IGHTFOOT THE DEER was the first one on hand the next morning. In
fact, he arrived before
"The Deer family," began Old Mother Nature, "is divided into two
branches—the round-horned and the
To speak of him correctly you should call him Wapiti instead of Elk.
"Bugler is found only in the great mountains of the
"How big is he?" asked Lightfoot.
"So big that beside him you would look very small," replied Old Mother Nature. "Have you ever seen Farmer Brown's Horse?"
Lightfoot nodded. "Well, Bugler stands as high as that Horse," replied Old Mother Nature. "He isn't as heavy, for his body is of different shape, not so big around, but at that he weighs three times as much as you do. In summer his coat is a light yellowish-brown, becoming very dark on his neck and underneath. His legs are dark brown. The hair on his neck is long and coarse. His tail is very small, and around it is a large patch so light in color as to be almost whitish. In winter his coat becomes dark gray.
"Bugler's crowning glory are his antlers. They are very large and wide-spreading, sweeping backward and upward, the long prongs, or tines, curving upward from the front instead of from the back, as in the case of Lightfoot's antlers. Above each eye is a long sharp prong. So big are these antlers that Bugler looks almost as if he were carrying a small, bare tree on his head.
"Big as these antlers are, they are grown in a few months for
Bugler is like his smaller cousins
in that he loses his antlers at
the end of every winter and must grow a new pair. While they are
growing, he hides in the wildest places he can find, high up on
"In the fall, when his antlers have hardened, Bugler moves down to join his family. The bigger and stronger he is, the bigger his family is, for he has a number of wives and they all live together in a herd or band of which Bugler is lord and master. He is ready and eager to fight for them, and terrible battles take place when another disputes his leadership. At this season he has a habit of stretching his neck out and emitting a far-reaching trumpet-like sound from which he gets the name of Bugler. It is a warning that he is ready to fight.
"When the snows of winter come, many families get together and form great bands. Then they move down from the mountains in search of shelter and food. When a winter is very bad, many starve to death, for man has fenced in and made into farms much of the land where the elk once found ample food for winter.
"But big as is Bugler the Elk, there is a cousin who is bigger, the
biggest of all the Deer family.
It is Flathorns the Moose. As you
must guess by his name he is a member of the
He is the largest member of the Deer family.
"Flathorns, wearing his crown of great spreading antlers, is a
noble appearing animal because of his great size, but when his
antlers have dropped he is a homely fellow.
"From his throat hangs a hairy fold of skin called a bell. He has a very short tail, so short that it is hardly noticeable. His legs are very long and rather large. His hoofs are large and rounded, more like those of Bossy the Cow than like those of Lightfoot the Deer. Seen at a little distance in the woods, he looks to be almost black, but really is for the most part dark brown. His legs are gray on the inside.
"Flathorns lives in the great northern forests clear across the
country, and is especially fond of swampy places. He is fond of
the water and is a good swimmer. In summer he delights to feed
on the pads, stems and roots of water lilies, and his long legs
enable him to wade out to get them. For the most part his food
consists of leaves and tender twigs of young trees, such as
striped maple, aspen, birch, hemlock, alder and willow. His great
height enables him to reach the upper branches of young trees. When
they are too tall for this, he straddles them and bends or breaks
them down to get at the upper branches. His front teeth are big,
"Big as he is, he can steal through thick growth without making a
sound. He does not jump like other Deer, but travels at an awkward
trot which takes him over the ground very fast. In the
when snow is deep, the Moose family lives in a yard such as I told
you Lightfoot makes. The greatest enemy of Flathorns is the hunter,
and from being much hunted Flathorns has learned to make the most of
his ears, eyes and nose. He is very smart and not easily surprised.
When wounded he will sometimes attack man, and occasionally when not
wounded. Then he strikes with his
"In parts of these same northern forests lives another big member of the Deer family, Wanderhoof the Woodland Caribou. He is bigger than Lightfoot the Deer, but smaller than Bugler the Elk, rather an awkward-looking fellow. His legs are quite long but stout. His neck is rather short, and instead of carrying his head proudly as does Lightfoot, he carries it stretched out before him or hanging low. The hair on the lower part of his neck is long.
This is the Woodland Caribou, a member of the Deer family closely related to the Reindeer.
"Wanderhoof wears a coat of brown, his neck being much lighter or almost gray. He has an undercoat which is very thick and woolly. In winter his whole coat becomes grayish and his neck white. Above each hoof is a band of white. His tail is very short, and white on the under side. His antlers are wonderful, being very long and both round and flat. That is, parts of them are round and parts flattened. They have more prongs than those of any other Deer.
"His hoofs are very large, deeply slit, and
"He is very fond of the water and delights to splash about in it, and is a splendid swimmer. His hair floats him so that when swimming he is higher out of water than any other member of the family. In winter he lives in the thickest parts of the forest among the hemlocks and spruces, and feeds on the mosses and lichens which grow on the trees. In summer he moves to the open, boggy ground around shallow lakes where moss covers the ground, and on this he lives.
"He is a great wanderer, hence his name Wanderhoof.
"In the Far North beyond the great forests Wanderhoof has a cousin
who looks very much like him, called the Barren Ground Caribou.
The name comes from the fact that way up there little excepting
moss grows, and on this the Caribou lives. In summer this Caribou
is found almost up to the Arctic Ocean, moving southward in great
herds as the cold weather approaches. No other animals of
"All male members of the smaller Deer are called bucks, the female members are called does, and the young are called fawns. All male members of the big Deer, such as Bugler the Elk, Flathorns the Moose and Wanderhoof the Caribou, are called bulls. The females are called cows and the young are called calves. All members of the Deer family, with the exception of the Barren Ground Caribou, are forest-loving animals and are seldom seen far from the sheltering woods.
"This, I think, will do for the Deer family.