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Duck Lake
Chapter II. The Bear-Trap

AFTER leaving Mr. Hewitt, Chubb sought his Indian friend, Jonas. This man was, as a rule, not easy to find, but good fortune favoured Chubb, and before he had gone very far he met Jonas. They had not met for some time, and so they were glad to see each other.

After the first greetings were over, Chubb asked a little abruptly—

‘Seen any bears lately?'

‘Some time ago.’


‘Over there,’ he said, pointing towards the west, where the forest was thick, ‘in spruce— dark place.’

‘Have you got a bear-trap?'

‘No; make one.’

‘Now?’ asked Chubb.

‘Now,’ replied Jonas.

So the two walked over to the spruce forest, and in a dark place, likely to be a hiding-place for bears, they built a dead-fall. Into the side of a little hill they dug a hole, facing it with logs. Two heavy logs were placed in a slip, so as to fall upon the curious bear that would attempt to enter. The trap was rough, and heavy, and clumsy; but it was such a thing that awakened the curiosity of bears.

The week that followed did not see Chubb at school, and very seldom at his home. Four times on Monday he visited his bear-trap, and three times on Tuesday, but the slip-logs were still in the air, unmoved.

To be near at hand, Chubb built a rude shack for himself out of birch and poplar poles. He covered the frame with birch-bark, and made a fine bed out of balsam boughs. Without leave one night he brought away from his home a blanket, a gun, and an axe. He also took fishing-tackle, and with it caught what fish he needed to eat. Jonas visited him on Thursday, and was greatly surprised to see his hut. He was, however, pleased to partake of Chubb’s hospitality, as the boy invited him to supper, and to stay over night. Jonas was sorry to hear that Chubb had not had any luck with his bear-trap. He suggested that Chubb should get a bit of pork, and, after dragging it around the woods, put it in the trap as a bait.

Chubb paid a visit to his home the next evening. When questioned about his absence, he merely remarked: ‘Been at Lodge.’ This phrase now had a double meaning. What the parents thought of was the hunting lodge of the school teacher. Having turned off the curious questions of his parents, Chubb asked about the cattle, and was told that one of the cows, which was about to calve, had been lost for some days.

This bit of news was not unwelcome to Chubb, and he resolved to find her and have her on hand for his experiment.

Chubb stayed with his people on Saturday, and helped them with their haying. On Sunday he went again to church. Mr. Hewitt’s theme was the Parable of the Sower, and his treatment was such as was very helpful to his hearers. He had certainly planted a strange seed in virile soil in Chubb. As Mr. Hewitt made no reference to his pet idea, referring to no animals, only to a few birds that picked up the grain that fell by the wayside, Chubb did not think that there was anything in the sermon for him. During the day he secured some pork, put it into a bag and cached it ready for the morrow.

Monday morning he started off as if to school, with his lunch. Seeing an old halter on the fence and some rope by the barn, as he passed, he appropriated them, thinking that they would come in handy to make a muzzle for the bear.

When Chubb visited his trap that morning he could hardly believe his eyes. The slip-logs were down! And on nearer approach he found a yearling bear, crushed under the logs. But he was stone dead, and must have been there at least a day.

With a good deal of effort Chubb got the logs up and the bear out.

This was somewhat disappointing. He wanted a live bear.

‘Got a bear, Chubb?’

Chubb turned his eyes to see the owner of the cheery voice.

‘Yes, Jonas, but he’s dead.’

‘That’s all right. Save bullets.’

Chubb was going to say something; but he bit his lip. Then, quick as a flash, a new idea struck him. He would stuff the bear, or he would get the teacher, Mr. Green, to do it for him.

‘Jonas,’ he said, ‘did you ever stuff a bear?’

‘Stuff him in my mouth when cook.’

Chubb laughed.

'No, not that way. I mean did—well, have you not seen Mr. Green’s lodge, and his birds?’


‘Then you ought.’

The bear was dragged to Chubb’s lodge, cleaned and hung up on a tree.

Chubb went to school that afternoon.

‘I have missed you, Chubb,’ said the teacher, kindly. ‘Where have you been?’

‘Hayin’ and studyin’.’

‘What are you studying now?'

'Cows and bears.’

‘Good subjects. Isn’t it about time you came again to my lodge?’

‘Will go to-night.’

So it was settled, and Chubb spent that night with Mr. Green.

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