Before the bear could make another grab at his head, Jim thrust his left fist down the animal’s throat and kept it there while the Grizzly chewed his arm into pulp. Meanwhile he had got hold of his big knife and plunged it into the bear’s side with all his strength. Again he tried to stab his enemy, but the knife did not penetrate the hide, and he discovered that in the first thrust the knife had struck a rib and the point was turned up.
[Illustration: The Grizzly Chewed His Arm.]
The bear clawed and chawed, and Jim felt around for the wound he had made first. When he found it he thrust the knife in and worked it around in a very disquieting way. In the struggle the knife slipped out of the hole several times, and once Jim lost it, but he persistently searched for the hole when he recovered the knife and prospected for the bear’s vitals.
At last he worked the blade well into the Grizzly’s interior and made such havoc by turning it around that the brute gave up the fight and rolled over dead, with Jim’s mangled left arm in his jaws.
It was a tough fight and a close call and old Jim was laid up in his cabin for many a day afterward.
A denful of grizzlies.
A man from San Gabriel Canyon came into Los Angeles and told bear stories to the Professor and the Professor told them to other people. The main point of the man’s tale was that he had found a den inhabited by two Grizzlies of great size and fierce aspect. He had seen the bears and was mightily afraid of them, and he wanted somebody to go up there and exterminate them so that he might work his mining claim unmolested and unafraid. The Professor, being guileless and confiding, believed the tale, and he tried to oblige the bear-haunted miner by promoting an expedition of extermination. Seventeen men replied to his overtures with the original remark that they “Hadn’t lost any bears.” Since 1620 that has been the standard bear joke of the North American continent, and its immortality proves that it was the funniest thing that ever was said.
[Illustration: He Had Seen the Bears.]
At last the Professor found a man who did not know the joke, and that man straightway consented to go to the rescue of the bear-beleaguered denizen of San Gabriel Canyon. He and three others went into the mountains with guns loaded for bear, which was an error of judgment—they should have been loaded for the tellers of bear tales. An expedition properly outfitted to hunt bear liars rather than bear lairs could load a four-horse wagon with game in the San Gabriel Canyon.