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Uncle Joe, An Indian And A Panther

Uncle Joe, An Indian And A Panther image
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"I wa8 hun tin' and trappin' along the Columbia river on the Oregon side," said Uncle Joe, aveteran of the plains and mountains, "and while I was right in the Injun country, I kivered my tracks so well that it was weeks before they got on to me. I built abrushhut inaheavily-timbered bottom, and the keerful manner in which I moved around the neighborhood would have done credit toa cat. I used the bow and arrow altogether in killin' game, and my traps brought me in a back load of fura about as tast as I could take keer of 'era. "I guess I had bin located about six weeks, and had become sort o' careless, aa was natural, when I got asudden eye opener. One afternoon 1 cum plump on the moccasin track of an Injun, and from the way it circumlocuted around, I soon made up my mind that he was huntin' fur me. I was a bit puzzled at first, because there was only one track, but by and by I figured out how it was. It was either some Injun who had slipped ofl to trap by hisself fur a few days, or it was some warrior who had had nis suspicions aioused and was doin, a leetle investigation on his own hook. If he got my scalp he was so much ahead, and glory awaited him. If he got nothin he wouldn't be laughed at by the rest of his tribe, for none of 'em would know of his adventure. The minit I diskivered his footprints I pulled myself together fur bizness, and I hadn't follered his trail over twenty rods bpfore I found that he was follerin' an old trail of mine. "It didn't take me a minit to realize that one of us had got to die afore that hunt would be ended. It was a question of fish or cutbait with me. I should be followed if I left the bottoms, fur that redskin wanted my life, and I couldn't stay if he did. On his side, it would never do fur him to abandon the place af ter he had diskivered that I was alone. He must stake his life agin mine and abide the issue. Mabbe you kin reallze suntbin' of the feelin' which comes over a man when he knows that he is bein' tracked by somebody who demanda his life. I'd rayther have had a whole tribe ofredskins come whoopin' and yellin' down upon me than to Know lliaü serpent was dodgin' and crawlin' along my trail, silent, determined and implacable. I hit the feller's trail about half a mile from the hut, and the hourwas about 3 o'clock. I knew that he must sooner or later strike one of my fresh trails and bring up at the hut, and instead of followm' liim as he followed my old trail I broke off after a few minutes and made directly furthehut. Near by was a maas of rock which offered a secure hidin' place and if I could reach it, without bein' seen I should have an advantage. That is, it was reasonable to believe that he would show up within shootin' distance duiin' tho nexfc twenty-four hours. "I made the tallest kind o' tracks when I once got started. I had to take the chance of his havin' found the hut an' bein' in ambush, and I'm not disputin' that it was a great load off my mind when I got aettled among the rocks. I dashed into the hut and got my rifle and a hunk of cold meat, and in twenty seeonds more I was saté for the time bein'. Jist wliat di rection the varmint would approach from I could not guess, but he would be still more puzzled to know what had become of me. For the first hour the place was as silent as a graveyard an'I waslookin' and listenin'as only a man can when his life is at stake to git a hint of the whereabouts of the enemy, I finally got a sign. A buck deer cum runnin' past me in a way to show me that he had seen a human bein' not fur off, and I figgered that the redskin was approachin' from the east. He had made a complete half circle of my hidin' place. For the next half hour I used myeyes andears until my head ached. I knew thevarniint was approachin' the hut, but he was comin' so cautiously that I could not teil the exact direction. "The sun was nowgettin' purty low, and I allowed that if he didn't show up purty soon I'd be badly boxed up for the night. I was all on aige and skeercely able tohold myself, when all of asudden, the silence was b roken by an awful yell, follered by a cry from some human bein'. It wasn't way off, but right there within stone's throw, and I riz up as if I had springs under me. Right there before my eyes, and not a hundred feet away, a panther and an Injun was havin' it hot heavy, the beast using his claws and teeth and the redskin cuttin' and slashin' with his knife. I was so astonished that I couldn't move for a minit or two, and when I got ready there was no use in movin'. The two varmints rolled over a dozen times, too badly mixed for me to teil which was which, and then the pan ther kind-, er drawed out of the fight. He might have got fifteen feet away when he keeled over and kicked in a way to teil me that he'd got his full. The Injun uttered a faint whoop aa the panther drawed ofl, but when I reached him he was dead as a door nail. He had fit it out hand to hand, usin' his huntin' knife and I'm tellin' you he was a terrible lookin' object. The beast had tore almost every inch of clothin' off n him, and he was bit and clawed until he was like raw beef. 'Well, 1 figgered it out purty easy. That panther had stored hisself away on a lnnb calkelatin' to make it hot fur me. I reckon he didn'tgitup there until arter I had ambushed myself, and when the redskin cum crawlin' along the beast didn't stop to see whether he was white or black. Iwas a panther skin, rifle, tomahawk and huntin' knife ahead, and although I remained tbere for three weeks longer, saw no further signs of Injuns." It is rumored that Modjeska is about o become a grandmother.


Old News
Ann Arbor Democrat