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Why The Eagle Defends Americans
by [?]

Many, many moons before the White man came, a little Indian boy was left in the woods. It was in the days when animals and men understood each other better than they do now.

An old mother bear found the little Indian boy.

She felt very sorry for him. She told the little boy not to cry, for she would take him home with her; she had a nice wigwam in the hollow of a big tree.

Old Mother Bear had two cubs of her own, but she had a place between her great paws for a third. She took the little papoose, and she hugged him warm and close. She fed him as she did her own little cubs.

The boy grew strong. He was very happy with his adopted mother and brothers. They had a warm lodge in the hollow of the great tree. As they grew older, Mother Bear found for them all the honey and nuts that they could eat.

From sunrise to sunset, the little Indian boy played with his cub brothers. He did not know that he was different from them. He thought he was a little bear, too. All day long, the boy and the little bears played and had a good time. They rolled, and tumbled, and wrestled in the forest leaves. They chased one another up and down the bear tree.

Sometimes they had a matched game of hug, for every little bear must learn to hug. The one who could hug the longest and the tightest won the game.

Old Mother Bear watched her three dear children at their play. She would have been content and happy, but for one thing. She was afraid some harm would come to the boy. Never could she quite forget the bear hunters. Several times they had scented her tree, but the wind had thrown them off the trail.

Once, from her bear-tree window, she had thrown out rabbit hairs as she saw them coming. The wind had blown the rabbit hairs toward the hunters. As they fell near the hunters, they had suddenly changed into rabbits and the hunters had given chase.

At another time, Mother Bear tossed some partridge feathers to the wind as the hunters drew near her tree. A flock of partridges went whirring into the woods with a great noise, and the hunters ran after them.

But on this day, Mother Bear’s heart was heavy. She knew that now the big bear hunters were coming. No rabbits or partridges could lead these hunters from the bear trail, for they had dogs with four eyes. (Foxhounds have a yellow spot over each eye which makes them seem double-eyed.) These dogs were never known to miss a bear tree. Sooner or later they would scent it.

Mother Bear thought she might be able to save herself and her cubs. But what would become of the boy? She loved him too well to let the bear hunters kill him.

Just then the porcupine, the Chief of the animals, passed by the bear tree. Mother Bear saw him. She put her head out the bear-tree window and called to him. He came and sat under the bear-tree window, and listened to Mother Bear’s story of her fears for the boy.

When she had finished, Chief Porcupine said he would call a council of the animals, and see if they could not save the boy.

Now the Chief had a big voice. As soon as he raised his voice, even the animals away on the longest trails heard. They ran at once and gathered under the council tree. There was a loud roar, and a great flapping of wings, for the birds came, too.

Chief Porcupine told them about the fears of Mother Bear, and of the danger to the boy.

“Now,” said the Chief, “which one of you will take the boy, and save him from the bear hunters?”