OCR Interpretation


The summary. (Elmira, N.Y.) 1883-19??, March 19, 1921, Image 3

Image and text provided by Steele Memorial Library

Persistent link: http://dev.nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/sn84031251/1921-03-19/ed-1/seq-3/


Thumbnail for 3
THE SUMMARY THE ODYSSEY Of OLD BILL i By W. P. Eaton. ' Old Bill, the bi|[g«Bt bull inooBe in Masaachu- itus (and perhapa yon will be surprised (o hear that there are any moose in MassachueetlB— most people are,) was born in ignominious captiv­ ity, 1 say ignominious, beeause it is ignominions for any wild animal to be a captive, and especi­ ally for so splendid an animal as the moose, that great, deepchested, powerful limbed, mighty- astlered survival of.some giani race of deer which iahabited the globe before the dawn of any his­ tory we know, doubtless before the advent of man at all. And yet, if Old Bill’s parents hadn't been led away into captivity in Massachusetts, there would now be no moose in that State; so there you are. A moose does not take kindly to eoDfineinent. Ysu may give him everything in the world he tikes to eat, from rolled oats to spruce baik, but if he is shut up in a few aeree, he presently dies sf a disease with a learned name which in plain lasguage is indigestioii. In bis wild stata he roams thirty miles to get a meal, browsing here and there, and thus keeps in esndition. Bat the rieh man whe caused Old Bill’s poteatial parents tsha captured had mote than a few acres to con- flnt them in. He owned feurteen thousand acres of forest and moustain just across the valley of tks Housatanie River from Laaox, up ia the Berkshire Hills.(On a preserve of fourteen theu- iind acres you can take <^ite a stroll, even if you have toe iega of aasooie. This same richaian— ho was a very rich man indeed—wiped out all the farms which had once made clearings on hii fsacteen thousand acres, leaving only one or two houses for his gamekeepers to live in, and build- isg a “lodge\ for himself, though be never hsoted the moose, and infrequently even fished the brooks. Then he built a great fence all around bis pro­ perty. High up on the mountain at the center tf tha reservation was a deep swamp of spruces ud hemlocks and alder, with a pond in the midst fir which you might hunt hours In vain. It was ideal moose.country. Into this swamp plunged the old bulls and several cows which comprised ths captive herd. The elk, er wapiti deer, were tuner, and used to bang around the gamekeeper'e house like cows. Net ee the meese! They made fsr ths deep swamp, and finding plenty to eat ind plenty ef roem to roam, they eacaped the fstsl indigestion; and presently into the werld etma the gawky, stiff-lagged thing with a hump II his bask and a tassel under hit chin who was diitincd to be ear hero. It mast bo admitted that his father paid very little attenticn to him; bat his mother was ex- Ittmaly preud, and gave hiat ths best ef care, tneking bim, as eo>n as he was old enough, how ti spring into thickets that concealed, at the ap- pnaeh ef danger; how to nibble a bit of treih DHsewood twig and then tret on maybe a mile biforo reaching up and into the nsoatb a clutter if leeealent hemlock, never eating too nacb ia me place leit one get lazy, with flabby muiclea ud poer digoatioa. She taught him, too, by iximple, to aniff tbo wind before lying down to I tut or even befere feeding, to sniff sUaago tricKs in tho earth or tbo anew, ever to be alert, I vatchfol, ready. His was tha Boy Scent matte -\Be prepared.’’ If she had bean rearing him in the deep woodi, far from mankind, he would have learned, aa dinbt, to flee from the smell of a man on tho vind, er even from a man’s tracks in the aiad- [tsdee, perhaps miles and miles to another forest. Bathere oathe Berkshire reservation a few men the keeper, bis assistants, the owner and his friiodi- were always passing about, and no narm I »>i from them. Indeed, in winter when the snow was very deep, the men would come into the ivamp draggiog loads of bay on a sled, and : liive it there for the moose to eat. Besides, [ there was no way to flee very far, because of the i |iest fence. So Old Bill (of course he wasn't ' wiled Old Bill then or even W Hie) was never I ttugot to flee actively from man, nor greatly to iriad him-only to be cautious and slip into cover vben the mao-scent came down wind. But one day strange tbinga began to happen, : dtriniog things. Many men—strange men—ap- }Mr«d on the reservation, and many strange kirscB aid great wagons, and there was tunning ud beating of the bush and woods, while fright- [uidsnimals of all sorts, deer, elk, moose and dl tbe rest, were driven toward the centre in- [iloiire. None of them knew why, though the reason was that the rich man had died, and now all the captive animals were going to be rounded up and carried awhy to another rieh man’s reser­ vation. The moose, because by nature they are the wariest and craftiest ef all big animals, per­ haps, though you might suppose they would find it hardest to conceal themselves, were the most difficult to round up. Old Bill's mother especially, with the care of her ehild on her mind, was tre­ mendously alarmed, and kept dashing into low, douse spruce-thickets with a warning bellow to Bill to tollow her, which he always did, with more speed than grace. Ae they dashed over the mountain and through the swampa and forest, always seeking to avoid the scent of danger, they encountered Bill’s fat­ her and another cow, successfully employiag the same tactics. The four of them kept together after that, and presently they were reused sud­ denly from the bushes by the bank of a swampy brook by (he warning noisos of the beaten lome distance eff. The old ball led tha way with a tremendoni leap into tha thickets, away from ths neise, and brought them ap sharp against the A FEW MONTHS la the wind of wiady March Tha catkins drop dawn Curly, caterpillar-like, CutioBS green and brown. With concourse of aost-bailding birds And leaf- buds by the way. With tho gusts ef April Rich fruit-tree blossoms fall. On the hedgOL-in orchard green, From the southern wall. Apple trees and pear trees Sbed petals while or pink. Plum trees and peach trees, While sharp showers sink and sink.'^ Little brings the May breeze * Beside pure scent of flowers. While all thisgs wax and nothing wanes In lengthening daylight hours. Across the hyacinth beds Tha wind lags warm and aweet, Across the hawthorn tops. Across tha blades of wheat. In the wind of annny Juno Thrives tha red-rose crop. Every day fresh bloasems blew While the firet leavee drop; White rose and yellow rose And mess rose choice to find, And tha cottage cabbage roea Nat one whit behind. —Cbriatina Kasaatti ten-faot-high wire fence. The bull, in fact, waa going at such a gait, and was lo exeited with alarm, that hia berna actually collided with it, and it sagged away with him. At it gavs before tho impact of his great body (hie antlers alone probably weighed fifty pounds or atore), there was a crashing aoiso as ef wood braakiag. The bull palled back and leaked. Fes, one ef tka chestnut paste which held up tha feaco had ret­ ted, and cracked at the ground I He drew back with a short, sharp aaort, and then want into the fence again, deliberately this time, and close to the post. It gave cemplotely, and tha post tag­ ged so far ou( that the top of the fence was only six feet above the ground. Once more the bull drew back, gathered bis great muscles for ths spring and cleared it The second cow followad; and then Bill’s mother, with a kind ef tooting noise which Bill knew meant, “Come onl\ gathered herself and sprang. Poor little Bill uttered a protesting bellow, or rather two bellows, something like two raps with an ax on a hallow tree. He couldn’t make that jump. He just knew he couldn’t. He ran up and down behind the half fallen fence, looking for a lower place, and seeing bis father, tbe-other cow even bis mother, vanishing into tha weeds out­ side. Fes, even bis mother, she felt so sure he woald follow! But be couldn’t follow. If Bill had been a boy, be would certainly have burst into sobs. But he wasn’t. He was a yoang bail moose, and behind him, on the wind, he suddenly caught fresh and strong that man-scent hia mother had taught him wary of. It was coming nearer. Over there, bis mother was going farther away. Little Bill drew back,made mighty dash and a spring with all the power of bis gawky, stiff long legs, and though his hind heels hit tho wire and half spilled him, be staggered up to Srd, to bis surprise, that be was ever the wire! ’Then ha kicked up those same hind hoofs with a prance of jay and pride in his achievement, and dashed madly off on the trail of bis parents. His achievement had given him such a good opinion of himself, in fact, thai he didn't even whimper when he couldn't seem to catch the others, but only redoubled bis efforts, ducking bis head craftily under low branches and dashing on with astonishing speed. At lest he did catch sight of them, ahead in an open glade in the woods, and with a final prance and kick of delight he ran pantmg up to his molher. His father waa evidently satisfied that they were at least temporarily safe here, for be was nibbling some hemlock shoots. Not long after, howev.r, they moved on, going down a rough, weeded slope of the moiiatain. At the hot om of the slope they came suddenly upon a strange thing, with a yet stranger odor— a kind of roadway (%ey were familiar with road­ ways), but with sight shining steel strips nailed to it, upon wooden crossbars. With a snsrt the bull turned tail and bogan to climb the slope again, the rest after him. They had gone but a few feet, however, when a tremendous noise imate their ears, and taming to see the cause, they beheld a terrible monster coining down this strange road, belching smokt. They all sprang higher up the ledges, and beneath them the Twentieth Century Limited (the Boston and Al­ bany seetien) thundered by. Men and women were sitting at the windows of the patlor-cars, in greateasy-chairs, hurtling luxuriously tbreugh the landscape. But they did not see the four wild creatures bounding up the rocks above, their nostrils stung with acrid coal-smoke smell, their eyes big with alarm. Tet the strange monster had not hurt them; apparently it had not tried to hurt them. It had stayed rightonthat shining roadway. Even little Bill realized this. It was their first lesson in the new freedom. However, it takes more than one le^-8on Co teach a cosmic truth even to so clever an animal as a BBOUse, and Bill's father, the lesdtr was still wary. He did his best to keep bis little herd to the cover of the woods. The trouble was, they were always getting out of the cover of the woods, end never knowing when it was going to happen, either. In the next few days they stumbled on roads, on houses, on odd animals which they didn’t in the least fear, which men call cows; and one# they were chased by a dog. Iiwas little Bill that that the dog really chased. Bill bad dropped be­ hind the rest a bit, to feed on a succulent young birch-tree, for his appetite waa good these deys; he was a growing boy. The dog, a huge mongrel creature which he, of courae, supposed was one •f these wolves his mather had teld him of, came suddenly at bim, and he quite naturally bolted for the paternal protectien. It chanted that the little herd waa to the windward with a half gale blow­ ing, and they didn’t get tha deg eceat. Into the swampy glade where they stood. Bill burst witk- ent warning, the deg in full pursuit, and just aa Bill broka into their miJat the deg fastened on his rear lag. Bill turned about, with a anort of pain, trying to reach the deg with his bare little fore­ head. But there was ne need of that. Bill’s father stepped into the breach. With lowered head and ayes that blaitd ha made one lunge, ana toss of his great, strong neck; and impaled on the pronged antlers, the deg was tern with a wild cry from bis grip an Bid then toiaad into the air. Even as he fell, the antlers again struck bim and whan he reached the gteund, a great, sharp hoof went crashing through his chest Then the old ball, with a short snort, led the way rapidly into the deeper woods. Bill's mother licked bia wounds, and he lay down stifly to sleep that night wishing be too had big, poweiful antlere. Their escape together from the reservation, and their subsequent daily wanderings, in the face of the unknown, of threatening, strange perils, always searching for some way out of the ring of roads, houses and clearings which seemed to hem them in, had kept the tiny herd together, just as common danger keeps men aad ' omen together. Yet the worst peril they had actually faced was a dog, which the old bull fear­ ed no more than an insect, and gradually ihe fear of danger left them, and Bill’s father wand­ ered away by himself, after the manner of bis kind, looking, no doubt, for male eompaniousbip; while Bill, though tempted to go with him, still clung to his mother, who ia turn browsed with the other cow. Tbas the days passed, while little Bill grew and grew till hie forehead began to itch and he rubbed it on trees, thus making the joy­ ous discovery that bis antlers were growing!' It (Continued on Page d)

xml | txt