Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans by Edward Eggleston

Audubon in the Wild Woods

WHEN Audubon was making his great book about birds, he had to live much in the woods. Sometimes he lived among the Indians. He once saw an Indian go into a hollow tree. There was a bear in the tree. The Indian had a knife in his hand. He fought with the bear in the tree, and killed it.

Audubon could shoot very well. A friend of his one day threw up his cap in the air. He told Audubon to shoot at it. When the cap came down, it had a hole in it.

But the hunters who lived in the woods could shoot better. They would light a candle. Then [116] one of the hunters would take his gun, and go a hundred steps away from the candle. He would then shoot at the candle. He would shoot so as to snuff it. He would not put out the candle. He would only cut off a bit of the wick with the bullet. But he would leave the candle burning.


[Illustration]

Snuffing the Candle

Once Audubon came near being killed by some robbers. He stopped at a cabin where lived an old white woman. He found a young Indian in the house. The Indian had hurt himself with an arrow. He had come to the house to spend the night.

The old woman saw Audubon's fine gold watch. She asked him to let her look at it. He put it into her hands for a minute. Then the Indian passed by Audubon, and pinched him two or three times. That was to let him know that the woman was bad, and that she might rob him.

Audubon went and lay down with his hand on his gun. After a while two men came in. They were the sons of the old woman. Then the old [117] woman sharpened a large knife. She told the young men to kill the Indian first, and then to kill Audubon and take his watch. She thought that Audubon was asleep. But he drew up his gun ready to fire.

Just then two hunters came to the cabin. Audubon told them what the robbers were going to do. They took the old woman and her sons, and tied their hands and feet. The Indian, though he was in pain from his hurt, danced for joy when he saw that the robbers were caught. The woman and her sons were afterward punished.


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