Mount Tallac stands high above the other peaks of the Sierra Mountains. It is ten thousand feet above the sea. From the top, looking north, one can see a very large, blue, wonderful lake. On every side there are wonderful colours and things, – pine trees, streams, hills. But Lan Kellyan’s keen gray eyes did not notice the beautiful colours on the hills and lake. He was a hunter. His leather clothes, brown face, strong body, and clear gray eyes told us that at once. His hunter’s eye looked for and found a trail, and he followed it along the ground. He knew that a big bear and her two little cubs were somewhere close by, for the foot-marks of the animals in the grass were still fresh. Lan’s horse also knew that a grizzly family was near, for he sniffed and stepped nervously.
Lan got off his horse and then, following the trail, climbed up a steep bank and there, at the top, fifty yards away, he saw an old grizzly and her two cubs. It was too far for
a good shot, but Lan fired at what seemed to be the shoulder. The bear, wounded, sprang up and rushed to the place where the smoke from the gun arose. Lan ran down the bank, jumped on his horse and was off like the wind. But the grizzly ran almost as fast, striking at him but missing each time. A grizzly cannot run with great speed for a long distance, and soon the bear fell behind, and returned to her cubs.
Lan went back to his camp, but returned next day to look for that bear. About a week later he was in a small, deep valley with sides of steep rock when he saw, far off, the old bear with her two cubs. As she stopped to drink at the clear stream, Lan fired. When she heard the shot, the bear turned to her cubs and slapping first one and then the other, she chased them up a tree. Lan’s second shot struck her. Wounded and raging, she charged fiercely on the hunter. A third shot struck her in the head and she rolled down the side of the great rocks and lay dead at the bottom of the valley. Lan now went to the tree where the cubs still were. They looked at him with fear as he approached them and when he began to climb the tree, they climbed up higher. One of them began to whine and the other to growl, increasing their cries as he came nearer. He took out a rope, arid making nooses, dragged them to the ground in turn. Then he put them into a bag and rode with them to his camp. There he put a collar on each of them, and chained each to a post. They at once climbed up to the top of their posts. Sitting on the top of the posts, one whined and the other growled. For the first few days they refused to eat, but at last they drank some milk which Lan left for them. In another week they even notified their master whenever they wanted food or drink.
Jack and Jill, the hunter named the cubs. Jill had a bad temper. When Lan came to give her food, she climbed up the post and growled and ate the food only after he went away. Jack, however, ran down his post to meet his master, and ate his food at once. In a month Jacky grew so tame that Lan allowed him to run free. He followed his master like a dog, and his funny tricks always amused Lan and the few friends he had in the mountains.
Near the shanty where Lan lived was a meadow, where Lan cut enough hay to feed his two horses during the winter. When the time came to cut the hay, Jack was his daily companion, following close at his heels, or lying on Lan’s coat and guarding it from such terrible monsters as squirrels and others. One day Lan found a bee’s nest.