity ; the fox's that 
he can't climb a tree. And the training of the 
little foxes was all shaped to take advantage of 
the weakness of the other creatures and to make 
up for their own by defter play where they are 
strong. 

From their parents they learned the chief 
axioms of the fox world. How, is not easy 
to say. But that they learned this in company 
with their parents was clear. Here are some 
that foxes taught me, without saying a word : 

Never sleep on your straight track. 
206 




*%4 -^ $** 

I 4< > . ' V 



^ J 



:?"V 



*** 



C^-Jp *W^gj 

yflfe 1^ ^^^J^ 

**pjf%j& r 

the tifde OTUS picked his Bones e-oh! 



The Springfield Fox 

Your nose is before your eyes, then trust it 
first. 

A fool runs down the wind. 

Running rills cure many ills. 

Never take the open if you can keep the 
cover. 

Never leave a straight trail if a crooked one 
will do. 

If it's strange, it's hostile. 

Dust and water burn the scent. 

Never hunt mice in a rabbit-woods, or rab- 
bits in a hen yard. 

Keep off the grass. 

Inklings of the meanings of these were al- 
ready entering the little ones' minds thus, 
' Never follow what you can't smell,' was wise, 
they could see, because if you can't smell it, 
then the wind is so that it must smell you. 

One by one they learned the birds and beasts 
of their home woods, and then as they were able 
to go abroad with their parents they learned 
new animals. They were beginning to think 
they knew the scent of everything that moved. 
But one night the mother took them to a field 
where was a strange black flat thing on the 

207 



The Springfield Fox 




ground. She brought them on purpose to 
smell it, but at the first whiff their every hair 
stood on end, they trembled, they knew not 
why it seemed to tingle through their blood 
and fill them with instinctive hate and fear. 
And when she saw its full effect she told them 
"That is man-scent." 



Ill 



Meanwhile the hens continued to disappear. 
I had not betrayed the den of cubs. Indeed, 
1 thought a good deal more of the little rascals 
than I did of the hens ; but uncle was dread- 
fully wrought up and made most disparaging 
remarks about my woodcraft. To please him 
I one day took the hound across to the woods 
and seating myself on a stump on the open hill- 
side, I bade the dog go on. Within three min- 
utes he sang out in the tongue all hunters know 
so well, '' Fox ! fox ! fox ! straight away down 
the valley." 

After awhile I heard them coming back. 
There 1 saw the fox Scarface loping lightly 
across the river-bottom to the stream. In he 

208 



The Springfield Fox 

went and trotted along in the shallow water 
near the margin for two hundred yards, then 
came out straight toward me. Though in full 
view, he saw me not but came up the hill 
watching over his shoulder for the hound. 
Within ten feet of me he turned and sat with 
his back to me while he craned his neck and 
showed an eager interest in the doings of the 
hound. Ranger came bawling along the trail 
till he came to the running water, the killer of 
scent, and here he was puzzled ; but there was 
only one thing to do : that was by going up 
and down both banks find where the fox had 
left the river. 

The fox before me shifted his position a little 
to get a better view and watched with a most 
human interest all the circling of the hound. 
He was so close that I saw the hair of his 
shoulder bristle a little when the dog came in 
sight. I could see the jumping of his heart on his 
ribs, and the gleam of his yellow eye. When the 
dog was wholly baulked by the water trick, it 
was comical to see : he could not sit still, but 
rocked up and down in glee, and reared on his 
hind feet to get a better view of the slow-plod- 

209 




The Springfield Fox 

ding hound. With mouth opened nearly to 
his ears, though not at all winded, he panted 
noisily for a moment, or rather he laughed 
gleefully, just as a dog laughs by grinning and 
panting. 

Old Scarface wriggled in huge enjoyment as 
the hound puzzled over the trail so long that 
when he did find it, it was so stale he could 
barely follow it, and did not feel justified in 
tonguing on it at all. 

As soon as the hound was working up the 
hill, the fox quietly went into the woods. I 
had been sitting in plain view only ten feet 
away, but I had the wind and kept still and 
the fox never knew that his life had for twenty 
minutes been in the power of the foe he most 
feared. Ranger also would have passed me as 
near as the fox, but I spoke to him, and with a 
little nervous start he quit the trail and looking 
sheepish lay down by my feet. 

This little comedy was played with variations 
for several days, but it was all in plain view 
from the house across the river. My uncle, im- 
patient at the daily loss of hens, went out him- 
self, sat on the open knoll, and when old Scar- 

210 



The Springfield Fox 

face trotted to his lookout to watch the dull 
hound on the river flat below, my uncle remorse- 
lessly shot him in the back, at the very moment 
when he was grinning over a new triumph. 



IV 



But still the hens were disappearing. My 
uncle was wrathy. He determined to conduct 
the war himself, and sowed the woods with 
poison baits, trusting to luck that our own dogs 
would not get them. He indulged in contemptu- 
ous remarks on my by-gone woodcraft, and went 
out evenings with a gun and the two dogs, to see 
what he could destroy. 

Vix knew right well what a poisoned bait was; 
she passed them by or else treated them with 
active contempt, but one she dropped down 
the hole of an old enemy, a skunk, who was 
never afterward seen. Formerly old Scarface 
was always ready to take charge of the dogs, 
and keep them out of mischief. But now that 
Vix had the whole burden of the brood, she 
could no longer spend time in breaking every 
track to the den, and was not always at hand 

211 





The Springfield Fox 

to meet and mislead the foes that might be com- 
ing too near. 

The end is easily foreseen. Ranger followed 
a hot trail to the den, and Spot, the fox-terrier, 
announced that the family was at home, and 
then did his best to go in after them. 

The whole secret was now out, and the whole 
family doomed. The hired man came around 
with pick and shovel to dig them out, while we 
and the dogs stood by. Old Vix soon showed 
herself in the near woods, and led the dogs 
away off down the river, where she shook them 
off when she thought proper, by the simple de- 
vice of springing on a sheep's back. The 
frightened animal ran for several hundred yards, 
then Vix got off, knowing that there was now 
a hopeless gap in the scent, and returned to the 
den. But the dogs, baffled by the break in the 
trail, soon did the same, to find Vix hanging 
about in despair, vainly trying to decoy us away 
from her treasures. 

Meanwhile Paddy plied both pick and shovel 
with vigor and effect. The yellow, gravelly sand 
was heaping on both sides, and the shoulders of 
the sturdy digger were sinking below the level. 



212 



f- 




*/ 



The Springfield Fox 

After an hour's digging, enlivened by frantic 
rushes of the dogs after the old fox, who hovered 
near in the woods, Pat called : 

' ' Here they are, sor ! " 

It was the den at the end of the burrow, and 
cowering as far back as they could, were the 
four little woolly cubs. 

Before I could interfere, a murderous blow 
from the shovel, and a sudden rush for the fierce 
little terrier, ended the lives of three. The 
fourth and smallest was barely saved by holding 
him by his tail high out of reach of the excited 
dogs. 

He gave one short squeal, and his poor 
mother came at the cry, and circled so near that 
she would have been shot but for the accidental 
protection of the dogs, who somehow always 
seemed to get between, and whom she once 
more led away on a fruitless chase. 

The little one saved alive was dropped into a 
bag, where he lay quite still. His unfortunate 
brothers were thrown back into their nursery 
bed, and buried under a few shovelfuls of earth. 

We guilty ones then went back into the 
house, and the little fox was soon chained in 

213 




The Springfield Fox 

the yard. No one knew just why he was kept 
alive, but in all a change of feeling had set 
in, and the idea of killing him was without a 
supporter. 

He was a pretty little fellow, like a cross be- 
tween a fox and a lamb. His woolly visage 
and form were strangely lamb-like and inno- 
cent, but one could find in his yellow eyes a 
- gleam of cunning and savageness as unlamb-like 
as it possibly could be. 

As long as anyone was near he crouched 
sullen and cowed in his shelter-box, and it was 
a full hour after being left alone before he vent- 
ured to look out. 

My window now took the place of the hol- 
low basswood. A number of hens of the breed 
he knew so well were about the cub in the 
the yard. Late that afternoon as they strayed 
near the captive there was a sudden rattle of 
the chain, and the youngster dashed at the near- 
est one and would have caught him but for the 
chain which brought him up with a jerk. He 
got on his feet and slunk back to his box, and 
though he afterward made several rushes he so 
gauged his leap as to win or fail within the 

214 



The Springfield Fox 



length of the chain and never again was brought 
up by its cruel jerk. 

As night came down the little fellow became 
very uneasy, sneaking out of his box, but going 
back at each slight alarm, tugging at his chain, 
or at times biting it in fury while he held it 
down with his fore paws. Suddenly he paused 
as though listening, then raising his little black 
nose he poured out a short quavering cry. 

Once or twice this was repeated, the time 
between being occupied in worrying the chain 
and running about. Then an answer came. 
The far-away Yap-yurrr of the old fox. A 
few minutes later a shadowy form appeared on 
the wood-pile. The little one slunk into his 
box, but at once returned and ran to meet his 
mother with all the gladness that a fox could 
show. Quick as a flash she seized him and 
turned to bear him away by the road she came. 
But the moment the end of the chain was 
reached the cub was rudely jerked from the old 
one's mouth, and she, scared by the opening of 
a window, fled over the wood-pile. 

An hour afterward the cub had ceased to run 
about or cry. I peeped out, and by the light 

215 




4 \" 

Slunk b^cK into hit 




The Springfield Fox 

of the moon saw the form of the mother at full 
length on the ground by the little one, gnaw- 
ing at something the clank of iron told what, 
it was that cruel chain. And Tip, the little 
one, meanwhile was helping himself to a warm 
drink. 

On my going out she fled into the dark 
woods, but there by the shelter-box were two 
little mice, bloody and still warm, food for the 
cub brought by the devoted mother. And in 
the morning I found the chain was very bright 
for a foot or two next the little one's collar. 

On walking across the woods to the ruined 
den, I again found signs of Vixen. The poor 
heart-broken mother had come and dug out the 
bedraggled bodies of her little ones. 

There lay the three little baby foxes all 
licked smooth now, and by them were two of 
our hens fresh killed. The newly heaved earth 
was printed all over with tell-tale signs signs 
that told me that here by the side of her dead 
she had watched like Rizpah. Here she had 
brought their usual meal, the spoil of her night- 
ly hunt. Here she had stretched herself be- 
side them and vainly offered them their natural 

216 




There She had Lain and Mourned. 



The Springfield Fox 

drink and yearned to feed and warm them as of 
old ; but only stiff little bodies under their soft 
wool she found, and little cold noses still and 
unresponsive. 

A deep impress of elbows, breast, and hocks 
showed where she had laid in silent grief and 
watched them for long and mourned as a wild 
mother can mourn for its young. But from 
that time she came no more to the ruined den, 
for now she surely knew that her little ones 
were dead. 



Tip the captive, the weakling of the brood, 
was now the heir to all her love. The dogs 
were loosed to guard the hens. The hired 
man had orders to shoot the old fox on sight 
so had I, but was resolved never to see her. 
Chicken-heads, that a fox loves and a dog will 
not touch, had been poisoned and scattered 
through the woods ; and the only way to the 
yard where Tip was tied, was by climbing the 
wood-pile after braving all other dangers. And 
yet each night old Vix was there to nurse her 

219 





The Springfield Fox 




baby and bring it fresh-killed hens and game. 
Again and again I saw her, although she came 
now without awaiting the querulous cry of the 
captive. 

The second night of the captivity I heard 
the rattle of the chain, and then made out that 
the old fox was there, hard at work digging a 
hole by the little one's kennel. When it was 
deep enough to half bury her, she gathered into 
it all the slack of the chain, and filled it again 
with earth. Then in triumph thinking she had 
gotten rid of the chain, she seized little Tip by 
the neck and turned to dash off up the wood- 
pile, but alas only to have him jerked roughly 
from her grasp. 

Poor little fellow, he whimpered sadly as he 
crawled into his box. After half an hour there 
was a great outcry among the dogs, and by their 
straight-away tonguing through the far woods 
I knew they were chasing Vix. Away up north 
they went in the direction of the railway and 
their noise faded from hearing. Next morning 
the hound had not come back. We soon knew 
why. Foxes long ago learned what a railroad 
is ; they soon devised several ways of turning it 

220 



The Spring-field Fox 

to account. One way is when hunted to walk 
the rails for a long distance just before a train 
comes. The scent, always poor on iron, is 
destroyed by the train and there is always a 
chance of hounds being killed by the engine. 
But another way more sure, but harder to play, 
is to lead the hounds straight to a high trestle 
just ahead of the train, so that the engine over- 
takes them on it and they are surely dashed 
to destruction. 

This trick was skilfully played, and down 
below we found the mangled remains of old 
Ranger and learned that Vix was already 
wreaking her revenge. 

That same night she returned to the yard 
before Spot's weary limbs could bring him 
back and killed another hen and brought it to 
Tip, and stretched her panting length beside 
him that he might quench his thirst. For she 
seemed to think he had no food but what she 
brought. 

It was that hen that betrayed to my uncle 
the nightly visits. 

My own sympathies were all turning to Vix, 
and I would have no hand in planning further 

221 



The Spring-field Fox 




murders. Next night my uncle himself watched, 
gun in hand, for an hour. Then when it became 
cold and the moon clouded over he remembered 
other important business elsewhere, and left 
Paddy in his place. 

But Paddy was " onaisy " as the stillness and 
anxiety of watching worked on his nerves. And 
the loud bang ! bang ! an hour later left us sure 
only that powder had been burned. 

In the morning we found Vix had not failed 
her young one. Again next night found my 
uncle on guard, for another hen had been taken. 
Soon after dark a single shot was heard, but Vix 
dropped the game she was bringing and escaped. 
Another attempt made that night called forth 
another gun-shot. Yet next day it was seen by 
the brightness of the chain that she had come 
again and vainly tried for hours to cut that 
hateful bond. 

Such courage and stanch fidelity were bound 
to win respect, if not toleration. At any rate, 
there was no gunner in wait next night, when 
all was still. Could it be of any use? Driven 
off thrice with gun-shots, would she make an- 
other try to feed or free her captive young one ? 

222 



The Springfield Fox 

Would she? Hers was a mother's love. 
There was but one to watch them this time, the 
fourth night, when the quavering whine of the 
little one was followed by that shadowy form 
above the wood-pile. 

But carrying no fowl or food that could be 
seen. Had the keen huntress failed at last? 
Had she no head of game for this her only 
charge, or had she learned to trust his captors 
for his food ? 

No, far from all this. The wild-wood mother's 
heart and hate were true. Her only thought 
had been to set him free. All means she knew 
she tried, and every danger braved to tend him 
well and help him to be free. But all had 
failed. 

Like a shadow she came and in a moment 
was gone, and Tip seized on something dropped, 
and crunched and chewed with relish what she 
brought. But even as he ate, a knife-like pang 
shot through and a scream of pain escaped him. 
Then there was a momentary struggle and the 
little fox was dead. 

The mother's love was strong in Vix, but a 
higher thought was stronger. She knew right 

223 



The Springfield Fox 

well the poison's power ; she knew the poison 
bait, and would have taught him had he lived 
to know and shun it too. But now at last 
when she must choose for him a wretched pris- 
oner 's life or sudden death, she quenched the 
mother in her breast and freed him by the one 
remaining door. 

It is when the snow is on the ground that 
we take the census of the woods, and when the 
winter came it told me that Vix no longer 
roamed the woods of Erindale. Where she 
went it never told, but only this, that she was 
gone. 

Gone, perhaps, to some other far-off haunt 
to leave behind the sad remembrance of her 
murdered little ones and mate. Or gone, may 
be, deliberately, from the scene of a sorrowful 
life, as many a wild-wood mother has gone, by 
the means that she herself had used to free her 
young one, the last of all her brood. 



224 




Vix. 







The facing Mustang 



The Pacing Mustang 




O CALONE threw down his 
saddle on the dusty ground, 
turned his horses loose, and 
went clanking into the ranch - 
; house. 

" Nigh about chuck time ? ' ' 
he asked. 

"Seventeen minutes," said 
the cook glancing at the Waterbury, with the 
air of a train-starter, though this show of pre- 
cision had never yet been justified by events. 

"How's things on the Perico ? " said Jo's 
pard. 

" Hotter'n hinges," said Jo. " Cattle seem 
O. K.j lots of calves." 



229 




The Pacing; Mustang; 

"I seen that bunch o' mustangs that waters 
at Antelope Springs ; couple o' colts along ; 
one little dark one, a fair dandy ; a born pacer. 
I run them a mile or two, and he led the bunch, 
an' never broke his pace. Cut loose, an' 
pushed them jest for fun, an' darned if I could 
make him break." 

" You didn't have no reefreshments along ? " 
- ; said Scarth, incredulously. 

" That's all right, Scarth. You had to crawl 
on our last bet, an' you'll get another chance 
soon as you're man enough." 

" Chuck," shouted the cook, and the subject 
was dropped. Next day the scene of the round- 
up was changed, and the mustangs were forgot- 
ten. 

A year later the same corner of New Mexico 
was worked over by the roundup, and again 
the mustang bunch was seen. The dark colt 
was now a black yearling, with thin, clean legs 
and glossy flanks ; and more than one of the 
boys saw with his own eyes this oddity the 
mustang was a born pacer. 

Jo was along, and the idea now struck him 
that that colt was worth having. To an East- 

230 



The Pacing; Mustang 



erner this thought may not seem startling or 
original, but in the West, where an unbroken 
horse is worth $5, and where an ordinary saddle- 
horse is worth $15 or $20, the idea of a wild 
mustang being desirable property does not oc- 
cur to the average cowboy, for mustangs are 
hard to catch, and when caught are merely wild- 
animal prisoners, perfectly useless and untama- 
ble to the last. Not a few of the cattle-owners 
make a point of shooting all mustangs at sight, 
for they are not only useless cumberers of the 
feeding-grounds, but commonly lead away do 
mestic horses, which soon take to the wild life 
and are thenceforth lost. 

Wild Jo Calone knew a ' bronk right down to 
subsoil.' "I never seen a white that wasn't 
soft, nor a chestnut that wasn't nervous, nor a 
bay that wasn't good if broke right, nor a 
black that wasn't hard as nails, an' full of the 
old Harry. All a black bronk wants is claws 
to be wus'n Daniel's hull outfit of lions." 

Since then a mustang is worthless vermin, 
and a black mustang ten times worse than worth- 
less, Jo's pard " didn't see no sense in Jo's 
wantin' to corral the yearling," as he now 

231 




The Pacing; Mustang 




seemed intent on doing. But Jo got no chance 
to try that year. 

He was only a cow-puncher on $25 a month, 
and tied to hours. Like most of the boys, he 
always looked forward to having a ranch and 
an outfit of his own. His brand, the hogpen, 
of sinister suggestion, was already registered at 
Santa Fe, but of horned stock it was borne by 
a single old cow, so as to give him a legal right 
to put his brand on any maverick (or unbranded 
animal) he might chance to find. 

Yet each fall, when paid off, Jo could not re- 
sist the temptation to go to town with the boys 
and have a good time ' while the stuff held out. ' 
So that his property consisted of little more 
than his saddle, his bed, and his old cow. He 
kept on hoping to make a strike that would 
leave him well fixed with a fair start, and when 
the thought came that the Black Mustang was 
his mascot, he only needed a chance to ' make 
the try.' 

The roundup circled down to the Canadian 
River, and back in the fall by the Don Carlos 
Hills, and Jo saw no more of the Pacer, though 
he heard of him from many quarters, for the 

232 



The Pacing 1 Mustang- 

colt, now a vigorous, young horse, rising three, 
was beginning to be talked of. 

Antelope Springs is in the middle of a great 
level plain. When the water is high it spreads 
into a small lake with a belt of sedge around it ; 
when it is low there is a wide flat of black mud, 
glistening white with alkali in places, and the 
spring a water-hole in the middle. It has no 
flow or outlet and yet is fairly good water, the 
only drinking-place for many miles. 

This flat, or prairie as it would be called far- 
ther north, was the favorite feeding-ground of 
the Black Stallion, but it was also the pasture 
of many herds of range horses and cattle. 
Chiefly interested was the ' L cross F ' outfit. x . 
Foster, the manager and part owner, was a man Is- I 
of enterprise. He believed it would pay to 
handle a better class of cattle and horses on 
the range, and one of his ventures was ten half- 
blooded mares, tall, clean-limbed, deer-eyed 
creatures, that made the scrub cow -ponies look 
like pitiful starvelings of some degenerate and 
quite different species. 

One of these was kept stabled for use, but 
the nine, after the weaning of their colts, 

2 33 



The Pacing Mustang 

managed to get away and wandered off on the 
range. 

A horse has a fine instinct for the road to the 
best feed, and the nine mares drifted, of course, 
to the prairie of Antelope Springs, twenty miles 
to the southward. And when, later that sum- 
mer Foster went to round them up, he found 
the nine indeed, but with them and guarding 
them with an air of more than mere comrade- 
ship was a coal-black stallion, prancing around 
and rounding up the bunch like an expert, his 
jet-black coat a vivid contrast to the golden 
hides of his harem. 

The mares were gentle, and would have been 
easily driven homeward but for a new and un- 
expected thing. The Black Stallion became 
greatly aroused. He seemed to inspire them too 
with his wildness, and flying this way and that 
way drove the whole band at full gallop where 
he would. Away they went, and the little cow- 
ponies that carried the men were easily left be- 
hind. 

This was maddening, and both men at last 
drew their guns and sought a chance to drop 
that ' blasted stallion.' But no chance came 

234 



The Pacing Mustang 1 

that was not 9 to i of dropping one of the 
mares. A long day of manoeuvring made no 
change. The Pacer, for it was he, kept his 
family together and disappeared among the 
southern sandhills. The cattlemen on their 
jaded ponies set out for home with the poor sat- 
isfaction of vowing vengeance for their failure 
on the superb cause of it. 

One of the most aggravating parts of it was 
that one or two experiences like this would 
surely make the mares as wild as the Mustang, 
and there seemed to be no way of saving them 
from it. 

Scientists differ on the power of beauty and 
prowess to attract female admiration among the 
lower animals, but whether it is admiration or 
the prowess itself, it is certain that a wild ani- 
mal of uncommon gifts soon wins a large follow- 
ing from the harems of his rivals. And the 
great Black Horse, with his inky mane and tail 
and his green-lighted eyes, ranged through all 
that region and added to his following from 
many bands till not less than a score of mares 
were in his ' bunch.' Most were merely hum- 
ble cow-ponies turned out to range, but the nine 

235 



The Pacing Mustang 1 

great mares were there, a striking group by 
themselves. According to all reports, this bunch 
was always kept rounded up and guarded with 
such energy and jealousy that a mare, once in it, 
was a lost animal so far as man was concerned, 
and the ranchmen realized soon that they had 
gotten on the range a mustang that was doing 
them more harm than all other sources of loss 
put together. 




ii 



It was December, 1893. I was new in the 
country, and was setting out from the ranch- 
house on the Pinavetitos, to go with a wagon to 
the Canadian River. As I was leaving, Foster 
finished his remark by: "And if you get a 
chance to draw a bead on that accursed mus- 
tang, don't fail to drop him in his tracks." 

This was the first I had heard of him, and as 
I rode along I gathered from Burns, my 'guide, 
the history that has been given. I was full of 
curiosity to see the famous three-year-old, and 

236 



The Pacing Mustang 

was not a little disappointed on the second day 
when we came to the prairie on Antelope 
Springs and saw no sign of the Pacer or his band. 
But on the next day, as we crossed the Ala- 
mosa Arroyo, and were rising to the rolling 
prairie again, Jack Burns, who was riding on 
ahead, suddenly dropped flat on the neck of his 
horse, and swung back to me in the wagon, 
saying : 

' ' Get out your rifle, here's that stallion." 

I seized my rifle, and hurried forward to a 
view over the prairie ridge. In the hollow be- 
low was a band of horses, and there at one end 
was the Great Black Mustang. He had heard 
some sound of our approach, and was not un- 
suspicious of danger. There he stood with 
head and tail erect, and nostrils wide, an image 
of horse perfection and beauty, as noble an 
animal as ever ranged the plains, and the mere 
notion of turning that magnificent creature into 
a mass of carrion was horrible. In spite of 
Jack's exhortation to 'shoot quick,' I delayed, 
and threw open the breach, whereupon he, al- 
ways hot and hasty, swore at my slowness, 
growled, ' Gi' me that gun,' and as he seized 

237 



^-P^tslito:^*; 

: 



jjjjji^W^iy'. )~s f' : 



The Pacing Mustang 



it I turned the muzzle up, and accidentally the 
gun went off. 

Instantly the herd below was all alarm, the 
great black leader snorted and neighed and 
dashed about. And the mares bunched, and 
away all went in a rumble of hoofs, and a cloud 
of dust. 

The Stallion careered now on this side, now 
on that, and kept his eye on all and led and 
drove them far away. As long as I could 
see I watched, and never once did he break his 
pace. 

Jack made Western remarks about me and my 
gun, as well as that mustang, but I rejoiced in 
the Pacer's strength and beauty, and not for all 
the mares in the bunch would I have harmed 
his glossy hide. 



Ill 



There are several ways of capturing wild 
horses. One is by creasing that is, grazing 
the animal's nape with a rifle-ball so that he is 
stunned long enough for hobbling. 

"Yes! I seen about a hundred necks broke 
238 



The Pacing; Mustang- 
trying it, but I never seen a mustang creased 
yet," was Wild Jo's critical remark. 

Sometimes, if the shape of the country abets 
it, the herd can be driven into a corral ; some- 
times with extra fine mounts they can be run 
down, but by far the commonest way, paradoxi- 
cal as it may seem, is to walk them down. 

The fame of the Stallion that never was known 
to gallop was spreading. Extraordinary stories 
were told of his gait, his speed, and his wind, and 
when old Montgomery of the ' triangle-bar ' out- 
fit came out plump at Well's Hotel in Clayton, 
and in presence of witnesses said he'd give one 
thousand dollars cash for him safe in a box-car, 
providing the stories were true, a dozen young 
cow-punchers were eager to cut loose and win 
the purse, as soon as present engagements were 
up. But Wild Jo had had his eye on this 
very deal for quite awhile; there was no time to 
lose, so ignoring present contracts he rustled all 
night to raise the necessary equipment for the 
game. 

By straining his already overstrained credit, 
and taxing the already overtaxed generosity of 
his friends, he got together an expedition con- 

239 





The Pacing Mustang- 

sisting of twenty good saddle-horses, a mess- 
wagon, and a fortnight's stuff for three men 
himself, his ' pard,' Charley, and the cook. 

Then they set out from Clayton, with the 
avowed intention of walking down the wonder- 
fully swift wild horse. The third day they arrived 
at Antelope Springs, and as it was about noon 
they were not surprised to see the black Pacer 
marching down to drink with all his band behind 
him. Jo kept out of sight until the wild horses 
each and all had drunk their fill, for a thirsty 
animal always travels better than one laden with 
water. 

Jo then rode quietly forward. The Pacer 
took alarm at half a mile, and led his band away 
out of sight on the soapweed mesa to the south- 
east. Jo followed at a gallop till he once more 
sighted them, then came back and instructed 
the cook, who was also teamster, to make for 
Alamosa Arroyo in the south. Then away to 
the southeast he went after the mustangs. After 
a mile or two he once more sighted them, and 
walked his horse quietly till so near that they 
again took alarm and circled away to the south. 
An hour's trot, not on the trail, but cutting 

240 



The Pacing Mustang 

across to where they ought to go, brought Jo 
again in close sight. Again he walked quietly 
toward the herd, and again there was the alarm 
and flight. And so they passed the afternoon, 
but circled ever more and more to the south, so 
that when the sun was low they were, as Jo had 
expected, not far from Alamosa Arroyo. The 
band was again close at hand, and Jo, after 
starting them off, rode to the wagon, while his 
pard, who had been taking it easy, took up the 
slow chase on a fresh horse. 

After supper the wagon moved on to the up- 
per ford of the Alamosa, as arranged, and there 
camped for the night. 

Meanwhile, Charley followed the herd. They 
had not run so far as at first, for their pursuer 
made no sign of attack, and they were getting 
used to his company. They were more easily 
found, as the shadows fell, on account of a snow- 
white mare that was in the bunch. ' A young 
moon in the sky now gave some help, and rely- 
ing on his horse to choose the path, Charley kept 
him quietly walking after the herd, represented 
by that ghost-white mare, till they were lost in 
the night. He then got off, unsaddled and 

241 





The Pacing; Mustang- 
picketed his horse, and in his blanket quickly 
went to sleep. 

At the first streak of dawn he was up, and 
within a short half-mile, thanks to the snowy 
mare, he found the band. At his approach, 
the shrill neigh of the Pacer bugled his 
troop into a flying squad. But on the first 
mesa they stopped, and faced about to see what 
this persistent follower was, and what he wanted. 
For a moment or so they stood against the sky 
to gaze, and then deciding that he knew him as 
well as he wished to, that black meteor flung his 
mane on the wind, and led off at his tireless, 
even swing, while the mares came streaming- 
after. 

Away they went, circling now to the west, 
and after several repetitions of this same play, 
flying, following, and overtaking, and flying 
again, they passed, near noon, the old Apache 
look-out, Buffalo Bluff. And here, on watch, 
was Jo. A long thin column of smoke told 
Charley to come to camp, and with a flashing 
pocket-mirror he made response. 

Jo, freshly mounted, rode across, and again 
took up the chase, and back came Charley to 

242 



The Pacing Mustang 

camp to eat and rest, and then move on up 
stream. 

All that day Jo followed, and managed, when 
it was needed, that the herd should keep the 
great circle, of which the wagon cut a small 
chord. At sundown he came to Verde Crossing, 
and there was Charley with a fresh horse and 
food, and Jo went on in the same calm, dogged 
way. All the evening he followed, and far into 
the night, for the wild herd was now getting 
somewhat used to the presence of the harmless 
strangers, and were more easily followed ; more- 
over, they were tiring out with perpetual travel- 
ling. They were no longer in the good grass 
country, they were not grain-fed like the horses 
on their track, and above all, the slight but 
continuous nervous tension was surely telling. 
It spoiled their appetites, but made them very 
thirsty. They were allowed, and as far as pos- 
sible encouraged, to drink deeply at every 
chance. The effect of large quantities of water 
on a running animal is well known ; it tends to 
stiffen the limbs and spoil the wind. Jo care- 
fully guarded his own horse against such excess, 
and both he and his horse were fresh when they 

243 




The Pacing Mustang 

camped that night on the trail of the jaded 
mustangs. 

At dawn he found them easily close at hand, 
and though they ran at first they did not go far 
before they dropped into a walk. The battle 
seemed nearly won now, for the chief difficulty 
in the 'walk-down' is to keep track of the 
herd the first two or three days when they are 
fresh. 

All that morning Jo kept in sight, generally 
in close sight, of the band. About ten o'clock, 
Charley relieved him near Jose Peak and that 
day the mustangs walked only a quarter of a 
mile ahead with much less spirit than the day 
before and circled now more north again. At 
night Charley was supplied with a fresh horse 
and followed as before. 

Next day the mustangs walked with heads 
held low, and in spite of the efforts of the Black 
Pacer at times they were less than a hundred 
yards ahead of their pursuer. 

The fourth and fifth days passed the same 
way, and now the herd was nearly back to Ante- 
lope Springs. So far all had come out as ex- 
pected. The chase had been in a great circle 

244 



The Pacing Mustang 

with the wagon following a lesser circle. The 
wild herd was back to its starting-point, worn 
out ; and the hunters were back, fresh and on 
fresh horses. The herd was kept from drink- 
ing till late in the afternoon and then driven 
to the Springs to swell themselves with a per- 
fect water gorge. Now was the chance for the 
skilful ropers on the grain-fed horses to close 
in, for the sudden heavy drink was ruination, al- 
most paralysis, of wind and limb, and it would 
be easy to rope and hobble them one by one. 

There was only one weak spot in the pro- 
gramme, the Black Stallion, the cause of the 
hunt, seemed made of iron, that ceaseless swing- 
ing pace seemed as swift and vigorous now as on 
the morning when the chase began. Up and 
down he went rounding up the herd and urging 
them on by voice and example to escape. But 
they were played out. The old white mare that 
had been such help in sighting them at night, 
had dropped out hours ago, dead beat. The 
half-bloods seemed to be losing all fear of the 
horsemen, the band was clearly in Jo's power. 
But the one who was the prize of all the hunt 
seemed just as far as ever out of reach. 

245 




The Pacing Mustang 

Here was a puzzle. Jo's comrades knew 
him well and would not have been surprised to 
see him in a sudden rage attempt to shoot the 
Stallion down. But Jo had no such mind. 
During that long week of following he had 
watched the horse all day at speed and never 
once had he seen him gallop. 

The horseman's adoration of a noble horse 
had grown and grown, till now he would as 
soon have thought of shooting his best mount 
as firing on that splendid beast. 

Jo even asked himself whether he would take 
the handsome sum that was offered for the 
prize. Such an animal would be a fortune in 
himself to sire a race of pacers for the track. 

But the prize was still at large the time had 
come to finish up the hunt. Jo's finest mount 
was caught. She was a mare of Eastern blood, 
but raised on the plains. She never would have 
come into Jo's possession but for a curious weak- 
ness. The loco is a poisonous weed that grows 
in these regions. Most stock will not touch it ; 
but sometimes an animal tries it and becomes 
addicted to it. It acts somewhat like morphine, 
but the animal, though sane for long intervals, 

246 



The Pacing: Mustang 

has always a passion for the herb and finally 
dies mad. A beast with the craze is said to 
be locoed. And Jo's best mount had a wild 
gleam in her eye that to an expert told the 
tale. 

But she was swift and strong and Jo chose 
her for the grand finish of the chase. It would 
have been an easy matter now to rope the 
mares, but was no longer necessary. They 
could be separated from their black leader and 
driven home to the corral. But that leader 
still had the look of untamed strength. Jo, re- 
joicing in a worthy foe, went bounding forth 
to try the odds. The lasso was flung on the 
ground and trailed to take out every kink, 
and gathered as he rode into neatest coils on 
his left palm. Then putting on the spur the 
first time in that chase he rode straight for the 
Stallion a quarter of a mile beyond. Away he 
went, and away went Jo, each at his best, while 
the fagged-out mares scattered right and left 
and let them pass. Straight across the open 
plain the fresh horse went at its hardest gallop, 
and the Stallion, leading off, still kept his start 
and kept his famous swing. 

247 



The Pacing Mustang 




It was incredible, and Jo put on more spur 
and shouted to his horse, which fairly flew, but 
shortened up the space between by not a single 
inch. For the Black One whirled across the 
flat and up and passed a soapweed mesa and 
down across a sandy treacherous plain, then 
over a grassy stretch where prairie dogs barked, 
then hid below, and on came Jo, but there to 
see, could he believe his eyes, the Stallion's 
start grown longer still, and Jo began to curse 
his luck, and urge and spur his horse until the 
poor uncertain brute got into such a state of 
nervous fright, her eyes began to roll, she 
wildly shook her head from side to side, no 
longer picked her ground a badger-hole re- 
ceived her foot and down she went, and Jo went 
flying to the earth. Though badly bruised, he 
gained his feet and tried to mount his crazy 
beast. But she, poor brute, was done for her 
off fore-leg hung loose. 

There was but one thing to do. Jo loosed 
the cinch, put Lightfoot out of pain, and car- 
ried back the saddle to the camp. While the 
Pacer steamed away till lost to view. 

This was not quite defeat, for all the mares 
248 



The Pacing Mustang 

were manageable now, and Jo and Charley 
drove them carefully to the ' L cross F ' corral 
and claimed a good reward. But Jo was more 
than ever bound to own the Stallion. He had 
seen what stuff he was made of, he prized him 
more and more, and only sought to strike some 
better plan to catch him. 



IV 



The cook on that trip was Bates Mr. Thom- 
as Bates, he called himself at the post-office 
where he regularly went for the letters and re- 
mittance which never came. Old Tom Tur- 
keytrack, the boys called him, from his cattle- 
brand, which he said was on record at Denver, 
and which, according to his story, was also 
borne by countless beef and saddle stock on 
the plains of the unknown North. 

When asked to join the trip as a partner, Bates 
made some sarcastic remarks about horses not 
fetching $12 a dozen, which had been literally 
true within the year, and he preferred to go on a 
very meagre salary. But no one who once saw 
the Pacer going had failed to catch the craze. 

249 








The Pacing Mustang 

Turkeytrack experienced the usual change of 
heart. He now wanted to own that mustang. 
How this was to be brought about he did not 
clearly see till one day there called at the ranch 
that had ' secured his services,' as he put it, one. 
Bill Smith, more usually known as Horseshoe 
Billy, from his cattle-brand. While the excel- 
lent fresh beef and bread and the vile coffee, 
dried peaches and molasses were being con- 
sumed, he of the horseshoe remarked, in tones 
which percolated through a huge stop-gap of 
bread : 

" Wall, I seen that thar Pacer to-day, nigh 
enough to put a plait in his tail." 
" What, you didn't shoot? " 
" No, but I come mighty near it." 
" Don't you be led into no sich foolishness," 
said a ' double-bar H ' cow-puncher at the other 
end of the table. " I calc'late that maverick 
"ill carry my brand before the moon changes." 
" You'll have to be pretty spry or you'll find 
a ' triangle dot ' on his weather side when you 
get there." 

" Where did you run acrost him ? ' 
" Wall, it was like this ; I was riding the 
250 



The Pacing Mustang 

flat by Antelope Springs and I sees a lump on 
the dry mud inside the rush belt. I knowed I 
never seen that before, so rides up, thinking it 
might be some of our stock, an' seen it was a 
horse lying plumb flat. The wind was blowing 

like from him to me, so I rides up close 

and seen it was the Pacer, dead as a mackerel. 
Still, he didn't look swelled or cut, and there 
wa'n't no smell, an' I didn't know what to 
think till I seen his ear twitch off a fly and 
then I knowed he was sleeping. I gits down 
me rope and coils it, and seen it was old and 
pretty shaky in spots, and me saddle a single 
cinch, an' me pony about 700 again a 1,200 Ibs. 
stallion, an' I sez to meself, sez I : ' 'Tain'tno 
use, I'll only break me cinch and git throwed 
an' lose me saddle.' So I hits the saddle-horn a 
crack with the hondu, and I wish't you'd a 
seen that mustang. He lept six foot in the air 
an* landed on all fours and snorted like he was 
shunting cars. His eyes fairly bugged out an' 
he lighted out lickety split for California, and 
he orter be there about now if he kep' on like 
he started and I swear he never made a break 
the hull trip. ' ' 

251 



The Pacing Mustang 




The story was not quite so consecutive as 
given here. It was much punctuated by present 
engrossments, and from first to last was more or 
less infiltrated through the necessaries of life, 
for Bill was a healthy young man without a 
trace of false shame. But the account was com- 
plete and everyone believed it, for Billy was 
known to be reliable. Of all those who heard, 
old Turkeytrack talked the least and probably 
thought the most, for it gave him a new idea. 

During his after-dinner pipe he studied it out 
and deciding that he could not go it alone, he 
took Horseshoe Billy into his council and the 
result was a partnership in a new venture to capt- 
ure the Pacer; that is, the $5,000 that was now 
said to be the offer for him safe in a box-car. 

Antelope Springs was still the usual watering- 
place of the Pacer. The water being low left 
a broad belt of dry black mud between the 
sedge and the spring. At two places this belt 
was broken by a well-marked trail made by the 
animals coming to drink. Horses and wild 
animals usually kept to these trails, though the 
horned cattle had no hesitation in taking a 
short cut through the sedge. 

252 



The Pacing- Mustang 

In the most used of these trails the two men 
set to work with shovels and digged a pit 15 
feet long, 6 feet wide and 7 feet deep. It was 
a hard twenty hours work for them as it had to 
be completed between the Mustang's drinks, and 
it began to be very damp work before it was 
finished. With poles, brush, and earth it was 
then cleverly covered over and concealed. And 
the men went to a distance and hid in pits 
made for the purpose. 

About noon the Pacer came, alone now since 
the capture of his band. The trail on the op- 
posite side of the mud belt was little used, and 
old Tom, by throwing some fresh rushes across 
it, expected to make sure that the Stallion 
would enter by the other, if indeed he should 
by any caprice try to come by the unusual path. 

What sleepless angel is it watches over and 
cares for the wild animals ? In spite of all rea- 
sons to take the usual path, the Pacer came 
along the other. The suspicious-looking rushes 
did not stop him; he walked calmly to the 
water and drank. There was only one way 
now to prevent utter failure ; when he lowered 
his head for the second draft which horses al- 

253 



The Pacing; Mustang 

ways take, Bates and Smith quit their holes and 
ran swiftly toward the trail behind him, and 
when he raised his proud head Smith sent a 
revolver-shot into the ground behind him. 

Away went the Pacer at his famous gait 
straight to the trap. Another second and he 
would be into it. Already he is on the trail, 
and already they feel they have him, but the 
angel of the wild things is with him, that in- 
comprehensible warning comes, and with one 
mighty bound he clears the fifteen feet of 
treacherous ground and spurns the earth as he 
fades away unharmed, never again to visit An- 
telope Springs by either of the beaten paths. 



V 



Wild Jo never lacked energy. He meant 
to catch that Mustang, and when he learned 
that others were bestirring themselves for the 
same purpose he at once set about trying the 
best untried plan he knew the plan by which 
the coyote catches the fleeter jackrabbit, and 
the mounted Indian the far swifter antelope 
the old plan of the relay chase. 

254 



The Pacing; Mustang- 

The Canadian River on the south, its affluent, 
the Pinavetitos Arroyo, on the northeast, and 
the Don Carlos Hills with thellte Creek Canon 
on the west, formed a sixty-mile triangle that 
was the range of the Pacer. It was believed 
that he never went outside this, and at all times 
Antelope Springs was his headquarters. Jo 
knew this country well, all the water-holes 
and canon crossings as well as the ways of the 
Pacer. 

If he could have gotten fifty good horses he 
could have posted them to advantage so as to 
cover all points, but twenty mounts and five 
good riders were all that proved available. 

The horses, grain-fed for two weeks before, 
were sent on ahead ; each man was instructed 
how to play his part and sent to his post the day 
before the race. On the day of the start Jo 
with his wagon drove to the plain of Antelope 
Springs and, camping far off in a little draw, 
waited. 

At last he came, that coal-black Horse, out 
from the sand-hills at the south, alone as always 
now, and walked calmly down to the Springs 
and circled quite around it to sniff for any hid- 

255 




The Pacing Mustang- 
den foe. Then he approached where there was 
no trail at all and drank. 

To watched and wished he would drink a 
hogshead. But the moment that he turned 
and sought the grass Jo spurred his steed. The 
Pacer heard the hoofs, then saw the running 
horse, and did not want a nearer view but led 
away. Across the flat he went down to the 
south, and kept the famous swinging gait that 
made his start grow longer. Now through the 
sandy dunes he went, and steadying to an even 
pace he gained considerably and Jo's too-laden 
horse plunged through the sand and sinking fet- 
lock deep, lost at even- bound. Then came a level 
stretch where the runner seemed to gain, and 
then a long decline where Jo's horse dared not 
run his best, so lost again at even- step. 

But on they went, and Jo spared neither spur 
nor quirt. A mile a mile and another mile, 
and the far -off rock at Arriba loomed up 
ahead. 

And there Jo knew fresh mounts were held, 
and on they dashed. But the night-black 
mane out level on the breeze ahead was gaining 
more and more. 

256 



The Pacing; Mustang 

Arriba Canon reached at last, the watcher 
stood aside, for it was not wished to turn the 
race, and the Stallion passed dashed down, 
across and up the slope, with that unbroken 
pace, the only one he knew. 

And Jo came bounding on his foaming 
steed, and leaped on the waiting mount, then 
urged him down the slope and up upon the 
track, and on the upland once more drove in 
the spurs, and raced and raced, and raced, but 
not a single inch he gained. 

Ga-lump, gal-honp, gal-ump with measured 
beat he went an hour an hour, and another 
hour Arroyo Alamosa just ahead with fresh 
relays, and Jo yelled at his horse and pushed 
him on and on. Straight for the place the 
Black One made, but on the last two miles 
some strange foreboding turned him to the left, 
and Jo foresaw escape in this, and pushed 
his jaded mount at any cost to head him off, 
and hard as they had raced this was the hard- 
est race of all, with gasps for breath and leather 
squeaks at every straining bound. Then cut- 
ting right across, Jo seemed to gain, and draw- 
ing his gun he fired shot after shot to toss the 

257 




The Pacing; Mustang 

dust, and so turned the Stallion's head and 
forced him back to take the crossing to the right. 

Down they went. The Stallion crossed and 
Jo sprang to the ground. His horse was done, 
for thirty miles had passed in the last stretch, 
and Jo himself was worn out. His eyes were 
burnt with flying alkali dust. He was half blind 
so he motioned to his ' pard ' to "go ahead and 
keep him straight for Alamosa ford." 

Out shot the rider on a strong, fresh steed, 
and away they went up and down on the roll- 
ing plain the Black Horse flecked with snowy 
foam. His heaving ribs and noisy breath 
showed what he felt but on and on he went. 

And Tom on Ginger seemed to gain, then 
lose and lose, when in an hour the long decline 
of Alamosa came. And there a freshly mounted 
lad took up the chase and turned it west, and 
on they went past towns of prairie dogs, 
through soapweed tracts and cactus brakes by 
scores, and pricked and wrenched rode on. 
With dust and sweat the Black was now a 
dappled brown, but still he stepped the same. 
Young Carrington, who followed, had hurt his 
steed by pushing at the very start, and spurred 

258 



The Pacing- Mustang 

and urged him now to cut across a gulch at 
which the Pacer shied. Just one misstep and 
down they went. 

The boy escaped, but the pony lies there 
yet, and the wild Black Horse kept on. 

This was close to old Gallego's ranch where 
Jo himself had cut across refreshed to push the 
chase. Within thirty minutes he was again 
scorching the Pacer's trail. 

Far in the west the Carlos Hills were seen, 
and there Jo knew fresh men and mounts were 
waiting, and that way the indomitable rider 
tried to turn the race, but by a sudden whim, 
of the inner warning born perhaps the Pacer 
turned. Sharp to the north he went, and Jo, 
the skilful wrangler, rode and rode and yelled 
and tossed the dust with shots, but down a 
gulch the wild black meteor streamed and Jo 
could only follow. Then came the hardest race 
of all ; Jo, cruel to the Mustang, was crueller to 
his mount and to himself. The sun was hot, 
the scorching plain was dim in shimmering heat, 
his eyes and lips were burnt with sand and salt, 
and yet the chase sped on. The only chance 
to win would be if he could drive the Mustang 

259 




The Pacing Mustang 

back to Big Arroyo Crossing. Now almost for 
the first time he saw signs of weakening in the 
Black. His mane and tail were not just quite so 
high, and his short half mile of start was down 
by more than half, but still he stayed ahead 
and paced and paced and paced. 

An hour and another hour, and still they went 
the same. But they turned again, and night 
was near when big Arroyo ford was reached 
fully twenty miles. But Jo was game, he seized 
the waiting horse. The one he left went gasp- 
ing to the stream and gorged himself with wa- 
ter till he died. 

Then Jo held back in hopes the foaming 
Black would drink. But he was wise ; he gulped 
a single gulp, splashed through the stream and 
then passed on with Jo at speed behind him. 
And when they last were seen the Black was on 
ahead just out of reach and Jo's horse bound- 
ing on. 

It was morning when Jo came to camp on 
foot. His tale was briefly told : eight horses 
dead five men worn out the matchless Pacer 
safe and free. 

" 'Taint possible; it can't be done. Sorry I 
260 






V 



Aw.iy Went the Mustang at his Famous Pace. 



The Pacing: Mustang 

didn't bore his hellish carcass through when I 
had the chance," said Jo, and gave it up. 



VI 



Old Turkeytrack was cook on this trip. He 
had watched the chase with as much interest as 
anyone, and when it failed he grinned into the 
pot and said: "That mustang's mine unless 
I'm a darned fool." Then falling back on 
Scripture for a precedent, as was his habit, he 
still addressed the pot : 

" Reckon the Philistines tried to run Samson 
down and they got done up, an' would a stayed 
done ony for a nat'ral weakness on his part. 
An' Adam would a loafed in Eden yit ony 
for a leetle failing which we all onderstand. 
An' it aint $5000 I'll take for him nuther." 
(This last remark probably referred to the Mus- 
tang.) 

Much persecution had made the Pacer wilder 
than ever. But it did not drive him away from 
Antelope Springs. That was the only drinking- 
place with absolutely no shelter for a mile on 
every side to hide an enemy. Here he came 

263 



The Pacing; Mustang 




almost every day about noon, and after thor- 
oughly spying the land approached to drink. 

His had been a lonely life all winter since the 
capture of his harem, and of this old Turkey- 
track was fully aware. The old cook's chum had 
a nice little brown mare which he judged would 
serve his ends, and taking a pair of the strongest 
hobbles, a spade, a spare lasso, and a stout post 
he mounted the mare and rode away to the 
famous Springs. 

A few antelope skimmed over the plain be- 
fore him in the early freshness of the day. Cat- 
tle were lying about in groups, and the loud, 
sweet song of the prairie lark was heard on 
every side. For the bright snowless winter of 
the mesas was gone and the springtime was at 
hand. The grass was greening and all nature 
seemed turning to thoughts of love. 

It was in the air, and when the little brown 
mare was picketed out to graze she raised her 
nose from time to time to pour forth a long 
shrill whinny that surely was her song, if song 
she had, of love. 

Old Turkeytrack studied the wind and the 
lay of the land. There was the pit he had la- 

264 



The Pacing- Mustang 

bored at, now opened and filled with water that 
was rank with drowned prairie dogs and mice. 
Here was the new trail the animals were forced 
to make by the pit. He selected a sedgy clump 
near some smooth, grassy ground, and first 
firmly sunk the post, then dug a hole large 
enough to hide in, and spread his blanket in it. 
He shortened up the little mare's tether, till she 
could scarcely move ; then on the ground be- 
tween he spread his open lasso, tying the long 
end to the post, then covered the rope with 
dust and grass, and went into his hiding-place. 

About noon, after long waiting, the amorous 
whinny of the mare was answered from the high 
ground, away to the west, and there, black 
against the sky, was the famous Mustang. 

Down he came at that long swinging gait, 
but grown crafty with much pursuit, he often 
stopped to gaze and whinny, and got answer 
that surely touched his heart. Nearer he came 
again to call, then took alarm, and paced all 
around in a great circle to try the wind for his 
foes, and seemed in doubt. But he circled 
nearer still, and neighed again, and got reply that 
seemed to quell all fears, and set his heart aglow. 

265 








The Pacing Mustang 

Nearer still he pranced, till he touched Solly's 
nose with his own, and finding her as responsive 
as he well could wish, thrust aside all thoughts 
of danger, and abandoned himself to the de- 
light of conquest, until, as he pranced around, J-C. 
his hind legs for a moment stood within the evil '^/^ s 
circle of the rope. One deft sharp twitch, the ?& 
noose flew tight, and he was caught. 

A snort of terror and a bound in the air gave 
Tom the chance to add the double hitch. The 
loop flashed up the line, and snake-like bound 
those mighty hoofs. 

Terror lent speed and double strength for a 
moment, but the end of the rope was reached, 
and down he went a captive, a hopeless prisoner 
at last. Old Tom's ugly, little crooked form 
sprang from the pit to complete the mastering 
of the great glorious creature whose mighty 
strength had proved as nothing when matched 
with the wits of a little old man. With snorts 
and desperate bounds of awful force the great 
beast dashed and struggled to be free; but all in 
vain. The rope was strong. 

The second lasso was deftly swung, and the 
forefeet caught, and then with a skilful move 

266 



The Pacing Mustang: 

the feet were drawn together, and down went 
the raging Pacer to lie a moment later 'hog-tied ' 
and helpless on the ground. There he struggled 
till worn out, sobbing great convulsive sobs 
while tears ran down his cheeks. 

Tom stood by and watched, but a strange re- 
vulsion of feeling came over the old cow- 
puncher. He trembled nervously from head to 
foot, as he had not done since he roped his first 
steer, and for awhile could do nothing but gaze 
on his tremendous prisoner. But the feeling soon 
passed away. He saddled Delilah, and taking 
the second lasso, roped the great horse about 
the neck, and left the mare to hold the Stallion's 
head, while he put on the hobbles. This was 
soon done, and sure of him now old Bates was 
about to loose the ropes, but on a sudden 
thought he stopped. He had quite forgotten, 
and had come unprepared for something of im- 
portance. In Western law the Mustang was the 
property of the first man to mark him with his 
brand ; how was this to be done with the near- 
est branding-iron twenty miles away ? 

Old Tom went to his mare, took up her hoofs 
one at a time, and examined each shoe. Yes ! 

267 




The Pacing Mustang 

one was a little loose ; he pushed and pried it 
with the spade, and got it off. Buffalo chips 
and kindred fuel were plentiful about the plain, 
so a fire was quickly made, and he soon had one 
arm of the horse-shoe red hot, then holding the 
other wrapped in his sock he rudely sketched 
on the left shoulder of the helpless mustang a 
turkeytrack, his brand, the first time really 
that it had ever been used. The Pacer shud- 
dered as the hot iron seared his flesh, but it was 
quickly done, and the famous Mustang Stallion 
was a maverick no more. 

Now all there was to do was to take him 
home. The ropes were loosed, the Mustang 
felt himself freed, thought he was free, and 
sprang to his feet only to fall as soon as he 
tried to take a stride. His forefeet were strong- 
ly tied together, his only possible gait a shuf- 
fling walk, or else a desperate labored bounding 
with feet so unnaturally held that within a few 
yards he was inevitably thrown each time he 
tried to break away. Tom on the light pony 
headed him off again and again, and by dint of 
driving, threatening, and manoeuvring, con- 
trived to force his foaming, crazy captive north- 

268 



The Pacing; Mustang; 

ward toward the Pinavetitos Canon. But the 
wild horse would not drive, would not give in. 
With snorts of terror or of rage and maddest 
bounds, he tried and tried to get away. It 
was one long cruel fight ; his glossy sides were 
thick with dark foam, and the foam was stained 
with blood. Countless hard falls and exhaus- 
tion that a long day's chase was powerless to pro- 
duce were telling on him; his straining bounds 
first this way and then that, were not now 
quite so strong, and the spray he snorted as he 
gasped was half a spray of blood. But his 
captor, relentless, masterful and cool, still forced 
him on. Down the slope toward the canon 
they had come, every yard a fight, and now 
they were at the head of the draw that took the 
trail down to the only crossing of the canon, the 
northwest limit of the Pacer's ancient range. 

From this the first corral and ranch-house 
were in sight. The man rejoiced, but the 
Mustang gathered his remaining strength for 
one more desperate dash. Up, up the grassy 
slope from the trail he went, defied the swing- 
ing, slashing rope and the gunshot fired in air, 
in vain attempt to turn his frenzied course. 

269 



The Pacing- Mustang 

Up, up and on, above the sheerest cliff he dashed 
then sprang away into the vacant air, down 
down two hundred downward feet to fall, and 
land upon the rocks below, a lifeless wreck 
but free. 




270 




xe/t/c/e 
/t/t/t/t 



^ ^ 

.vv 






Wully 

The Story of a Yaller Dog 



Wully 

The Story of a Yaller Dog 

WULLY was a little yaller dog. A yaller 
dog, be it understood, is not necessarily the 
same as a yellow dog. He is not simply a 
canine whose capillary covering is highly charged 
with yellow pigment. He is the mongrelest 
mixture of all mongrels, the least common mul- 
tiple of all dogs, the breedless union of all 
breeds, and though of no breed at all, he is yet 
of older, better breed than any of his aristocratic 
relations, for he is nature's attempt to restore 
the ancestral jackal, the parent stock of all dogs. 

Indeed, the scientific name of the jackal 
( Cam's aureus] means simply ' yellow dog, ' 
and not a few of that animal's characteristics are 
seen in his domesticated representative. For the 
plebeian cur is shrewd, active, and hardy, and 

275 




Wully 

far better equipped for the real struggle of life 
than any of his -thoroughbred ' kinsmen. 

If we were to abandon a yaller dog, a grey- 
hound, and a bulldog on a desert island, which 
of them after six months would be alive and 
well? Unquestionably it would be the de- 
spised yellow cur. He has not the speed of 
the greyhound, but neither does he bear the 
seeds of lung and skin diseases. He has not 
the strength or reckless courage of the bulldog, 
but he has something a thousand times better, 
he has common sense. Health and wit are no 
mean equipment for the life struggle, and when 
the dog- world is not ' managed ' by man, they 
have never yet failed to bring out the yellow 
mongrel as the sole and triumphant survivor. 

Once in a while the reversion to the jackal 
type is more complete, and the yaller dog has 
pricked and pointed ears. Beware of him then. 
He is cunning and plucky and can bite like a 
wolf. There is a strange, wild streak in his 
nature too, that under cruelty or long adversity 
may develop into deadliest treachery in spite 
of the better traits that are the foundation of 
man's love for the doe. 

276 




in 

S 



" 



Wolly 




WAY up in the Cheviots little Wully 
was born. He and one other of the 
litter were kept; his brother because 
he resembled the best dog in the 
vicinity, and himself because he was 
a little yellow beauty. 

His early life was that of a sheep-dog, in 
company with an experienced collie who 
trained him, and an old shepherd who was 
scarcely inferior to them in intelligence. By 
the time he was two years old Wully was full 
grown and had taken a thorough course in 
sheep. He knew them from ram-horn to lamb- 
hoof, and old Robin, his master, at length had 
such confidence in his sagacity that he would 
frequently stay at the tavern all night while 
Wully guarded the woolly idiots in the hills. 
His education had been wisely bestowed and 
in most ways he was a very bright little dog 
with a future before him. Yet he never learned 
to despise that addle-pated Robin. The old 
shepherd, with all his faults, his continual 

279 



Wully 

striving after his ideal state intoxication and 
his mind-shrivelling life in general was rarely 
brutal to Wully, and Wully repaid him with an 
exaggerated worship that the greatest and wisest 
in the land would have aspired to in vain. 

Wully could not have imagined any greater 
being than Robin, and yet for the sum of five 
shillings a week all Robin's vital energy and 
mental force were pledged to the service of a 
not very great cattle and sheep dealer, the real 
proprietor of Wully's charge, and when this 
man, really less great than the neighboring 
laird, ordered Robin to drive his flock by 
stages to the Yorkshire moors and markets, of 
all the 376 mentalities concerned, Wully's was 
the most interested and interesting. 

The journey through Northumberland was 
uneventful. At the River Tyne the sheep were 
driven on to the ferry and landed safely in 
smoky South Shields. The great factory chim- 
neys were just starting up for the day and belch- 
ing out fogbanks and thunder-rollers of opaque 
leaden smoke that darkened the air and hung 
low like a storm-cloud over the streets. The 
sheep thought that they recognized the fuming 

280 




Wtilly 



dun of an unusually heavy Cheviot storm. 
They became alarmed, and in spite of their 
keepers stampeded through the town in 374 
different directions. 

Robin was vexed to the inmost recesses of 
his tiny soul. He stared stupidly after the 
sheep for half a minute, then gave the order, 
"Wully, fetch them in." After this mental 
effort he sat down, lit his pipe, and taking out 
his knitting began work on a half-finished 
sock. 

To Wully the voice of Robin was the voice 
of God. Away he ran in 374 different direc- 
tions, and headed off and rounded up the 374 
different wanderers, and brought them back to 
the ferry-house before Robin, who was stolidly 
watching the process, had toed off his sock. 

Finally Wully not Robin gave the sign 
that all were in. The old shepherd proceeded 
to count them 370, 371, 372, 373. 

"Wully," he said reproachfully, " thar no' 
a' here. Thur's anither." And Wully, stung 
with shame, bounded off to scour the whole city 
for the missing one. He was not long gone 
when a small boy pointed out to Robin that 

281 




Wully 

the sheep were all there, the whole 374. Now 
Robin was in a quandary. His order was to 
hasten on to Yorkshire, and yet he knew that 
Wully's pride would prevent his coming back 
without another sheep, even if he had to steal 
it. Such things had happened before, and re- 
sulted in embarrassing complications. What 
should he do? There was five shillings a week 
at stake. Wully was a good dog, it was a 
pity to lose him, but then, his orders from the 
master; and again, if Wully stole an extra sheep 
to make up the number, then what in a for- 
eign land too ? He decided to abandon Wully, 
and push on alone with the sheep. And how 
he fared no one knows or cares. 

Meanwhile, Wully careered through miles of 
streets hunting in vain for his lost sheep. All 
day he searched, and at night, famished and 
worn out, he sneaked shamefacedly back to the 
ferry, only to find that master and sheep had 
gone. His sorrow was pitiful to see. He ran 
about whimpering, then took the ferryboat 
across to the other side, and searched every- 
where for Robin. He returned to South 
Shields and searched there, and spent the rest 

282 



Wully 

of the night seeking for his wretched idol. 
The next day he continued his search, he 
crossed and recrossed the river many times. 
He watched and smelt everyone that came over, 
and with significant shrewdness he sought un- 
ceasingly in the neighboring taverns for his 
master. The next day he set to work system- 
atically to smell everyone that might cross the 
ferry. 

The ferry makes fifty trips a day, with an 
average of one hundred persons a trip, yet never 
once did Wully fail to be on the gang-plank 
and smell every pair of legs that crossed 5,000 
pairs, 10,000 legs that day did Wully examine 
after his own fashion. And the next day, and 
the next, and all the week he kept his post, and 
seemed indifferent to feeding himself. Soon 
starvation and worry began to tell on him. 
He grew thin and ill-tempered. No one could 
touch him, and any attempt to interfere with 
his daily occupation of leg-smelling roused him 
to desperation. 

Day after day, week after week Wully 
watched and waited for his master, who never 
came. The ferry men learned to respect 

283 





>TTOf 




Wully 



Wully's fidelity. At first he scorned their 
proffered food and shelter, and lived no one 
knew how, but starved to it at last, he ac- 
cepted the gifts and learned to tolerate the 
givers. Although embittered against the world, 
his heart was true to his worthless master. 

Fourteen months afterward I made his ac- 
quaintance. He was still on rigid duty at his 
post. He had regained his good looks. His 
bright, keen face set off by his white ruff and 
pricked ears made a dog to catch the eye any- 
where. But he gave me no second glance, 
once he found my legs were not those he 
sought, and in spite of my friendly overtures 
during the ten months following that he con- 
tinued his watch, I got no farther into his con- 
fidence than any other stranger. 

For two whole years did this devoted creat- 
ure attend that ferry. There was only one 
thing to prevent him going home to the hills, 
not the distance nor the chance of getting lost, 
but the conviction that Robin, the godlike 
Robin, wished him to stay by the ferry ; and 
he stayed. 

But he crossed the water as often as he felt 
284 
'\ 

^A 

\ 




Wully 

it would serve his purpose. The fare for a dog 
was one penny, and it was calculated that Wully 
owed the company hundreds of pounds before 
he gave up his quest. He never failed to sense 
every pair of nethers that crossed the gang- 
plank 6,000,000 legs by computation had 
been pronounced upon by this expert. But all 
to no purpose. His unswerving fidelity never 
faltered, though his temper was obviously sour- 
ing under the long strain. 

We had never heard what became of Robin, 
but one day a sturdy drover strode down the 
ferry-slip and Wully mechanically assaying the 
new personality, suddenly started, his mane 
bristled, he trembled, a low growl escaped 
him, and he fixed his every sense on the drover. 

One of the ferry hands not understanding, 
called to the stranger, " Hoot mon, yemaunna 
hort oor dawg." 

" Whaes hortin 'im, ye fule ; he is mair like 
to hort me." But further explanation was 
not necessary. Wully's manner had wholly 
changed. He fawned on the drover, and his 
tail was wagging violently for the first time in 
years. 

285 




Wtiftf 

A few words nadt an I ry. the 

: .--...:...:. 

mittens and xnforta . are were of Rol 

part f his w: 

E VTu. :-..- - the traces oi si - 
:.-.....-.-.- gc Fan] nearei . I 

ast . .. .. edhisposl at the fen . 

UUK ad his ail -: - - 

the - : -.- ttens, and Dorley was 

..- ::.-.. - :j his home aiv 

: F Da - v ten . ecame once 

. .. - . . -dog ugeof aflod 






Monsaldale is ore of -.-: -known valleys 

in Derbys ire The Pig and Wj-. stk > its 
^ ..; t cdefaratod inn, and _" - : :^. :- :r . . the 

- - od stm V;:-:>J-.:rrman. 

re meant b fora ronl -;man. but C'IT- 

- . - : 

ban tastes made him a well, never m 

-.._:.. of poachir. _ : 7 

-v. 

's new horce w^s on the . atsl I 

.: ! 




^x 



f. 




i 4BL 





- 







, in Charge of a Fi 



Wully 

the valley above Jo's inn, and that fact was not 
without weight in bringing me to Monsaldale. 
His master, Dorley, farmed in a small way on 
the lowland, and on the moors had a large 
number of sheep. These Wully guarded with 
his old-time sagacity, watching them while they 
fed and bringing them to the fold at night. He 
was reserved and preoccupied for a dog, and 
rather too ready to show his teeth to strangers, 
but he was so unremitting in his attention to 
his flock that Dorley did not lose a lamb that 
year, although the neighboring farmers paid the 
usual tribute to eagles and to foxes. 

The dales are poor fox-hunting country at 
best. The rocky ridges, high stone walls, and 
precipices are too numerous to please the riders, 
and the .final retreats in the rocks are so plenti- 
ful that it was a marvel the foxes did not over- 
run Monsaldale. But they didn't. There had 
been but little reason for complaint until the 
year 1881, when a sly old fox quartered him- 
self on the fat parish, like a mouse inside a 
cheese, and laughed equally at the hounds of 
the huntsmen and the lurchers of the farmers. 

He was several times run by the Peak hounds, 
289 



Wully 




and escaped by making for the Devil's Hole. 
Once in this gorge, where the cracks in the 
rocks extend unknown distances, he was safe. 
The country folk began to see something more 
than chance in the fact that he always escaped 
at the Devil's Hole, and when one of the 
hounds who nearly caught this Devil's Fox 
soon after went mad, it removed all doubt as 
to the spiritual paternity of said fox. 

He continued his career of rapine, making 
audacious raids and hair-breadth escapes, and 
finally began, as do many old foxes, to kill from 
a mania for slaughter. Thus it was that Digby 
lost ten lambs in one night. Carroll lost seven 
the next night. Later, the vicarage duck-pond 
was wholly devastated, and scarcely a night 
passed but someone in the region had to report 
a carnage of poultry, lambs or sheep, and, finally 
even calves. 

Of course all the slaughter was attributed to 
this one fox of the Devil's Hole. It was known 
only that he was a very large fox, at least one 
that made a very large track. He never was 
clearly seen, even by the huntsmen. And it 
was noticed that Thunder and Bell, the stanch- 

290 



Wolly 

est hounds in the pack, had refused to tongue or 
even to follow the trail when he was hunted. 

His reputation for madness sufficed to make 
the master of the Peak hounds avoid the neigh- 
borhood. The farmers in Monsaldale, led by 
Jo, agreed among themselves that if it would 
only come on a snow, they would assemble and 
beat the whole country, and in defiance of all 
rules of the hunt, get rid of the ' daft ' fox in 
any way they could. But the snow did not 
come, and the red-haired gentleman lived his 
life. Notwithstanding his madness, he did not 
lack method. He never came two successive 
nights to the same farm. He never ate where 
he killed, and he never left a track that betrayed 
his retreat. He usually finished up his night's 
trail on the turf, or on a public highway. 

Once I saw him. I was walking to Monsal- 
dale from Bakewell late one night during a 
heavy storm, and as I turned the corner of 
Stead's sheep-fold there was a vivid flash of light- 
ning. By its light, there was fixed on my ret- 
ina a picture that made me start. Sitting on 
his haunches by the roadside, twenty yards 
away, was a very large fox gazing at me with 

291 




Wully 

malignant eyes, and licking his muzzle in a sug- 
gestive manner. All this I saw, but no more, 
and might have forgotten it, or thought myself 
mistaken, but the next morning, in that very 
fold, were found the bodies of twenty-three 
lambs and sheep, and the unmistakable signs 
that brought home the crime to the well-known 
marauder. 

There was only one man who escaped, and 
that was Dorley. This was the more remarka- 
ble because he lived in the centre of the region 
raided, and within one mile of the Devil's Hole. 
Faithful Wully proved himself worth all the 
dogs in the neighborhood. Night after night 
he brought in the sheep, and never one was 
missing. The Mad Fox might prowl about the 
Dorley homestead if he wished, but Wully, 
shrewd, brave, active Wully was more than a 
match for him, and not only saved his master's 
flock, but himself escaped with a whole skin. 
Everyone entertained a profound respect for 
him, and he might have been a popular pet but 
for his temper which, never genial, became 
more and more crabbed. He seemed to like 
Dorley, and Huldah, Dorley's eldest daughter, 

292 



Wully 



a shrewd, handsome, young woman, who, in 
the capacity of general manager of the house, 
was Wully's special guardian. The other mem- 
bers of Dorley's family Wully learned to toler- 
ate, but the rest of the world, men and dogs, he 
seemed to hate. 

His uncanny disposition was well shown in 
the last meeting I had with him. I was walk- 
ing on a pathway across the moor behind Dor- 
ley's house. Wully was lying on the doorstep. 
As I drew near he arose, and without appear- 
ing to see me trotted toward my pathway and 
placed himself across it about ten yards ahead of 
me. There he stood silently and intently regard- 
ing the distant moor, his slightly bristling mane 
the only sign that he had not been suddenly 
turned to stone. He did not stir as I came up, 
and not wishing to quarrel, I stepped around 
past his nose and walked on. Wully at once 

left his position and in the same eerie silence ./ 

!\ 
trotted on some twenty feet and again stood "--. 

across the pathway. Once more I came up 
and, stepping into the grass, brushed past his 
nose. Instantly, but without a sound, he seized 
my left heel, I kicked out with the other foot, 

293 





Wally 

but he escaped. Not having a stick, I flung a 
large stone at him. He leaped forward and the 
stone struck him in the ham, bowling him over 
into a ditch. He gasped out a savage growl 
as he fell, but scrambled out of the ditch and 
limped away in silence. 

Yet sullen and ferocious as Wully was to the 
world, he was always gentle with Dorley's 
sheep. Many were the tales of rescues told of 
him. Many a poor lamb that had fallen into 
a pond or hole would have perished but for his 
timely and sagacious aid, many a far-weltered 
ewe did he turn right side up : while his keen 
eye discerned and his fierce courage baffled 
every eagle that had appeared on the moor in 
his time. 

Ill 

The Monsaldale farmers were still paying 
their nightly tribute to the Mad Fox, when the 
snow came, late in December. Poor Widow 
Gelt lost her entire flock of twenty sheep, and 
the fiery cross went forth early in the morning. 
With guns unconcealed the burly farmers set 
out to follow to the finish the tell-tale tracks in 

294 








Wuily 

the snow, those of a very large fox, undoubtedly 
the multo-murderous villain. For awhile the 
trail was clear enough, then it came to the river 
and the habitual cunning of the animal was 
shown. He reached the water at a long angle 
pointing down stream and jumped into the 
shallow, unfrozen current. But at the other 
side there was no track leading out, and it was 
only after long searching that, a quarter of a 
mile higher up the stream, they found where 
he had come out. The track then ran to the 
top of Henley's high stone wall, where there 
was no snow left to tell tales. But the patient 
hunters persevered. When it crossed the smooth 
snow from the wall to the high road there was 
a difference of opinion. Some claimed that the 
track went up, others down the road. But To 
settled it, and after another long search they 
found where apparently the same trail, though 
some said a larger one had left the road to enter 
a sheep-fold, and leaving this without harming 
the occupants, the track-maker had stepped in 
the footmarks of a countryman, thereby getting 
to the moor road, along which he had trotted 
straight to Dorley's farm. 

295 








"Wully 

That day the sheep were kept in on account 
of the snow and Wully, without his usual occupa- 
tion, was lying on some planks in the sun. As 
the hunters drew near the house, he growled 
savagely and sneaked around to where the sheep 
were. Jo Greatorex walked up to where Wul- 
ly had crossed the fresh snow, gave a glance, 
looked dumbfounded, then pointing to the re- 
treating sheep-dog, he said, with emphasis : 

" Lads, we're off the track of the Fox. But 
there's the killer of the Widder's yowes." 

Some agreed with Jo, others recalled the 
doubt in the trail and were for going back to 
make a fresh follow. At this juncture, Dorley 
himself came out of the house. 

"Tom," said Jo, "that dog o' thine 'as 
killed twenty of Widder Celt's sheep, last 
night. An' ah fur one don't believe as it is 
first killin'." 

"Why, mon, thou art crazy," said Tom, 
"Ah never 'ad a better sheep-dog 'e fair 
loves the sheep." 

"Aye! We's seen summat o' that in las' 
night's work," replied Jo. 

In vain the company related the history of 
296 



Wully 

the morning. Tom swore that it was nothing 
but a jealous conspiracy to rob him of Wully. 

" Wully sleeps i' the kitchen every night. 
Never is oot till he's let to bide wi' the yowes. 
Why, mon, he's wi' oor sheep the year round, 
and never a hoof have ah lost. ' ' 

Tom became much excited over this abomin- 
able attempt against Wully's reputation and life. 
Jo and his partisans got equally angry, and it 
was a wise suggestion of Huldah's that quieted 
them. 

"Feyther," said she, "ah' 11 sleep i' the 
kitchen the night. If Wully 'as ae way of get- 
tin' oot ah 1 11 see it, an' if he's no oot an' 
sheep's killed on the country-side, we'll ha' 
proof it's na Wully." 

That night Huldah stretched herself on the 
settee and Wully slept as usual underneath the 
table. As night wore on the dog became rest- 
less. He turned on his bed and once or twice 
got up, stretched, looked at Huldah and lay 
down again. About two o'clock he seemed no 
longer able to resist some strange impulse. He 
arose quietly, looked toward the low window, 
then at the motionless girl. Huldah lay still 

297 



Wully 

and breathed as though sleeping. Wully slowly 
came near and sniffed and breathed his doggy 
breath in her face. She made no move. He 
nudged her gently with his nose. Then, with 
his sharp ears forward and his head on one side 
he studied her calm face. Still no sign. He 
walked quietly to the window, mounted the 
table without noise, placed his nose under the 
sash -bar and raised the light frame until he 
could put one paw underneath. Then chang- 
ing, he put his nose under the sash and raised 
it high enough to slip out, easing down the 
frame finally on his rump and tail with an 
adroitness that told of long practice. Then he 
disappeared into the darkness. 

From her couch Huldah watched in amaze- 
ment. After waiting for some time to make 
sure that he was gone, she arose, intending to 
call her father at once, but on second thought 
she decided to await more conclusive proof. 
She peered into the darkness, but no sign of 
Wully was to be seen. She put more wood on 
the fire, and lay down again. For over an 
hour she lay wide awake listening to the kitchen 
clock, and starting at each trifling sound, and 

298 




Wully Studied Her Calm Face. 



Wully 

wondering what the dog was doing. Could it 
be possible that he had really killed the widow's 
sheep ? Then the recollection of his gentleness 
to their own sheep came, and completed her 
perplexity. 

Another hour slowly tick-tocked. She heard 
a slight sound at the window that made her 
heart jump. The scratching sound was soon 
followed by the lifting of the sash, and in a 
short time Wully was back in the kitchen with 
the window closed behind him. 

By the flickering fire-light Huldah could see 
a strange, wild gleam in his eye, and his jaws 
and snowy breast were dashed with fresh blood. 
The dog ceased his slight panting as he scrutin- 
ized the girl. Then, as she did not move, he 
lay down, and began to lick his paws and muz- 
zle, growling lowly once or twice as though at 
the remembrance of some recent occurrence, 

Huldah had seen enough. There could no 
longer be any doubt that Jo was right and more 
a new thought flashed into her quick brain, 
she realized that the weird fox of Monsal was 
before her. Raising herself, she looked straight 
at Wully, and exclaimed : 

301 




Wully 

"Wully! Wully! so it's a* true oh, Wully, 
ye terrible brute. ' ' 

Her voice was fiercely reproachful, it rang in 
the quiet kitchen, and Wully recoiled as though 
shot. He gave a desperate glance toward the 
closed window. His eye gleamed, and his mane 
bristled. But he cowered under her gaze, and 
grovelled on the floor as though begging for 
mercy. Slowly he crawled nearer and nearer, 
as if to lick her feet, until quite close, then, 
with the fury of a tiger, but without a sound, 
he sprang for her throat. 

The girl was taken unawares, but she threw 
up her arm in time, and Wully's long, gleaming 
tusks sank into her flesh, and grated on the bone. 

"Help! help! feyther ! feyther ! " she 
shrieked. 

Wully was a light weight, and for a moment 
she flung him off. But there could be no mis- 
taking his purpose. The game was up, it was 
his life or hers now. 

"Feyther ! feyther! " she screamed, as the 
yellow fury, striving to kill her, bit and tore 
the unprotected hands that had so often fed 
him. 

302 



Wully 

In vain she fought to hold him off, he would 
soon have had her by the throat, when in rushed 
Dorley. 

Straight at him, now in the same horrid sil- 
ence sprang Wully, and savagely tore him again 
and again before a deadly blow from the fagot- 
hook disabled him, dashing him, gasping and 
writhing, on the stone floor, desperate, and done 
for, but game and defiant to the last. Another 
quick blow scattered his brains on the hearth- 
stone, where so long he had been a faithful 
and honored retainer and Wully, bright, fierce, 
trusty, treacherous Wully, quivered a moment, 
then straightened out, and lay forever still. 




303 




/c/t/c/c 









Redruff 

The Story of the 
Don Valley Partridge 



Redruff 

The Story of the Don Valley Partridge 




OWN the wooded slope of Taylor's 
Hill the Mother Partridge led her 
brood ; down toward the crystal 
brook that by some strange whim 
was called Mud Creek. Her little 
ones were one day old but already 
quick on foot, and she was taking them for the 
first time to drink. 

She walked slowly, crouching low as she went, 
for the woods were full of enemies. She was 
uttering a soft little cluck in her throat, a call 
to the little balls of mottled down that on their 
tiny pink legs came toddling after, and peeping 
softly and plaintively if left even a few inches 

307 



Redruff 




behind, and seeming so fragile they made the 
very chicadees look big and coarse. There 
were twelve of them, but Mother Grouse 
watched them all, and she watched every bush 
and tree and thicket, and the whole woods and 
the sky itself. Always for enemies she seemed 
seeking friends were too scarce to be looked 
for and an enemy she found. Away across 
the level beaver meadow was a great brute of a 
fox. He was coming their way, and in a few 
moments would surely wind them or strike their 
trail. There was no time to lose. 

'Krrr! Krrr /' (Hide! Hide!) cried the 
mother in a low firm voice, and the little bits 
of things, scarcely bigger than acorns and but a 
day old, scattered far (a few inches) apart to 
hide. One dived under a leaf, another between 
two roots, a third crawled into a curl of birch- 
bark, a fourth into a hole, and so on, till all 
were hidden but one who could find no cover, 
so squatted on a broad yellow chip and lay very 
flat, and closed his eyes very tight, sure that 
now he was safe from being seen. They ceased 
their frightened peeping and all was still. 

Mother Partridge flew straight toward the 
308 



Redruff 

dreaded beast, alighted fearlessly a few yards to 
one side of him, and then flung herself on the 
ground, flopping as though winged and lame- 
on, so dreadfully lame and whining like a dis- 
tressed puppy. Was she begging for mercy- 
mercy from a bloodthirsty, cruel fox ? Oh, dear 
no ! She was no fool. One often hears of the 
cunning of the fox. Wait and see what a fool he 
is compared with a mother-partridge. Elated 
at the prize so suddenly within his reach, the 
fox turned with a dash and caught at least, 
no, he didn't quite catch the bird ; she flopped 
by chance just a foot out of reach. He fol- 
lowed with another jump and would have seized 
her this time surely, but somehow a sapling 
came just between, and the partridge dragged 
herself awkwardly away and under a log, but 
the great brute snapped his jaws and bounded 
over the log, while she, seeming a trifle less 
lame, made another clumsy forward spring and 
tumbled down a bank, and Reynard, keenly 
following, almost caught her tail, but, oddly 
enough, fast as he went and leaped, she still 
seemed just a trifle faster. It was most extraor- 
dinary. A winged partridge and he, Rey- 

309 



Redruff 

nard, the Swift-foot, had not caught her in five 
minutes' racing. It was really shameful. But 
the partridge seemed to gain strength as the fox 
put forth his, and after a quarter of a mile race, 
racing that was somehow all away from Taylor's 
Hill, the bird got unaccountably quite well, and, 
rising with a derisive whirr, flew off through the 
woods leaving the fox utterly dumfounded to 
realize that he had been made a fool of, and, 
worst of all, he now remembered that this was 
not the first time he had been served this very 
trick, though he never knew the reason for it. 

Meanwhile Mother Partridge skimmed in a 
great circle and came by a roundabout way 
back to the little fuzz-balls she had left hidden 
in the woods. 

With a wild bird's keen memory for places, 
she went to the very grass-blade she last 
trod on, and stood for a moment fondly to ad- 
mire the perfect stillness of her children. Even 
at her step not one had stirred, and the little 
fellow on the chip, not so very badly concealed 
after all, had not budged, nor did he now ; he 
only closed his eyes a tiny little bit harder, till 
the mother said : 

310 



Redmff 



' K-reet /' (Come, children) and instantly 
like a fairy story, every hole gave up its little 
baby-partridge, and the wee fellow on the chip, 
the biggest of them all really, opened his big- 
little eyes and ran to the shelter of her broad 
tail, with a sweet little ' peep peep ' which an 
enemy could not have heard three feet away, 
but which his mother could not have missed 
thrice as far, and all the other thimblefuls of 
down joined in, and no doubt thought them- 
selves dreadfully noisy, and were proportion- 
ately happy. 

The sun was hot now. There was an open 
space to cross on the road to the water, and, 
after a careful lookout for enemies, the mother 
gathered the little things under the shadow of 
her spread fantail and kept off all danger of 
sunstroke until they reached the brier thicket 
by the stream. 

Here a cottontail rabbit leaped out and gave 
them a great scare. But the flag of truce he 
carried behind was enough. He was an old 
friend ; and among other things the little ones 
learned that day that Bunny always sails under 
a flag of truce, and lives up to it too. 

3" 




iQ^VrMx4-V4^^&- 4;L0 

^SS g ^ r"' 1 ""^ A. ^ - ^ ^ ^^a- ^ 



Redmff 



And then came the drink, the purest of liv- 
ing water, though silly men had called it Mud 
Creek. 

At first the little fellows didn't know how to 
drink, but they copied their mother, and soon 
learned to drink like her and give thanks after 
every sip. There they stood in a row along the 
edge, twelve little brown and golden balls on 
twenty-four little pink-toed, in-turned feet, with 
twelve sweet little golden heads gravely bowing, 
drinking and giving thanks like their mother. 

Then she led them by short stages, keeping 
the cover, to the far side of the beaver-meadow, 
where was a great grassy dome. The mother had 
made a note of this dome some time before. It 
takes a number of such domes to raise a brood of 
partridges. For this was an ant's nest. The 
old one stepped on top, looked about a moment, 
then gave half a dozen vigorous rakes with her 
claws. The friable ant-hill was broken open, 
and the earthen galleries scattered in ruins down 
the slope. The ants swarmed out and quarrelled 
with each other for lack of a better plan. Some 
ran around the hill with vast energy and little 
purpose, while a few of the more sensible began 

312 



Rcdruff 

to carry away fat white eggs. But the old par- 
tridge, coming to the little ones, picked up one 
of these juicy-looking bags and clucked and 
dropped it, and picked it up again and again 
and clucked, then swallowed it. The young 
ones stood around, then one little yellow fel- 
low, the one that sat on the chip, picked up an 
ant-egg, dropped it a few times, then yielding 
to a sudden impulse, swallowed it, and so had 
learned to eat. Within twenty minutes even 
the runt had learned, and a merry time they had 
scrambling after the delicious eggs as their 
mother broke open more ant-galleries, and sent 
them and their contents rolling down the bank, 
till every little partridge had so crammed his 
little crop that he was positively misshapen and 
could eat no more. 

Then all went cautiously up the stream, and 
on a sandy bank, well screened by brambles, they 
lay for all that afternoon, and learned how pleas- 
ant it was to feel the cool powdery dust running 
between their hot little toes. W T ith their strong 
bent for copying, they lay on their sides like 
their mother and scratched with their tiny feet 
and flopped with their wings, though they had 

3i3 




Redmff 

no wings to flop with, only a little tag among 
the down on each side, to show where the wings 
would come. That night she took them to a 
dry thicket near by, and there among the crisp, 
dead leaves that would prevent an enemy's si- 
lent approach on foot, and under the interlac- 
ing briers that kept off all foes of the air, she 
cradled them in their feather-shingled nursery 
and rejoiced in the fulness of a mother's joy over 
the wee cuddling things that peeped in their 
sleep and snuggled so trustfully against her warm 
body. 



II 



The third day the chicks were much stronger 
on their feet. They no longer had to go around 
an acorn ; they could even scramble over pine- 
cones, and on the little tags that marked the 
places for their wings, were now to be seen blue 
rows of fat blood-quills. 

Their start in life was a good mother, good 
legs, a few reliable instincts, and a germ of rea- 
son. It was instinct, that is, inherited habit, 
which taught them to hide at the word from their 



Redmff 



mother ; it was instinct that taught them to follow 
her, but it was reason which made them keep 
under the shadow of her tail when the sun was 
smiting down, and from that day reason entered 
more and more into their expanding lives. 

Next day the blood-quills had sprouted the 
tips of feathers. On the next, the feathers were 
well out, and a week later the whole family of 
down-clad babies were strong on the wing. 

And yet not all poor little Runtie had been 
sickly from the first. He bore his half-shell on 
his back for hours after he came out ; he ran less 
and cheeped more than his brothers, and when 
one evening at the onset of a skunk the mother 
gave the word ' Kwit, kwit' (Fly, fly), Runtie 
was left behind, and when she gathered her 
brood on the piney hill he was missing, and 
they saw him no more. 

Meanwhile, their training had gone on. They 
knew that the finest grasshoppers abounded in 
the long grass by the brook ; they knew that the 
currant-bushes dropped fatness in the form of 
smooth, green worms; they knew that the 
dome of an ant-hill rising against the distant 
woods stood for a garner of plenty ; they knew 




Redruff 




that strawberries, though not really insects, were 
almost as delicious ; they knew that the huge 
danaid butterflies were good, safe game, if they 
could only catch them, and that a slab of bark 
dropping from the side of a rotten log was sure 
to abound in good things of many different 
kinds; and they had learned, also, that yellow- 
jackets, mud-wasps, woolly worms, and hundred- 
leggers were better let alone. 

It was now July, the Moon of Berries. The 
chicks had grown and flourished amazingly 
during this last month, and were now so large 
that in her efforts to cover them the mother 
was kept standing all night. 

They took their daily dust-bath, but of late 
had changed to another higher on the hill. It 
was one in use by many different birds, and at 
first the mother disliked the idea of such a sec- 
ond-hand bath. But the dust was of such a fine, 
agreeable quality, and the children led the way 
with such enthusiasm, that she forgot her mis- 
trust. 

After a fortnight the little ones began to 
droop and she herself did not feel very well. 
They were always hungry, and though they ate 

316 




Redmff 



enormously, they one and all grew thinner and 
thinner. The mother was the last to be affected. 
But when it came, it came as hard on her a 
ravenous hunger, a feverish headache, and a 
wasting weakness. She never knew the cause. 
She could not know that the dust of the much- 
used dust-bath, that her true instinct taught her 
to mistrust at first, and now again to shun, was 
sown with parasitic worms, and that all of the 
family were infested. 

No natural impulse is without a purpose. 
The mother-bird's knowledge of healing was 
only to follow natural impulse. The eager, fever- 
ish craving for something, she knew not what, 
led her to eat, or try, everything that looked eat- 
able and to seek the coolest woods. And there 
she found a deadly sumach laden with its poison 
fruit. A month ago she would have passed it 
by, but now she tried the unattractive berries. 
The acrid burning juice seemed to answer some 
strange demand of her body ; she ate and ate, 
and all her family joined in the strange feast of 
physic. No human doctor could have hit it 
better ; it proved a biting, drastic purge, the 
dreadful secret foe was downed, the danger 

317 




WM 
WW 

^ r jpigifiS 



Redruff 

passed. But not for all - - Nature, the old 
nurse, had come too late for two of them. The 
weakest, by inexorable law, dropped out. En- 
feebled by the disease, the remedy was too se- 
vere for them. They drank and drank by the 
stream, and next morning did not move when 
the others followed the mother. Strange ven- 
geance was theirs now, for a skunk, the same 
that could have told where Runtie went, found 
and devoured their bodies and died of the poi- 
son they had eaten. 

Seven little partridges now obeyed the 
mother's call. Their individual characters 
were early shown and now developed fast. The 
weaklings were gone, but there were still a fool 
and a lazy one. The mother could not help 
caring for some more than for others, and her 
favorite was the biggest, he who once sat on the 
yellow chip for concealment. He was not only 
the biggest, strongest, and handsomest of the 
brood, but best of all, the most obedient. His 
mother's warning ' rrrrr ' (danger) did not 
always keep the others from a risky path or a 
doubtful food, but obedience seemed natural to 
him, and he never failed to respond to her soft 

318 



Redroff 



' K-reet' (Come), and of this obedience he 
reaped the reward, for his days were longest in 
the land. 

August, the Molting Moon, went by; the 
young ones were now three parts grown. They 
knew just enough to think themselves wonder- 
fully wise. When they were small it was nec- 
essary to sleep on the ground so their mother 
could shelter them, but now they were too big 
to need that, and the mother began to introduce 
grown-up ways of life. It was time to roost in 
the trees. The young weasels, foxes, skunks, 
and minks were beginning to run. The ground 
grew more dangerous each night, so at sundown 
Mother Partridge called ' K-reetJ and flew into 
a thick, low tree. 

The little ones followed, except one, an obsti- 
nate little fool who persisted in sleeping on the 
ground as heretofore. It was all right that 
time, but the next night his brothers were 
awakened by his cries. There was a slight 
scuffle, then stillness, broken only by a horrid 
sound of crunching bones and a smacking of 
lips. They peered down into the terrible dark- 
ness below, where the glint of two close-set eyes 

3*9 




Redruff 

and a peculiar musty smell told them that a 
mink was the killer of their fool brother. 

Six little partridges now sat in a row at night, 
with their mother in the middle, though it was 
not unusual for some little one with cold feet to 
perch on her back. 

Their education went on, and about this time 
they were taught ' whirring.' A partridge can 
rise on the wing silently if it wishes, but whir- 
ring is so important at times that all are taught 
how and when to rise on thundering wings. 
Many ends are gained by the whirr. It warns 
all other partridges near that danger is at hand, 
it unnerves the gunner, or it fixes the foe's at- 
tention on the whirrer, while the others sneak 
off in silence, or by squatting, escape notice. 

A partridge adage might well be ' foes and 
food for every moon.' September came, with 
seeds and grain in place of berries and ant- 
eggs, and gunners in place of skunks and minks. 

The partridges knew well what a fox was, 
but had scarcely seen a dog. A fox they knew 
they could easily baffle by taking to a tree, but 
when in the Gunner Moon old Cuddy came 
prowling through the ravine with his bob- tailed 

320 








In the Moonlight. 



Redruff 

yellow cur, the mother spied the dog and cried 
out, * Kwit! favitf (Fly, fly). Two of the 
brood thought it a pity their mother should lose 
her wits so easily over a fox, and were pleased 
to show their superior nerve by springing into a 
tree in spite of her earnestly repeated ' Kwit ! 
kwit /' and her example of speeding away on 
silent wings. 

Meanwhile, the strange bob-tailed fox came 
under the tree and yapped and yapped at them. 
They were much amused at him and at their 
mother and brothers, so much so that they 
never noticed a rustling in the bushes till there 
was a loud Bang ! bang ! and down fell two 
bloody, flopping partridges, to be seized and 
mangled by the yellow cur until the gunner ran 
from the bushes and rescued the remains. 

Ill 

Cuddy lived in a wretched shanty near the 
Don, north of Toronto. His was what Greek 
philosophy would have demonstrated to be an 
ideal existence. He had no wealth, no taxes, 
no social pretensions, and no property to speak 

3 2 3 



Redruff 

of. His life was made up of a very little work 
and a great deal of play, with as much out-door 
life as he chose. He considered himself a true 
sportsman because he was ' fond o' him tin',' and 
' took a sight o' comfort out of seein' the critters 
hit the mud' when his gun was fired. The 
neighbors called him a squatter, and looked on 
him merely as an anchored tramp. He shot 
and trapped the year round, and varied his 
game somewhat with the season perforce, but 
had been heard to remark he could tell the 
month by the 'taste o' the patridges,' if he 
didn't happen to know by the almanac. This, 
no doubt, showed keen observation, but was also 
unfortunate proof of something not so credit- 
able. The lawful season for murdering par- 
tridges began September i5th, but there waj 
nothing surprising in Cuddy's being out a fort- 
night ahead of time. Yet he managed to es- 
cape punishment year after year, and even con- 
trived to pose in a newspaper interview as an 
interesting character. 

He rarely shot on the wing, preferring to pot 
his birds, which was not easy to do when the 
leaves were on, and accounted for the brood in 

324 



Redruff 

the third ravine going so long unharmed ; but 
the near prospect of other gunners finding them 
now, had stirred him to go after ' a mess o' 
birds.' He had heard no roar of wings when 
the mother-bird led off her four survivors, so 
pocketed the two he had killed and returned to 
the shanty. 

The little grouse thus learned that a dog is 
not a fox, and must be differently played ; and 
an old lesson was yet more deeply graven 
' Obedience is long life.' 

The rest of September was passed in keeping 
quietly out of the way of gunners as well as 
some old enemies. They still roosted on the 
long thin branches of the hardwood trees among 
the thickest leaves, which protected them from 
foes in the air ; the height saved them from foes 
on the ground, and left them nothing to fear 
but coons, whose slow, heavy tread on the lim- 
ber boughs never failed to give them timely 
warning. But the leaves were falling now 
every month its foes and its food. This was 
nut time, and it was owl time, too. Barred 
owls coming down from the north doubled or 
trebled the owl population. The nights were 

325 






Redroff 

getting frosty and the coons less dangerous, so 
the mother changed the place of roosting to the 
thickest foliage of a hemlock-tree. 

Only one of the brood disregarded the warn- 
ing ' Kreef, kreet? He stuck to his swinging 
elm-bough, now nearly naked, and a great yel- 
low-eyed owl bore him off before morning. 

Mother and three young ones now were left, 
but they were as big as she was ; indeed one, 
the eldest, he of the chip, was bigger. Their 
ruffs had begun to show. Just the tips, to tell 
what they would be like when grown, and not 
a little proud they were of them. 

The ruff is to the partridge what the train is 
to the peacock his chief beauty and his pride. 
A hen's ruff is black with a slight green gloss. 
A cock's is much larger and blacker and is 
glossed with more vivid bottle-green. Once in 
a while a partridge is born of unusual size and 
vigor, whose ruff is not only larger, but by 
a peculiar kind of intensification is of a deep 
coppery red, iridescent with violet, green, and 
gold. Such a bird is sure to be a wonder to 
all who know him, and the little one who had 
squatted on the chip, and had always done what 

326 



Redroff 

he was told, developed before the Acorn Moon 
had changed, into all the glory of a gold and 
copper ruff for this was Redruff, the famous 
partridge of the Don Valley. 

IV 

One day late in the Acorn Moon, that is, 
about mid-October, as the grouse family were 
basking with full crops near a great pine log on 
the sunlit edge of the beaver-meadow, they 
heard the far-away bang of a gun, and Redruff, 
acting on some impulse from within, leaped 
on the log, strutted up and down a couple of 
times, then, yielding to the elation of the 
bright, clear, bracing air, he whirred his wings 
in loud defiance. Then, giving fuller vent to 
this expression of vigor, just as a colt frisks to 
show how well he feels, he whirred yet more 
loudly, until, unwittingly, he found himself 
drumming, and tickled with the discovery of his 
new power, thumped the air again and again till 
he filled the near woods with the loud tattoo of 
the fully grown cock-partridge. His brother 
and sister heard and looked on with admiration 

327 




Redroff 





and surprise ; so did his mother, but from that 
time she began to be a little afraid of him. 

In early November comes the moon of a 
weird foe. By a strange law of nature, not 
wholly without parallel among mankind, all 
partridges go crazy in the November moon of 
their first year. They become possessed of a 
mad hankering to get away somewhere, it does 
not matter much where. And the wisest of 
them do all sorts of foolish things at this period. 
They go drifting, perhaps, at speed over the 
country by night, and are cut in two by wires, 
or dash into lighthouses, or locomotive head- 
lights. Daylight finds them in all sorts of 
absurd places, in buildings, in open marshes, 
perched on telephone wires in a great city, or 
even on board of coasting vessels. The craze 
seems to be a relic of a bygone habit of migra- 
tion, and it has at least one good effect, it 
breaks up the families and prevents the constant 
intermarrying, which would surely be fatal to 
their race. It always takes the young badly 
their first year, and they may have it again the 
second fall, for it is very catching; but in the 
third season it is practically unknown. 

328 



Redruff 

Redrutt's mother knew it was coming as soon 
as she saw the frost grapes blackening, and the 
maples shedding their crimson and gold. There 
was nothing to do but care for their health and 
keep them in the quietest part of the woods. 

The first sign of it came when a flock of wild 
geese went honking south ward overhead. The 
young ones had never before seen such long- 
necked hawks, and were afraid of them. But 
seeing that their mother had no fear, they took 
courage, and watched them with intense inter- 
est. Was it the wild, clanging cry that moved 
them, or was it solely the inner prompting then 
come to the surface ? A strange longing to fol- 
low took possession of each of the young ones. 
They watched those arrowy trumpeters fading 
away to the south, and sought out higher 
perches to watch them farther yet, and from 
that time things were no more the same. The 
November moon was waxing, and when it was 
full, the November madness came. 

The least vigorous of the flock were most 
affected. The little family was scattered. Red- 
ruff himself flew on several long erratic night 
journeys. The impulse took him southward, 

329 




REDRUFTS CALENDAR 








Redruff 

but there lay the boundless stretch of Lake On- 
tario, so he turned again, and the waning of 
the Mad Moon found him once more in the 
Mud Creek Glen, but absolutely alone. 
















Food grew scarce as winter wore on. Red- 
ruff clung to the old ravine and the piney sides 
of Taylor's Hill, but every month brought its 
food and its foes. The Mad Moon brought 
madness, solitude, and grapes ; the Snow Moon 
came with rosehips; and the Stormy Moon 
brought browse of birch and silver storms that 
sheathed the woods in ice, and made it hard to 
keep one's perch while pulling off the frozen 
buds. Redruff s beak grew terribly worn with 
the work, so that even when closed there was still 
an opening through behind the hook. But nat- 
ure had prepared him for the slippery footing ; 
his toes, so slim and trim in September, had 
sprouted rows of sharp, horny points, and these 
grew with the growing cold, till the first snow 
had found him fully equipped with snow-shoes 
and ice-rreepers. The cold weather had driven 

330 



Redruff 

away most of the hawks and owls, and made 
it impossible for his four-footed enemies to 
approach unseen, so that things were nearly 
balanced. 

His flight in search of food had daily led him 
farther on, till he had discovered and explored the 
Rosedale Creek, with its banks of silver-birch, 
and Castle Frank, with its grapes and rowan 
berries, as well as Chester woods, where amel- 
anchier and Virginia-creeper swung their fruit- 
bunches, and checkerberries glowed beneath 
the snow. 

He soon found out that for some strange rea- 
son men with guns did not go within the high 
fence of Castle Frank. So among these scenes 
he lived his life, learning new places, new foods, 
and grew wiser and more beautiful every day. 

He was quite alone so far as kindred were 
concerned, but that scarcely seemed a hardship. 
Wherever he went he could see the jolly chick- 
adees scrambling merrily about, and he remem- 
bered the time when they had seemed such 
big, important creatures. They were the most 
absurdly cheerful things in the woods. Before 
the autumn was fairly over they had begun to 




Redruff 




si* 



sing their famous refrain. ' Spring Soon,' and 
kept it up with good heart more or less all 



_\ 



y 






(V 








1 




53 







soon 



through the winter's direst storms, till at length 
the waning of the Hungry Moon, our February, 
seemed really to lend some point to the ditty, 
and they redoubled their optimistic announce- 
ment to the world in an ' I-told-you-so ' mood. 
Soon good support was found, for the sun 
gained strength and melted the snow from the 
southern slope of Castle Frank Hill, and ex- 
posed great banks of fragrant wintergreen, 
whose berries were a bounteous feast for Red- 
ruff, and, ending the hard work of pulling 
frozen browse, gave his bill the needed chance 
to grow into its proper shape again. Very 
soon the first bluebird came flying over and 
warbled as he flew ' The spring is coming.' 1 The 
sun kept gaining, and early one day in the dark 
of the Wakening Moon of March there was a 
loud ' Can.', caw,' and old Silverspot. the king- 

332 




Redmff 

crow, came swinging along from the south at 
the head of his troops and officially announced 

'THE SPRING HAS COME.' 

All nature seemed to respond to this, the 
opening of the birds' New Year, and yet it was 
something within that chiefly seemed to move 
them. The chickadees went simply wild ; they 
sang their ' Spring now, spring now now 
Spring now now,'' so persistently that one won- 
dered how they found time to get a living. 

And Redruff felt it thrill him through and 
through. He sprang with joyous vigor on a 
stump and sent rolling down the little valley, 
again and again, a thundering 'Thump, thump, 
thump, thunder rrrrrrrr, ' that wakened dull 
echoes as it rolled, and voiced his gladness in 
the coming of the spring. 

Away down the valley was Cuddy's shanty. 
He heard the drum-call on the still morning 

O 

air and ' reckoned there was a cock patridge to 
git,' and came sneaking up the ravine with his 
gu n . But Redruff skimmed away i n silence, nor 
rested till once more in Mud Creek Glen. And 
there he mounted the very log where first he 

333 




Redruff 





had drummed and rolled his loud tattoo again 
and again, till a small boy who had taken a short 
cut to the mill through the woods, ran home, 
badly scared, to tell his mother he was sure the 
Indians were on the war-path, for he heard their 
war-drums beating in the glen. 

Why does a happy boy holla? Why does 
a lonesome youth sigh ? They don't know 
any more than Redruff knew why every day 
now he mounted some dead log and thumped 
and thundered to the woods ; then strutted and 
admired his gorgeous blazing ruffs as they 
flashed their jewels in the sunlight, and then 
thundered out again. Whence now came the 
strange wish for someone else to admire the 
plumes? And why had such a notion never 
come till the Pussywillow Moon ? 

4 Thump, thump, thunder-r-r-r-r-r-rrrr' 
' Thump, thump, thundcr-r-r-r-r-r-rrrr ' 
he rumbled again and again. 

Day after day he sought the favorite log, and 
a new beauty, a rose-red comb, grew out above 
each clear, keen eye, and the clumsy snow- 
shoes were wholly shed from his feet. His ruff 
grew finer, his eye brighter, and his whole ap- 

334 



Redruff 

pearance splendid to behold, as he strutted and 
flashed in the sun. But oh ! he was so lone- 
some now. 

Yet what could he do but blindly vent his 
hankering in this daily drum-parade, till on a 
day early in loveliest May, when the trilliums 
had fringed his log with silver stars, and he had 
drummed and longed, then drummed again, his 
keen ear caught a sound, a gentle footfall in the 
brush. He turned to a statue and watched ; he 
knew he had been watched. Could it be pos- 
sible ? Yes ! there it was a form another a 
shy little lady grouse, now bashfully seeking to 
hide. In a moment he was by her side. His 
whole nature swamped by a new feeling burnt 
up with thirst a cooling spring in sight. And 
how he spread and flashed his proud array ! 
How came he to know that that would please ? 
He puffed his plumes and contrived to stand 
just right to catch the sun, and strutted and ut- 
tered a low, soft chuckle that must have been 
just as good as the ' sweet nothings ' of another 
race, for clearly now her heart was won. Won, 
really, days ago, if only he had known. For full 
three days she had come at the loud tattoo and 

335 




Redruff 




coyly admired him from afar, and felt a little 
piqued that he had not yet found out her, so 
close at hand. So it was not quite all mis- 
chance, perhaps, that little stamp that caught 
his ear. But now she meekly bowed her head 
with sweet, submissive grace the desert passed, 
the parch-burnt wanderer found the spring at 
last. 

Oh, those were bright, glad days in the 
lovely glen of the unlovely name. The sun 
was never so bright, and the piney air was 
balmier sweet than dreams. And that great 
noble bird came daily on his log, sometimes 
with her and sometimes quite alone, and 
drummed for very joy of being alive. But why 
sometimes alone ? Why not forever with his 
Brownie bride ? Why should she stay to feast 
and play with him for hours, then take some 
stealthy chance to slip away and see him no 
more for hours or till next day, when his mar- 
tial music from the log announced him restless 
for her quick return ? There was a woodland 
mystery here he could not clear. Why should 
her stay with him grow daily less till it was 

336 



Redfuff 

down to minutes, and one day at last she never 
came at all. Nor the next, nor the next, and 
Redruff, wild, careered on lightning wing and 
drummed on the old log, then away up-stream 
on another log, and skimmed the hill to another 
ravine to drum and drum. But on the fourth 
day, when he came and loudly called her, as of 
old, at their earliest tryst, he heard a sound in 
the bushes, as at first, and there was his miss- 
ing Brownie bride with ten little peeping par- 
tridges following after. 

Redruff skimmed to her side, terribly frighten- 
ing the bright-eyed downlings, and was just a 
little dashed to find the brood with claims far 
stronger than his own. But he soon accepted 
the change, and thenceforth joined himself to 
the brood, caring for them as his father never 
had for him. 

VI 

Good fathers are rare in the grouse world. 
The mother-grouse builds her nest and hatches 
out her young without help. She even hides 
the place of the nest from the father and meets 

337 



Redruff 




him only at the drum-log and the feeding- 
ground, or perhaps the dusting-place, which is 
the club-house of the grouse kind. 

When Brownie's little ones came out they 
had filled her every thought, even to the for- 
getting of their splendid father. But on the 
third day, when they were strong enough, she 
had taken them with her at the father's call. 

Some fathers take no interest in their little 
ones, but Redruff joined at once to help 
Brownie in the task of rearing the brood. They 
had learned to eat and drink just as their father 
had learned long ago, and could toddle along, 
with their mother leading the way, while the 
father ranged near by or followed far behind. 

The very next day, as they went from the 
hill-side down toward the creek in a somewhat 
drawn-out string, like beads with a big one 
at each end, a red squirrel, peeping around a 
pine-trunk, watched the procession of down- 
lings with the Runtie straggling far in the 
rear. Redruff, yards behind, preening his 
feathers on a high log, had escaped the eye of 
the squirrel, whose strange perverted thirst for 
birdling blood was roused at what seemed so 

338 














Redrutl Saving Runtie. 



Rebuff 

fair a chance. With murderous intent to cut 
off the hindmost straggler, he made a dash. 
Brownie could not have seen him until too late, 
but Redruff did. He flew for that red-haired 
cutthroat ; his weapons were his fists, that is, 
the knob-joints of the wings, and what a blow 
he could strike ! At the first onset he struck 
the squirrel square on the end of the nose, his 
weakest spot, and sent him reeling; he stag- 
gered and wriggled into a brush-pile, where he 
had expected to carry the little grouse, and there 
lay gasping with red drops trickling down his 
wicked snout. The partridges left him lying 
there, and what became of him they never 
knew, but he troubled them no more. 

The family went on toward the water, but 
a cow had left deep tracks in the sandy loam, 
and into one of these fell one of the chicks and 
peeped in dire distress when he found he could 
not get out. 

This was a fix. Neither old one seemed to 
know what to do, but as they trampled vainly 
round the edge, the sandy bank caved in, and, 
running down, formed a long slope, up which 
the young one ran and rejoined his brothers 




Rebuff 

under the broad veranda of their mother's 
tail. 

Brownie was a bright little mother, of small 
stature, but keen of wit and sense, and was, 
night and day, alert to care for her darling 
chicks. How proudly she stepped and clucked 
through the arching woods with her dainty 
brood behind her ; how she strained her little 
brown tail almost to a half-circle to give them 
a broader shade, and never flinched at sight of 
any foe, but held ready to fight or fly, which- 
ever seemed the best for her little ones. 

Before the chicks could fly they had a 
meeting with old Cuddy : though it was Tune, 
he was out with his gun. Up the third ravine 
he went, and Tike, his dog, ranging ahead, 
came so dangerously near the Brownie brood 
that Redruff ran to meet him, and by the old but 
never failing trick led him on a foolish chase 
away back down the valley of the Don. 

But Cuddy, as it chanced, came right along, 
straight for the brood, and Brownie, giving the 
signal to the children, ' Krrr, krrr' (Hide, 
hide), ran to lead the man away just as her mate 
had led the dog. Full of a mother's devoted 

342 



Redroff 

love, and skilled in the learning of the woods, 
she ran in silence till quite near, then sprang 
with a roar of wings right in his face, and 
tumbling on the leaves she shammed a lameness 
that for a moment deceived the poacher. But 
when she dragged one wing and whined about 
his feet, then slowly crawled away, he knew just 
what it meant that it was all a trick to lead 
him from her brood, and he struck at her a sav- 
age blow ; but little Brownie was quick, she 
avoided the blow and limped behind a sapling, 
there to beat herself upon the leaves again in 
sore distress, and seem so lame that Cuddy 
made another try to strike her down with a 
stick. But she moved in time to balk him, and 
bravely, steadfast still to lead him from her help- 
less little ones, she flung herself before him and 
beat her gentle breast upon the ground, and 
moaned as though begging for mercy. And 
Cuddy, failing again to strike her, raised his 
gun, and firing charge enough to kill a bear, he 
blew poor brave, devoted Brownie into quiver- 
ing, bloody rags. 

This gunner brute knew the young must be 
hiding near, so looked about to find them. But 

343 



Redruff 

no one moved or peeped. He saw not one, but 
as he tramped about with heedless, hateful feet, 
he crossed and crossed again their hiding- 
ground, and more than one of the silent little 
sufferers he trampled to death, and neither knew 
nor cared. 

Redruff had taken the yellow brute away off 
down-stream, and now returned to where he 
left his mate. The murderer had gone, taking 
her remains, to be thrown to the dog. Red- 
ruff sought about and found the bloody spot 
with feathers, Brownie's feathers, scattered 
around, and now he knew the meaning of that 
shot. 

Who can tell what his horror and his mourn- 
ing were ? The outward signs were few, some 
minutes dumbly gazing at the place with down- 
cast, draggled look, and then a change at the 
thought of their helpless brood. Back to the 
hiding-place he went, and called the well-known 
' Kreet, kreet. ' Did every grave give up its little 
inmate at the magic word? No, barely more than 
half; six little balls of down unveiled their lus- 
trous eyes, and, rising, ran to meet him, but four 
feathered little bodies had found their graves in- 

344 



Redruff 

deed. Redruff called again and again, till he 
was sure that all who could respond had come, 
then led them from that dreadful place, far, far 
away up-stream, where barb-wire fences and 
bramble thickets were found to offer a less 
grateful, but more reliable, shelter. 

Here the brood grew and were trained by 
their father just as his mother had trained him; 
though wider knowledge and experience gave 
him many advantages. He knew so well the 
country round and all the feeding-grounds, and 
how to meet the ills that harass partridge-life, 
that the summer passed and not a chick was lost. 
They grew and flourished, and when the Gun- 
ner Moon arrived they were a fine family of six 
grown-up grouse with Redruff, splendid in his 
gleaming copper feathers, at their head. He 
had ceased to drum during the summer after the 
loss of Brownie, but drumming is to the par- 
tridge what singing is to the lark ; while it is his 
love-song, it is also an expression of exuberance 
born of health, and when the molt was over and 
September food and weather had renewed his 
splendid plumes and braced him up again, his 
spirits revived, and finding himself one day 

345 





Redruff 

near the old log he mounted impulsively, and 
drummed again and again. 

From that time he often drummed, while his 
children sat around, or one who showed his 
father's blood would mount some nearby stump 
or stone, and beat the air in the loud tattoo. 

The black grapes and the Mad Moon now 
came on. But Redruff' s brood were of a vigor- 
ous stock ; their robust health meant robust 
wits, and though they got the craze, it passed 
within a week, and only three had flown away 
for good. 

Redruff, with his remaining three, was living 
in the glen when the snow came. It was light, 
flaky snow, and as the weather was not very cold, 
the family squatted for the night under the low, 
flat boughs of a cedar-tree. But next day the 
storm continued, it grew colder, and the drifts 
piled up all day. At night, the snow-fall ceased, 
but the frost grew harder still, so Redruff, leading 
the family to a birch-tree above a deep drift, 
dived into the snow, and the others did the 
same. Then into the holes the wind blew the 
loose snow their pure white bed-clothes, and 
thus tucked in they slept in comfort, for the 

346 



Redruff 

snow is a warm wrap, and the air passes through 
it easily enough for breathing. Next morning 
each partridge found a solid wall of ice before 
him from his frozen breath, but easily turned to 
one side and rose on the wing at Redruff' s 
morning < Kreef, kreet, kwit.' (Come children, 
come children, fly.) 

This was the first night for them in a snow- 
drift, though it was an old story to Redruff, and 
next night they merrily dived again into bed, and 
the north wind tucked them in as before. But 
a change of weather was brewing. The night 
wind veered to the east. A fall of heavy flakes 
gave place to sleet, and that to silver rain. The 
whole wide world was sheathed in ice, and 
when the grouse awoke to quit their beds, they 
found themselves sealed in with a great cruel 
sheet of edgeless ice. 

The deeper snow was still quite soft, and Red- 
ruff bored his way to the top, but there the 
hard, white sheet defied his strength. Hammer 
and struggle as he might he could make no im- 
pression, and only bruised his wings and head. 
His life had been made up of keen joys and dull 
hardships, with frequent sudden desperate 

347 





\: 



Redruff 

straits, but this seemed the hardest brunt of all, 
as the slow hours wore on and found him weak- 
ening with his struggles, but no nearer to free- 
dom. He could hear the struggling of his 
family, too, or sometimes heard them calling to 
him for help with their long-drawn plaintive 
' p-e-e-e-e-e-t-e, p-e-e-e-e-e-t-e. ' 

They were hidden from many of their ene- 
mies, but not from the pangs of hunger, and 
when the night came down the weary prison- 
ers, worn out with hunger and useless toil, grew 
quiet in despair. At first they had been afraid 
the fox would come and find them imprisoned 
there at his mercy, but as the second night 
went slowly by they no longer cared, and even 
wished he would come and break the crusted 
snow, and so give them at least a fighting 
chance for life. 

But when the fox really did come padding 
over the frozen drift, the deep-laid love of life 
revived, and they crouched in utter stillness 
till he passed. The second day was one of 
driving storm. The north wind sent his snow- 
horses, hissing and careering over the white 
earth, tossing and curling their white manes 

343 



Redroff 

and kicking up more snow as they dashed on. 
The long, hard grinding of the granular snow 
seemed to be thinning the snow-crust, for though 
far from dark below, it kept on growing lighter. 
Redruff had pecked and pecked at the under 
side all day, till his head ached and his bill was 
wearing blunt, but when the sun went down he 
seemed as far as ever from escape. The night 
passed like the others, except no fox went trot- 
ting overhead. In the morning he renewed 
his pecking, though now with scarcely any 
force, and the voices or struggles of the others 
were no more heard. As the daylight grew 
stronger he could see that his long efforts had 
made a brighter spot above him in the snow, 
and he continued feebly pecking. Outside, the 
storm-horses kept on trampling all day, the 
crust was really growing thin under their heels, 
and late that afternoon his bill went through 
into the open air. New life came with this gain, 
and he pecked away, till just before the sun 
went down he had made a hole that his head, 
his neck, and his ever- beautiful ruffs could pass. 
His great broad shoulders were too large, but 
he could now strike downward, which gave him 

349 



Redruff 

fourfold force ; the snow-crust crumbled quickly, 
and in a little while he sprang from his icy 
prison once more free. But the young ones ! 
Redruff flew to the nearest bank, hastily gath- 
ered a few red hips to stay his gnawing hun- 
ger, then returned to the prison-drift and clucked 
and stamped. He got only one reply, a feeble 
' peete, peefe? and scratching with his sharp 
claws on the thinned granular sheet he soon 
broke through, and Graytail feebly crawled out 
of the hole. But that was all ; the others, scat- 
tered he could not tell where in the drift, made 
no reply, gave no sign of life, and he was forced 
to leave them. When the snow melted in the 
spring their bodies came to view, skin, bones, 
and feathers nothing more. 

VII 

It was long before Redruff and Graytail fully 
recovered, but food and rest in plenty are sure 
cure-alls, and a bright clear day in midwinter 
had the usual effect of setting the vigorous Red- 
ruff to drumming on the log. Was it the 
drumming, or the tell-tale tracks of their snow- 

350 



Redruff 



shoes on the omnipresent snow, that betrayed 
them to Cuddy ? He came prowling again and 
again up the ravine, with dog and gun, intent 
to hunt the partridges down. They knew him 
of old, and he was coming now to know them 
well. That great copper-ruffed cock was be- 
coming famous up and down the valley. Dur- 
ing the Gunner Moon many a one had tried to 
end his splendid life, just as a worthless wretch 
of old sought fame by burning the Ephesian 
wonder of the world. But Redruff was deep 
in woodcraft. He knew just where to hide, 
and when to rise on silent wing, and when to 
squat till overstepped, then rise on thunder 
wing within a yard to shield himself at once 
behind some mighty tree-trunk and speed away. 

But Cuddy never ceased to follow with his 
gun that red-ruffed cock ; many a long snapshot 
he tried, but somehow always found a tree, a 
bank, or some safe shield between, and Redruff 
lived and throve and drummed. 

When the Snow Moon came he moved with 
Graytail to the Castle Frank woods, where food 
was plenty as well as grand old trees. There 
was in particular, on the east slope among the 





Redruff 



creeping hemlocks, a splendid pine. It was six 
feet through, and its first branches began at the 
tops of the other trees. Its top in summer-time 
was a famous resort for the bluejay and his 
bride. Here, far beyond the reach of shot, in 
warm spring days the jay would sing and dance 
before his mate, spread his bright blue plumes 
and warble the sweetest fairyland music, so 
sweet and soft that few hear it but the one for 
whom it is meant, and books know nothing at 
all about it. 

This great pine had an especial interest for 
Redruff, now living near with his remaining 
young one, but its base, not its far-away crown, 
concerned him. All around were low, creep- 
ing hemlocks, and among them the partridge- 
vine and the wintergreen grew, and the sweet 
black acorns could be scratched from under the 
snow. There was no better feeding-ground, 
for when that insatiable gunner came on them 
there it was easy to run low among the hemlock 
to the great pine, then rise with a derisive 
whirr behind its bulk, and keeping the huge 
trunk in line with the deadly gun, skim off in 
safety. A dozen times at least the pine had 

352 




Redmff 



saved them during the lawful murder season, 
and here it was that Cuddy, knowing their 
feeding habits, laid a new trap. Under the 
bank he sneaked and watched in ambush while 
an accomplice went around the Sugar Loaf to 
drive the birds. He came trampling through 
the low thicket where Redruff and Gray tail 
were feeding, and long before the gunner was 
dangerously near Redruff gave a low warning 
< rrr-rrr ' (danger) and walked quickly toward 
the great pine in case they had to rise. 

Graytail was some distance up the hill, and 
suddenly caught sight of a new foe close at 
hand, the yellow cur, coming right on. Red- 
ruff, much farther off, could not see him for the 
bushes, and Graytail became greatly alarmed. 

' Kwit, kwit' (Fly, fly), she cried, running 
down the hill for a start. ' Kreet, k-r-r-r ' 
(This way, hide), cried' the cooler Redruff, for 
he saw that now the man with the gun was get- 
ting in range. He gained the great trunk, and 
behind it, as he paused a moment to call 
earnestly to Graytail, 'This way, this way,' he 
heard a slight noise under the bank before him 
that betrayed the ambush, then there was a ter- 

353 





Redruff 

rifled cry from Graytail as the dog sprang at 
her, she rose in air and skimmed behind the 
shielding trunk, away from the gunner in the 
open, right into the power of the miserable 
wretch under the bank. 

IVhirr, and up she went, a beautiful, sen- 
tient, noble being. 

Bang, and down she fell battered and bleed- 
ing, to gasp her life out and to lie a rumpled 
mass of carrion in the snow. 

It was a perilous place for Redruff. There was 
no chance for a safe rise, so he squatted low. 
The dog came within ten feet of him, and the 
stranger, coming across to Cuddy, passed at 
five feet, but he never moved till a chance came 
to slip behind the great trunk away from both. 
Then he safely rose and flew to the lonely glen 
by Taylor's Hill. 

One by one the deadly cruel gun had stricken 
his near ones down, till now, once more, he 
was alone. The Snow Moon slowly passed 
with many a narrow escape, and Redruff, now 
known to be the only survivor of his kind, was 
relentlessly pursued, and grew wilder every day. 

It seemed, at length, a waste of time to fol- 

354 




The Owl. 



Redruff 

low him with a gun, so when the snow was 
deepest, and food scarcest, Cuddy hatched a new 
plot. Right across the feeding-ground, almost 
the only good one now in the Stormy Moon, 
he set a row of snares. A cottontail rabbit, 
an old friend, cut several of these with his sharp 
teeth, but some remained, and Redruff, watch- 
ing a far-off speck that might turn out a hawk, 
trod right in one of them, and in an instant 
was jerked into the air to dangle by one 
foot. 

Have the wild things no moral or legal 
rights ? What right has man to inflict such long 
and fearful agony on a fellow-creature, simply 
because that creature does not speak his lan- 
guage? All that day, with growing, racking 
pains, poor Redruff hung and beat his great, 
strong wings in helpless struggles to be free. 
All day, all night, with growing torture, until 
he only longed for death. But no one came. 
The morning broke, the day wore on, and still 
he hung there, slowly dying ; his very strength 
a curse. The second night crawled slowly 
down, and when, in the dawdling hours of 
darkness, a great Horned Owl, drawn by the 

357 






Rcdruff 

feeble flutter of a dying wing, cut short the 
pain, the deed was wholly kind. 

The wind blew down the valley from the 
north. The snow-horses went racing over the 
wrinkled ice, over the Don Flats, and over the 
marsh toward the lake, white, for they were 
driven snow, but on them, scattered dark, were 
riding plumy fragments of partridge ruffs the 
famous rainbow ruffs. And they rode on the 
wind that night, away, away to the south, over 
the dark lake, as they rode in the gloom of his 
Mad Moon flight, riding and riding on till they 
were engulfed, the last trace of the last of the 
Don Valley race. 

For no partridge is heard in Castle Frank 
now and in Mud Creek Ravine the old pine 
drum-log, unused, has rotted in silence away. 



353 




359 






fct.