Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/232

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defensive. The same scene was repeated, but this time the lion had succeeded in tearing open the bear's back and drawing his vitals through the gap. The bear fell dead, and the lion hauled off once more to lick his wounds. Having taken breath, he leisurely proceeded to haul the bear's carcass down into the cañon and bury it with leaves, sand and other debris. Just then I heard the crack of a rifle, and the late conqueror tumbled over on his side dead, beside the body of his late foe, having received a rifle ball just back of the ear from the weapon of Nah-tanh, who had by no means forgotten his own recent encounter. This beast measured seven feet seven inches and a half from the end of his nose to the tip of his tail. His skin I also preserved, and afterward presented it to Major (now General) H. D. Whalen, then commanding Fort Sumner. As we had more than we could carry, Nah-kah-yen was dispatched to the Apache camp to bring some pack horses, and squaws to cut up the meat and take it to camp, for the Apaches are rather fond of lion and panther meat, but seldom touch that of the bear. This was sport enough for one day, and after discovering a couple of fine turkey roosts, we returned home, quite elated with the result of our hunt.

Beavers were quite plentiful on the Pecos, about Fort Sumner, and we used to enjoy shooting them on fine moonlight nights. The Apaches have a great regard for the beaver, which they aver to be by far the most sagacious and intelligent of animals. The Pecos beavers are very large, and in midwinter have an unusually thick, heavy and soft fur. Their tails, roasted in ashes, make a capital dish, and are much esteemed, but rather too fat and musky for most stomachs. The Apaches brought me quite a number of young ones, about a week old, but milk was difficult to obtain, and I only succeeded in