Page:Littell's Living Age - Volume 133.djvu/132

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126
CATTLE-HERDING IN THE GREAT WEST.

the courage to do so." Then spake the old man, and said: "Willingly would I fling myself into the cauldron, for I would gladly welcome death, were it not for this one reason. Only for this cause do I fear to die, in that I should thereby lose the delight of gazing on the fair face of her whom I love." Then the king inquired if the old man would follow him in case he led the way and emerged from the peril unhurt. "Certainly," was the reply. Whereupon the king stripped, and, "offering up his noble life in behalf of the unhappy lover," sprang into the cauldron. An hour passed, and then he emerged, free from all trace of earthly stain, and turned into gold of the purest vein. Down from her throne stepped the maiden, bowed her forehead to the ground before the king, and offered to become his bride. But "No," replied the king; "what I did was done, not to gain thy love, but to encourage this feeble old man." Hearing this, the old man followed the king's example, remained for the space of an hour in the boiling oil, and then emerged, a gleaming form of purest gold, and a fit bridegroom for the fairy maiden, who seated him by her side on the gleaming throne, and flung her silver arm around his neck of gold.

Although it is no more necessary that tellers of moral tales should themselves be moral than that he "who drives fat oxen should himself be fat," yet it may fairly be assumed that there must be good elements in the character of a people among whom are current stories of so high and pure a tone as those just cited. Under a wise system of government those elements might develop into qualities capable of elevating the Turks above their present low estate, and of rendering their capital what Nabi Effendi says it was in his time, the school of great men, "the surest of asylums for education and science." W. R. S. Ralston.




From The Spectator.

CATTLE-HERDING IN THE GREAT WEST.

The American cattle-trade is exciting so much interest in England, where two of our most pressing needs just now are cheaper meat and outlets for our boys, that any authentic information about it is of value. We are glad, therefore, to be able to print the following extracts from the last letters received from the son of a contributor. We may state that eighteen months since he "hired" with a Colorado cattle-king, Goodnight by name, to go down to Texas, and drive up a herd; and at the end of the drive he and his companion, a young Scotchman, were taken into partnership. Towards the end of last year the rumor of an unoccupied cañon on the borders of Texas tempted them south, and they struck it in November.

January 1, 1877.

It has been a long time since I wrote last, and I am afraid it will be some time before I shall have a chance to send off a letter, but I mean to be prepared for it. Goodnight left here on the 4th of November, and by the next night we had all the things down the mountain. We were able to make a "kinder" road (very much "kinder," you might have thought) for the first third and last third of the hill; but the middle was too steep, and we had to unload the wagons and carry the things down on our backs. We then let the wagons down, hind-end first, with a rope attached to the pole and turned once round a tree, and a man at each wheel. We got everything down safely, and broke nothing, which was lucky. Almost the first thing done in the cañon was the slaying of two wild turkeys, which were very good eating. We drove the cattle down to where we are now, about twelve miles from where we struck the cañon.

Everything went on much as usual — with the exception of two snow-storms, one on November 13 and the other on November 22, but these are still fresh in my mind, as we had no house, and doing everything, especially getting out of bed, in a snow-storm is "bracing," to say the least of it — until December 11, when riding along down the river alone on "Cubby" I espied a bear. I immediately threw the persuaders into "Cubby," and ran him up to the bear, who, of course, at first sight of me, made off as fast as possible. I kept circling round, keeping him in the open till I had killed him. I had no gun with me, only my six-shooter. I shot fourteen times before I got him to stop, but I think I only hit him three times. Shooting "on the dead run" (the way they say "at full gallop" out here) is very good fun, and exciting, but with me as yet it is very chance-work, as about all a fellow can do is to throw the pistol down towards the object and