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Monarch, the Big Bear of Tallac   By: (1860-1946)

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First Page:


With 100 Drawings

by Ernest Thompson Seton

Author of Wild Animals I have known Trail of the Sandhill Stag Biography of a Grizzly Lives of the Hunted. Two Little Savages. Etc.



To the memory of the days in Tallac's Pines, where by the fire I heard this epic tale.

Kind memory calls the picture up before me now, clear, living clear: I see them as they sat, the one small and slight, the other tall and brawny, leader and led, rough men of the hills. They told me this tale in broken bits they gave it, a sentence at a time. They were ready to talk but knew not how. Few their words, and those they used would be empty on paper, meaningless without the puckered lip, the interhiss, the brutal semi snarl restrained by human mastery, the snap and jerk of wrist and gleam of steel gray eye, that really told the tale, of which the spoken word was mere headline. Another, a subtler theme was theirs that night; not in the line but in the interline it ran; and listening to the hunter's ruder tale, I heard as one may hear the night bird singing in the storm; amid the glitter of the mica I caught the glint of gold, for theirs was a parable of hill born power that fades when it finds the plains. They told of the giant redwood's growth from a tiny seed; of the avalanche that, born a snowflake, heaves and grows on the peaks, to shrink and die on the level lands below. They told of the river at our feet: of its rise, a thread like rill, afar on Tallac's side, and its growth a brook, a stream, a little river, a river, a mighty flood that rolled and ran from hills to plain to meet a final doom so strange that only the wise believe. Yes, I have seen it; it is there to day the river, the wonderful river, that unabated flows, but that never reaches the sea.

I give you the story then as it came to me, and yet I do not give it, for theirs is a tongue unknown to script: I give a dim translation; dim, but in all ways respectful, reverencing the indomitable spirit of the mountaineer, worshiping the mighty Beast that nature built a monument of power, and loving and worshiping the clash, the awful strife heroic, at the close, when these two met.

In this Book the designs for cover, title page, and general make up were done by Grace Gallatin Seton.

List of Full Page Drawings

"The pony bounded in terror while the Grizzly ran almost alongside"

"Jack ate till his paunch looked like a rubber balloon"

"'Honey Jacky honey'"

"Jack ... held up his sticky, greasy arms"

The Thirty foot Bear

"'Now, B'ar, I don't want no scrap with you'"

"Rumbling and snorting, he made for the friendly hills"


List of The Chapters

I. The Two Springs

II. The Springs and the Miner's Dam

III. The Trout Pool

IV. The Stream that Sank in the Sand

V. The River Held in the Foothills

VI. The Broken Dam

VII. The Freshet

VIII. Roaring in the Canon

IX. Fire and Water

X. The Eddy

XI. The Ford

XII. Swirl and Pool and Growing Flood

XIII. The Deepening Channel

XIV. The Cataract

XV. The Foaming Flood

XVI. Landlocked


The story of Monarch is founded on material gathered from many sources as well as from personal experience, and the Bear is of necessity a composite. The great Grizzly Monarch, still pacing his prison floor at the Golden Gate Park, is the central fact of the tale.

In telling it I have taken two liberties that I conceive to be proper in a story of this sort.

First, I have selected for my hero an unusual individual.

Second, I have ascribed to that one animal the adventures of several of his kind.

The aim of the story is to picture the life of a Grizzly with the added glamour of a remarkable Bear personality. The intention is to convey the known truth. But the fact that liberties have been taken excludes the story from the catalogue of pure science... Continue reading book >>

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