Sod and Stubble: The Story of a Kansas Homestead

By John Ise | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
The Mad Wolf

W HEN great herds of buffaloes roamed the prairies, packs of wolves followed them, hamstringing and killing straglers -- the old, infirm, sick or crippled; but the buffaloes were almost all gone before Rosie came, and the wolves with them. Yet on still nights she could sometimes hear wolves howling from the woods along the creek, or up in the hills to the north -- a wild, long-drawn, lonely howl that made the dog creep close to the door, and caused her own blood to run cold.

One crisp, sunny morning in December, as Henry and Rosie were sipping the last of their breakfast rye coffee, a man on horseback rode into the yard and reined up at the door.

"Hello, Henry! Hi there!" he called, in a voice like the roar of a lion. It was Mart Starling, a settler living several miles over toward Oak Creek, a man with a stentorian voice which neighbors a mile away could hear easily on quiet evenings.

Henry stepped out into the yard. "Hello, yourself. Don't you know enough to come in where it's warm?" But Henry quickly saw that his levity was out of place, for Mart Starling looked very serious.

"They've got some trouble up on Oak Creek," he said, "and I wonder if you would have time to help a little."

Henry usually had time to help the neighbors. "Surely. What's the trouble?" He stepped out, closing the door behind him.

"It's Nebraska Stevens, the boy that was bitten by a mad wolf a while back. He went mad yesterday, and chased his folks out of the house. Some of us will have to help take care of him."

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