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HOME > Short Stories > The Huge Hunter > CHAPTER XII. THE GRIZZLY BEAR.
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FROM WHERE young Brainerd was perched on the tree it was impossible to catch a glimpse of the steam man, so patiently awaiting his return. The distance was also too great for him to make himself beard by the miners, who were hard at work twenty miles away.
Fruitful in expedients, it was not long before the boy found a resource in his trouble. Tearing a large strip from his coat, he tore this into smaller strips, until he had secured a rope half a dozen yards in length. Upon the end of this he placed a loop, and then, descending to the lowest limb, he devoted himself to the task of drooping it over the end of his gun. It fortunately had fallen in such a manner that the muzzle was somewhat elevated, so that here was a good opportunity for the exercise of his skill and patience.
When the first attempt was made the bear suddenly clawed at it and tore it from the boy's hand before he could jerk it beyond his reach. So he was compelled to make another one.
Nothing discouraged, the boy soon had this completed, and it was dropped down more cautiously than before. When the grizzly made a lunge at it, it was deftly twitched out of his way.
This was repeated several times, until the brute became disgusted with the sport, and dropping down behind the tree, let the boy do all the fishing he chose.
Now was his time, but the boy did not allow his eagerness to overcome the steadiness of his nerves. It required no little skill, but he finally succeeded in dropping the noose over the muzzle of the gun and jerked it up taut.
With a heart beating high with hope, Johnny saw it lifted clear of the ground, and he began carefully drawing it up. The grizzly looked curiously at his maneuvers, and once made as if to move toward the dangling rifle; but, ere his mind was settled, it was drawn beyond his reach, and the cold muzzle was grasped in the hand of the eagerly waiting boy.
While drawing it up, he had been debating with himself as to the best means of killing the brute. Remembering that his first shot had done no harm, he sensibly concluded that he had not yet learned the vulnerable part of the monster.
His gun was loaded very carefully, and when everything was ready he made a noise, to attract the attention of the brute. The bear looked up instantly, when the gun was aimed straight at his right eye.
Ere the grizzly could withdraw his gaze, the piece was discharged, and the bullet sped true, crashing into the skull of the colossal brute. With a howling grunt, he rose upon his hind feet, clawed the air a few moments, and then dropped dead.
Young Brainerd waited until he was certain that the last spark of life had fled, when he cautiously descended the tree, scarcely able to realize the truth that he had slain a grizzly bear, the monarch of the western wilderness. But such was the fact, and he felt more pride at the thought than if he had slain a dozen buffaloes.
'If I only had him in the wagon,' he reflected, 'I'd take him into camp, for they will never believe I killed a grizzly bear.'
However, it occurred to him that he might secure some memento, and accordingly he cut several claws and placed them in his pocket. This done, he concluded that, as the afternoon was well advanced, it was time he started homeward.
His hurried flight from the ferocious brute had bewildered him somewhat, and, when he took the direction he judged to be the right one, he found nothing familiar or remembered, from which fact he concluded he was going astray.
But a little computation on his part, and he soon righted himself, and was walking along quite hopefully, when he received another severe shock of terror, at hearing the unmistakable whoop of an Indian, instantly followe............
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