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High above Sierra's peaks stands grim Mount Tallac. Ten thousand feet above the sea it rears its head to gaze out north to that vast and wonderful turquoise that men call Lake Tahoe, and northwest, across a piney sea, to its great white sister, Shasta of the Snows; wonderful colors and things on every side, mast-like pine trees strung with jewelry, streams that a Buddhist would have made sacred, hills that an Arab would have held holy. But Lan Kellyan's keen gray eyes were turned to other things. The childish delight in life and light for their own sakes had faded, as they must in one whose training had been to make him hold them very cheap. Why value grass? All the world is grass. Why value air, when it is everywhere in measureless immensity? Why value life, when, all alive, his living came from taking life? His senses were alert, not for the rainbow hills and the gem-bright lakes, but for the living things that he must meet in daily rivalry, each staking on the game, his life. Hunter was written on his leathern garb, on his tawny face, on his lithe and sinewy form, and shone in his clear gray eye. The cloven granite peak might pass unmarked, but a faint dimple in the sod did not. Calipers could not have told that it was widened at one end, but the hunter's eye did, and following, he looked for and found another, then smaller signs, and he knew that a big Bear and two little ones had passed and were still close at hand, for the grass in the marks was yet unbending. Lan rode his hunting pony on the trail. It sniffed and stepped nervously, for it knew as well as the rider that a Grizzly family was near. They came to a terrace leading to an open upland. Twenty feet on this side of it Lan slipped to the ground, dropped the reins, the well-known sign to the pony that he must stand at that spot, then cocked his rifle and climbed the bank. At the top he went with yet greater caution, and soon saw an old Grizzly with her two cubs. She was lying down some fifty yards away and afforded a poor shot; he fired at what seemed to be the shoulder. The aim was true, but the Bear got only a flesh-wound. She sprang to her feet and made for the place where the puff of smoke arose. The Bear had fifty yards to cover, the man had fifteen, but she came racing down the bank before he was fairly on the horse, and for a hundred yards the pony bounded in terror while the old Grizzly ran almost alongside, striking at him and missing by a scant hair's-breadth each time. But the Grizzly rarely keeps up its great speed for many yards. The horse got under full headway, and the shaggy mother, falling behind, gave up the chase and returned to her cubs.

Fiction & Literature
May 30
Library of Alexandria
The Library of Alexandria

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