Francis Downing

The boy (Francis Downing) now gave up all hope in utter despair. It seemed certain that the brawny Indian would get ahead of him and intercept his further flight. But it so happened—was it an accident or was it a Providence—that a she-bear had made her bed directly in the path which the Indian with almost blind eagerness was pursuing. Here the ferocious beast was suckling her cubs. The bear sprang from her lair, and instantly with a terrific hug grasped the savage in her paws. The Indian gave a terrific yell and plunged his knife again and again into the body of the bear. The boy had but one brief glance, as in this bloody embrace they rolled over and over on the ground. The boy, praying that the bear might tear the Indian in pieces, added new speed to his flight and reached the fort in safety.


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