The Red Book Of Animal Stories - online children's book

Stories of Animals, Fantastic and Mundane, Edited By Andrew Lang

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358                                CHARLEY
the wolves, whose snarls and howls were always to be heard in the distance, and lying down on his bearskin with his saddle for a pillow and his buffalo robe for a blanket, Catlin curled himself up, and slept soundly till morning.
One evening Charley was picketed as usual, and his master had gone down to the banks of the stream to get some water for his coffee, when the horse, being in a mischievous frame of mind, slipped his rope, and went off towards a patch of grass, which he thought looked much greener and juicier than what he had been eating. Catlin soon saw what had happened, and picking up the lasso with which wild horses are always caught, he started after the runaway.
But it was no use ; Charley knew all about lassoes, and exactly how far it was safe to let them get near you. Besides, he wanted to have a little fun and to tease his master, and each time the lasso was thrown Charley was always just a tiny bit out of reach. It soon grew too dark even to see where the horse was, and as Catlin was still weak from his illness, and easily tired, he gave up the chase, and stretching himself out before the fire, made up his mind that he would have to finish his journey on foot.
It was the middle of the night when he woke with a start, feeling some huge creature bending over him. An Indian, of course, which had tracked him while he slept, and had followed him to take his scalp! For an instant the poor man's heart stood still; then a soft nose touched him—and the Indians' noses are not soft, and they are not much in the habit of rubbing people's faces with them ! It must be Charley after all, and Charley it was, standing with his fore-paws on his master's bed, his head nodding in a sound slumber !
As soon as Catlin got over his fright he went off to sleep again, and did not wake until the sun was wrell above the horizon. His first thought was for Charley,
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