Kneetime Animal Stories
HIS MANY ADVENTURES
Author of “Squinty, the Comical Pig,” “Tum Tum, the
Jolly Elephant,” “Sharp Eyes, the Silver Fox,”
“Tamba, the Tame Tiger,” “Toto, the
Bustling Beaver,” etc.
NEWARK, N. J. NEW YORK, N. Y.
By Richard Barnum
Large 12mo. Illustrated.
- SQUINTY, THE COMICAL PIG
- SLICKO, THE JUMPING SQUIRREL
- MAPPO, THE MERRY MONKEY
- TUM TUM, THE JOLLY ELEPHANT
- DON, A RUNAWAY DOG
- DIDO, THE DANCING BEAR
- BLACKIE, A LOST CAT
- FLOP EAR, THE FUNNY RABBIT
- TINKLE, THE TRICK PONY
- LIGHTFOOT, THE LEAPING GOAT
- CHUNKY, THE HAPPY HIPPO
- SHARP EYES, THE SILVER FOX
- NERO, THE CIRCUS LION
- TAMBA, THE TAME TIGER
- TOTO, THE BUSTLING BEAVER
- SHAGGO, THE MIGHTY BUFFALO
BARSE & HOPKINS
Newark, N. J. New York, N. Y.
Barse & Hopkins
Shaggo, the Mighty Buffalo
MADE IN U.S.A.
THE MIGHTY BUFFALO
SHAGGO’S QUEER BEHAVIOR
“Hey, Shaggo! come on with us.”
“Yes, trot along and let’s see who will get there first.”
Two big boy buffalo calves that had started to run over the dry, dusty prairie, their hoofs sending up little showers of dirt, stopped in front of another buffalo, much larger than either of them.
“Come on, Shaggo,” again called the buffalo who had first spoken, in animal talk, of course. “We’ll have a lot of fun.”
“Where are you going?” asked Shaggo, and as he spoke, in a deep, rumbly voice, he got up from the ground where he had been lying chewing his cud, as a cow in the meadow chews hers. And when Shaggo stood up you could see how very big he was.
Shaggo was a mighty buffalo. He was the largest and strongest of all the Government herd in the big National Park, where these animals, which once roamed the prairies in countless thousands, are now kept. For there are not now many buffaloes; not nearly so many as there were a few years ago. The Indian hunters and the white hunters killed them for food, and to get the shaggy robes the buffaloes wore. These robes were good to put over one in cold weather.
Then, too, the building of the railroads out West had scattered the buffaloes, until it seemed they must all die or be driven away. Then the Government fenced in great parks, called preserves, where the big, shaggy animals, with heads and manes larger than any lion’s that ever lived, could be at peace.
It was on one of these preserves, or ranges, in a National Park, that Shaggo lived. Though he was not the oldest buffalo of the herd he was easily the largest and strongest. He seemed to grow faster than the others, and he could easily have been the leader of the herd if he had wished. But he let another, an older bull act as the leader. Shaggo was content to eat the sweet grass, drink the cool water, and wander around in the forest or over the prairies which formed part of the park.
“Are you coming with us, Shaggo?” asked one of the two buffalo calves, as they stopped near the mighty animal.
“Where are you going?” asked Shaggo.
“Over to the wallow,” was the answer. “It is hot, and the flies and bugs are so bothersome that we’re going to roll around in the wallow and get all muddy. Come along with us and we’ll have some fun.”
“Yes, do, please, Shaggo!” urged the other buffalo. “You’re so big you can roll around and make new holes in the mud.”
“All right,” agreed Shaggo, “I’ll come. But the flies don’t bother me very much.”
The two buffaloes who had invited this biggest, mighty member of the herd to come with them, looked at each other in some surprise.
“All I’ve got to say,” finally said the smaller of the two buffaloes, who was named Soako, “is that you must be very queer if you don’t mind the biting flies.”
“Maybe Shaggo has already been to the wallow and covered himself with mud,” remarked the other buffalo, who was named Poko, because he was always playfully poking others with his short, black horns.
“No, Shaggo hasn’t been to the wallow this morning,” said Soako, with a laugh; in animal fashion, as you can easily imagine. “If he had been, he’d be all covered with dried mud, and there isn’t any on him.”
“Yes, you’re right, Soako,” replied Shaggo, giving the other buffalo the name that suited him best, for Soako was always soaking himself in water whenever he could find any. “I haven’t yet been to the mud hole, but I’ll go along with you now. Though, to tell you the truth, the flies don’t bother me very much.”
“I guess Shaggo’s hide and hair are so thick that it takes the flies longer to bite through than it does with us,” said Soako, in a sort of whisper to Poko, as the three friends moved off together.
“Maybe,” agreed Poko. “Anyhow, don’t you think Shaggo is rather queer?” he went on, making sure that the mighty buffalo did not hear him. “He’s been acting in a very funny way the last week, so I heard old Wuffo say.”
“Now you speak of it, I do notice it,” said Soako. “And Wuffo ought to know, as he’s our leader. Whatever he says is right.”
Wuffo was the oldest buffalo of the herd, and one of the strongest. He had been leader for a number of years. When Shaggo grew up, and was much the larger and stronger of the two and thus might easily have made himself leader by fighting with Wuffo, Shaggo held himself back. He was content to let Wuffo remain the head of the herd.
So the three buffalo friends, shifting away from the rest of the herd, moved over the prairie end of the park toward the wallow. Soon they trotted up a little hill and came within sight of a hollow place.
“Oh, look at the lovely mud!” cried Soako. “Let’s see who will be the first in!”
“I can beat you!” bellowed Poko, and he gave a playful dig with his horns in Shaggo’s ribs.
Instead of taking it good-naturedly, as most of the buffaloes would have done, Shaggo grumbled:
“Here! What are you doing? Quit your fooling!”
“Oh, excuse me! I didn’t mean anything!” said Poko, for he knew better than to get Shaggo “mad.” More than one member of the herd had felt the strength of Shaggo’s mighty head, though the big buffalo had never done any real harm. Whenever any one plagued him, he just butted them head over heels, as a goat might do.
Down the slope ran Poko after Soako, and soon the two buffaloes were wallowing around in the mud hole. “Wallow” is just the word that tells what they did, and so the places where the buffaloes went on the prairies to get away from mosquitoes, gnats and flies came to be called “wallows.” You may read about them in stories of the old West.
Over and over, and around and around in the mud rolled Soako and Poko. They sank themselves down in the deep wallow until only their nose tips stuck out, so they could breathe. They covered themselves with mud. And if their fathers or mothers could have seen them, instead of telling them to come out, the older buffaloes would have gone into the mud themselves.
For this was the only way the buffaloes had of getting rid of the biting flies. The big, shaggy animals would cover themselves with a coating of mud, and as long as this stayed on they were in comfort. The flies and mosquitoes could not bite through the dried, caked mud.
“Come on, Shaggo!” cried Soako, tumbling about in the hole which was kept wet by a nearby spring. “Hurry! The mud’s fine to-day!”
“Yes, you’re missing it!” added Poko, who was beside Soako.
“I think there’ll be enough mud left for me,” answered Shaggo easily, and he went down the slope without any signs of hurrying. Once again Soako and Poko looked at each other.
“He certainly is queer,” said Poko in a whisper.
“I should say so!” agreed Soako, pawing around on the bottom of the wallow. “I remember when he was always the first in the mud. Now he doesn’t care whether he’s last or not. I wonder what is the matter with Shaggo that he acts so queerly?”
By this time the biggest buffalo of the herd was at the edge of the wallow, and the other two could not talk about him without being overheard. So they splashed about, and soon Shaggo was also covering himself with mud to keep away the flies.
But though Shaggo rolled himself around in the black sticky mud as did his friends, the mighty buffalo did not seem to be enjoying himself. He did not play tricks and jokes as he had been wont to do. He did not butt the others with his immense head, nor splash mud on them, nor roll them over so that their noses went under. He just covered himself with mud and then came out on the bank.
“You aren’t going to quit so soon, are you?” asked Poko.
“Let’s have a game of mud tag,” suggested Soako. “This is our best chance. We have the wallow to ourselves now. Pretty soon Wuffo and the other bulls will be coming here for their bath, and we’ll have to skip out. Come on, Shaggo! I’ll be it for a game of tag! Look out! I’m coming!”
Soako rushed up from the mud wallow and trotted toward Shaggo. But the latter, instead of running away, as he often did, and keeping out of Soako’s way, as he easily could have done (for Shaggo was the best runner in the herd) just stood still and let Soako tag him.
“Now Shaggo is it!” bellowed Soako, running over to join Poko, who also came up out of the cool wallow.
“I’m not going to play,” said Shaggo.
“Not going to play!” echoed Poko and Soako.
“No,” went on Shaggo. “I don’t feel like playing tag. Besides, it will make the mud dry quicker and drop off, and then I’ll have to go into the wallow again.”
“Well, that’s only fun!” said Soako, and again he and Poko looked at each other. They said nothing, but they thought that Shaggo was acting very strangely indeed. Not to play tag!
“Is there any other game you’d like to play?” asked Poko, as he nibbled a bit of grass at the edge of the spring.
“No,” answered Shaggo, in a grumbling sort of voice. “All I want is to be left alone. I’m going for a walk. It’s too hot to play tag.”
It was hot, there was no denying that. But then there was the cool wallow to soak in when one was warm after running. And there was also a shady forest which was farther up the National Park preserve. Soako and Poko shook their heads. They could not understand Shaggo.
“Let him go,” whispered Poko, as the big animal started off by himself.
The two friends were just going back to the wallow when, all of a sudden, along came running one of the smaller calves of the herd. He seemed much excited.
“Oh, you ought to see ’em! You ought to see ’em!” he cried, in buffalo talk, as was natural. “They’re fighting like anything.”
“Who are fighting?” asked Poko.
“Rumpo and Bumpo, the twins,” was the answer. “They’re knocking each other all over the prairie. Come on, it’s lots of fun!”
Rumpo and Bumpo were twin buffalo brothers, and they often had what the other buffaloes called “fights.” But they were only in fun, as dogs and boys wrestle to grow stronger. Rumpo and Bumpo knocked each other all over the soft grass of the prairie, but neither hurt the other. And it was always fun to see them “fight,” as it was called. Most of the other buffaloes would leave what they were doing at any time to see Rumpo and Bumpo at their game of knocking each other around.
“Did you hear that, Shaggo?” called Poko, as he and Soako prepared to follow the little calf buffalo over the prairie.
“Hear what?” asked the mighty buffalo, turning partly around.
“Rumpo and Bumpo are fighting again, in fun,” said Poko. “Come on! Let’s go and see ’em!”
“I don’t think I care to,” answered Shaggo. “I’m going off by myself.”
This time the three buffaloes looked at one another.
“He certainly is queer!” declared Soako. “This is the first time I ever knew him not to want to see Rumpo and Bumpo at play.”
“Well, come on,” said Poko, “or we’ll miss the fun!”
Then the three rushed off together toward that part of the Park from which came the sound of heavy blows and loud bellowing. Rumpo and Bumpo were having a great “fun fight.”
“Let them go,” said Shaggo to himself. “I’m tired of such nonsense! I don’t like it here any more. I wonder what’s the matter with me! I’m tired of everything! I feel very queer! I don’t know just what the matter is, but I think something is going to happen!”
SHAGGO’S BIG JUMP
Shaggo, the mighty buffalo, wandered up to the top of a little hill. Down below him was the mud wallow, and he was still covered with the cool slime from its depths—slime that would keep away the bugs and mosquitoes for some time.
“At least I don’t have to worry about them,” thought the great, shaggy buffalo—the mightiest of all the herd. He looked across the prairie, which formed part of the government preserve, and could see a crowd of other shaggy animals like himself. In the midst of this throng he noticed two figures moving nimbly about.
“That’s Rumpo and Bumpo butting each other,” said Shaggo to himself. “Well, I hope they get some fun out of it. I don’t care for it any more, though.”
Time was when Shaggo would have been among the first to rush up to see two buffaloes ramming each other with their immense heads with their heavy shock of hair. In fact, Shaggo would have shouldered his way through the throng to a place well up in front. But now he did not care to look on, even from a distance.
“I wonder what is the matter with me?” mused Shaggo. “I wonder what is going to happen? I don’t like it here any more, though I used to think it was the finest place in the world.”
Shaggo looked over as much of the range as he could see. It was so large, however, that he could not see it all at once. There were woods and prairies—flat lands and low lands and hills, wallows and “salt licks.” These last were places where salt cropped up out of the ground, and at certain seasons buffaloes, deer, elks and antelopes came to these places to lick the ground with their tongues to get the taste of salt. Salt is good for some wild animals, such as buffaloes. You may have seen, on a farm, how the cows and sheep are sometimes given salt. Often a lump of rock salt is put in the manger of a horse, for a little salt is good for horses also.
As Shaggo looked over the buffalo preserve and saw the sun shining on a part of the fence that was all around it, a new thought came into his head. He sniffed the air, pawed the ground, sending up a little cloud of dry dust, and then he said to himself:
“I know what the matter is! This place is too small for me! It isn’t large enough! I’m tired of being fenced in!”
For there was a wire fence, many miles long, all around the Park. The fence had to be there to keep the buffaloes from wandering away, and to keep out bad white men and Indians, who might have come in to take away or to shoot the buffaloes. Of course the men could have crawled under, jumped over, or have cut the fence, but the wire being there told these men that the Government wanted them to stay out, and the men knew the Government would punish them if they did any harm to the herd of big animals.
“Yes, this place isn’t large enough,” decided the mighty buffalo. “I have heard stories, told by Wuffo, of his grandfather and their friends. They never had to stay cooped up in a park with a fence all around it. They could run and roam as they pleased. I don’t see why I can’t! I’m going to! That’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to run away!”
However, it was one thing for a buffalo to make up his mind he was going to run away from the Government Park, but it was quite another thing to do it. All around the range, or National Park, was this strong, high fence of wire. The men who put it up knew they must needs make it extra strong on account of the big buffaloes, who are stronger and larger than any bull of the farm pasture.
Shaggo knew about the fence. More than once, in the dark, he had bumped against it, and more than once, on the sly, he and some other buffalo calves had tried to break through it.
“But it can’t be broken,” said Shaggo, after he had tried several times, with his companions.
“No,” agreed Poko, “I don’t believe it can. Anyhow, who wants to break it? This place suits me.”
“And me, too,” said Soako and the others.
It had suited Shaggo, too, until this past week, when, somehow or other, he had become discontented.
“And so I’m going to run away,” he decided. “I’ll get over or through the fence, somehow, and see what’s on the other side.”
Shaggo, like many of the other buffaloes, had never been outside the fence. Shaggo had been born inside, and had never been allowed to go out.
“But I’m going now,” he told himself, as he walked down the hill and over toward the others of the herd. By this time the “fun fight” between Rumpo and Bumpo was over. Bumpo had won, having knocked down Rumpo more times than Rumpo had knocked him down.
Shaggo was looking for a hole in the fence.
“Oh, Shaggo, you should have seen it!” bellowed Poko, as he ran up alongside of the big buffalo.
“Yes, you surely missed it!” echoed Soako. “It was a great fun fight.”
“I guess I didn’t miss much,” replied Shaggo. “I had a good time off by myself.”
“Humph! That’s the first time I ever knew anybody could have a good time alone, unless he was eating or rolling in the mud,” said Poko in a low voice to Soako.
“That’s right,” agreed the other. “Shaggo’s getting more and more queer.”
And if these two buffalo friends could have known what Shaggo had made up his mind to do—that is, run away—they would have been more surprised than ever.
Once Shaggo had found out what made him discontented—that the Park was not big enough for him—he began to look about for a way of getting out of it. For several days he wandered around with the rest of the herd, eating the grass here and there, drinking from the different springs, going to the shade of the trees when the sun was too hot, or rolling in the mud when the flies bit too hard.
And, all this while, Shaggo was looking for a hole in the fence. But he found none, and he was beginning to be discouraged.
“I wonder if I’ll get out?” he said to himself.
One day Shaggo separated himself from the rest of the herd. He could do this easily, as, of late, he had not been very friendly, and the others had come to let him alone.
“Shaggo is a bit cross and grouchy,” said Wuffo. “Just let him alone until that spell wears off. Then he’ll be his same jolly old self again.”
So when Shaggo wandered off alone, no one paid any attention to him. Shaggo went up on top of a hill. From there he looked down and saw the shiny wire fence that kept him from leaving the preserve.
A new idea came into Shaggo’s head. He looked at the fence and at a thick clump of bushes and small trees that grew on the other side. The fence was quite a distance below him.
“I believe I can do it!” cried Shaggo aloud to himself. He was quite excited. “I believe if I took a run and gave a jump, I could leap down from the top of this hill, over the fence and so down into the soft bushes. It wouldn’t hurt me much, and I would be over the fence. Then I’d be out! I’d be free and could roam where I pleased! That’s what I’ll do! I’ll give a big jump down from this hill, over the fence and get away!”
The more Shaggo thought of this idea the better he liked it. He looked behind him. There was the rest of the herd calmly eating, chewing cud or wallowing in the mud. Rumpo and Bumpo were again at their butting fun fight game.
“None of that for me!” said Shaggo. “I’m going to run away, jump the fence, and see the world. Good-bye, my buffalo friends!” he said, though he was so far away the others could not hear him.
Shaggo did not have anything to pack to take away with him. He carried his hump, or pack, on his big shoulders. Once more looking back toward his friends and companions, Shaggo shook his head and pawed the dirt, stamping his hoofs on the top of the hill.
“Here I go!” he said at last. He walked back a little way, and then broke into a run. As he neared the edge of the hill Shaggo gave a big jump, and launched himself outward and downward.
He held his legs stiff under him as he felt himself sailing through the air.
“I’m going to clear the fence! This time I shall jump over it and land on the other side!” thought Shaggo, as he leaped through the air. “At last I am free! I am jumping away!”
SHAGGO IN A HOLE
Down, down, down through the air sailed Shaggo, the mighty buffalo, after he had leaped from the cliff over the strong wire fence. He looked toward the ground, to make sure he would not land on the fence itself.
“For if I did that,” thought Shaggo, “my legs would get all tangled up, and then I could never run away and find a big place in which to roam. No, indeed! I don’t want anything like that to happen.”
So he was glad when he saw that he was going to land on the other side of the fence. Once more he looked down. The earth seemed rushing up to meet him, but of course he was only falling down to land on it.
“I’m going to fall into that clump of bushes, just as I thought I should,” said the buffalo to himself.
A moment later he had crashed into the midst of a tangle of green leaves and branches. Into the midst of the bushes fell the mighty Shaggo. Down through them he went, breaking twigs and limbs of small trees, for Shaggo was very heavy.
And in another instant Shaggo fell with a loud thud and a thump. He fell on one side, landing on one of his front shoulders, and at once a terrible pain shot all through his body. It was a much worse pain than he had ever before felt, even when Wuffo, the oldest buffalo of all the herd, had once butted Shaggo head over heels when Shaggo had done something wrong. And it was a much worse pain than any Shaggo had felt when Poko had shoved him with the short, black horns that all buffaloes wear.
“Dear me, this is terrible!” thought Shaggo to himself, in the way buffaloes have of thinking. “I wonder what I have fallen on.”
But he suddenly lost all power of thinking, for his senses seemed to leave him, and all he knew was that he had fallen into a place that was very, very dark and lonesome.
The fact was that Shaggo had fallen so hard that, for a while, he was knocked senseless. If you have ever tumbled downstairs and have bumped your head very hard, you perhaps know how it feels to lose your senses. You seem to go to sleep before it is bedtime. Well, this is what happened to Shaggo. He didn’t know what happened after he had jumped and felt that sharp pain in his shoulder, except that it grew very dark.
It was a real darkness, too, besides the dark that came when Shaggo closed his eyes. The mighty buffalo was so strong that even his heavy fall did not make him senseless very long. In a little while he opened his eyes again. He could still feel the pain in his shoulder, but what surprised him more than anything else was the darkness that was all about him.
“This is very queer,” said Shaggo to himself. “When I started to run away from our buffalo range it was daylight. That could not have been so very long ago, yet it is now as dark as night. I wonder if I could have been here all that while. Guess I’ll move about and see what the matter is.”
Shaggo shook himself, thereby rousing himself and getting wider awake from his queer sleep. He managed to scramble to his feet, but no sooner had he done so than the pain in his shoulder grew sharper.
“Why—why!” exclaimed Shaggo, “I can hardly move. Ouch! Oh my, this is terrible! I hope my leg isn’t broken!”
Shaggo knew what it was for a buffalo to have a broken leg. They hardly ever lived to get over it, and he did not want anything like that to happen.
So Shaggo moved each one of his four legs very carefully to see if any of them was broken. But though his front left leg was very painful up near his shoulder, it did not seem to be broken. But, oh, how it hurt to move it!
“And yet I have to move it if I’m ever going to get out of this place,” thought Shaggo. “Where am I, anyhow? It’s very dark, and yet I’m sure it isn’t night. It doesn’t smell like night.”
Buffaloes, and other animals, are not like boys and girls. Animals can tell many things by merely smelling, where we have to see things to know what they are. And Shaggo could tell when it was daylight or night by smelling. And though now, to his eyesight, it was dark all around him, somehow or other he felt sure it was not the darkness of night.
“And if it isn’t night, then I must be in some sort of cave or hole,” thought the mighty buffalo.
He knew what caves were, for on the buffalo range in the National Park were some of these holes in the ground, where the big animals went in to stay during the cold winter.
“Well, I’d better try to get out of here,” thought Shaggo. He wished he might have some of his buffalo friends to whom to talk, but that was out of the question. And Shaggo did not wish them the bad luck of wanting them to be with him in his trouble. Yet, all the same, he would have been glad to have seen even Rumpo and Bumpo now at their game of bumping one another. But Shaggo, in a fit of temper, had run off by himself, and now he must get out of his trouble as best he could.
“And I surely am in trouble,” thought poor Shaggo. “Oh, wow! What a pain!”
He moved about a little in the darkness, and then he had to stand still, for his leg hurt him so much. But Shaggo knew he could not stay in the place into which he had fallen. The more he thought about it the more he felt sure he had fallen into a pit.
“But I must see what sort of a place it is into which I have fallen,” thought the mighty buffalo. His eyes were getting used to the darkness now, and he could see a little. He noticed that he was down in a sort of big hole. The bottom and sides were of earth, and Shaggo dug his hoofs in as he had done on the soft prairie.
Slowly Shaggo walked around the pit. In most places the sides were too steep for him to climb up. They were like the sides of a well, straight up and down. But in one place there was a slope like that of a hill, only it was a very steep hill.
“Now if there were only some rocks, like steps, in this hill I might get up,” thought Shaggo. “I wonder if I could dig some steps with my horns. I’ll try it.”
There was a little more light on this side of the cave, and Shaggo could see to try to get up. He lowered his shaggy head, and with his short, strong horns, dug out a little of the soft earth, hoping to make some steps for himself. But as he moved his head from side to side, to use his horns, the pain in his hurt shoulder was so sharp that again he cried:
“This will never do!” said Shaggo to himself, as he stopped trying to dig the steps. “I’ll never be able to get out this way. I must find another path.”
He backed away from the spot where he had been trying to dig and again slowly wandered about the hole. It was a much larger place than he had at first thought, and as he slowly moved toward one end he saw that the light was stronger.
“Maybe that’s a place where I can get out,” cried poor Shaggo. “I hope it is! I’m not having very much fun so far!”
His shoulder was so painful that he could not run, as he wanted to. But he managed to get nearer the place of the light, and then, to his surprise, he saw an easy slope of earth leading up into what seemed to be a large cave.
“Maybe this is the cave where a lot of us buffaloes stayed last winter,” thought Shaggo. “If it is I’m all right—though I would still be back on the range. No, I don’t see how this could be that cave—that was inside the wire fence, and I surely jumped outside. Besides, I don’t smell any buffalo smell, as I would if any of my friends had been in this cave. It must be another.”
And it was, as Shaggo found a little later. The pit, into which he had jumped through the bushes, was joined to a big cave under the mountain, and by walking up a little hill of dirt, Shaggo was soon in the cave. It was much larger than the pit, and lighter, too, and Shaggo was glad of this.
“Now maybe I can find something to eat and drink,” thought the mighty buffalo. “But, most of all, I want something to drink.”
So, making his way to the cave, Shaggo sniffed and smelled.
He wandered on and on in the big cave, which was getting lighter and lighter. All of a sudden Shaggo stopped, lifted his head and sniffed deeply.
“I smell water!” he bellowed aloud, he was so excited.
He started to run, but his shoulder hurt him so he had to slow down. Then there came to his ears a musical gurgle.
“I hear water, too!” he said. “Now I can get a drink!”
He turned around a corner of rock and a moment later he saw a pool of shining water in the cave.
“Oh, how good that looks!” cried Shaggo. “And how good it will taste!”
He made his way to the edge of the pool, but just as he was leaning over to drink something very surprising happened. Up in the middle of the pool shot a steaming hot column of water. It boiled, bubbled, and hissed, and was so hot that Shaggo sprang back in alarm, uttering a loud “wuff!”
“My! what’s this? What have I struck now?” thought the shaggy buffalo.
SHAGGO AND THE ANTELOPES
Surprised by the hot, spouting column of water, just as he had been about to take a drink, Shaggo leaped back in the cave. Then he stood there, watching the water bubble and boil. It also steamed, for it was very hot.
“This is very queer,” thought the mighty buffalo. “Hot water is all right in a cold winter, maybe, but even then I’d have to let it cool in the snow before I could drink it. But hot water in the summer is no good at all. I wonder what makes this water so hot, and I wonder if it will cool?”
Shaggo stood back, out of reach of the splashing, hot water, and looked at it. Never before had he seen anything like that.
The column of hot, hissing water was shooting up from the middle of what he had thought was a quiet pool. It shot up just as you may have seen a fountain spurt in some city park, though of course Shaggo knew nothing of cities or city parks. All his life he had lived on the buffalo range, and though that was in what is called a National Park, such as is the Yellowstone, Shaggo knew nothing of this.
“Well, there’s no use in trying to drink that hot water,” thought the big buffalo. “If I wait a bit, though, it may cool. I guess I’ll do that, for I’m very thirsty. If I had a drink of cool water I think my shoulder would feel better.”
Shaggo moved back a little and lay down where he could watch the spouting water. It was light in this part of the cave, and he could see very well. For some time Shaggo lay there.
All at once, and as suddenly as it had begun, the water stopped bubbling up, and the pool became quiet.
“Good!” exclaimed Shaggo to himself. “Now I can get a drink.”
When he got up his shoulder hurt him again, and he had to cry “ouch!” several times before he managed to reach the edge of the pool, which was in the middle of the rocky floor of the cave. Shaggo could tell by sniffing that the water was cool now.
“And such a good drink as I’ll have!” he said to himself.
But just as he was about to put his nose down into the pool to drink, again came that bursting, bubbling column of hot water, and Shaggo had to leap quickly back for fear of being scalded.
“Oh, dear me! This is no good at all!” bellowed the shaggy buffalo, shaking his big head and his hump that was covered with long, dark brown hair. “This is a queer cave, where you can’t even get a drink of cold water!”
Shaggo did not know what to do. The longer he waited the more he wanted a drink, but he could not take that hot water.
“I’ll wait a little longer,” thought the runaway buffalo. “Maybe it won’t happen again. It’s like somebody playing a trick on me. If Soako or Poko were here I’d say they were doing it. But they are far away. They didn’t jump over the wire fence as I did—and I almost wish, now, that I hadn’t. I’m not having half as much fun as I thought I would. The range was a better place for me than I thought.”
Once more Shaggo lay down near the hot, boiling spring. He waited until the column of water stopped bubbling and then he tried, for the third time, to get a drink. But when again it shot up, almost in his nose, he gave a grunt and wuff and said:
“This settles it! I’m not going to fool away any more time here. I’m going out of this cave and get a drink somewhere else! This is a crazy sort of spring!”
Limping along, and shaking his big head, Shaggo turned to find a way out of the cave. He knew that the place where the most light came in was the place where he could get out, and he started for this. In a little while he was outside, on the broad, rolling prairie. He looked around him. Back in the distance he could see the wire-fenced buffalo range, from which he had jumped in order to run away. He was so far off now that he could not make out the forms of any of his animal friends. Nor could they see him, he felt sure. To one side was a big tract of woods, a dense forest, and in the other direction lay the prairies, over which, years before, millions of buffaloes like Shaggo had roamed as they pleased. Now there were only a few buffaloes left, and most of them were in National Parks.
“Now to try for another place to get a drink,” said Shaggo to himself. “I guess I’ll keep out of the woods for a while.”
Raising his big head, Shaggo sniffed the air. He was not quite sure, but he thought that over toward the east, in the place where the bright sun came up every morning, he could smell water.
“I’ll try that way,” said Shaggo to himself. He lumbered slowly along, limping a little because of his hurt shoulder, and soon the smell of water came stronger to his black nose.
All at once a voice that seemed to come from the ground on which Shaggo walked cried:
“Hey there! Why don’t you look where you’re going? You almost put your big foot in my house!”
“Your house? Where’s your house?” bellowed Shaggo. “I don’t see any.”
“No, because you’re up so high in the air,” went on the voice. “My house is right down by your big hoofs, and if you don’t take care you’ll tumble in the roof, and step on me!”
Shaggo looked down and saw a queer, light brown little animal sitting near a hole in the ground.
“Who in the world are you?” asked Shaggo.
“I’m Yippi, the prairie dog,” was the answer. “Excuse me for speaking so sharply to you, but if I hadn’t you’d have broken into my house.”
“I wouldn’t have done that on purpose,” said Shaggo. “I was so busy sniffing for water that I didn’t see you. Is there a cool spring to drink from around here? I found some water over in the cave, but it was hot, and bubbled up under my nose.”
“Oh, that must have been one of those boiling geysers as they call them,” explained Yippi. “I’ve heard my grandfather tell of them, but I never saw one.”
“Well, I’ve seen one, and I don’t care for another,” went on Shaggo. “Believe me, they’re no fun! Where can I get a cool drink?”
“Who in the world are you?” asked Shaggo.
“You’re going in the right direction,” said Yippi, the prairie dog. “Just follow your nose, and you’ll come to a fine spring. It’s a big one where all we animal folk drink, but you have to take your turn. Mine doesn’t come until after all the others are through, as I’m so little, you see.”
“What do you mean—take your turn?” asked Shaggo. “When I’m thirsty I take a drink—I don’t wait for any one.”
“Well, perhaps you can, as you’re so strong and big,” replied the little prairie dog. “But I’m not sure. There are some other big animals in this part of the country—bears, and antelopes with sharp horns. They never bother me, though, for I run into my burrow and hide whenever I hear any of them coming. Once a bear tried to dig me out with his long claws.”
“What did you do?” asked Shaggo.
“Oh, I fooled him all right. While he was digging at my front door, I just slipped out at the back and ran away. Ha! Ha! We prairie dogs always have more than one hole door to our houses. But you’ll have to excuse me. I must get some grass for dinner.”
“And I must get a drink,” said Shaggo. “Thank you for telling me about the spring, and excuse me for almost stepping on you.”
“Oh, that’s all right,” barked Yippi. Then the big buffalo turned away and Yippi ran off to gather some grass and other things to eat.
As Shaggo walked on, going a bit slowly so his lame shoulder would not hurt so much, the smell of water became more and more plain.
“And I surely hope it will not be a hot geyser spring this time,” thought Shaggo. “I am so very thirsty!”
Over the rolling prairie, up little hills, and down in little valleys walked the mighty buffalo. In about half an hour he came to the top of a larger hill than any he had yet climbed. When he reached the top he looked down the slope and saw, at the bottom, a shining pool of water.
“Oh, how good that looks!” thought Shaggo.
He hurried down the hill as fast as he could, and he kept sniffing the air, to make sure there was no hot geyser that would spout up under his nose. But the cool smell of the water did not change, and the mighty buffalo began to take hope.
As he neared the water hole he could see around the edge the marks of many animals in the mud. Some had paws and some had hoofs, like himself. Suddenly, from under a bush near the water hole, a big, fur-covered animal came out.
“Oh, so you’re going to get a drink, are you?” asked this animal.
“Yes, Mr. Bear, I am,” said Shaggo. “I hope you have no objection, but, even if you have, I’m going to get a drink! My tongue is as dry as dust.”
“Oh, get as many drinks as you please,” answered the bear. “I’ve had mine, and now I’m going off to take a nap. But you want to look out for the antelopes.”
“Who are they?” asked Shaggo.
“They are like deer, animals with sharp horns,” answered the bear. “It is nearly time for them to come for their drink. Look out for them!”
“Pooh! I’m not afraid,” said Shaggo. “I guess I have as much right to this water as they have, and I’d like to see them drive me away, especially when I’m so thirsty!”
“Well, I’ve told you to look out—that’s all I can do,” said the bear, as he walked slowly away.
Shaggo limped down to the pool. As he neared it he looked carefully at it. He was afraid lest he might see some hot water spout up. He was going to ask the bear if this was one of those geysers, but he remembered the prairie dog had told him this was a good place to drink. Besides, there were the marks of many other animals at the pool, and they would not come if the water were hot.
“Now for a good drink!” said Shaggo.
The mighty buffalo dipped his muzzle deep into the pool as a thirsty horse dips his nose into the watering trough. Long and deep drank Shaggo, and then he lifted his head to get his breath. As he did so he heard the rush of many feet, and, looking around, he saw rushing toward him a herd of large animals, on whose heads were sharp horns.
“Here! Get away from our water hole! Let our drinking pool alone!” cried some of the horned animals as they rushed toward Shaggo.
“Who are you?” asked the buffalo.
“The antelopes!” was the answer. “You have no right to drink until we have finished. Come on, brothers!” cried the leader of the antelope herd. “Let us drive this shaggy creature away!” And with his sharp horns lowered this antelope, and several others, rushed straight at Shaggo.
SHAGGO IN A TRAP
The mighty buffalo was no coward. There were some things of which Shaggo was afraid, and one of them was the hot, bubbling, boiling, geyser in the cave. But he was not afraid of animals like himself, not even the big fierce grizzly bear. Shaggo felt that with his large, heavy head and his horns, which were sharp and strong, if they were not very long, he was a match for almost any other creature.
Of course Shaggo knew nothing of lions, tigers or elephants. Those animals did not live in his part of the world and he had never seen a circus. But of all the animals he knew, he was afraid of none.
So when Shaggo, the mighty buffalo, saw the herd of antelopes coming at him, to drive him away from the drinking pool, he lowered his big, bushy head, pawed the ground with his hoofs, stamped with one foot, and bellowed loudly:
“Come on, all of you! I’m not afraid! I’m thirsty and I’m going to get a drink. I would have taken a drink in peace, and gone off by myself if you had let me alone, but if you want to fight I am ready!”
“Oh, you are, are you?” bleated the antelopes—several of them talking in animal fashion at once. “Well, we’ll show you! This is our turn to be at the drinking pool. You’d better run.”
But Shaggo did not run. He stood with his feet braced in the dirt, and the rushing antelopes, with their sharp horns, came nearer and nearer.
Now one of them was so close to Shaggo that it seemed as if the buffalo would be scratched by the horns. But the big buffalo swung a little to one side, though his sore shoulder hurt him, and, with one sweep of his great head, he knocked the first antelope head over heels, causing him to roll in the dust.
“How do you like that?” bellowed Shaggo.
“Pooh! that’s only one. There are three dozen of us!” cried the next antelope.
That animal, also, rushed at Shaggo, but once again the big buffalo waited until the sharp-horned creature came close enough. Then with a swing of his head, taking care not to let the antelope’s horns hurt him, Shaggo sent this fellow rolling over and over away from the water hole.
“Come on!” bellowed the buffalo. “I’m ready for you!”
He knocked down a third antelope, sending this one turning two somersaults head over heels.
“Ho! Ho!” laughed Shaggo. “This is like the game Rumpo and Bumpo used to play! It’s lots of fun! It’s better than tag! Come on! Who’s going to be the next?”
But now the rush of antelopes stopped. They were not used to being knocked about in this way.
“Come on!” cried Shaggo, sort of laughing to himself. “I thought you were going to drive me away from this water hole!”
“And so I am!” shouted another antelope, who had been at the rear of the herd. “You can’t knock me down!”
With horns lowered he rushed at Shaggo, but the big buffalo was now entering into the spirit of the fight. This time he shook his head a little harder and gave it a wider sweep as the antelope came near him. He sent this animal flying through the air so that he landed some distance away in a clump of bushes.
“There! How do you like that?” cried Shaggo.
“I don’t like it at all,” was the answer of this antelope as he scrambled to his feet.
“Then let me alone!” cried Shaggo. “Come on now, it’s my turn to have some fun!” With that he rushed straight at the antelopes as they had rushed at him. Some of the mother antelopes, who had small calves with them, grew alarmed.
“Oh, look out!” cried these mothers, as they scampered away, calling to their children to follow. “Our little ones will be hurt!”
“Look out for Shaggo! Look out for Shaggo!” was the cry on all sides now. “He’ll knock us all head over heels!”
“That’s what I will!” said the mighty buffalo. “Here I come!”
He ran faster, shaking his great head, and the sun glistened on his black horns, which, if they were not as long as those of the antelopes, were much thicker.
“Come on! Let’s run!” cried one antelope; and this seemed to be the best thing for them. Those who had been knocked down had got up, and, in another instant, the whole herd was running away over the prairie faster than they had run up to the water hole.
“Hum! Well, that wasn’t so bad! One buffalo making a whole herd of antelopes run away!” laughed Shaggo in his own fashion, as he stopped, raised his head and looked after the running creatures. “I have had one good adventure, anyhow! Oh, but I wish my shoulder did not hurt so much!” he added, as he felt a twinge of pain.
For now, when the excitement of fighting the antelopes was over, the buffalo felt the pain more than ever. He limped back to the water hole, after making sure that the antelopes had gone far enough away as not to bother him, and took a long drink.
“I guess I’ll eat something and then go to sleep,” decided Shaggo, when he had taken all the water he needed. “Then I can roam wherever I please. I am no longer fenced in. There is no one to order me about—not even Wuffo!”
He began to feel very important, but another twinge of pain in his shoulder made him remember that his adventures were not all happy ones.
Shaggo was so tired because of his adventures, and from the pain in his shoulder, that he slept all night. It was bright morning when he awakened, and the first thing he wanted was a drink.
“I’ll go to the water hole and then I’ll eat my breakfast,” he said to himself. “After that I’ll roam where I please and see what adventures I may meet with.”
When Shaggo reached the water hole he saw, in the soft mud at the bank, the marks of many feet. Among them were those of the antelopes.
“They came back and got their drink after I went away,” laughed Shaggo to himself. He also saw the tracks of a bear and those of a mountain lion. The mountain lion is not like the lion you may have seen in a circus—it is more like a wild cat or a panther.
“Well, I’m not afraid of either a bear or a mountain lion,” thought Shaggo, as he took his drink. “Still, with my sore shoulder, I’d just as soon not have to fight them now. I wish my shoulder would get better!”
It did not pain Shaggo so much as at first, but it was stiff and ached when he walked. It seemed to be swelling, too, as he could see when he looked at the reflection of himself in the water pool, which was like a looking glass.
Now began the wanderings of Shaggo. They took him into many places, and he had many adventures, about which I will tell you. To some of the places Shaggo went himself. To others he was taken by men, whether he liked it or not. And it was when he had to do with men that most of the buffalo’s adventures took place.
Shaggo wandered over the prairie and up into the forests. Now and then he met animal friends, but he did not meet other buffaloes, for they were all on ranges in National Parks, as he had been.
Once Shaggo met a grizzly bear, who growled out a welcome, as he clawed at a rotten stump to get something to eat.
“Where are the rest of you?” asked the bear.
“Whom do you mean?” asked Shaggo.
“The other buffaloes,” went on the bear. “Where are the others of the herd? You buffaloes always travel in crowds.”
“Oh, I am off by myself looking for adventures,” was Shaggo’s answer.
“Well, I wish you luck!” growled the bear, as he shuffled away.
On and on traveled Shaggo. Now and then he stopped to crop the rich grass, or to drink at some small water hole. He did not again come to one as large as that at which he had fought the antelopes.
And once Shaggo accidentally stepped into the hole house of a prairie dog. It was an old hole, and no one lived in it, but Shaggo tripped and fell, hurting his sore shoulder very much.
“Oh dear!” groaned the buffalo, and he felt so bad that he stretched out on the grass and did not get up again for some time. But at last the pain eased somewhat, and then the mighty buffalo wandered on, looking for a place to sleep.
The next morning, on a distant hill, Shaggo saw some small figures, like black dots moving about.
“I wonder if they can be buffaloes?” thought Shaggo. He watched them carefully, and then he knew the black dots were men moving about, some on horses. Shaggo was more or less acquainted with men. He had seen them in the National Park, and once he had been very close to several who had come to mend the broken wire. The men had not tried to hurt the buffaloes, so Shaggo and his companions were not afraid of them.
“But maybe they are trying to get me inside the fence again,” thought Shaggo. “I am not ready to go back to the preserve yet. I’m going to run away farther.”
So he trotted down into a valley, where the men could not see him, and traveled on. But the next day Shaggo saw the men again, and there seemed to be more of them.
For a week or more Shaggo wandered on, now and then seeing the men again. Sometimes they were near, and again far off. Then, one day, something happened which was the beginning of many strange adventures for the buffalo.
He had eaten his fill of sweet, green grass when he felt a longing for some salt. Animals often have this desire. On the range, from which he had run away, Shaggo knew of several places where there were “salt licks.” There the ground was white with salt, and the animals could lick it up with their tongues.
“I wish I could find such a place now,” thought Shaggo. “I’d like to have some salt!”
To Shaggo, just then, salt would have been as good as a lollypop would taste to you. So the buffalo hunted about on the prairie, and at last, to his joy, he found a few grains of salt.
“It isn’t very much, but it’s better than nothing,” he said to himself as he licked it up. Then, as he walked on, he found that the salt seemed to extend in a long, thin line toward a little valley.
“Oh, maybe there’s a lot of salt there!” thought Shaggo. “I’ll follow this thin line along, and get all I want!”
He licked up the salt as he slowly followed its line, never raising his head to look about him. If he had, Shaggo would have seen, hidden behind the bushes, several men.
“We’ve got him now!” whispered one of the men.
“Almost,” said another in a low voice. “I thought the salt would get him!”
Shaggo kept on licking up the salt, moving forward until he saw, just ahead of him, a pile of the white crystals. This salt was under what seemed to be a shed, but as the buffalo had often gone into a shed on the range he was not afraid of this one.
“At last I have found just what I want—a big salt lick,” thought Shaggo to himself. “I surely am in luck to-day!”
He made a rush under the shed, where he could get a quantity of the salt at once instead of only a few grains at a time. But no sooner had he passed into the shed and begun to lick up the salt greedily, than something happened.
There was a bang and a crash behind him! Shaggo raised his head and turned quickly. The shed had been open on one side—the place where the buffalo had entered. But now this side was closed. And, to his surprise, Shaggo found himself shut up in a small house made of heavy logs.
“We’ve got him!” cried the voices of men outside. “We have him now!”
Shaggo made a rush against the log door that had fallen shut behind him. But with all his strength he was not able to knock it open. He was hurled back, his shoulder hurting him dreadfully. And then, as more men ran up, shouting, Shaggo knew what had happened.
“I’m caught in a trap!” bellowed the mighty buffalo.
SHAGGO ON A TRAIN
The men who had been watching Shaggo from afar for many days had, at last, caught the mighty buffalo in a trap. They had seen him wandering about the prairies and in the forest, and had made up their minds to try to catch him.
“But that must be a buffalo from one of the Government Parks,” one of the men had said. “There are no wild buffaloes roaming about now. They are all on preserves, and belong to the Government or to private owners.”
“That doesn’t make any difference to us,” said the rest of the men. “This buffalo is loose, and, if we can catch him, he’s ours.”
“But what can you do with him?” asked the man who had first objected. “If the Government finds that you have him they’ll take him away from you.”
“Nobody will find out,” declared the other men, who did not seem to care how wrongfully they acted. “We’ll catch this lone, big buffalo in a trap, and sell him to a circus or some zoo. Then we’ll get a lot of money.”
“I’m not going to have anything to do with it,” said the first man.
But the bad men made up their minds they would catch Shaggo, and so they laid their plans. They gradually came nearer and nearer to him, and, to keep out of their way, Shaggo traveled in just the direction the men wanted him to. They were slowly driving him toward a lonely valley where they had set a trap.
“And to get him into the trap before he knows it, we’ll sprinkle some salt along the way,” said one of the men. “Buffaloes like salt. He’ll follow a salt trail and be in the trap before he knows it.”
And this is just what happened. Shaggo was so eager to get the salt that he never noticed where he was going until he heard the trap door slam shut behind him, and then he was caught.
“Now we’ve got him!” cried the men, as they rushed up.
Shaggo, when he knew that he was caught, tried to get away. His head was big and strong and hard. He had often knocked down fence posts, and butted over other buffaloes, just as he had knocked down the antelopes. So now Shaggo thought he could knock a hole in the trap and get out. He tried it, but the logs of which the trap was made were stronger than the buffalo’s head. He only felt himself hurled back, making his sore shoulder hurt worse than ever. After trying this two or three times Shaggo gave up.
Shaggo, when he knew he was caught, tried to get away.
“It’s of no use,” he sadly said to himself. “I’m caught. I may as well make the best of it. I guess my adventures are over.”
But Shaggo was wrong about this—his adventures were just beginning.
The men who had built the trap gathered around to peer in through the cracks at Shaggo.
“He’s a big fellow!” said one.
“The largest I’ve ever seen,” added another.
The men talked for a while around the log cage they had made to catch Shaggo. He could see them through the cracks, as they could see him. The buffalo did not care for the salt any more, though there was still plenty of it on the ground inside the trap. Instead Shaggo began to feel very thirsty.
“I could almost drink some of that hot water in the cave,” thought the big buffalo to himself. “My, how thirsty I’m getting!”
And so, a little later when Shaggo suddenly saw one end of the trap open and noticed, just beyond it, a pail of water, the buffalo rushed forward to get a drink. He could smell the water and knew it was good.
“Ha! He’s doing just what we wanted him to,” said one of the men, though of course Shaggo did not know what they were saying, as he only understood animal talk.
“Yes, he’s going into the smaller cage. Now we can put him on a wagon and ship him off to some circus. Then we’ll get our money,” went on another man.
What they had done was this. They had made a cage of strong wood with a single door to it. This cage had been placed near the trap, and a pail of water was set inside the cage. Then the trap door was opened so Shaggo could walk out into the cage to get a drink.
And the buffalo had done that. He did not know he was walking from the trap into a traveling cage, but that is what he had done. All he thought of was the drink, just as all he had thought of, before, had been the salt.
So Shaggo walked into the cage and, while he was drinking, the door was shut behind him.
“Now we can easily handle him,” said one of the men. “We shall have no more trouble with this buffalo.”
Poor Shaggo looked about him. He was in a much smaller place than he had ever been in before. The cage, which was made of strong branches of trees, was just large enough for him to turn around, but not to run or jump.
“I thought I was cramped, and had no room on the range in the Park,” said Shaggo to himself, as he looked at the narrow cage. “But I had a thousand times as much room there as I have here. I guess I was foolish to jump over that fence. All I have gotten out of it, so far, is a sprained shoulder and some salt. I could have got the salt by staying at home. As for the sore shoulder, I don’t want that at all. It hurts too much, and it seems to be growing bigger. I wonder why that is?”
But Shaggo had no time to wonder much about himself. He was too anxious over what the men were going to do. He could easily see them through the wooden bars of his cage, but he could not reach them with his hoofs or his horns. Perhaps it is a good thing he could not, for he might have tried to trample on them, or knock them down.
“Get the cage up on the wagon,” said one of the men, “and we’ll take this buffalo to the train and ship him off. Then no one will know that we have one of the Government animals.”
Shaggo did not understand this talk, of course. But he saw a lot of men coming toward him and he began to trample around in the cage.
“Look out! He’ll get loose!” shouted one of the men, as he sprang away. “I don’t want him to horn me!”
“Oh, he won’t get out!” another man said. “I made that cage good and strong on purpose. It will hold a grizzly bear or a buffalo.”
And, surely enough, Shaggo could not get out, try as he might. He did not care so much about hurting the men as he did about getting loose, but he could do neither. The cage shook and rattled, but it held firm, and a little later the men hoisted it up on a wagon, pulling and hauling it by ropes.
“Now we’re ready to go to the train,” cried the man who seemed to be the leader.
Horses were hitched to the wagon. At first one of them shied when he caught sight of Shaggo and smelled the wild, buffalo odor. But Shaggo was not afraid of horses. He had often seen them in the big, National Park. And not all horses are afraid of buffaloes. It is only horses that never have seen the big, shaggy creatures that show signs of fear.
It was a new adventure for Shaggo to be given a ride instead of walking or running on his own legs. Never before, in all his life, had he ridden on a wagon. But he was soon to have a stranger ride than this.
Off over the prairie went the big wagon, with the buffalo on it in a cage. The sun grew hot and the men threw a piece of tent cloth over the cage to shade Shaggo, and the buffalo was glad of this.
The men were not cruel to him, for they gave him grass and hay, and also water to drink on the journey. But for all that the buffalo wished himself out of the cage. The jolting of the wagon made his sore shoulder ache more and more.
Toward evening, after the piece of canvas had been taken off, Shaggo caught sight, through the bars of his cage, of several buildings.
“We’ll stay here to-night,” said one of the men. “Then go on to the railroad in the morning.”
In the morning the wagon started off once more. In about two hours Shaggo saw a lot of black smoke.
“Oh, the prairies must be on fire!” thought the buffalo. He had heard Wuffo tell of prairie fires. But the men did not seem to be alarmed.
“There’s the smoke from the train!” called one of the men. “Drive fast or we’ll miss it!”
The horses galloped, and soon the wagon, with Shaggo on it in the cage, drew up beside a train. The mighty buffalo, strong as he was, felt frightened at the strange sights, sounds, and smells. Black smoke poured from a snorting monster that Shaggo, later, came to know was a steam locomotive. Then there was the rumbling of big cars that looked like boxes on wheels. Then came a loud shriek, such as ten or twenty prairie wolves might have given if they all howled at once.
Shaggo, in the cage, was soon loaded into a box car, and the door was pulled shut.
“It’s as dark as it was in the hole where I landed after I jumped the fence!” thought the caged buffalo. “I wonder what will happen next? I don’t like it here!”
For some time nothing happened, except that there was a constant rumbling and roaring as the train puffed over the prairies. Shaggo could see nothing, and no one seemed to be in the car with him. After a while, however, the door was opened and a man came in to give the buffalo some hay and water. Then the door was shut again and it was once more dark. Shaggo did not enjoy his first train ride.
All of a sudden, the mighty buffalo was awakened from his sleep by a great crash. It was like a hundred thunder storms made into one. At the same time Shaggo felt himself tossed up and around and shaken from side to side. Then he felt himself sliding out of the car door, while, all about him, he heard wild shouts and a great racket.
SHAGGO IN A CIRCUS
Shaggo was at first so shaken up and tumbled about, and his shoulder hurt him so much from having been hit against the side of his cage, that the buffalo did not know what had happened. But he saw that he was no longer in the darkness of the box car into which he had been placed for his train ride. He could look out and up through the wooden bars, and he could see the stars shining above him, just as he had seen them in the National Park.
“But I can’t be back at the Park, where Rumpo and Bumpo are always butting one another and playing jokes,” thought Shaggo. “I don’t believe I am back there. Never did we have such noises there as I hear all about me. It’s enough to make one deaf!”
Well might Shaggo say that, for on all sides was the hissing of the steam engines, the blowing of whistles, the crackle of flames and the shouting of men. Though Shaggo did not know it, the train on which he had been riding in the box car had been in collision with another train. There was a wreck. Shaggo’s car was broken open and his cage had slid out. That was what had happened. It was the first railroad wreck in which Shaggo had ever found himself, and no wonder he did not know what it was.
“All I can say is that I don’t care very much for this, whatever it is,” said the buffalo to himself.
Pretty soon some men came running along the track toward Shaggo, who was standing in his cage looking out at the stars.
“Well, thank goodness, the buffalo didn’t get loose!” said one of the men.
“That’s right,” chimed in another. “If he’d gotten loose there would be a lot of trouble.”
By this time Shaggo was getting used to the sight and smell of men, though of course he did not know what they were saying. He no longer tried to break out of his cage when they came near him. But had he known that he was in a railroad wreck the buffalo might have tried to escape. For, as was found out afterward, one part of the cage was broken, and, had Shaggo tried, he could have slipped out. But he did not know, and so he stayed inside the bars until, after a while, another train was made up to take the place of the wrecked one, and Shaggo was put on board that. Then, once again, off he started, just where to he did not know.
All he knew was that he did not at all like it in the dark, even though, now and then, men came in to give him hay and water.
Sometimes these men talked to Shaggo, and when daylight came, and the door of his car was left open, letting in light and air, one of the men stayed some little time, looking at the buffalo.
“My, but you’re a big fellow! The circus will be glad to get you,” he said.
Shaggo was so lonesome, by this time, that he moved over toward the side of the cage where the man stood, and put out his tongue. Perhaps Shaggo hoped to get a bit of salt. But the man had none. However, the man reached his hand in through the bars of the cage and patted the shaggy animal on the back. By accident he touched the animal’s sore shoulder.
Shaggo jumped back and let out a loud bellow, a sound such as a bull makes in a farmer’s pasture.
At last, after several days’ travel, during which he was never let out of the car, following the railroad wreck, Shaggo noticed that the train was standing still. Then his car was sent back and forth, in little jerks at a time, until finally it gave a big bump, shaking Shaggo up rather badly, and then it was still.
“Well, I wonder what’s going to happen now,” thought the great buffalo. “I hope they let me out of this cage, or trap, or whatever they call it. I want to run around and get some green grass and some salt, and I want to drink at the water pool. I wonder if I can run any more? My shoulder seems very much larger, and it is stiff. It doesn’t hurt me as much as when I first fell on it, after my big jump, but I wonder if I can run with it this way?”
He tried to get a look at his shoulder, but it was still dark in his car. Suddenly, however, the door was opened. The flood of sunlight almost blinded Shaggo for a moment, and then he saw some men come in. They had ropes and boards.
“What is going to happen?” thought Shaggo.
The men talked among themselves.
“So that’s the buffalo, is it?” asked one.
“Yes, that’s the one the boss bought somewhere out West,” said another man. “We haven’t any buffaloes in our circus, and the boss thought it would be good to have one. Say, look at his hump, would you! Isn’t it big?”
“He has two humps!” said another man.
They approached nearer the cage, opened the other door of the car and looked closely at Shaggo.
“No, that swelling on his shoulder isn’t a hump,” said the first man. “Maybe he got hurt in the train wreck. I heard he was in one. We’ll have our animal doctor take a look at him.”
Shaggo sniffed at the men as they stood near his cage. He seemed to know they would not hurt him, and so he did not stamp around, bellow or try to break out as they put ropes around his cage and pulled it toward the door of the freight car. After a while the cage was slid down some planks, as barrels are rolled into a cellar, and then the cage was hoisted up on a wagon.
It was a much larger wagon than the one Shaggo had ridden on after he had been caught in the trap. And it was a much nicer wagon, too, for it was painted red, yellow, and green, though of course the buffalo did not know much about such colors. The green of the grass, the whiteness of salt and the blueness of the water he drank were about all the colors Shaggo knew. True he had seen the beautiful colors of the sunset, but I doubt if he really paid much attention to them. And, in a way, the wagon was almost the colors of sunset. It was a circus wagon on which Shaggo was now riding.
Over the buffalo’s cage was thrown a heavy piece of canvas—a part of one of the tents—and then Shaggo was drawn through the city streets. He did not know he was in a city, for he had never seen one before, but there he was. And after a long, rumbling ride the buffalo came to rest. The cover was taken off his cage, and for the first time in his life Shaggo found himself inside a circus barn.
It was not a circus tent, for the show was in what is called its “winter quarters.” It is no time for a circus to travel about, giving performances in a tent, when weather is cold. Cold is not good for many circus animals, so in winter they are kept in warm barns. And it was in one of these barns that Shaggo now found himself.
“Hello,” called a man to the driver of the wagon. “Did you get the new buffalo?”
“Yes, he’s here,” was the answer.
“Let’s get him into a wagon cage,” went on the first man. “The circus will soon start out on the road. This is the first buffalo we’ve ever had. Let’s get a look at him.”
A crowd of men gathered around Shaggo to look at him. Some put their hands in and stroked his shaggy coat of hair.
“Look out for that swelled shoulder of his,” warned one of the circus men. “I guess he got a bump in the train wreck, and he’s sore. We’ll have to doctor him up a bit.”
“All right. But let’s get him into one of the regular cages now, where he’ll have more room,” suggested another. “Later on, when he’s tamed a bit, we may be able to let him be out in the open, like the camels and elephants.”
Shaggo did not understand this talk. All he knew was that he was tired, hungry and thirsty. The wagon, on which his cage rested, was backed up to another wagon, which was really a cage on wheels. In this cage hay and water were put, and the two doors were opened. Shaggo looked around a bit, and, seeing something to eat and something to drink in the larger cage, into it he walked. The iron-barred door clanged shut on him, but Shaggo paid little attention to this. He took a long drink, and then began to eat some hay.
“We’ll leave him alone for a while,” said the men, and they walked off.
Shaggo was so hungry that all he did for a time was to eat. He put his black nose down in the pile of hay and took a large mouthful. While he was chewing this he saw something long and thin suddenly thrust itself in between the bars of his cage. All at once Shaggo was much excited.
“A snake! A snake!” cried Shaggo in animal talk. “Oh, what a big rattlesnake! Here, get out of my cage!” he rumbled.
SHAGGO AND TUM TUM
Shaggo knew what rattlesnakes were, for sometimes, in the hot summers, they were seen in the National Park on the buffalo range.
He had heard his father and mother, as well as Wuffo, the old bull leader of the herd, speak of rattlesnakes, and tell what great pain followed if a buffalo were bitten on the leg or the nose by one. So when Shaggo saw the long, snaky thing stuck into his cage, near the bunch of hay, the buffalo cried:
“Get out of here!”
“Easy now! Easy!” answered a voice, which was almost as rumbly as his own, and not at all like the hissing talk of a snake. “I am not going to hurt you.”
“I don’t know whether you are or not,” answered Shaggo, shrinking back into a corner of his cage. “But I was always told to keep away from rattlesnakes; and, though you haven’t rattled yet, I’m sure you’re one of those crawling serpents.”
“Ha! Ha! Ha!” laughed the other voice. “That’s where you’re fooled. Though I’m sorry that I frightened you. Look up and you’ll soon see that I am not a snake. Though I must admit my long trunk does twist like one.”
Shaggo looked up and to one side. He saw a great, gray-colored animal, much larger than himself, standing near his cage. And it was this animal that had thrust in between the bars, something that the buffalo had taken for a snake. Then he saw it was not—that it was part of the great animal.
“Well, I see you’re not a snake,” said the buffalo; “but, if it’s all the same to you, please take your tail out of my hay.”
“This isn’t my tail,” went on the big creature. “My tail is on the other end. This is my trunk that you see.”
“Your trunk!” cried Shaggo. “What do you do with a trunk?”
“It is really only my nose, made extra long so I can pick up things with it and feed myself,” was the answer.
“Nonsense!” exclaimed Shaggo, who was beginning to feel friendly toward this new, big circus animal. “Do you mean to tell me you can pick up things with your nose?”
“Of course I can!” was the answer. “Do you want to see me? If you don’t mind I’ll take a little of your hay. It is fresher than mine.”
“Help yourself,” replied Shaggo.
The long thing, which Shaggo had thought was a snake, was once more thrust in between the bars of his cage. And then, to his surprise, the buffalo saw that on the end of the long object was something like a finger and thumb. This picked up a wisp of hay, more hay was encircled in a coil of the trunk, and then the fodder was lifted up and stuffed down a large, red mouth.
“There, Shaggo, as I heard the circus men call you, do you believe I can pick up things with my nose?” asked the big animal.
“Yes,” answered the buffalo, “I do. But I never would have believed it if I had not seen it. Who are you, if you please, and what are you called?”
“I am Tum Tum, the jolly elephant,” was the answer. “I have been in the circus for some time, and I am glad that you have come to live with us. I suppose you are a new kind of sacred cow, for those are the only animals I ever saw with humps on their backs, except the camels, and I know you aren’t a camel. You’re too good-looking to be a camel, though the camels are friends of mine,” went on the jolly elephant, who never spoke a bad word against any of his circus companions.
“No, I am not a camel, nor am I a sacred cow,” said Shaggo. “I did not know there were any animals other than myself who had humps.”
“Oh, yes,” said Tum Tum. “Look over there and you can see the camels.”
Shaggo looked, as Tum Tum pointed with his trunk, and saw some rather ugly animals chewing hay. Some had two humps and some had one.
“They are taller than I am, but they are not so strong,” said Shaggo. “And they have no horns. I should not object to meeting them in a fight.”
“Oh, my dear Shaggo! We never think of fighting!” laughed Tum Tum. “All of us, here in the circus, are friends. You’ll soon get used to us.”
“Yes, I suppose I shall, after my sore shoulder stops hurting,” said the buffalo.
“Is that where your shoulder is swelled?” asked Tum Tum. “I’m sorry. I heard some of the circus men talking about it. At first I thought you had two humps, like some of the camels.”
“No, there is something queer growing on my shoulder,” went on Shaggo. “It hurts and I don’t like it. But perhaps I got that for running away.”
“Did you run away?” asked Tum Tum, and he took a little more of the buffalo’s fresh hay. “I did once, but I was glad to run back. Tell me about it, please.”
So in animal talk Shaggo told Tum Tum how the big jump had been made over the fence and how the buffalo had hurt himself.
He turned to get a drink of water from the tub full in his cage when, all of a sudden, he heard a loud, roaring sound.
“What’s that?” asked Shaggo of Tum Tum.
“Oh, that’s Nero, the circus lion,” was the answer. “He smells the meat the men are bringing for his dinner, and he’s telling them how glad he will be to get it.”
“Well, I don’t know who Nero is,” remarked Shaggo, “but he certainly makes a lot of noise.”
“Who is talking about me?” roared the lion, whose cage was not far from that of the buffalo.
“It’s a new circus animal,” answered Tum Tum. “Nero, allow me to introduce you to Shaggo, the mighty buffalo.”
“Pleased to meet you,” roared Nero. “Were you ever in a book?”
“Did you say a brook?” asked Shaggo. “Yes, I have often waded in a brook. It’s lots of fun, isn’t it?”
“No, I didn’t say brook!” roared Nero, who was not impolite. That was his lion manner of speaking. “I said book. I don’t know how you spell it, but it’s something that tells stories of animals.”
“Pleased to meet you,” roared Nero.
Shaggo shook his head.
“No,” he answered, “I don’t believe I was ever in a book. Though Wuffo, the leader of our herd, used to tell stories of the days when millions of buffaloes wandered over the prairies.”
“He must have been in a book to know about stories,” said Nero. “I’m in a book; and so is Tum Tum and several of us circus animals. Chunky, the happy hippo, is in a book, too. But now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll eat. Here comes the meat I was hoping for.” And Nero, the big circus lion, growled and roared his thanks to the man who brought him some bones and a chunk of meat.
“Well,” thought Shaggo, “I don’t know anything about this book business, but if it will cure my aching shoulder the sooner I get in a book the better. I say!” he suddenly called to Tum Tum. “Who’s that funny animal with the long tail? It looks as if somebody got hold of it, stretched it away out long and that it stayed that way. Who is he?”
“That’s Mappo, the merry monkey,” was the answer. “He’s in a book, too,” went on the elephant, “and he has had many adventures.”
“Indeed I have,” said Mappo, with a laugh. “And let me tell you, Shaggo, that nobody stretched out my tail. It was always long that way, so I could swing by it from trees in the jungle. But now I only swing from this trapeze in my cage, or hang by a bar in the big tent when I do tricks, after the circus starts on the road. Watch me!”
As he spoke Mappo gave a jump across his cage, caught his tail on the bar of a swinging trapeze, and swayed to and fro like the pendulum of a clock.
“That’s quite a trick!” cried Shaggo. “I could never do that, though once I did give a big jump.”
The buffalo was beginning to like it in the circus, and he told his new friends so.
“Oh, the fun here in the winter barns is nothing to what will happen when the circus starts out on the road and we show in a tent in a different city every day,” said Tum Tum. “I’m just waiting for that time to come!”
“So am I!” chattered Mappo, the merry monkey.
Sometimes Tum Tum, and again Nero or Mappo, would be taken out of the barn where they had been stationed near Shaggo. Then, in an hour or so, men would bring them back.
“Where have you been?” Shaggo would ask.
“To practise our tricks,” Tum Tum answered. “We are getting ready to travel out on the road.”
In another week Shaggo noticed a busy time in the barn. Men began touching up the wagons with paint, new wheels were put on some, and then, one day, dozens of horses came in and were hitched to the cages that could be drawn from place to place.
“Hurray! Now we are going to travel!” said Tum Tum.
Shaggo’s cage was drawn outside the barn, and for the first time in many weeks the buffalo saw the shining sun and felt the warm summer breezes blowing on him. His cage was rolled to one side, and the horses went back into the barn to haul out others.
How it happened no one seemed to know, but, all of a sudden, Shaggo’s cage, with him in it, began to roll down a hill. It went slowly at first, but soon began to roll faster, and men cried:
“Oh look! The buffalo will be hurt! His cage will roll down on the rocks and be smashed!”
SHAGGO MEETS DON
Shaggo himself, in his circus cage, soon began to feel that something was wrong. It was not that he minded rolling along in his strange house on wheels, but this time he was not being drawn by horses as he had been at first. He could look out through the bars and see that no horses were hitched to his cage. They had been taken back into the circus barn. And yet Shaggo’s cage was rolling along. It was rolling downhill, and going faster and faster all the while.
“Stop it! Somebody stop the buffalo’s cage!” cried the circus men, and several of them ran after it. But they were too far away, and Shaggo’s cage might have gone down the hill and been broken open on the rocks and trees at the bottom, only for what Tum Tum did.
The jolly elephant saw that something was wrong, and, in a way, Tum Tum understood men’s talk. His trainer had taught him to stand on his head and lie down, and whenever he heard these words Tum Tum knew what to do. So, when the big, jolly elephant heard the men shouting he knew something had happened. He looked toward the rolling cage, with the buffalo in it. By this time Shaggo was beginning to feel frightened.
“If there’s a smash my sore shoulder will be hurt again! Ouch! I don’t want that to happen!” thought Shaggo. Then he bellowed out:
“Somebody stop my cage from going to smash!”
“I’ll save you! I’ll stop your cage!” cried Tum Tum.
The big elephant ran down the little hill until he was in front of the buffalo’s cage. Even if he was almost as large as a small house, Tum Tum could run fast. It did not take him long to put himself in front of the rolling cage. Then with his big head lowered, Tum Tum stood still, and when the cage came along it bumped gently into the elephant and came to a stop. Shaggo was not shaken up at all.
“Oh, look!” cried the circus men. “Tum Tum stopped the buffalo’s cage from going to smash.”
“Yes, you can always depend on Tum Tum,” said the elephant’s keeper. “He’s a smart beast.”
“Thank you, so much, Tum Tum,” said Shaggo, in animal talk, as he looked out through the bars and saw what his new friend had done. “You saved my lame shoulder from being bumped.”
“I’m glad I did,” replied the elephant. “Now keep still, Shaggo, and I’ll push your cage back up the hill where you’ll be all right.”
Shaggo was a very strong and mighty buffalo, but as he looked at the immense head and legs of the elephant while Tum Tum pushed the wagon back up the hill, Shaggo thought:
“Here is one who is mightier than I.”
There were busy times for the next few days. The cage of Shaggo, as well as the cages of the other animals, together with the tents, the stoves, the band wagons, the steam calliope wagon and all the other things that go to make up a circus were loaded on railroad cars, and the circus started on its summer wanderings.
By this time Shaggo was getting used to traveling on a railroad, and did not mind it much. In the same car with him was a cage in which a handsome black and yellow striped animal paced up and down.
For some time this animal did not speak to Shaggo. He kept marching up and down in his cage, and, now and then, he would rise up on his hind legs and paw at the iron bars.
“Excuse me,” said Shaggo, after a while, “but are you trying to get loose?”
“No. I know better than to try that,” was the answer. “I have been in my cage so long I am used to it now. But at times I wish I might go back to my jungle.”
“I have heard Tum Tum and Mappo speak of the jungle,” said Shaggo. “You are neither an elephant nor a monkey. What are you?”
“I am a tame tiger, and my name is Tamba,” was the reply.
“I am glad to meet you,” said Shaggo, and he told his name. “I am a buffalo.”
“Yes, I know you are,” said the tiger.
“You did? How?” asked Shaggo in surprise. “I am the only buffalo in the circus, and—”
“Oh, but I have seen buffaloes in the jungle,” said Tamba. “They are not exactly like you, and their horns are longer. We call them water buffaloes, but they are near enough like you so that I knew who you were. But you seem to have two humps; how is that?”
“That swelling on my shoulder is not a hump,” answered Shaggo. “It is where I hurt myself when I leaped over the fence as I ran away from the range.”
“Then you are a runaway!” exclaimed Tamba.
“Yes,” answered Shaggo, somewhat sadly, for his shoulder hurt him more than ever. “I thought I was such a mighty buffalo that the preserve, in the Park, was too small for me. I thought I was the strongest animal in the world—until I saw Tum Tum. He would make two of me.”
“Yes, Tum Tum is the greatest of all animals,” said the tiger. “But, with all that, he is kind and gentle, and the jolliest friend you could ever have.”
“I can easily believe that,” rumbled Shaggo. “Well, I ran away, and now I can not get back. I must make the best of it.”
“Oh, you’ll like it here in the circus,” said Tamba. “We have good times after we get started, and it is fun to watch the people come and see us. Besides we do tricks. Do you know any?”
“No,” Shaggo answered, “I don’t know any tricks.”
“And I don’t believe you are the kind of animal they would teach tricks to,” said the tiger. “Never mind, you are good to look at, and very odd, with your two humps. I shouldn’t be surprised but what they would advertise you, and put you in a book.”
“I know a little of what it means to be in a book,” said Shaggo. “I heard Tum Tum and Mappo speak of that. But what is ‘advertise’? That is a word I never heard before.”
“It means put your name and your picture on the billboards and on the posters that go up all over town when the circus is to show,” explained the tiger. “I’m on the pictures, and so is Nero and Tum Tum, and also Chunky, the happy hippo. He always has his picture taken with his mouth wide open.”
“What for?” asked Shaggo.
“Oh, it’s the biggest part of him; and I suppose he is rather proud of it,” answered Tamba. “It is my stripes that show best. You should see some of my latest pictures.”
“I hope I may,” said Shaggo, politely.
“And I hope I shall see yours,” went on Tamba. “Not all circus animals get their pictures on the posters, but I think you will. And now, if you will excuse me, I think I’ll go to sleep. We may have a long ride before our cages are taken off the train and put in the tents. Good-night.”
“Good-night,” answered Shaggo, and then he saw the tame tiger curl up and go to sleep. Shaggo also closed his eyes, but he did not sleep at once.
“I’m afraid I’m going to have trouble with that shoulder before it gets better,” thought the mighty buffalo, just before, at last, he finally dropped off into a sleep.
When Shaggo awoke he found a great deal of excitement going on around the circus train, which had come to a stop. There was the rumble of heavy wagons and the tramping of horses, mingled with the shouting and calling of men.
“What’s the matter?” asked Shaggo of Tamba.
“Oh,” answered the tiger, giving a yawn, “we have reached the first city in which the circus is to give a performance. Now we shall be put in a tent, and people will come to see us.”
“What’s a tent?” asked Shaggo, who had never seen one.
“It’s a sort of a white, cloth house,” the tiger answered. “You’ll like it. This sort of life is much more fun than being cooped up in the winter barns.”
Pretty soon the cages of Tamba and Shaggo and the rest were taken from the railroad car and drawn to the circus grounds.
A large crowd of boys and a number of men came to the place where the train stopped to see the circus unload, and, later, they watched the big tent being put up. Of this Shaggo saw very little, for his cage remained covered. At last, however, his wagon, and that of the other animals, was wheeled inside the big, white cloth house, and Shaggo found himself in a sort of ring of which many other cages formed a part.
“Now the circus will soon start, after we have been in the parade,” said Tamba.
“What’s a parade?” asked Shaggo.
“My! You don’t know anything about a circus, do you?” laughed Tamba. “A parade is where the animals march, or are drawn, through the streets so the people can see them—at least see some of them, and that makes them want to come and see more. The elephants, camels and horses march, but you will be kept in your cage, I think, as I am, and as Nero is also.”
A little later the cages were hauled out again and, for the first time in his life, Shaggo took part in a circus parade. He looked out through the bars of his cage and saw crowds of people lining the streets. The bands played, the steam calliope tooted its queer music, and the wagon-load of clowns made the children laugh.
Then, once more, back to the circus grounds the mighty buffalo was taken, and a little later the circus performance started. Of the part that went on in the main tent, where the acrobats did their tricks, the clowns cut up funny capers and Tum Tum and Tamba went through their acts, Shaggo saw nothing.
The buffalo was kept in his cage, as were some of the other animals. It was their part in the show to be looked at, and a great throng gathered around Shaggo’s cage.
He stood and watched the people passing his cage. Once a man came along carrying a cane. Shaggo was standing still in one corner, for his shoulder hurt him.
“Hi there!” called the man sharply. “Move about there, Buffalo, and let’s see what you look like!” As he said this the man poked Shaggo with the cane. He prodded the buffalo on his sore shoulder, and Shaggo let out a loud bellow of pain and jumped to one side.
“Ha! I made him step lively!” cried this unkind man.
A moment later a small, shaggy animal, with a pointed nose and bright shining eyes, leaped at the man, showed his teeth and growled.
“Here! Let that buffalo alone!” Shaggo heard this new animal bark, and saw the man leap back in fright and run out of the tent.
“Thank you for not letting him poke me again,” said Shaggo to this shaggy animal. “Are you a wolf?”
“No, I am Don, and once I was a runaway dog,” was the answer. “I could see that this man was hurting you, so I drove him away. If he comes back I’ll nip him,” and Don growled again.
The man who had poked Shaggo with the cane, hurting the buffalo’s lame shoulder, did not come back, however. I think he was rather afraid of Don, who growled so fiercely. Don was a good and gentle dog, but he did not like bad men.
SHAGGO AND DIDO
“Excuse me for thinking you were a wolf,” said Shaggo to Don. “But you look just like some of the prairie wolves I used to see out West on the big fields near our range.”
“That’s all right,” barked Don. He and Shaggo could visit, for there were only a few keepers in the animal tent now. All the audience had gone into the main tent to see the show, and Don and Shaggo could talk animal talk as much as they pleased.
“I don’t mind being taken for a wolf,” went on Don. “In fact we dogs once were wolves, and it was only after we became tame and lived around the house that we were called dogs.”
“The only dogs I ever saw before,” said Shaggo, “were little prairie dogs.”
“Hum! I never saw any of those that I remember,” Don said.
“Do you belong in this circus?” asked Shaggo.
“No,” barked Don in answer. “I live here in town. But I happened to be down near the railroad when the circus train came in, and I just slipped over here to see some of my friends. I know Tum Tum, Nero and Tamba.”
“I’m glad to hear that,” said Shaggo, “for they are friends of mine.”
“Is Dido here?” asked Don.
“Who is Dido? Is he a monkey? I guess you mean Mappo, don’t you?” inquired the buffalo.
“No, I mean Dido. He is a dancing bear, and he was with a circus at one time. I have lost track of him lately, and I thought maybe he might be here. I’ll take a look around.”
“And then come back and talk to me,” begged Shaggo. “Nero and Tamba are in the big tent doing their tricks, and so is Tum Tum, so I’m lonesome.”
“I’ll be back,” promised Don.
He trotted away, making the rounds of the other cages. Shaggo could hear him talking to some of the animals who remained, and, pretty soon, Don came back again.
“I didn’t find Dido,” he said. “I guess he isn’t with this circus. What’s the matter?” he asked, as he saw Shaggo limping around the cage. “Did that bad man hurt you?”
“Well, yes, he did hurt me when he poked me with his stick,” answered the buffalo, “but that isn’t why I limp. Something is the matter with my shoulder, it has a big lump on it. See?” And he came close to the front bars of the cage.
Don, with his head on one side, looked at the buffalo’s second hump.
“I know what’s the matter with you,” barked Don.
“What?” asked the buffalo.
“You have rheumatism,” answered Don. “I know what that is. I had it myself once, when I slept out in the rain a couple of nights after I was so foolish as to run away. Yes, that’s what you have—rheumatism.”
“Hum! I wonder if I have?” said Shaggo, slowly. “I thought I got this for running away. I know the hurt began after I jumped over the fence.”
“Maybe that started it, the same as it started with me when I got wet,” returned the dog. “But what you have is rheumatism, you may depend on it.”
“Perhaps I have,” agreed Shaggo. “I wonder what I had better do about it?”
“Oh, I guess they’ll get a doctor for you,” went on Don. “The circus men are good to their animals. But I’ll have to be trotting along, or they’ll think I have run away again, and once is enough for me. Good-bye!”
Crowds of boys and girls came to see the animals.
“Good-bye!” answered Shaggo, and he felt rather lonesome when Don had left. However, Tamba, Nero, and Tum Tum soon came back to the animal tent, after they had finished their tricks in the other big, white cloth “house,” so Shaggo had some one to talk to.
There were many busy days after this for the circus with which the mighty buffalo traveled. Each day the tent was set up in a new place, and crowds of boys and girls, as well as men and women, came to see the animals and watch the men and women actors in the performing tent.
“But I am not sure whether or not I am glad I ran away,” thought the mighty buffalo from time to time, as he traveled about with the circus. “In one way I’m having a good time, and in another way I am not. If my shoulder would get well I think I could be happy here. But it is no fun to be in pain all the while.”
One day, when he had become quite tame, and had made friends with several of the circus men, Shaggo was taken out of his cage and led around the animal tent by a rope.
“What’s going to happen, Shaggo?” asked Tamba, the tame tiger. “Are they going to teach you tricks?”
“I don’t know,” answered the buffalo, as he limped around. And when they saw this limp the circus men shook their heads.
“He will never do for us,” one said. “We do not want a limping buffalo in the circus. He could never learn any tricks, and people do not care to pay money to see a lame animal.”
“But what can we do with him?” asked another man.
“We can sell him to some zoological park,” was the answer. “There is a city, not far from here, that is starting a new zoo. They have not very many animals as yet, and they will be glad to buy this buffalo from us, even if he does limp. People do not have to pay money to come to a zoological park, and they are not so fussy about what they see. We’ll sell Shaggo to the zoo. That will be the best place for him. He will not have to travel around so much and his shoulder may get better.”
Of course Shaggo did not understand this talk, any more than the circus men understood the talk of the animals. But after a few days, when Shaggo had traveled on a little farther with the circus, a change came.
One afternoon several men came into the animal tent after the show was over. They stood in front of the buffalo’s cage.
“This is Shaggo,” said one of the circus owners. “He is a good buffalo, and the only thing the matter with him is that one of his shoulders is swelled, and he limps. But for a zoo he will be all right.”
“Yes, I think he will,” said one of the visitors. “We’ll buy him.”
Later, somewhat to his surprise, Shaggo’s cage was wheeled out of the tent, Tum Tum the elephant pushing it.
“What is going on?” asked the buffalo, for he had not understood the men’s talk. “Is the circus going to move now, Tum Tum, before we have given the night show?”
“No, I think not,” answered the jolly elephant. “All I know is that my keeper told me to wheel out your cage. But I am not to wheel out any of the others. Maybe they are taking you away, Shaggo, to cure the rheumatism in your shoulder.”
“Maybe,” agreed Shaggo, and he hoped this would prove true.
Horses were hitched to his cage, and it was drawn through the darkness to a place Shaggo had never been in before. He could not see where it was, and he did not much care, as the ride made his sore shoulder ache. He crouched down on some straw in the corner of his cage and went to sleep.
It was morning when Shaggo awakened. The sun was shining and the big buffalo looked about him in some surprise. At first he thought he was back in the circus winter barn, for he saw that there was a wooden roof over his head, and not the white cloth of the canvas tent. But, as he looked about him and saw some strange animals, he knew he was in a new place, and not in the circus any more.
As he arose slowly to his feet, trying not to groan because of the pain in his shoulder, he heard a voice saying:
“I say, big fellow, if you don’t want that piece of carrot in your cage, will you please kick it out to me?”
Shaggo looked up and saw, not far away, another cage, in which was a black, shaggy animal, with long hair and very long claws.
“Yes, you may have this piece of carrot,” said Shaggo, and he kicked it to the edge of his cage. “I don’t believe you can reach it, though.”
“Oh, yes I can,” growled the other animal in a jolly voice. And he stretched out a hairy paw, with long claws, and pulled the carrot into his cage.
“Who are you?” asked Shaggo.
“I am Dido,” was the answer.
“Oh, I’ve heard about you!” exclaimed the buffalo. “You are the dancing bear!”
SHAGGO GOES TO SLEEP
Shaggo, the mighty buffalo, felt as though he had met an old friend when the bear in the next cage said that his name was Dido.
Shaggo wanted to talk, and to ask a lot of questions of the shaggy bear, who was eating the carrot he had clawed from the buffalo’s cage. But just as Shaggo crowded close to the bars of his cage, to ask how Dido felt and how he liked it where he was, a great growling and snarling arose at one end of the big building where the zoo animals were kept.
“What’s the matter now?” asked Shaggo.
“Oh, it’s the keeper coming to feed us,” answered Dido. “I hope he brings me some sweet buns. What would you like best, Mr. Buffalo? I don’t believe I know your name,” said the bear.
“I am called Shaggo,” was the answer. “And, to tell you the truth, I do not feel much like eating. I am not very hungry.”
“Then there must be something the matter with you!” exclaimed Dido, as the growling, snarling and crying among the other zoo animals sounded louder and louder. “I am always hungry. You’ve heard it said, I dare say, ‘as hungry as a bear.’ Well, I guess I’m that bear,” laughed Dido, showing his teeth, “for I’m always ready to eat.”
Shaggo looked out through the bars of his cage and saw a man coming along with a big basket, and Shaggo could smell that the basket held good things to eat. But, somehow or other, the buffalo, as he had said, was not hungry. He felt rather ill, and as he twisted his eyes to get a look at his shoulder, he saw that the lump on it was much larger.
“And it hurts worse, too,” said Shaggo to himself. “I haven’t felt exactly well since I gave that big jump and sailed over the wire fence away from the range. It surely must be a punishment on me for leaving Bumpo, Rumpo and the other buffaloes.”
But by this time the man with the basket was in front of the bear’s cage. He picked out some buns, the man did, and held them up for Dido to see. Shaggo could also see them.
“Now then, Dido!” cried the zoo keeper, “here are some of the nice buns you like. Let me see you dance and do some of your tricks before I give you any. Dance for the boys and girls!”
Then Shaggo noticed that, following the man around as he fed the animals were a number of boys and girls who had come to the zoo as a sort of picnic. They were allowed to come in and see the animals eat.
“Dance for the boys and girls, Dido,” called the man.
Shaggo did not understand this talk, but the bear seemed to do so, for he shuffled to the front of his cage.
“Hi there, Shaggo, watch me if you want to see some fun!” called Dido to the buffalo in the next cage. “This is one of my tricks. I do it nearly every day. Watch me and perhaps you can learn to dance.”
“No, I don’t believe I can,” replied Shaggo. He and Dido talked in animal language, which, of course, neither the keeper nor the boys and girls could understand. “My shoulder is too sore for me to dance,” went on the buffalo.
But Dido was not troubled that way, and soon he was sliding about his cage, doing a funny, shuffling dance, waving his head from side to side, and holding out his paws like a begging dog. Around and around his cage went the bear, while the boys and girls, gathered out in front, laughed as they watched the funny antics of the trained bear.
“That’s good, Dido!” called the man. “Now then, turn a somersault, and you shall have an extra bun!”
Dido must have known what the man said, for the bear suddenly got down on all four legs, put his head between his front paws, kicked up with his hind legs, and over he went! Dido turned as good a somersault as any boy could do, and when he stood upright again, and held one paw out through the bars of his cage, the boys and girls laughed harder than ever.
“Well, you have earned your buns, Dido!” cried the man, and he tossed half a dozen into the bear’s cage. Then Dido shuffled back into a corner to be by himself while he ate. The children stood watching the bear a little longer, and then some of them passed on to stand in front of the cage where Shaggo was kept.
After the keeper had passed on, to feed the lions and tigers of the zoo, Dido once more spoke to Shaggo.
“Here is an extra cinnamon bun I do not want,” said the kind bear. “Eat it, Shaggo,” and with a toss of his paw Dido sent the bun spinning through the bars of the buffalo’s cage. Shaggo sniffed at it and nibbled one end.
“Say, what’s the matter with you?” asked Dido. “You don’t seem at all like a lively chap, Shaggo.”
“I’m not,” answered the buffalo. “Something is wrong with me. It’s my shoulder, I guess. See how swelled it is.”
“You have got a funny lump there,” said the bear. “What do you think it is?”
“Well, Don, the runaway dog, and some of the animals in the circus said it might be rheumatism,” answered Shaggo. “I was in the circus you know, with Tum Tum, the elephant. It was Don at first, and afterward Tum Tum, who told me about you. That’s how I knew your name.”
“Dear old Don and Tum Tum, that jolly elephant!” exclaimed Dido. “I wish I could see them again. So they told you about me, did they? Well, some of those circus animals know a lot, but I think they’re all wrong about what’s the matter with you. I don’t believe that’s rheumatism you have.”
“What is it then?” asked Shaggo. “I know it hurts a lot.”
“You’ve got indigestion, that’s what you’ve got!” declared the bear. “You’ve got indigestion from not eating enough. Come, now, eat up your hay, and then swallow that bun and you’ll feel better.”
“Well, perhaps I will,” agreed Shaggo. “I’ll try it, anyhow. Maybe it is indigestion I have, but I’ve been thinking, all the while, that it was rheumatism.”
So the mighty buffalo, who did not feel as strong as he used to feel when he roamed the plains of the big Park, nibbled the bit of bun the dancing bear had tossed him, and then ate some hay. But, instead of feeling better, Shaggo seemed to feel worse. At last he was in such pain that he stretched out in the corner of his cage and groaned. Animals can groan when they are in trouble as well as persons can, and when Shaggo groaned you could hear it a long way off.
“My goodness! what’s the matter, Shaggo?” asked Dido, waking up from a little sleep. “Is that one of the tricks you learned in the circus?”
“I didn’t learn any tricks in the circus,” groaned Shaggo. “Maybe that’s why they didn’t want me there. And I limped, too. I guess they didn’t want a limping buffalo. But groaning is not a trick. I do it because my shoulder lump hurts me so.”
“That’s too bad,” said Dido. “I wish I could do something for you.”
By this time Shaggo’s groans had been heard by some of the zoo keepers. One of them came running into the building where Shaggo’s cage stood. By this time it was early evening, and there were no visitors in the zoological park.
“What’s the matter here?” asked the keeper. Of course Shaggo could not answer and tell what ailed him, but the man knew something about animals, and when he saw the buffalo crouched down in the corner of the cage and noticed how much larger the lump on the animal’s shoulder had become, the keeper said:
“We’ve got to have a doctor here. I’ll get one.”
A little later another man came in to look at Shaggo—three or four men altogether, but only one was the doctor, and he had a queer smell about him—a smell that Shaggo did not like. The other animals, too, sniffed the air strongly. They did not like drugs or medicine.
“Take a look at the lump on that buffalo’s shoulder, doctor,” said one of the zoo keepers.
“Hum! I can’t see it very well,” the doctor said. “Can’t you bring him out here in the open?”
Shaggo did not pay much attention to what was going on, but, a little later, he felt the prick of a stick which was being poked in his ribs, and naturally, he moved away from it. He limped over to the front of his cage to look at the men gathered there.
“Now I can see the lump better,” said the doctor. “It’s too bad. It must be taken off. That’s the only way to cure that buffalo.”
“How can the lump be taken off?” asked the zoo keeper.
“You’ll have to get another doctor,” replied the first one. “You need a doctor who knows more about animals than I do. There’s one in New York, and I heard he was coming out this way. I’ll see if I can get him.”
“I wish you would,” said the zoo keeper.
At last the celebrated animal doctor arrived. One evening Shaggo saw a number of men enter the zoo and walk over to his cage. There was that same, queer medicine smell.
“There’s the buffalo,” said the zoo keeper. “Can you cure that lump on his shoulder, doc?”
“I think so,” answered a big, bearded man, who wore large shiny glasses. “But first we must put the buffalo to sleep and bind him with ropes so he will not kick when I try to cure him. Yes, we must put him to sleep.”
Of course Shaggo did not know what all this talk meant, and he was rather frightened when, a little later, a number of men poked long poles through the bars of his cage. Some of the poles had ropes on them, and though he tried to keep out of the way of these ropes, they were soon cast about his legs, and poor Shaggo found himself all tangled up.
“Dido! Dido! What are they doing to me?” bellowed Shaggo to his friend the dancing bear.
“Don’t worry, Shaggo,” Dido answered. “They will not hurt you. The keepers are trying to cure your indigestion, or whatever it is you have. They will not hurt you.”
But Shaggo could not believe this, so he kicked and struggled, hurting his sore shoulder all the more, until, at last, he was so tangled in the ropes that he fell down on the bottom of his cage.
“Ah, now we have him!” said the doctor. “Now I’ll put him to sleep, and cure him.”
Shaggo was now so tied with ropes that he could not move. He lay on one side, and a moment later a cloth was put over his nose. There was a strange, sweetish smell to the cloth. Shaggo tried not to breathe the perfume from it, but he could not help himself. He began to feel very strange. His breath came more and more slowly. Then he began to feel as if he were once again sailing through the air as he did when he jumped. He seemed to be floating on clouds or a feather bed. His eyes closed—he could hear, as though from a far distance, the voice of Dido saying:
“They won’t hurt you, Shaggo.”
Then Shaggo fell into a deep sleep.
SHAGGO IS HAPPY
The sun was shining into Shaggo’s cage when he awakened. At first the mighty buffalo did not remember all that had happened. He recalled a queer smell, which came just after he was tied with the ropes. And he remembered going to sleep. Now he was awake.
“But I feel so weak—as if I could not stand up,” said Shaggo to himself. “It’s like the time I ate some poison weed in the big Park, and was sick until I ate another kind of weed that Wuffo showed me, and then I grew better. But I am weak in my legs now, as I was then. I wonder if I can stand up?”
Shaggo tried, but he found that the ropes were still around his legs, so, after one or two trials, he gave up and remained lying on his side in his cage.
“I guess it isn’t time for me to get up yet,” thought the buffalo. “Maybe, as Dido said, the men are trying to do me good, though tying my legs with ropes is a queer way. But I guess—I guess—I—”
But Shaggo could say no more. His head fell over to one side and he went to sleep again.
The next time he awakened he felt much better and stronger. There was a queer feeling in his shoulder, too. It pained him some, but not as much as at first, and, when he managed to get a look at it, he saw that the lump was gone.
“Hurray!” cried Shaggo, in buffalo talk, of course. “That big lump melted away while I slept! I wonder how it happened? Anyhow, I’m glad. Now if those ropes were only off my legs—”
He kicked out a little with his hind feet. To his surprise his legs were no longer tied. His front ones were also free. There was still a queer smell in his nose, and on his shoulder was a white rag. Shaggo tried to reach around and pull it off with his teeth, but could not.
Then he noticed on the floor of his cage, in front of him, a pail of something that smelled very good. It was a mixture of hay, oats, wheat and bran, stirred up in warm water and a little salt, and Shaggo felt so hungry that he ate it all up.
“My, but that was good!” said the buffalo to himself. “I believe I can stand up now. I feel much stronger.”
Shaggo managed to scramble to his feet. He was not as strong as he had thought, for he swayed from side to side as a baby does when it is learning to walk. But, after a while, when he had eaten a little hay and taken some water, Shaggo began to feel his strength coming back to him.
He took a few steps, but was soon glad enough to lie down again.
“I guess I’m cured of the rheumatism, or indigestion, or whatever was the matter with me,” thought the mighty buffalo, “but I must go easy. I can’t trot around my cage yet. I must wait until I am a little stronger.”
Shaggo went to sleep again, and he must have slept all day and all night, for when he awakened once more the sun was again shining in his cage. He felt much stronger now, and when he walked about, his shoulder, though a little stiff, did not pain nearly so much.
“Hello there, Shaggo!” called Dido, the dancing bear, from his cage. “How are you feeling?”
“Well, a little queer and shaky,” answered the buffalo; “but I’m getting better. Say, what happened to me, anyhow?”
“I think you had what they called an operation,” answered the bear. “I don’t know much about such things, but they put you to sleep with medicine, and when you were in dreamland they took that extra hump off your shoulder.”
“I’m glad they did,” said Shaggo. “I feel ever so much better without it. I begin to feel more like myself—more like when I was the strongest buffalo on the range in the National Park.”
“I’m pleased to hear that,” said Dido. “Maybe, now, they will teach you to do tricks.”
“Maybe,” agreed Shaggo.
The doctor with the big beard and the shiny glasses came with the zoo keepers to look at Shaggo in his cage.
“Ah, my operation was a success,” said the big doctor. “Now that buffalo will be as good as new.”
And as the days went on and Shaggo became stronger and stronger and his shoulder healed he did, indeed, become “as good as new.”
Once more his eyes shone brightly and he held his head up. He no longer limped about the cage, but walked as well as any of the lions, tigers or bears in the zoo.
Each day a keeper came to feed Shaggo, and, after a while, the man put his hand in through the bars and rubbed Shaggo’s head. And Shaggo felt so grateful to the men for curing his sore shoulder that the big buffalo did not try to bite or kick or butt with his horns. He licked the man’s hand with his tongue.
“Well, I guess you are getting tame, Shaggo,” said the keeper. “It was a good thing we bought you from the circus, and it was a good thing the doctor made you well. In a little while I will let you out in the yard to run around. It is not good for a big animal like you to be shut in a cage all the while.”
And you can imagine how glad Shaggo was when, one day, his cage was opened and he was allowed to come out. Of course he was not permitted to roam wherever he pleased, but there was a big yard in the zoo where he could walk about and even run. And when he ran and found that his shoulder did not hurt him, Shaggo felt like bellowing at the top of his voice, he was so glad.
“Now I am myself again!” cried Shaggo.
And Shaggo did enjoy himself in the big yard of the zoological park. Some camels and zebus, as well as other animals of the kind that eat grass and hay, were also allowed to roam in this yard, and many people came to watch them. Shaggo was much admired, especially his big head and the mighty hump on his back—this was the real hump that belonged there. The other hump—the sore one—had been taken off and Shaggo limped no more.
One day some deer were put in the yard with Shaggo and the camels. The deer had horns, and when Shaggo saw them he thought of the time he had driven the herd of antelopes away from the water hole.
Shaggo hit the fence with all his might.
“But we will not quarrel about who is to drink first here,” said one of the deer. “There is water in the tank, enough for all of us.”
“No,” said Shaggo, “here we are a happy family, and we will not quarrel.”
In time Shaggo grew to be very good friends with all the other animals of the zoo, but, best of all, he liked the deer, for they had come from the far West, the land of the prairies where he used to live, and they could talk to him about that country.
One day White Tail, the largest of the deer in the zoo, was eating grass near a wooden fence, and, in some manner, White Tail’s horns became caught in a crack of the boards. At first the deer thought he could pull himself loose, but the more he pulled and twisted the tighter his horn seemed to be caught.
“Help! Help!” finally White Tail called to his animal friends. “I am caught in the fence and can not get loose!”
Some of the other deer tried to pry him loose with their horns, but they could not.
“Oh, if only Bundo, the big elephant were here, he could get me loose!” cried White Tail. “With his strong head he could break the board that is holding me fast.”
But Bundo was in another part of the zoo then, and no keepers were near, or one of them would have helped the deer. Then Shaggo saw what the matter was.
“Ho there!” cried the mighty buffalo. “Stand aside, everybody, and I’ll get White Tail loose!”
“How can you?” asked Dido, the dancing bear.
“With my big, hard head I can ram that fence and break the board as easily as anything,” the mighty buffalo answered. “I am not afraid of hurting my shoulder now. Stand still, White Tail, and I’ll get you loose.”
White Tail, the deer, stood still, his head held down where his horn was caught in a crack in the fence. Shaggo backed off a little way, and then, with his head lowered, he ran across the yard. Taking care not to bump into White Tail, Shaggo hit the fence with all his might.
There was a crash, a splintering of wood, and the deer was set free. He shook his head, and said:
“Thank you, Shaggo! You are, indeed, a mighty buffalo.”
“Oh, that was nothing,” said Shaggo. “I could have broken a much thicker board than that, now my shoulder is well.”
The keepers came running up at the sound of the crash, and when they saw what Shaggo had done to help the deer they were very glad. The fence was mended, and fixed so no more animals would be caught in it.
“It is a good thing to have a big head,” said Dido to Shaggo, when they went to sleep in their cages that night.
And so, for many years Shaggo, the mighty buffalo, lived in the zoo, and hundreds of boys and girls came to look at him and admire him. Sometimes he wished he might go back to the prairies, and see his old friends, and watch Rumpo and Bumpo knock each other in somersaults.
“But it is very nice, here in the zoo,” said Shaggo. “And, who knows? perhaps some day I may join the circus again and travel out West. Then I would have some wonderful adventures to tell the rest of the buffaloes.”
But the last I heard of him, Shaggo was still in the zoological park, and I hope he lives there and is happy for many long years.