The peaceful farmers of a quiet little town
in Connecticut were once terribly annoyed
by the ravages of a great she-wolf, which
lived somewhere in the neighboring forests.
Sheep were killed, lambs were stolen,
calves disappeared, and the children were
in terror lest their turn would come next.
After nightfall, at every strange noise
around the house, “The wolf, the wolf!”
cried the people within, huddling together in
a fright. Nobody wanted to go to the
well after dark; and the boys coming home from the evening school took to their heels, peeping behind them, every now and then, as if to see her glaring eyes over their shoulders. The young men scoured the woods with their rifles, but never got a shot at her, and the dogs tracked her, but after a while lost the scent. She was a cunning she-wolf.
At last the people, altogether out of patience with her voracious appetite and nightly robberies, determined on a grand hunt. They assembled with their dogs and guns to give her full chase. Divided in parties, they made for the forest. The she-wolf heard them coming, and left her open posts for a den, her strong-hold in times of extreme danger, I suppose. The dogs tracked her; the hunters followed, and reaching the den, there she was indeed; but who dared face her there? The dogs were sent in, but they came out bitten and bloody. They got straw and burned at the mouth of the den, hoping to smoke her out, but the wolf would not budge. They tried sulphur, expecting the fumes of it would suffocate her. No. Should they give up? Night was coming on. What was to be done? Let her out on their farms again? “Never,” cried a young farmer.
“I will enter the den myself and kill her, or die in the attempt.” His friends begged him not to run so terrible a risk. “I will,” he said, stripping off his coat and waistcoat. With a rope tied round his body, and a flaming torch in his hand, he crept into the narrow mouth of the cave. It was not long before e spied the glaring eyeballs of the enemy. He pulled the rope to be dragged out. Then he took his musket, and a second time entered the horrible place.The wolf growled angrily, snapped her teeth, dropped her head, and was just in the act of springing on her brave visitor, when he took aim, fired, and she fell. With his prey in his arms, he was a second time dragged out, to receive the hearty thanks of his friends, who crowded around him, shaking him by the hand, with the women and children, expressing their wonder and admiration of his bold exploit. The name of this young farmer, as many of you know, was Israel Putnam, who afterwards became one of Washington’s generals in the army of the Revolution.
As told by The Child's Paper In 1859