Monarch, the Big Bear of Tallac
Mount Tallac stands high above the other peaks of the Sierra Mountains. It is ten thousand feet above the sea. From the top, looking north, one can see a very large, blue, wonderful lake. On every side there are wonderful colours and things,—pine trees, streams, hills. But Lan Kellyan's keen gray eyes did not notice the beautiful colours on the hills and lake. He was a hunter. His leather clothes, brown face, strong body, and clear gray eyes told us that at once. His hunter's eye looked for and found a trail, and he followed it along the ground. He knew that a big bear and her two little cubs were somewhere close by, for the foot-marks of the animals in the grass were still fresh. Lan's horse also knew that a grizzly family was near, for he sniffed and stepped nervously.
Lan got off his horse and then, following the trail, climbed up a steep bank and there, at the top, fifty yards away, he saw an old grizzly and her two cubs. It was too far for a good shot, but Lan fired at what seemed to be the shoulder. The bear, wounded, sprang up and rushed to the place where the smoke from the gun arose. Lan ran down the bank, jumped on his horse and was off like the wind. But the grizzly ran almost as fast, striking at him but missing each time. A grizzly cannot run with great speed for a long distance, and soon the bear fell behind, and returned to her cubs.
Lan went back to his camp, but returned next day to look for that bear. About a week later he was in a small, deep valley with sides of steep rock when he saw, far off, the old bear with her two cubs. As she stopped to drink at the clear stream, Lan fired. When she heard the shot, the bear turned to her cubs and slapping first one and then the other, she chased them up a tree. Lan's second shot struck her. Wounded and raging, she charged fiercely on the hunter. A third shot struck her in the head and she rolled down the side of the great rocks and lay dead at the bottom of the valley. Lan now went to the tree where the cubs still were. They looked at him with fear as he approached them and when he began to climb the tree, they climbed up higher. One of them began to whine and the other to growl, increasing their cries as he came nearer. He took out a rope, arid making nooses, dragged them to the ground in turn. Then he put them into a bag and rode with them to his camp. There he put a collar on each of them, and chained each to a post. They at once climbed up to the top of their posts. Sitting on the top of the posts, one whined and the other growled. For the first few days they refused to eat, but at last they drank some milk which Lan left for them. In another week they even notified their master whenever they wanted food or drink.
Jack and Jill, the hunter named the cubs. Jill had a bad temper. When Lan came to give her food, she climbed up the post and growled and ate the food only after he went away. Jack, however, ran down his post to meet his master, and ate his food at once. In a month Jacky grew so tame that Lan allowed him to run free. He followed his master like a dog, and his funny tricks always amused Lan and the few friends he had in the mountains.
Near the shanty where Lan lived was a meadow, where Lan cut enough hay to feed his two horses during the winter. When the time came to cut the hay, Jack was his daily companion, following close at his heels, or lying on Lan's coat and guarding it from such terrible monsters as squirrels and others. One day Lan found a bee's nest. Jack loved honey, and knew what a bee's nest was; so when Lan said, "Honey — Jacky — honey!" the little bear always ran to the spot quickly. Jacky knew that bees have stings; he therefore approached the nest carefully. Then, when some bees began to come out of the nest, he slapped at them till, one by one, he knocked them down and crushed them.
When he got rid of the last bee in the nest, he ate first the honey, then the grubs and wax, and last of all the bees It was a great feast for him.
Lan's nearest neighbour was Lou Bonamay, a miner. He lived, with his dog, in a shanty about a mile from Lan's shanty. One day, when he came to see Lan, he said, "Lan, bring Jacky and we'll have some fun." He went into the woods and Lan followed him with Jack at his heels.
"There, Jacky, honey — honey!" and Bonamy pointed up a tree to a large wasp's nest. Jacky looked. Certainly those things buzzing up there looked like bees, though he could not understand why the bee's nest had such a strange shape and was in such a place. However, he climbed up the tree. The men waited. Jack reached the branch where the big nest was high over the deep water. He walked along the branch, but very carefully. He took another step forward. What an awful lot of bees! But bees mean honey! So he stepped forward again. The wasps buzzed angrily, and he stepped back. But Bonamy said softly, "Honey — Jacky — honey!"
Jack went slowly, and then waited for a long time till all the bees were back in the nest. Then he moved silently along the branch. When he was just over the nest, he put one little paw over the hole of the nest, and with his other arm seized the nest. Then he jumped from the branch into the stream below, taking with him the nest and the wasps in the nest. As soon as he reached the water, he tore the nest to pieces with his hind feet. The nest floated away down the stream, while the honey-comb lay near the bank of the stream. Jack now swam up to it. Most of the wasps were dead or too wet to be dangerous and Jacky carried the comb to the bank in triumph. There was no honey, of course, but there were lots of fat white grubs which were almost as good. He ate till his paunch looked like a little rubber balloon.
"Now what do you think of that?" said Lan.
"The laugh is on us," answered Bonamy.
Jack was now a strong cub. He followed Lan even as far as Bonamy's shanty. Once, as they watched him play, Lan said to his friend, "I'm afraid some one will meet him in the woods one day and shoot him for a wild bear."
"Then why don't you get those new sheep rings for him?" Bonamy answered.
So it happened that, though Lan was against it, they pierced the cub's ears and decorated him with ear-rings. These were not comfortable, and Jack tried to get rid of them. At last, when he came home one day with a large branch hanging from one ear, Lan removed the branch and the ear-rings too.
At Bonamy's place there was an old sheep whom Jack avoided because he did not like the smell. There was also Bonamy's dog. That was an unpleasant animal who seemed to think it was great fun to bite Jacky's heels and then run away. A joke is a joke, but this dog did not know where to stop and always spoilt Jack's visits to Bonamy's shanty. The only thing he could do, when he saw the dog, was to climb up a tree as fast as he could. Even that did not always help. So very soon Jack decided that it was better to stay at home, and in the future, when Lan went into the path that led to the miner's shanty, the cub said clearly with a look: "No, thank you," and turned back home.
The enemy, however, often came with Bonamy to the hunter's shanty, and there began to tease the little bear again. The dog liked this amusement so much that he learned to come to Lan's shanty by himself to have some fun with Jacky, who was always in terror of the dog. But it all ended very suddenly.
It was a very hot day, and Lan and Lou sat in front of Lan's shanty, smoking. The dog, as usual, chased Jack up a tree, and then lay down to have a nap in the shade of the branches of that tree. Jack was very quiet for a while and then, when he saw that the dog was asleep, he began to move slowly and silently along the branch until he was just over his enemy. Now, taking careful aim, he jumped and landed on the dog's ribs. The dog awoke with a terrible howl, and though he had no broken bones, he could hardly drag himself away. Jacky walked off in triumph. After that the dog paid no more attention to the little bear, and Jacky was happy again.
Jack was funny; Jill was sulky. Lan petted Jack and gave him freedom, but he chained Jill and often punished her, for she had a bad temper. Once, when Lan was away, Jill got free and joined her brother. They broke the door of Lan's little storehouse and ate whatever they liked. What they didn't like — flour, butter and other things — they threw about the ground and rolled in it. When Lan came, he stood at the door, a picture of amazement and anger. Little bears know nothing about pictures, but they understand anger. They knew that something was wrong and that they were in danger. Jill, sulky, tried to hide in a dark corner and looked defiantly at Lan. But Jack held up his sticky little arms to his master, expecting his master to lift him up and pet him as usual, as if he was the best little bear in the world.
Then Jacky began to climb up his master's leg. Lan growled, "I'll break your neck, you little devil." But he did not. He lifted the sticky little bear and petted him, but Jill he chained to her post with a strong chain. Lan Kellyan was in a bad mood. That morning he fell and broke his rifle, and now his provisions were spoilt. In the evening a stranger came to his shanty and Jack amused them both with his funny tricks. When the stranger was ready to leave, he said, "Lan, I'll give you twenty-five dollars for the pair." Lan hesitated, then thought of his spoilt provisions, his broken rifle and his empty pocket, and answered, "Make it fifty and you can have them."
In fifteen minutes the stranger rode away with a little bear in a bag on each side of his horse. Jill was sulky and silent, but Jack whined and that touched Lan's heart. During the next hour Lan was busy. He put his shanty in order, and picked up what was left of his provisions. "After all," he said to himself, "there is still a good deal." Then he walked past the box where Jack used to sleep. How silent it was! Suddenly he jumped on his horse and in two hours he overtook the stranger.
"Say, old man, I did wrong. I don't want to sell those bears. Here's your money back."
"You're wasting time, if that's what you came for," said the stranger coldly. Jack whined joyfully at the sound of his master's voice.
"Now, look here, man," said Lan, "that little bear is the only companion I have, and we're very fond of each other. I didn't know how much I'll miss him. Take back your fifty, give me Jack and keep Jill."
"If you've five hundred in gold, you can get him," answered the stranger, taking out his gun and pointing it at Lan. "If not, you walk straight to that tree and don't turn, or I'll fire. Now go!"
Lan, who had no gun, had to obey. Little Jack's whining cut Lan to the heart. But he knew the mountaineers too well and did as the stranger told him. The mountaineer and the two little bears were soon out of sight.
At first the man was pleased with his funny bear cubs, but each day they became more troublesome and less amusing to him. The new master was neither gentle nor cultured, and Jack, good-natured little Jack, seemed to understand this. He allowed his new master to put a collar and a chain on him. But Jill fought and bit her master's hand when he tried to put a collar on her. The result was that Jacky was now alone, on a chain, in the yard of the ranch.
In the next-eighteen months there was nothing interesting in Jack's life. His little world was a twenty-foot circle around a pole in the, yard of the ranch. There were horses and men in the yard, but they were outside his little circle and he could not see them. He forgot the tricks for which his old master loved him so much, for Jack grew up in chains and with a big flour barrel as his home.
Near the ranch, at the foot of the Sierras, was the ranch hotel. Nature was beautiful here; there were groves of oak trees on the slopes of the hills, golden meadows, forests of pines, flowers and fruit, sun and shade, rivers and brooks. But the men who came here did not see the beauty of the place. They were ignorant and cruel — the lowest of the human race. They were cruel to Jack, and Jack's answer was hate.
It amused them to see him drink beer out of a bottle. The cub liked beer and the men often gave him a bottle. It amused them when Jack pulled out the cork, turned the bottle up between his paws and drank to the last drop. Sometimes there was a dog fight. These cruel men brought their dogs "to try them on the cub." It was pleasant sport to the men and to the dogs until Jack learned how to fight them. In his first fights, he rushed furiously at the nearest dog, but he stopped with a jerk when he came to the end of his chain. Thus another dog could attack him from behind. But in a month or two he changed his method. He learned to sit quietly with his back against his barrel, and watched the noisy dogs around him. He did not move until all the dogs were together in one place quite near him. Then he attacked. He always "got" one or more of them, so the men stopped this kind of sport.
The Fourth of July was near. The owner of the hotel, who was tired of the huge prisoner in the yard, announced that he would celebrate the holiday with a fight between "a fighting bull and a fierce grizzly." The news spread quickly. The owner prepared seats on the roof of the stable at fifty cents each, and seats on wagons full of hay for one dollar each. When the day came, everything was ready. They nailed up the barrel with Jack in it and rolled the barrel to a field with a fence around it. The bull was already there. Cowboys came from far and near, and their girls were with them. Farmers, ranchmen, miners travelled long distances to see the Bull-and-Bear fight. Some bet on the bull and others on the bear.
The bull was in a rage, as the men teased him to make him angry. Then they opened the door of Jack's barrel. They expected Jack to rush out and attack the bull. But he did not move — perhaps because of the great noise and the crowds of people. Those who betted on the bull began to hiss. Now the bull came forward, roaring, until he was within ten feet of the grizzly. Then he turned and ran to the other end of the field. Those who betted on the bear began to shout.
But the crowd wanted a fight. One of the men put some fire crackers into the barrel. Crack! and Jack jumped up. Fizzcrack — c-r-r-r-a-a-c-k, cr-kerk-ck! and Jack in surprise rushed from his barrel into the field. The bull stood in the middle of the field, but when the bear sprang forward, he roared and retreated as far as he could. There were cheers and hisses.
Perhaps the two main characteristics of a grizzly are the quickness with which he makes a plan, and the strength with which he follows his plan. Jack's eyes went round the fence in a second, — found a place which he could climb easily. In three seconds he was there, in two seconds he was over the fence, and in one second he dashed through the frightened crowd and ran to the hills as fast as he could. Women screamed, men shouted, dogs barked. The men rushed to their horses. But the grizzly was already far away, near the river, into which he plunged. The dogs did not dare to do that, and in an hour Jack reached the pine hills. Soon the ranch hotel, with its chains and its cruel human beings, was a thing of the past. That Fourth of July was indeed a great holiday — it was Independence Day for Grizzly Jack.
Л wounded deer usually goes downhill; a hunted grizzly climbs. Jack knew nothing of that part of the country where he now was, but he wanted to get away from the crowd. So he looked for the hills and climbed and climbed. He could no longer see the plain, but he walked on and on for many hours until he found himself among the highest rocks, the pine trees and the berries. He picked the berries from the low bushes and ate as he traveled. In the afternoon, when the heat of the sun was terrible, he lay down to rest. The night was black when he awoke, but bears are not afraid of the dark, — they fear the day. He walked on as before, higher and higher, and so at last he reached the highest mountains in the region of his native Tallac. Here he stayed, and here he had many experiences that made him stronger, wiser and more cunning. He lived on roots and berries for many weeks. Sometimes he had a great desire for meat.
Jack had no memory for faces, but he had a wonderful memory for smells. One day he smelt sheep. So he went down at night — a clever bear does not travel by day - and the smell led him from the pines on the hills to an open rocky valley. Not far away he saw a strange, bright light. But he knew what that was from his past experiences with men, — it was a fire built by men. The smell of sheep grew stronger at every step, but he saw no sheep. He saw in the valley something that looked like a great gray lake, with many little shining lights like stars. A strange sound came from the lake. Jack came nearer, and then at last so near that he could see the great gray lake. It was a flock of sheep, and the little shining lights were their eyes. The shepherd and his dog lay close by the fire. Jack did not lose time. He at once charged into the mass of sheep, struck down one of them, seized it and climbed up the rocks, back to the mountains. The shepherd leaped to his feet, the dog barked loudly. But Jack was far away. That was Jack's first mutton, but it was not the last.
In the flock of this Mexican shepherd there were three thousand sheep. It is not easy for any one to count three thousand sheep. But the shepherd used a simple device. In an ordinary flock about one sheep in a hundred is a black one. Now, if many sheep get lost, there is almost always a black one among them. So he counts his thirty black sheep every day and so gets a rough idea of the whole flock.
Jack killed one or two sheep each time he came. But the last sheep he killed was a black one. So, when the shepherd counted only twenty-nine black sheep, he knew that about a hundred sheep were already gone. He knew there was a sheep-eater in the region, and the only thing to do was to move out. He did so and found a canyon with walls of rock on three sides. This seemed a good place for sheep. He stopped here with his flock, built a fire, and feeling quite safe, fell asleep.
A growl from his dog awoke him. He jumped up and saw a giant bear standing on his hind legs, and about thirty feet high. The dog ran away in terror. And Pedro, the shepherd, was so frightened that he fell with his face on the ground and tried to pray. Thus he never learned that he saw, not a bear thirty feet high, but a seven-foot bear not far from the fire, and casting a black shadow thirty feet high on the smooth rock behind him. When Pedro looked up, the giant bear was gone. Many of the sheep rushed out of the canyon into the night, and after them ran a bear.
At sunrise he left his dog with the sheep that remained, and went to look for the lost sheep.
He found them in another canyon. They stood high up on the rocks and he could not make them come down from the rocks or leave the canyon. One or two came forward, but sprang back again in fear of something on the ground. Pedro examined the ground and saw — as he later told the other shepherds — the tracks of a giant grizzly, who ate forty to fifty sheep at a meal. So he returned to his flock quickly. He must get out of this region! But it was now late and the sheep were tired. He built two big fires at the entrance of the canyon, and made a platform fifteen feet up in a tree for his own bed. Then he loaded his gun carefully and went to bed.
The hours passed slowly. Suddenly the dog, lying near the fire, leaped up, barked furiously, and the sheep began to rush into the darkness. When a huge, dark form appeared, Pedro seized his gun and wanted to shoot, but he remembered, with horror, that the bear was thirty feet high and his platform only fifteen. So he lay with his face down on the platform and prayed. In the morning he found the tracks of the bear, and a black sheep was missing.
In the morning, as they traveled through the open plains, Pedro's eye fell on a man sitting on a rock above them. It was Lan Kellyan, the hunter. Each was glad to "talk with a human" and to get the news. Pedro told him about the giant bear that killed his sheep. "Ah, a bear devil, a real terror." The giant bear was forty feet high now. Kellyan laughed, but Pedro swore that his story was true. Then he showed Lan a bottle with a small quantity of gold-dust in it.
"I'll give you half of this gold-dust, if you agree to find that bear," said Pedro. Lan had no money; he thought for a few minutes, then answered, "I'll kill your bear for all the gold-dust in the bottle."
"I agree," said the shepherd, "if you also bring back those sheep that are now starving on the rocks there in the canyon." So Lan followed the trail of Grizzly Jack, his old companion.
The hunter went at once to the canyon and found the sheep standing in stupid terror on the rocks, and ready to starve rather than come down. At the entrance to the canyon, he found the remains of two sheep, killed and eaten by the bear. There was also a bear-track. Lan dragged one of the sheep down, but it climbed up again at once. Now he made a small pen of twigs and branches outside the canyon, and dragged the foolish creatures down one at a time. In this way he took them out of the prison of death into the pen. Then he drove them out of the pen toward the rest of the flock. This was a journey of only six miles, but it was late at night when Lan came to Pedro.
Pedro was glad to get some of his sheep back and gave Lan half of the gold-dust. That night they camped together, and no bear appeared. In the morning, when Lan went to the canyon again, he found, as he expected, that the bear had returned and killed those sheep that still remained on the rocks. At night Jack came to the camp for more sheep. The hunter awoke, his rifle cracked, the bear snorted, rushed into the bushes and was gone.
Lan's bullet made a deep wound in Jack's side. Snorting with pain and rage, the grizzly dashed through the busies and traveled on for an hour or more. Then he lay down and tried to lick the wound. He continued his journey back to Tallac, and there he found a cave where he could lie down and rest. When the sun was high, he was still in pain. Now there was a strange smell of fire in the cave, and clouds of smoke came into the cave. Jack moved, but the smoke followed him. When he could bear it no longer, he rushed out of the cave. As he went, he saw a man throwing wood on a fire near the entrance to the cave. The smell that the wind brought him said, "This is the man that watched the sheep last night."
In the woods there was less smoke and, finding berries, Jack ate his first meal after his last sheep. He walked on, eating fruit and digging roots out of the ground. But the smoke grew blacker, the smell of fire stronger. Birds, deer and hares now rushed past him. The roar in the air became louder and came nearer, and Jack rushed after the other animals of the woods.
The wind rose and the flames, spreading, flew now like wild horses. The whole forest was ablaze. Jack's instinct told him to get away from that awful roar that sent dark clouds and flying pieces of fire above and heat below. So he ran with the other animals. There was nothing here that he could fight, and his feeling of danger turned almost into terror. The flames were all around him now and he rushed wildly on. The fire burnt his hair. He forgot about his wound and thought only of escape. Suddenly the thickets opened and the grizzly, half-blind and half-burnt, rushed down a bank into a small clear pool. He stayed below the surface as long as he could, then slowly and carefully he raised his head. Other creatures were in the pool, some burnt, some dead, and one of them was close beside him. Oh, he knew that smell, — it was the hunter who shot at him.
Now, although Jack did not know this, the hunter had followed him all day and had tried to smoke him out of the cave, and so set the woods on fire. Here they were, face to face, only ten feet from each other. When the heat of the flames was too great, the grizzly and the man plunged under the water. In a minute both came up again. Each tried to keep his nose and one eye above the water. But the fire was terribly hot, and they had to stay under the water as long as they could.
A huge pine-tree fell across the pool and almost hit the man. The man moved a little nearer to the bear. Another tree fell across the first one, and now the bear moved a little nearer to the man. The man's gun lay in the water near the shore, but he had his knife ready to defend himself. So, going under the water and coming up again for air, each spent an hour or more. The flames passed on. The boar wanted only to get away and began to swim toward the shore. The man saw blood coming from a wound in the bear's side, and knew now that this was the bear of the canyon. But he did not know that this was his old companion, little Jack. So the bear got out of the pool on one side, and the man got out on the other side, and each went his way.
All the grass and trees on the west slopes of Tallac were destroyed by the fire. Lan moved into a new shanty on the east slope, where there were still some grass and trees. So did the birds and the rabbits, and so did Grizzly Jack. His wound healed quickly, but he remembered the rifle-smell, — it was a new and terrible kind of smoke. He went down the slope of Tallac, following the smell of honey. A flock of grouse flew over his head, when he caught the smell of man. Then he heard a shot and one of the grouse fell close to him. He stepped forward to sniff as a man also stepped forward from the bushes near him. They were only about ten feet from each other, and they recognized each other.
The hunter saw a bear with burnt hair and a wounded side, and the bear smelt the rifle-smoke and the leather clothes. The man jumped back and fell, and the grizzly was upon him. The hunter lay like dead with his face to the earth, but before Jack struck, he caught a smell that made him pause. Was it something of the past that came back to him with the smell of the man? Who can say? But his rage disappeared; he did not strike, but turned and left the hunter.
No memory of the past came to Lan, however. To his friend he said, "You can never know what a grizzly will do. Why he didn't strike me, I don't know. But I tell you this, Pedro, the bear that killed your sheep on the rocks and in the canyon is the same."
"But what about the fifty-foot bear I saw with my own eyes?" said Pedro.
"I suppose that was the night you had a bit too much of something strong. But don't worry. I'll get him yet."
Lan Kellyan asked Lou Bonamy to join him, because Bonamy's dog could find a trail. So they packed four horses with provisions and other things that they needed, and set up their tent on the east side of the mountain. They left the horses in the meadow and then went out to hunt. The dog led the way and the hunters followed. They made much noise, which Jack heard a mile away on the mountain above them. He went down the side of the mountain and found the trail of the hunters and their dog.
His nose told him at once that here was the hunter he already knew. The dog-smell especially excited him, and Jack's feet went quickly and silently — yes, with wonderful silence, along the tracks of his enemy. On rocky ground a dog cannot go much faster than a bear, and so Jack soon overtook the dog. The wind brought to the dog the smell of the bear behind, and he rushed back toward the bear. Jack waited and when the dog came, he struck him once; there was no need for a second blow. The hunters searched in silence for half an hour before they found the dead body. Bonamy loved his dog, and he and Lan swore to kill that bear.
Without a dog they had to make a new plan. They found two or three good places for traps. Then Lan returned to his camp for an ax, while Bonamy prepared the ground. When Lan was near the camp, he stopped for a minute to look around him. There, on the slope of a hill, looking down on the camp, sat the grizzly. Lan saw the burnt hair of his head and neck, and knew that he and Pedro's bear were again face to face. Lan fired, but missed the head. The bullet hit the bear in the mouth, breaking off one of his teeth. The Grizzly sprang up with a snort and dashed down the hill toward the hunter. Lan climbed up a tree, and prepared to fire again. But the camp lay just between them and the bear charged on that. With one blow of his paw, the tent was down and torn. Then Whack! the tins flew in all directions. Again Slap —whack! and the flour from the flour-bags flew up like smoke. Crack — crack! and all the cups were on the ground, broken into bits. Bang! and a bag of cartridges was in the fire. Then the bear saw a bottle of something; he pulled out the cork and held the bottle up to his mouth in a way that showed he had some experience. But he didn't like what was in the bottle and threw it down. Lan, in the tree, gazed with amazement. Now the cartridges began to explode. Jack turned round; he did not like that sound; so, jumping to a bank, he rushed away into the woods.
It was more than a week before the hunters could repair all the damage done by the bear, and to buy a new store of ammunition and provisions. Both now said it was a fight to the finish. They did not say, "If we get him," but "When we get him."
Grizzly Jack, raging, but still careful, climbed up the long mountain-side when he left the ruined camp, and on the southern side found a quiet bed in a thicket. There he lay for a day and a night, in pain from his wounds. On the second day he was so hungry that he went out to look for food. He went on, passing the scents of berries, roots, grouse, deer, till a new and pleasant smell came to his nose. He followed the smell to a little meadow, and there he saw five red — or red and white — great things as big as himself. But he was not afraid of them.
He crept toward them till he reached the edge of the wood. There was a spring close by and he drank silently. Then he lay down in a thicket where he could watch. An hour passed; the sun went down and the cattle rose to graze.
One of them, a little one, walked to the spring. As she bent down, the bear struck with all his force. The blow hit her head, but Grizzly Jack knew nothing of horns. The sharp horn of the young cow hit his front foot and wounded his paw. The other cattle fled. The grizzly took the young cow in his jaws, climbed the hill to his den, and with this store of food he again lay down to rest. Though painful, his wounds were not serious, and in a week he was as well as ever.
Lan Kellyan found the bear's tracks in the woods and followed them. He knew it was the grizzly, because he studied the tracks which told him of the wound in the front foot. No two animals are alike, and Lan knew that. For example, almost all bears rub their backs against trees. Grizzly Jack did that too, but he rubbed first, then turned and tore the trunk with his teeth. One day Lan came to a tree which had marks on it made by a bear's teeth. One of the marks showed clearly that the bear had a broken tooth. Now Lan was sure that it was the same grizzly bear.
Then the hunters discovered something else about their grizzly bear, — the food he liked best. They knew that some bears ate only roots and berries; there were bears that loved the great black salmon which they found in the pools; and there were a few that were fond of meat. Jack was one of these, and he grew bigger, stronger and fiercer than other bears that ate roots and berries. But they also discovered that this grizzly loved honey. The hunter on his trail learned that he always took the honey from any bee's nest he could find.
"Say, Bonamy," said Lan to his friend, "we've got to find some honey." So they looked for and found a bee-hive and then, covering their hands and faces, took out the honey-comb and put it into one of the traps which they set up.
That night, as Grizzly Jack walked along, his nose reported the delicious smell ~of honey. He followed fast and far, until be reached a strange cave. He stopped and sniffed. There were hunters' smells, too, but there was that other smell that he loved. He walked around and knew that the smell came from inside. Then carefully he entered. He licked the bait, liked it, enjoyed it, and pulled it to increase the flow. Then Bang! and the great door closed behind him. Jack was a prisoner. He had a feeling of danger and, turning, attacked the door, but it was strong. He tore at the roof, the floor, but all were heavy, hard logs and he could do nothing.
The sun rose as he raged, and shone through the little cracks of the door, and so he turned all his strength on the door. He struck with his paws and tore with his teeth till one log after another gave way. Then he dashed through the opening and was free again. The hunters came in the morning and knew it was their grizzly that escaped, for the tracks to the trap and away from it was the track of a big bear with a wound on the front foot, while the logs inside showed the marks of a broken tooth.
"We had him that time, but he knew too much for us. Never mind, we'll see," said Lan Kellyan. But the weather was cold now, and the snow was deep on the mountains. There were no more bear tracks, — the grizzly was asleep for the winter.
April came. The birds sang, the deer jumped and played, the animals came out of their holes, the streams rushed. "It's time he was out again," said Lan to Bonamy. The hunters soon learned that the grizzly's winter sleep was over. They found his track in the snow, but with it, or just ahead, were the tracks of a smaller bear.
"Look at that," said Kellyan, pointing to the smaller mark. "This is the track of his mate."
They followed the trail for some time, but the hunters saw the pair only once, — one was a huge bear and the other was a smaller bear with fur that shone in the sun with brown and silver lights.
"Oh, isn't that the most beautiful creature that ever lived!" Bonamy exclaimed. And indeed she was beautiful. But they did not see them again. They learned later that a shepherd, seeing them, shot at them, killing the brown and silver she-bear and wounding the grizzly in the leg.
To the grizzly the world was full of hunters, traps and guns. So he went to the lower hills where the sheep grazed and, limping along, he followed the sheep-smell. It led him to a little shanty. When the big bear reached it, two people ran out of the back door. "Where is my gun?" cried the man. "Trust in the saints," said the frightened woman. "Yes," said the man, "if I had a cannon, or if this was a cat. But this is a bear mountain and it is better to trust to a tree," and they climbed up a pine.
The grizzly looked into the shanty, then went to the pig-pen and killed the largest pig. This was a new kind of meat. He took it to his den and had his evening meal. He came again and again to that pig-pen, and found his food there till his wound healed. They shot at him, but each time they missed.
However, Grizzly Jack learned that the human smell was a smell of danger. So he left the hills and went down toward the plains. One night he came to a house, and in the yard found a hollow thing with a delicious smell. It was a small barrel for sugar, and there was still some sugar at the bottom. But when he put his huge head into the barrel, with nails around the edge, he could not get his head out. He roared and tore until he smashed the barrel to pieces. He then rushed away, followed by shots from the windows of the house. Now he looked for his food in the woods or on the plains.
The grizzlies of the Sierras usually lived on roots and berries with very little meat or fish. They were not dangerous if they were left alone. But that year they ate only beef. The ranchmen told wonderful stories of these new kind of bears who killed and ate only beef. There was one killer, they said, that could charge from a thicket thirty yards away and catch a young bull before it could turn and run. There was another cunning grizzly that killed a cow almost every night, and chose for his meal only the best. Pedro's grizzly chose pigs for his food, and. he also killed some men. Nobody ever saw these bears. All of the bears knew how to avoid traps and poison.
Pedro said to Lan Kellyan one day, "I know our giant bear is still here. He has killed a thousand of my sheep. You promised to kill him, but you have not done so. I tell you he is bigger than that tree. He is a devil bear."
Pedro's bear, which got the name of the Monarch, killed cattle, sheep, pigs and horses, and yet hunters knew him only by his track. Lan and Bonamy found the tracks of bears and studied them. They learned that cattle were not killed in all places at the same time, and they saw that all the cattle were killed in the same way. They found marks on trees where bears rubbed arid found the mark of a broken tooth. Kellyan came to the conclusion that Pedro's grizzly, the Monarch, and the other grizzlies that everybody talked about, were one and the same bear.
All that summer, and winter too, Kellyan rode and rode, each time too late or too soon to meet the Monarch. Then a message came from a rich man, the owner of a newspaper, offering a very big reward to any one who would bring the Monarch in alive. That night the bear killed three cows. Kellyan again asked Bonamy to join him and they prepared to hunt the bear down. No dog could track the bear better than Kellyan did. He found the foot-marks with the scars. Then the tracks led into a dense thicket at the foot of the hills, but there were no tracks out of the thicket.
Bonamy sat down to watch, while Kellyan rode back with the news and organized a group of seven excellent riders on seven fine horses. They all rode out that day to meet the Monarch. The grizzly was in the thicket, for it was still morning. The men threw stones into the thicket to drive him out, but he did not come out. At noon they set fire to the grass near the thicket. A mass of flames and smoke arose. Grizzly Jack, roaring with rage, rushed out from the other side of the thicket.
The horsemen were all around him now, not with guns, but with lassoes made of leather. The grizzly looked at the horsemen and then turned toward the hills. Three of the riders nearest to the bear rode forward, swinging their lassoes. Grizzly Jack rose on his hind legs, surprised. The lassoes flew through the air. A noose was round the great bear's neck. The rider leaped away to tighten the noose on the bear's neck. But at once the bear's paws went up, and the ropes fell down. The grizzly did not like this fight' — there, were too many against him, and he turned to the Dills again. But another lasso flew through the air, caught him and stopped him with a heavy jerk. Now he gave one great snort of rage; and turned round. His huge paws seized the rope and broke it like a twig.
Round and round him now the riders flew, waiting for a chance to throw a lasso again. The bear raged and roared. He was far from the burning thicket, but there was a bush near him and he put his back to that. Then he waited for the enemy. The frightened horses came nearer and nearer, and the Monarch watched — waited. The earth shivered as he launched himself — and struck — struck — struck. Three men, three horses were in the sand. The horses never rose. Three horses dead, one man dead, one almost dead, and only one escaped! Kellyan's lasso flew out and caught the grizzly by the neck again. The men shouted, the horses at the ends of the ropes pulled. The rope choked the Monarch, but he planted both paws on the ground, bent his huge shoulders and leaned back and back on those ropes, dragging the horses and their riders forward more and more.
Then he charged. Another horse fell. Crack! Crack! Crack! - the men fired their pistols now. But the huge bear rushed off in the direction of the friendly hills. The shots wounded him in many places, but he went on, snorting, and dragging the ropes to the hills, where he bit them off in peace. The men, sad and tired, went back.
"What shall we do now?" asked Bonamy, as he and Lan sat in low spirits by the fire that night. Kellyan was silent for some time, then said slowly: "Bonamy, that's the greatest bear alive. Before to-day I wanted to get him. Now I'm going to get him, if it takes me the rest of my life.
I think I can do it alone, but I know I can do it with you."
They camped in the hills, where they received the short message from the rich newspaper man when he heard of the fight with the riders: "I want you to bring in that bear."
"How are you going to do it, Lan?"
"Steel traps are no good, — he smashes them. Lassoes, too, are no good, and he knows all about log traps. But I have an idea. First we must follow him up. I think that will take three months."
So, the next day, they began to follow the bear's tracks again. Three months, Lan said, but it took six months to carry out his plan. Meanwhile the Monarch killed and killed. In each part of the Grizzly's trail they left traps made of heavy logs, with iron inside. They left these traps open until they were gray and until the smell of man was gone. Then they put baits into all the traps, — honey, the bait that the Monarch never refused. When at last they found that the honey baits were gone, they came to the last part of the bear's trail. They set every trap, baiting each with a mass of honey — but honey mixed with a strong sleeping draught. Then they closed the traps.
That night the bear left his cave. His wounds healed, he was now as strong as ever. As he went on toward the plains, his nose reported the smell of sheep, deer, cows, a bull. Then a different scent came to him. At once he turned and went down the hill and through the pines, on and on, faster and faster. At last the scent led him to a long, low cave. He was not afraid of such caves. He had robbed such caves of their honey before. This was the same smell. So he went into the cave and there was the delicious mass. He licked and licked, then tore the bag to get more. Suddenly the door went down with a bang! The Monarch stopped, but all was quiet and there was no smell of danger. The door, he could break such a door! So he licked and licked, greedily at first, then slowly, then sleepily. His eyes closed and he sank down on the ground and slept.
The two men, pale and calm, came in the morning. There were tracks that led into the trap. The door was down, and they could see a mass of fur that filled the trap and moved up and down in a deep sleep.
They brought strong ropes and strong chains with them — also chloroform, if the bear awoke too soon. They chained him, bound him, —his great paws to his neck, his neck and breast and hind legs to a log. Then they dragged him out and let him awake. Chained and bound, raging and powerless, what words can describe the fallen Monarch? They put him on a sleigh, and six horses with a long chain took him to the railway. A steam-derrick lifted the bear on to a flat car. The train started and soon disappeared in the distance.
So they brought the Monarch to the great city, in chains. They put him in a cage, not only strong enough for a lion, but three times as strong. Free in the cage, he walked round, looking for a place which he could break down. He attacked the heavy bars. It was clear that he could get out, so they dragged the prisoner to another cage that an elephant could not break down. But it stood on the ground, and in an hour the great bear dug a hole in the earth, into which he disappeared, until a stream of water from a pipe filled the hole and forced him to come out.
They put him into a new cage, made especially for him, — with a hard rock floor, great bars of steel nine feet high and a steel ceiling. He walked quickly round the cage, tried every bar, examined every corner and found at last the place where there was a wooden beam — the only piece of wood in the cage. Here he lay on his side and worked and worked till he cut the beam into two pieces. But the steel bolts remained and he could do nothing with them. This was his last hope, and the great bear now lay down in the cage with his nose in his paws and sobbed. These were animal sounds indeed, but they told, as clearly as in man, of the hope that was gone. The keepers came with food, but the bear did not move. They put the food down, but he did not touch it, and he lay as before. Two days passed. The keeper looked at him and said, "He is dying, send for Kellyan."
So Kellyan came. A feeling of pity came over him when he saw the bear, for men of courage like courage in others, even in animals. He put his arm through the bars and stroked the bear, but the bear did not move. Then Kellyan said, "Let me go in to him."
"You are mad," said the keepers. But Kellyan insisted, so they put a grating in front of the bear and let him in. Kellyan put his hand on the huge head, but the Monarch did not move. The hunter stroked his head and spoke to him. His hand went to the big round ears. He looked and jumped back in surprise. Each ear had a little round hole in it, — and Kellyan knew it was his little Jack.
"Oh, Jacky, I didn't know it was you. Jacky, don't you know me?" But Jack did not stir. Kellyan got up quickly and ran back to the hotel. There he put on his old hunter's suit and returned to the cage with a mass of honey.
"Jacky, Jacky," he cried, "honey, honey!" Jack did not remember the voice, and the words, "Honey — Jacky — honey!" meant nothing to him. But the smell of the honey, the coat, the hands that he once loved, all together awoke something in him. Jacky, the grizzly Monarch, raised his head a little. His eyes were nearly closed, but his nose went up weakly two or three times, — the way it used to do long, ago. Now it was Kellyan that broke down.
"I didn't know it was you, Jacky. Oh, Jacky, forgive me!" He rose and fled from the cage.
The keepers were there. They did not understand the scene, but one of them pushed the honey nearer, and said, "Honey — Jacky — honey!"
Filled with despair, the Monarch was ready to die, but here was new hope, — the man who conquered him seemed to be a friend. And the keeper, repeating the old words, "Honey — Jacky —honey!" pushed the mass till it touched his muzzle. He began to lick the honey, and appetite returned. The keepers brought him delicate foods. They tried everything to get him back to strength and — a prison life. He ate and — lived.
And still he lives, but pacing — pacing — pacing. You may see him in the Zoological Gardens, looking, not at the crowds, but at something far away, far away toward Tallac. Kellyan came to see him again, but the Monarch did not know him. Sometimes he raged, but not for a long time. Then again, pacing—pacing—pacing, without aim, without end. He is a prisoner in his cage, the prisoner of the Golden Gate,83 seeking freedom, seeking and raging, raging and seeking, back and forth for ever — in vain!