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Animal Heroes   By: (1860-1946)

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Animal Heroes

by

Ernest Thompson Seton

Note to Reader

A hero is an individual of unusual gifts and achievements. Whether it be man or animal, this definition applies; and it is the histories of such that appeal to the imagination and to the hearts of those who hear them.

In this volume every one of the stories, though more or less composite, is founded on the actual life of a veritable animal hero. The most composite is the White Reindeer. This story I wrote by Utrovand in Norway during the summer of 1900, while the Reindeer herds grazed in sight on the near uplands.

The Lynx is founded on some of my own early experiences in the backwoods.

It is less than ten years since the 'Jack Warhorse' won his hero crown. Thousands of "Kaskadoans" will remember him, and by the name Warhorse his coursing exploits are recorded in several daily papers.

The least composite is Arnaux. It is so nearly historical that several who knew the bird have supplied additional items of information.

The nest of the destroying Peregrines, with its owners and their young, is now to be seen in the American Museum of Natural History of New York. The Museum authorities inform me that Pigeon badges with the following numbers were found in the nest: 9970 S, 1696, U. 63, 77, J. F. 52, Ex. 705, 6 1894, C 20900. Perhaps some Pigeon lover may learn from these lines the fate of one or other wonderful flier that has long been recorded "never returned."

CONTENTS

THE SLUM CAT ARNAUX The Chronicle of a Homing Pigeon BADLANDS BILLY The Wolf that Won THE BOY AND THE LYNX LITTLE WARHORSE The History of a Jack rabbit SNAP The Story of a Bull Terrier THE WINNIPEG WOLF THE LEGEND OF THE WHITE REINDEER

THE SLUM CAT

LIFE I

I

"M e a t! M e a t!" came shrilling down Scrimper's Alley. Surely the Pied Piper of Hamelin was there, for it seemed that all the Cats in the neighborhood were running toward the sound, though the Dogs, it must be confessed, looked scornfully indifferent.

"Meat! Meat!" and louder; then the centre of attraction came in view a rough, dirty little man with a push cart; while straggling behind him were a score of Cats that joined in his cry with a sound nearly the same as his own. Every fifty yards, that is, as soon as a goodly throng of Cats was gathered, the push cart stopped. The man with the magic voice took out of the box in his cart a skewer on which were pieces of strong smelling boiled liver. With a long stick he pushed the pieces off. Each Cat seized on one, and wheeling, with a slight depression of the ears and a little tiger growl and glare, she rushed away with her prize to devour it in some safe retreat.

"Meat! Meat!" And still they came to get their portions. All were well known to the meat man. There was Castiglione's Tiger; this was Jones's Black; here was Pralitsky's "Torkershell," and this was Madame Danton's White; there sneaked Blenkinshoff's Maltee, and that climbing on the barrow was Sawyer's old Orange Billy, an impudent fraud that never had had any financial backing, all to be remembered and kept in account. This one's owner was sure pay, a dime a week; that one's doubtful. There was John Washee's Cat, that got only a small piece because John was in arrears. Then there was the saloon keeper's collared and ribboned ratter, which got an extra lump because the 'barkeep' was liberal; and the rounds man's Cat, that brought no cash, but got unusual consideration because the meat man did. But there were others. A black Cat with a white nose came rushing confidently with the rest, only to be repulsed savagely. Alas! Pussy did not understand. She had been a pensioner of the barrow for months. Why this unkind change? It was beyond her comprehension. But the meat man knew. Her mistress had stopped payment. The meat man kept no books but his memory, and it never was at fault.

Outside this patrician 'four hundred' about the barrow, were other Cats, keeping away from the push cart because they were not on the list, the Social Register as it were, yet fascinated by the heavenly smell and the faint possibility of accidental good luck... Continue reading book >>




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