The Animal Story Book - online children's book

Edited By Andrew Lang And With Numerous Illustrations By H. J. Ford

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71
STORIES ABOUT BEARS
Baron de Wogan, a French gentleman, whose adventures with snakes are also curious, was the hero of some en­counters with the grizzly bear of North America. First, I would have you understand what sort of a creature he had for an opponent. Imagine a monster measuring when standing upright eight or nine feet, weighing 900 lbs., of a most terrifying appearance, in agility and strength surpassing all other animals, and cruel in pro­portion. Like his cousin the brown bear, whom he resembles in shape, he is a hermit and lives alone in the immense trackless forests which covered the Rocky Moun­tains, and indeed (at least in olden times) the greater part of North America. During the day he sleeps in the depths of some mountain cavern, and wakes up at dusk to go out in search of prey. All the beasts of the forest live in terror of him — even the white bear flies before him. He would go down to the valleys and attack the immense herds of buffaloes which grazed there, and which were powerless against him, in spite of their numbers and their great horns. They join themselves closely together and form one compact rank, but the grizzly bear hurls himself at them, breaks their ranks, scatters them, and then pursuing them till he catches them up, flings him­self on the back of one, hugs it in his iron embrace, breaks its skull with his teeth, and so goes slaying right and left before he eats one. Before the Baron's first, so to say, hand-to-hand encounter with a grizzly, he had been long enough in the country to know something of their ways,
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