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I. FOX-WAYS. Did you ever meet a fox face to face, surprising him quite as much as yourself? If so, you were deeply impressed, no doubt, by his perfect dignity and self-possession. Here is how the meeting generally comes about. It is a late winter afternoon. You are swinging rapidly over the upland pastures, or loitering along the winding old road through the woods. The color deepens in the west; the pines grow black against it; the rich brown... more...

CHAPTER 1. SUPPLY AND DEMAND. For years there has been a belief that the supply of fur-bearing animals would soon be inadequate to the demand. This belief is well founded and is apparent when the fact is known that the natural haunts and homes of the fur-producing animals are becoming less each year. The draining of swamps and marshes is destroying the homes and breeding places of muskrat and to a certain extent coon and mink. The saw mill and... more...

To this day it is hard to understand how any eyes could have found them, they were so perfectly hidden. I was following a little brook, which led me by its singing to a deep dingle in the very heart of the big woods. A great fallen tree lay across my path and made a bridge over the stream. Now, bridges are for crossing; that is plain to even the least of the wood folk; so I sat down on the mossy trunk to see who my neighbors might be, and what... more...

IThe Cute Coyote AN EXEMPLARY LITTLE BEAST, MY FRIEND THE COYOTE If you draw a line around the region that is, or was, known as the Wild West, you will find that you have exactly outlined the kingdom of the Coyote. He is even yet found in every part of it, but, unlike his big brother the Wolf, he never frequented the region known as Eastern America. This is one of the few wild creatures that you can see from the train. Each time I have come to... more...

The Freedom of the Black-faced Ram   n the top of Ringwaak Hill the black-faced ram stood motionless, looking off with mild, yellow eyes across the wooded level, across the scattered farmsteads of the settlement, and across the bright, retreating spirals of the distant river, to that streak of scarlet light on the horizon which indicated the beginning of sunrise. A few paces below him, half-hidden by a gray stump, a green juniper bush, and... more...


CHAPTER I. "Bless me, I do believe I have been asleep!" said a squirrel, one fine morning in early spring, when the delicious warmth of the sun had reached him in his winter retreat, and roused the lazy little fellow from a two months' nap. The truth is, that he and his family had fallen asleep at the first setting in of the cold weather, and had passed the dismal winter in a state of profound repose, except, that, during a warm day or two in... more...

PREFACE During these days of ceaseless conflict, anxiety and unrest among men, when at times it begins to look as if "the Caucasian" really is "played out," perhaps the English-reading world will turn with a sigh of relief to the contemplation of wild animals. At all events, the author has found this diversion in his favorite field mentally agreeable and refreshing. In comparison with some of the alleged men who now are cursing this earth by... more...

The naturalists of yesterday and the naturalists of to-day. — The study of animals, plants, rocks, and of natural objects generally, was formerly called “natural history”; but this term is tending to disappear from our vocabulary and to give place to the term “natural sciences.” What is the reason of this change, and to what does it correspond? for it is rare for a word to be modified in so short a time... more...

CHAPTER IThe Sound in the Night UPON the moonlit stillness came suddenly a far-off, muffled, crashing sound. Just once it came, then once again the stillness of the wilderness night, the stillness of vast, untraversed solitude. The Boy lifted his eyes and glanced across the thin reek of the camp-fire at Jabe Smith, who sat smoking contemplatively. Answering the glance, the woodsman muttered “old tree fallin’,” and resumed... more...

THE HARE. I suppose you have all seen a Hare, and perhaps many of you have helped to eat one. The Hare is a very timid animal, running away on the least alarm; but, poor fellow, he is too often caught by the dogs and killed, notwithstanding his swift running. It is rather difficult to tame Hares, but there is a very amusing account of three, named Puss, Tiney, and Bess, written by the poet Cowper, who kept them for some time, and one day you... more...