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Iggy And The Bear

Now as you all know...
0l Iggy will tell you a story 3 different ways
afore he would tell you a lie.

I was checkin' traps on the west fork of the Little Laramie River. It was early spring and the critters was beginin' to come out of hibernation
and they was hungry and cranky.

It was a warm and sunny day and I was movin' along the bank of the river. As I moved through a patch of willers I heard a snap ahead of me. I hunkered down and listened to see what was happenin'. I heard another snap and it wasn’t more than 30 feet away! Not here's damp powder and no way to dry it, I thought to myself.

I cocked the hammer on 0l Belcher. I calls my rifle that on account it belches smoke and lead and makes meat every time I cut loose with it. Anyway I cocked that Hawken rifle and stuck the barrel through them willers and peeked to see what was goin' on. Well there was the biggest 0l Grizzle Bar I had ever seen in my life. And he see'd me just the same time I see'd him.

He let out a hell of a beller and charged straight at me. I hunkered down and cut loose with 0l Belcher from the hip as thar warn’t time to aim.

Just as I fired at that bar, he jumped up in the air like he was gonna land on top of me and tear me plumb to pieces. Well I must have missed cuz he flew right on past me. When he landed, he looked back all he could see was my backside streakin' out of there as fast as I could go.

The bar must have thought that was a good plan as he lit out in the other direction goin' as fast as I was.

I was takin' a short step and a long one and the short ones was fifty foot. I run for about a mile and I decided that bar warn’t followin' me so I slowed down a little and loped on back to camp.

When I had time to settle down a little, I got to cipherin' on what had happened. One thing was certain. I had never been run out of anyplace before by man nor beast and that's plumb center!! Me and that bar was gonna have a re-match as sure as my rifles got hind sights!!

Upon studying on it a while, I figgered what had happened. Me and 0l Belcher is use to long shots. If’n I can see it 0l Belcher will reach out there and smack whatever I aim at. Thing was, we had never had call to shoot somethin' up that close.

I propped up a boulder on the side of the mountain and tied a rope to the prop. When I pulled the rope the boulder come rollin' down the mountain at me. This gave me a chance to shoot at somethin' comin' at me and getting closer all the time.

I kept doin' this with smaller and smaller rocks and got to where me and Belcher was hittin' them ever time. By Dang! We was ready for another go at that bar!

I went back to that same area on the crick where I had seen that bar and was easin' through the willers when I heard somethin'. I stopped and listened. What I heared is kinda hard to describe but here goes.

First there was a kinda Ka-thumpity-thumpity-thump and then a short pause and then an awful crash and this hellacious growling and roaring and thrashing around in them willers. Then there was a low growling and rumbling. Then it would kinda fade off into the distance a few yards, and get quiet for a minute.

Then there it was agin'! Ka-thumpity-thumpity-thump, crash and that awful thrashin' and then the low growlin' would start.

Well, I couldn't figger it out. I peeked through them willers and there was that same 0l Grizzle bear. He was walkin' away from me and all of a sudden he turned around and run back toward me. He jumped in the air, but he only flew a short distance and when he landed, he started tearin' the hell out of the willers and the ground and bellerin’ somethin' awful.

He stopped, looked around at the ground he had just tore up and seem to growl down low to himself and then he started walkin' away agin. He turned and ran and done the same thing agin.

Suddenly it come to me, like gittn' hit with a bolt of lightnin' what that critter was doin'.



Painting by:
© Paul Calle

Mill Pond Press

Story by:
Chip Harding
© 2003

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