| Wild Animals I Have Known|
|by Ernest Thompson Seton|
|A stirring account of the lives of eight wild animals, including Lobo, the king of Currumpaw; Silverspot, the story of a crow; Raggylug, the story of a cottontail rabbit; Bingo, the story of a dog; the Springfield fox; the pacing mustang; Wully, the story of a yaller dog; and Redruff, the story of the Don valley partridge. Ages 11-14 |
NOTE TO THE READER
 THESE STORIES are true. Although I have left the strict line of
historical truth in many places, the animals in this book were all
real characters. They lived the lives I have depicted, and showed
the stamp of heroism and personality more strongly by far than it
has been in the power of my pen to tell.
I believe that natural history has lost much by the vague general
treatment that is so common. What satisfaction would be derived
from a ten-page sketch of the habits and customs of Man? How
much more profitable it would be to devote that space to the life
of some one great man. This is the principle I have endeavored to
apply to my animals. The real personality of the individual, and
his view of life are my theme, rather than the ways of the
 race in
general, as viewed by a casual and hostile human eye.
This may sound inconsistent in view of my having pieced together
some of the characters, but that was made necessary by the
fragmentary nature of the records. There is, however, almost no
deviation from the truth in Lobo, Bingo, and the Mustang.
Lobo lived his wild romantic life from 1889 to 1894 in the
Currumpaw region, as the ranchmen know too well, and died,
precisely as related, on January 31, 1894.
Bingo was my dog from 1882 to 1888, in spite of interruptions,
caused by lengthy visits to New York, as my Manitoban friends
will remember. And my old friend, the owner of Tan, will learn
from these pages how his dog really died.
The Mustang lived not far from Lobo in the early nineties. The
story is given strictly as it occurred, excepting that there is a
dispute as to the manner of his death. According to some
testimony he broke his neck in the corral that
 he was first taken to.
Old Turkeytrack is where he cannot be consulted to settle it.
Wully is, in a sense, a compound of two dogs; both were mongrels,
of some collie blood, and were raised as sheep-dogs. The first part
of Wully is given as it happened, after that it was known only that
he became a savage, treacherous sheep-killer. The details of the
second part belong really to another, a similar yaller dog, who long
lived the double life—a faithful sheep-dog by day, and a
bloodthirsty, treacherous monster by night. Such things are less
rare than is supposed, and since writing these stories I have heard
of another double-lived sheep-dog that added to its night
amusements the crowning barbarity of murdering the smaller dogs
of the neighborhood. He had killed twenty, and hidden them in a
sandpit, when discovered by his master. He died just as Wully did.
All told, I now have information of six of these Jekyll-Hyde dogs.
In each case it happened to be a collie.
Redruff really lived in the Don Valley north
 of Toronto, and many
of my companions will remember him. He was killed in 1889,
between the Sugar Loaf and Castle Frank, by a creature whose
name I have withheld, as it is the species, rather than the
individual, that I wish to expose.
Silverspot, Raggylug, and Vixen are founded on real characters.
Though I have ascribed to them the adventures of more than one of
their kind, every incident in their biographies is from life.
The fact that these stories are true is the reason why all are tragic.
The life of a wild animal always has a tragic end.
Such a collection of histories naturally suggests a common
thought—a moral it would have been called in the last century. No
doubt each different mind will find a moral to its taste, but I hope
some will herein find emphasized a moral as old as Scripture— we
and the beasts are kin. Man has nothing that the animals have not
at least a vestige of, the animals have nothing that man does not in
some degree share.
 Since, then, the animals are creatures with wants and feelings
differing in degree only from our own, they surely have their
rights. This fact, now beginning to be recognized by the Caucasian
world, was first proclaimed by Moses and was emphasized by the
Buddhist over 2,000 years ago.
THIS BOOK was made by my wife, Grace Gallatin Thompson Seton.
Although the handiwork throughout is my own, she chiefly is
responsible for designs of cover, title-page, and general make-up.
Thanks are due her also for the literary revision, and for the
mechanical labor of seeing the book through the press.
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