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Frontier Life

Harper's Weekly 1893

    The thrilling illustration on the right is of a scene in a far-distant part of the country, but it reminds us that it was not so very long ago that we shouldered the wolves out of our way here in New York State. At the opening of the Revolutionary War their cries were heard on the outskirts of Albany, which was then a very important place. They are not yet gone from the State, and the strange probability is there are not many States in the Union in which some wolves do not yet remain. There are regions in the West in which the enterprising folk have built mod-

ern little parlor-car cities, finished with electric lights and elevators, electric cars and fine hotels, where it is not altogether certain that the wolves and the wonders of latter-day civilization do not sometimes come together. Up in the great timber region of the Northewest, where some such towns are literally built up in the forest, there is little doubt that once in awhile a hungry wolf comes upon the outermost electric street lamp, and blinks his eyes in its strong glare as he tries to stare at it, and to make out what manner of leafless tree it is that has grown up in his native woods, and that seems to hold a fallen star upon its stubby top.

   The rude lumbermen who are tumbling the forests on either side of the Canadian border about their heads are the frontiersmen of this period who know most about our wolves. Yet that knowledge does not make them like the cowardly wild dogs any better than do we who see them only in museums. Indeed, if the wolf has a friend on earth, it will be a great piece of news to find out what or who it is. There are dogs, like Esquimau dogs of wilder Canada, and some Indian dogs also, that are very closely related to the wolves, but the wolves prey upon them as eagerly as upon mutton or lamb in its active state.


   Some of the dangers that lumbermen risk on account of these pests are such as would not be thought of by some who are tolerably familiar with the woods. For instance, up in Michigan, just two years ago, two men were felling trees in the forest, and one wounded himself severely. His aim at a tree was not true, and the blade of the axe slipped and went deep into his flesh. After binding up the wound, which bled terribly, the uninjured man started off for a doctor and a sled, to bring noth to the service of his companion. When he returned, the poor fellow had been eaten up by wolves. They left only some tatters of his clothing. That marvelous scent which these animals possess had made them aware of the presence of the odor of blood in the air, and they had traced the scent to its source, and made short work of the wretched lumberman. That, by the way, was in a neighborhood that is a pleasure resort in the summer months, one of those places where, as has been said, the wolves of the forest primeval have a bowing acquaintance with the latest of man's victories over nature - the electric light.

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