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by [?]

“Since I breathed,
A houseless head, beneath the sun and stars,
The soul of the wood has stricken through my blood.”

Everybody who has ever seen him knows him only as “Posey”–a name for which he is indebted solely to the accident of birth. For in that Indiana county where he first saw the light, and when he went to California, some forty years ago, that was the name at once bestowed upon him, and by it he has been known ever since. It is possible that Posey has not forgotten what his name really is; but, if so, he is the only person who has allowed his memory to be burdened with that useless knowledge.

The traveller is likely to meet him striding along any one of the forest roads or trails within forty miles of the Yosemite Valley, or lounging around a stage station, or taking his ease in some mountaineer’s cabin. And he will know at once that that is Posey, for no one who has ever heard of him can mistake his identity at even the first glance. Moreover, Sunday is always with him, and Sunday is just as unmistakable as Posey. Sunday is a very small dog, of about the bigness of your two fists, that carries within his small skin enough courage, audacity, and dignity to befit the size of an elephant. He is also known as “Posey’s bear dog”–a sobriquet bestowed upon him partly in humor, because of his ridiculously small size, and partly in honor, because of his utter fearlessness.

Posey is a sparely built, muscular man, of medium size, quick and jerky in his movements, and springy in his gait. His face is broad and tanned, his cheek bones high, and his nose a snub. His beard is short and thin and grizzled, and his gray hair, curling at the ends, hangs around his neck. His shoulders are sloping, his chest deep but not wide, his arms long, and his hips narrow. He is always dressed in a blue flannel shirt, blue overalls, hob-nailed shoes, and a gray slouch hat; and the whole outfit is always very old and very dirty. His overalls, fastened upon him in some miraculous way, hang far below his waist. Why they stay in place suggests the goodness of God since it passeth all understanding.

Nature made a great mistake when she caused Posey to be born a white man, heir to all the white man’s achievement. For he is a child of earth–a gentle, kindly savage, a white man with the soul of an Indian. But Posey has done his best to correct nature’s mistake, and has made himself as much of an Indian as his white man’s heritage will allow. He is a nomad, as thorough a nomad as any barbarian who never heard of those wondrous works of man called civilization. In all that wide stretch of country which he frequents and in which he has lived for thirty years and better, there is not one spot which he can call home. But that is nothing to Posey. He would not know what to do with a home if he had one.

His sole possessions are some blankets, a gun, and Sunday. If he wants to go anywhere, whether it be one mile or fifty miles away, he straps his blankets on his back, whistles to Sunday, shoulders his gun, and goes. Sometimes he sleeps on the ground and sometimes he stops for a night or for three months in the cabin of some lone mountaineer or in an Indian rancheria. It is doubtful if Posey himself knows how many Indian wives and half-breed children he has in these Indian villages scattered through the mountains. He will drop in on one of them for a day or a month, divide his possessions with her and her children, provide lavishly for them with gun and fishing-tackle while he is there, and when the desire fills him to be somewhere else he will leave them with as little concern as he feels for the birds and squirrels in the trees.