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ap’pe tite, wish for food.
a muse’ment, play; enjoyment.
gaunt, lean; hungry looking.
oc curred’, took place; happened.
en cour’age ment, hope given by another’s words or actions.
di rec’tion, way; course.
dusk’y, very dark; almost black.
sin’gu lar, unusual; strange.
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“During the summer and winter, we had several adventures in the trapping and killing of wild animals. One of them was of such a singular and dangerous kind, that you may feel interested in hearing it.
“It occurred in the dead of winter, when there was snow upon the ground. The lake was frozen over, and the ice was as smooth as glass. We spent much of our time in skating about over its surface, as the exercise gave us health and a good appetite.
“Even Cudjo, our colored servant, had taken a fancy for this amusement, and was a very good skater. Frank was fonder of it than the rest of us, and was, in fact, the best skater among us.
“One day, however, neither Cudjo nor I had gone out, but only Frank and Harry. The rest of us were busy at some carpenter work within doors.
“We could hear the merry laugh of the boys, and the ring of their skates as they glided over the smooth ice. All at once, a cry reached our ears, which we knew meant the presence of some danger.
“‘O Robert!’ cried my wife, ‘they have broken through the ice!’
“We all dropped what we held in our hands, and rushed to the door. I seized a rope as I ran, while Cudjo took his long spear, thinking it might be of use to us. This was the work of a moment, and the next we were outside the house.
“What was our astonishment to see both the boys, away at the farthest end of the lake, but skating toward us as fast as they could!
“At the same time, our eyes rested upon a terrible sight. Close behind them upon the ice, and following at full gallop, was a pack of wolves!
“They were not the small prairie wolves, which either of the boys might have chased with a stick, but of a species known as the ’Great Dusky Wolf’ of the Rocky Mountains.
“There were six of them in all. Each of them was twice the size of the prairie wolf, and their long, dark bodies, gaunt with hunger, and crested from head to tail with a high, bristling mane, gave them a most fearful appearance.
“They ran with their ears set back and their jaws apart, so that we could see their red tongues and white teeth.
“We did not stop a moment, but rushed toward the lake. I threw down the rope, and seized hold of a large rail as I ran, while Cudjo hurried forward armed with a spear. My wife, with presence of mind, turned back into the house for my rifle.