G REAT men of one kind are known only in new countries like ours. These men discover new regions. They know how to manage the Indians. They show other people how to live in a wild country.
One of the most famous of such men was Kit Carson. He knew all about the wild animals. He was a great hunter. He learned the languages of the Indians. The Indians liked him. He was a great guide. He showed soldiers and settlers how to travel where they wished to go.
Once he was marching through the wild country with other men. Evening came. He left the others, and went to shoot something to eat. It was the only way to get meat for supper.
When he had gone about a mile, he saw the tracks of some elks. He followed these tracks. He came in sight of the elks. They were eating grass on a hill, as cows do.
Kit Carson crept up behind some bushes. But elks are very timid animals. Before the hunter got very near, they began to run away. So Carson fired at one of them as it was running. The elk fell dead.
But just at that moment he heard a roar. He turned to see what made this ugly noise. Two huge bears were running toward him. They wanted some meat for supper, too.
Kit Carson's gun was empty. He threw it down. Then he ran as fast as he could. He wanted to find a tree.
Just as the bears were about to seize him, he got to a tree. He caught hold of a limb. He swung himself up into the tree. The bears just missed getting him.
But bears know how to climb trees. Carson knew that they would soon be after him. He pulled out his knife, and began to cut off a limb. He wanted to make a club.
A bear is much larger and stronger than a man. He cannot be killed with a club. But every bear has one tender spot. It is his nose. He does not like to be hit on the nose. A sharp blow on the nose hurts him a great deal.
Kit Carson got his club cut just in time. The bears were coming after him. Kit got up into the very top of the tree. He drew up his feet, and made himself as small as he could.
When the bears came near, one of them reached for Kit. Whack! went the stick on the end of his nose. The bear drew back, and whined with pain.
First one bear tried to get him, and then the other. But whichever one tried, Kit was ready. The bear was sure to get his nose hurt.
The bears grew tired, and rested awhile. But they kept up their screeching and roaring. When their noses felt better, they tried again. And then they tried again. But every time they came away with sore noses.
At last they both tried at once. But Carson pounded faster than ever. One of the bears cried like a baby. The tears ran out of his eyes. It hurt his feelings to have his nose treated in this rude way.
After a long time one of the bears got tired. He went away. After awhile the other went away too. Kit Carson staid in the tree a long time. Then he came down. The first thing he did was to get his gun. He loaded it. But the bears did not come back. They were too busy rubbing noses.