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Harper's Young People, December 2, 1879   By:

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[Illustration: HARPER'S




Tuesday, December 2, 1879. Copyright, 1879, by HARPER & BROTHERS. $1.50 per Year, in Advance.

[Illustration: FEEDING THE TWINS.



Young bears have always been great favorites as pets, being playful and affectionate when kindly treated. They can be trained to perform all kinds of amusing tricks; and their antics when playing together or with children are very laughable. They have been taught to execute difficult parts in theatrical displays; among other things, to ring bells, pretend to fall dead when shot at, beat the drum, and go through the manual exercise of the soldier with the musket.

But though playful and harmless when young, they can not be trusted when their teeth and claws are full grown. Then their good nature can not be counted on; and many instances have occurred in which they have repaid friendly confidence with sudden treachery. It must be said in their favor, however, that their wildness is often the result of bad treatment or thoughtless teasing. There is a story in print of a planter in Louisiana who once picked up a young cub that had either been abandoned by its mother, or had run away from the parental den. He carried it home and threw it down in the yard, where it was immediately adopted by the little negroes. It became a great favorite with them, sharing their corn bread, and taking part in all their sports. "Billy" that was the name given to him thrived and grew large and stout, and learned to box and wrestle with the boys so well that visitors to the plantation were always entertained with these droll exhibitions.

But one day, in the spring, when he had been about a year in captivity, Billy was detected in making free with the young cabbages in the garden. A stout negro man picked up a branch of rose bush, and gave the marauder a playful stroke. Filled with rage, Billy sprang upon the man, shook him as if he had been a bundle of straw, and bit the poor fellow so severely that he died. Billy was at once shot. A pet that could not control his temper better than that was considered rather too dangerous to keep.

In a wild state, when in distress, young bears utter cries like those of a child in trouble. During an overflow of the Mississippi the inhabitants of a plantation were alarmed by the dreadful wailings, as was supposed, of some children in a swamp. After a careful search two little cubs were found in the hollow of an old tree, locked in each other's arms. The mother bear had been drowned or shot, and these funny little "babes in the woods" were crying with fright and hunger, and appeared to welcome the protection of man with real joy.

Bears are very fond of whiskey and other kinds of strong drink, and when intoxicated will act very much like a man in a similar condition.

[Begun in No. 1 of HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE, NOV. 4.]



For a moment father and son stood silent on the brink of the crevasse, looking after the chamois.

"We can't get across here, father," said Walter, in a whisper; "let us try and find some other way."

"We can't find a better spot than this," replied his father, examining his gun.

"But what's the use of shooting him? What's the good of a dead chamois if we can't get him?"

"When he's once dead, boy, we'll soon find some means of getting at him," was the answer. "A board laid over the crevasse will be an easy way of recovering the venison."

"But we haven't got a board, father."

"That we'll see about. Just stand on one side, Watty."

The hunter cocked his gun, took aim for a moment, and was going to fire, when he turned suddenly pale, and dropped his arm.

"What's the matter, father? Do you feel ill?" inquired Walter, with anxiety.

"No," replied the huntsman; "but it seemed as if the ice was giving way just as I was going to fire... Continue reading book >>

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