The Oregon daily journal. (Portland, Or.) 1902-1972, March 05, 1904, Page 14, Image 14

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CHILDREN--By Walt McBougall
ARRT RAMSDELL eat on the steps reading,
? and his little brother Uarainer sat Desia
? him watchinsr the antics of seven small pup-
pie $hat, rolling- over their mother, gnawing her ,
" stumpy;'tail .and otherwise disturbing ,:her rest,
seemed to be having the time of theit lives, After a
epacei' Gardiner spoke:.'- vj t v ,f
- "Ain't they funny?" said he. "Say.'iHarry, ?do all
Kttia animals have ,f un like that?" '
"Most of them,? replied Harry, looking very wise,
tts e always did when his small brother asked . ques
tions, for Ilarry was twelve and very learned, in- :
, deed,;. 5 f . '
? "Do turtles I" asked Gardinen 'Td like'to see
litter,' of turtles cutting op." . . j ' - , .
; "Aw; forties come, from (eggs said ts brother,
fecorafully;. "They don't have afty fun' Tha mother.;
. turtle just leaves the eggs in the'sand and they, hatch
put that's alL Sun does it, I guess.'? V 1 j
"That's funny," cried Gardinen ,Td;like to see
Ibem in the turtle's nest" - V -
"Oh, golly,", cried Uarry."They .don'f make any
test,-1 tell you. Just dig a hole in the aand; that's :
wi - - .;- t v '" .
thought only birds laid eggs," added the" little
.lelloW.--, " v 't ". "
"AH Tfptilesr-turtlcB, wakes,' frogs, . liwrda as! -Iwell
as insects, lay eggs," said .the wise brother.
"Some jpf them, make a sortpf nest, that is, the in-,
Sects do, but not the lizards and things. X guess they ""
are hatched out by the sun's heat. - I've seen an ant's
best. , It's, fine." ..'' '.'..
. i wonder,", mused Gardiner, "if you found spine
Turtle s eggs.; somewhere and brought ''em borne
Should they hatch out by the stove?" i 4 i V
"Why, I suppose so, but I guess it would be pretty
hard to find 'em," replied Harry, and then he sat
thinking instead of reading, for 'the question had
aroused interest in such a search. He decided to
make an effort to find some turtle's eggs and try
th6 experiment for himself before the summer came.
. Where to seek for the eggs ha hadn't the least
Idea, but old Tommy Taylor, who drove the stage
and. who had once been an oysterman, told him to :
look along the banks of Billman's Creek until he
Saw seven tiny holes in a circle in the sand and
there he would of a certainty unearth turtle eggs.
Harry did not have the least idea that old tommy
Was fooling him, and had at once told several of his
cronies about it so that they, too, could have fun
with the boy who was hunting turtle eggs in June,
when all the little turtles have long been hatched ovt
!ind are" 6wimming around merrily; He went eager
y to work on his quest. Day after day he sought for
the seven little holes' in a circle, but he never found
them. . ; ..'."',' .-. ' "','
Instead, however, he saw many very interesting
hings in the egg and hatching line. He found in
he swamp theflat, carelessly-made nests of tha mud-
lens and herons, also that of a wood duck; he
earned how the spiders build their beautiful webs;
low the sand-wasp digs her tunnel and fills it with
captured spiders .stabbed with a wonderful poison
that benumbs them but preserves them until her
jroung hatch out, to find a supply of fresh food right
beside them, and also he learned how the terriblo
tand-wasp can sting a boy who gets too near and
ecomes too inquisitive. - -, .
- He saw beetles rollmg balls of stuff far larger"
than themselves into their underground homes, he
Er them undermine a dead mouse and sink it into
i earth, burying it as in a grave, he came upon
ects that looked exactly like wrinkled dead leaves
and gray twigs.
He saw the dragon-flies when they were hideous
Erawling water-bugs come creeping up a Stalk and
lossom out into a dazzling iridescent winged crea
ture, , flashing like a gem in the sunlight. He
watched the pollywogs turn into tadpoles and then
Into little frogs, and was amazed to learn that what
he had always thought to be fish were really reptiles ;
be watched the kingfisher and the fish-hawk teach
their young how to fish. , ,
, He found whole colonies of fiddler-crabs rustling
Either and thither, each with his ona big white claw
brooked up against his shoulder as if about to begin
to play the violin, but he never saw them really ,
Ho any fiddling. He even discovered the deep pit
bf .an ant-lion, with the fiercer' insect concealed in
the sand at the bottom, and ha watched an unsus
picious ant come up eagerly and "rubber" down into-
the pit only to be overcome by a shower of sand,
mrled up at him by the hidden enemy, and gj
mrtling down to the bottom to be seized by the ant
ion instantly.
He saw tha ants climb up bushes and milk their
tows, which are Aphis or roselice, tiny, fat insects
Who seem to like the ants to stroke them and give up
drops of honey-like syrup in return, while I imagina
that the ants protect them; they certainly guard
them and keep them from straying.
Down in the stream he often saw the prickly
Sticklebacks hovering over their eggs lying on the
bottom, for these are perhaps the only fish who
tare for their eggs at aU.
He ' watched the golden-hued ( sunfish seemingly
caressing one another, rubbing their sides softly
together like so many pussy cats, and very few peo
ple hav.e seen this, let me tell you; he spied upon the
muskrats , repairing their houses of rushes and
bringing their blind little youngsters out to. get
Warm in the hot sun.
Ha stoned blackenakes that tried to steal the
birds' eggs and tiny fledgings shrieking in fear;
caught a mink coming out of thf creek with a fish
almost as long as himself in his mouth; waked up
countless numbers of sleepy owls hiding in, the
bushes and frightened thousands of busy field-mice "
in the grass. . ' .. ... ; " ,;,' - ,' . .
- One day he found a poor starved dog, and took
him bomb to nurse back to bounding health and
strength, after which he had an ally who could find
more funny things in a day than Harry could in a
. They called the, dog Pinky, because he was a
dirty "yellow, I suppose, and .he was a wonder. It
was fimply .marvelous, how he changed from sad-.
famd, powering waif into an uproarious, rollicking
. rasoal wer. ready for a romp or a hunt, and with an '
appetite for everything from raw clams to pumpkin
' pic. M '. v'.,;; ;,"'.. M'".-'
All this icckbsr amid the wonders of the summer.
' '', .. ... .',
time had filled Harry with a deep desire to learn all
about the things he so constantly saw and others
that he had not yet found, and he took to reading
books about Nature as eagerly as he had searched
for turtle's eggs; for after a time Tomniy.cotdd no
longer keep the joke to himself , and he told it to
Mr, Ramsdall, Harry's father, who promptly in
formed his son, for he didn't believe is fooling lw
tle boys, any more than I do myself.
So when the lad no longer had a motive for ram
bling in the fields and meadowshis parents, im
agined that he would give up getting his clothes all
torn and muddy and take to playing marbles or tag
with the other children, but it had become a ronl
passion with Harry. He cared for nothing so much
as to wander through thol woods or along the water's
edge watching tha birds, bees, butterflies and fish;
and whenever he had a chance off he went.
Of course, he soon began to read about the rocks
and the marvelous things that are f ound in them
by those who know how to search for them, things
turned to stone millions of years ago fish, shells,
starfish, crabs, insects, animals and plants, as many
in number as are alive and growing to-day, but so
vastly" different as to astonish anybody who sees
Birds there were then, and their bodies are now
found in stones, with -teeth in their great strong
beaks, and bat's wings with claws on the ends, tails
like lizards, and as big as oxen; great reptiles, huge
lizards just like railroad trains and as tall cs the
trees, armed with horns and covered with scales m
hard as your teeth and as shiny; horses. with four
toes like a dog's; tortoises as big as' carts', shells
bigger than apple-barrels ; fish-like monsters as long
as the City Hall; tree-trunks as, thick as your room
is wide, with loaves like table-tops; insects as large
as pails and plates; all manner of marvels crawl
ing, leaping, swimming and flying over the earth
ana water. . '
He soon learned where to go to find these things.
In the old quarry which bis father partly owned
the men broke out big stones and split them
and chiseled them all day long, and in them
they came upon the wonderful shells, bones and
leaves of the ancient time. So Harry haunted the'
quarry whenever he could, and soon he had his room
full of rocky wonders; stupendous things that in
fected every boy in Watertown with the same fever,
until on Saturdays there was scarce room in the
quarry for the busy workmen. ' v
' Huge, rounded, rolled up shells of limestone orna
mented every boy's mantelpiece, and even the .
schoolmaster was bitten by the craze and went to
work Studying geology in order to keep up with the
new-found learning of bis scholars. Harry also read
about the remains of the people who lived on the,
earth long before history or even fairy tales tell us
anything about mankind.
He picked up stone implements in the fields when
they were plowing, arrow-heads, axes and clubs made
of stone, for in the time of the stone age, a hundred
thousand years ago, ironhad not been discovered,
and even needles and pins had to be made of bone
or deer horn, and a knife was chipped out of a
flinty stone.
When you think of trying to chop down a tree
with a dull stone axe you will soon find thdt the
hatchet you are using is a keen-edged tool by com-i
parison, even if it has never been ground since it1
was bought; and to think of sharpening a slate pen-.
cil with a stone knife brings the shivers to me, at
Lots of such things Harry discovered, and when'
the others found out how many such treasures were
buried in the fields they, too, began to seek, for
thcro are thousands and thousands of such things
almost everywhere.
. I suppose you have yourself picked up a tiny
arrow head or two as you walked across a field.
That little chipped stone is .older than anything
made by man that you will ever see, unless, of
course, it be another arrow head or another stone
axe.. , '.-
Once they found a stone-walled grave, and within
, it some crumbling bones and a necklace of pierced
shells from the far-distant seashore, as well as an
axe and some arrow heads. ' .
- On another occasion they came upon a cave where
' they dug up a lot of stone things and half of a clay
bowl upon which they could see scratched faint lines
and patterns, but this soon crumbled into dust, be- '
cause it had never been baked in the hot fire like
our pottery of to-day. 1 . .
, Harry found thirty-six arrow heads in ono day
while following the man who was plowing a field.
'.'' Now, as1 most of these fossil animals and other
things had tremendously long, hard namer,(and as
most of the little! boys found it impossible jta -
member one of them more than a day or so, per
haps, it was to Harry that they always came to
learn what to call their prizes. He never, failed to
find the right name, and he always remembered what
he had read.
They were really awful, some of these names:
Uintatherium megatherium, plesiosaurus, ichthyo
saurus, mesohippus, pterosaur, hyperodapeden, par
adoxidid and cephalaspis were some of them, so you
can see what a mind Henry Bamsdell possessed I
Think of having .to read and remember about
"pithecanthropus alalus" or "the monophyletio
origin of mammalia, from the monotremata of ceno-,
xoio times I" ' f .
Why, it's enough to turn even my own head some
times, and I've been struggling with it since I was a
boy! He knew how from fishes reptiles came and
then changed slowly during millions of years into
warm-blooded animals, and he knew just what rocks
to examine in order to discover the fossils of each
period, and it was quite wonderful how exact ha
became, so that in time he was called the "Geolo
gist'' by all the neighbors.
One day little Gardiner asked him a real puzzler!
"Say, Harry, what's the reason when we find all .
sorts of - thing in the quarry birdV plants,- fishes
and bugs we never find any eggs! isn't that, a
funny thing?" -- :
' Without thinking, as some boys might ha7e done,
, that his brother was always asking about eggs and
other baby things, Harry began to wonder why, in
f act, we never find these things. It seemed to him
that when even feathers-are discovered in the
stones, once in a while, at least, an egg of some
reptile or bird might turn up. : ,;r
Of course,' he knew very well that as eggs are so
exceedingly frail and delicate they would easily be.
smashed, but occasionally one might have sunk into
the soft mud and been preserved just as feathers
have been. . - 1
He asked the workmen in the quarry, and while
they said that certain round stones had been found
occasionally they supposed them to be merely water
worn pebbles and not fossils, so they had taken no
particular notice of them.
They showed him a place where the stone was
v. ij- j "j V. A
building purposes, and said that there they had
with pick and shovel, began to dig and with a crow
bar to pry off ledges of the soft, gray stone day after
day, finding all manner of things, but nothing like'
en egg. , . : '
But' one ' afternoon when a mighty blast had
broken off an immense mass of rock in another part
of the quarry a great rounded stone was discovered,
a stone oval in shape, a perfect egg, in fact, but so
large as to make it seem impossible that it could
be an egg.. It was as big around as a large pumpkin I
Whitish in color and very heavy, but not nearly as
heavy as a solid stone would be, it certainly seemed
to Harry as he rolled it home. ; ' V V : '
It was an egg certain, but whether the egg of a
gigantic bird, far bigger than anv bird so far dis
covered, or that of a" reptile a hundred feet long, no
body could say. ' . "' '
Mr. BiddelL his father's partner, who seemed to
hate Harry and always sneered at his studies and
his digging among the rocks, said it .was only a
boulder worn round by the water, but Mr. Squires,
the druggist, was sure that it was an egg.
- Now, while I think of it, I will tell you something
about Mr. Biddell. He was a bad man who was.
trying to ruin Harry's father by getting into debt
so that he would have to sell the quarry, when Bid
. dell intended to buy it and have it all to himself.
It is hot necessary to explain all the details of his
wicked schemes, but simply to say that ho had
Harry's father in his power, and before a couple of
years had passed Mr. Ramsdell, one of the nicest
men in the world, would have been obliged to go to
the poorhouse with all of his lovely family, Harry
But, as you will see, the plot failed and Mr. Bid
dell was the loser, although he didn't go to the poor
house; oh, not i v
After everybody had seen the great egg and grown
tired of discussing it Harry was still thinking about
. it, and finally he decided that it must still hare
something soft within if it was not entirely fluid
.inside, for he' was lure he detected a sound when .it
was rolled. ..".".' . -:2L ' :r" wrA
' One day a sudden resolve formed. ; He determined
to eee what the hot summer sun would do to it, and
forthwith he rolled it to a place where it might lie
undisturbed, which was a bole in the hillside where ,
the workmen had dug out a deep broad pit seeking
for rock and then had deserted the spot ' : '
' k. Hera U left the great egg for, weeks si weeks
until one day when he went to look at it he was as
tonished to see' that it was splitting open and a
snakelike head was sticking out!
He was frightened, but when he saw that the thing
emerging from the egg seemed about half -dead, its
head hanging languidly down, he sprang into the pit :
and went close to it I
Then he saw that it didn't look so, snaky, but more ,
like a turtle'sjhead and that its eyes were not visible.
The creature seemed too weak to split the hard stony
shell of the egg, but Harry in great excitement
seized the edge where it split and pulled with ill his
might ;,.:-
Slowly it gave way and soon the wpnderf ul' crea-
ture seemed to take a big breath and began to strug
gle to get out. -;;i:-'.:: y:.'
Harry helped him to fid himself of his shelL and
when ha emerged he opened his eyes and looked at
the boy Quite mildly so that he -was not the least
afraid. Then the thought struck Harry that a
drink of water would be the best thing for an animal
that had been drying up in the rocks for so many
ages, and he ran to the brook and filled his hat -
The creature eagerly drank it all and wanted
more, dix times did Harry carry it a hatful ol
water,-pd -then it began -to more -about the pit
slowly something after the manner of a turtle, al
though it didn't resemble that animal In the least.
Just then little Polly Jenkinson, who was picking
blackberries on the hill, . strolled along, looked
down into the pit and uttered a yell that was heard
away over at the quarry. Harry then realized what
a fearful looking thing had come from his egg
It was about" two yards long and as tall as a setter
dog, with a tail something like that of a kangaroo.
On its head were three small horns, and a broad flap
like the sailor collar of a boy's shirt covered its
neck like a thick leather apron. Claws like a rnap-
fiing turtle it had, and its skin was thick and marked
ike an alligator's. Its eyes were small and gleam
ing, but very mild and soft;
Just then Pinky appeared, having heard Polly
yell, and he began to run around in circles, barking
.11. Jl Tt rri! a -i -it
"'alarmed, but simp y held Its head down and its horns
.1 Twv.i-
forward liko a row at bay, and Pinky was afraid to
.-go nearer. . .
- Daylight was passing and Harry decided to leave
his strange prize .there until morning, for he didn't
think iT could climb out of the pit; but on reflection
he threw down an armful of grass and leaves an
was delighted to see the Thing begin to eat eagerly.
Next morning he carried a dozen cabbages to the
spot and found the animal -apparently in" pain,
squealing like, a pig, but when he saw Harry he be
came quiet and devoured the cabbages with every :
sign of pleasure. '' ' V ' -. ; " '
Pinky was still excited, but the animal was not
alarmed at all. He . ate cabbages from Harry's"
hand as tamely as a rabbit might, and when they
were finished rubbed against him as if waiting for
more. Harry saw that he was now quite strong, -and
he tied a rope about his neck in order to lead
him home. ' .' . ; ; - '.. .
You can imagine the excitement created in Water
town when the boy came marching along with tnis
startling creature in tow! People ran out to look.
and skipped indoors in a jiffy I Men who came sud-
denly from around corners took one look and flew
down the street to sign the pledge never to drink
again! Cits climbed trees, dogs shot through the v
fences, women screamed and horses neighed as they
passed along! The one polioeman turned pale and .
leaned against the hotel porchl
. Harry got his prize home and into the back yard
and went indodrs to tell his mother all about it,
' She took one peep and fainted, and then Mr. Kams-
dall came in. He wouldn't believe Harry's story,
but when he saw the creature moving about the yard
his eyes popped out and his jaw fell. ,
m t 1I-J TT 1 1. ' . it.. ..' f '
Anon ne ueipeu xmrry ivvn up mo vning in ins
books, and finally they discovered that the head of "
just such a creature had been found turned to stone
in Wyomihg and it was called a Triceratops 1
So this was a Triceratops ! Harry did not know
what ft Triceratops fed upon, but the fact that he ate
cabbages seemed to show that he was a vegetarian,
and so it was decided to feed him upon such thine..
He grew and grew and grew! So quickly did he
increase that ina month he was as tall as the second
story and when, his head wad at the back door hi '
tail touched the rear fence thirty-five feet away !
' He loved Harry. He simply wriggled with jrlee
when the boy1 appeared, but that he 'very likely
copied from ; Pinky's actions..' Toward tho boy's
parents ho preserved a cold manner, rarely seomiug
to wish them td pat him, but as they often fed him
he showed no dislike; but my, how he. did hate Mr.
BiddeUl , '
v v ;That Tnceratops seemed to, know that he was a
-vbad man and scented his wickedness at once! He :
tried to seize him the very first time ha stepped
into, the yard,, before Tri was half-grown, and the
.man only escaped those 'sharp teeth by jumping the
-"fence. Tri. moved slowly and. clumsily; , butt when V
he wished he could leap like a lion, and,' standing 1 ,
with his heavy tail holding him up,he could reach .
and eat all the leaves from very tall trees,: so that 1
every bit of foliage was , soon missing f ropi the ' i
yard, 1 ; - 1 v'.
But .he was rather stupid,' tooj" for. Tie never ..
seemed to learn that he could push the fence over
r quite easily and roam ovr other yards at will,' and
he was constantly trying to crowd his ..great body
through the kitchen door l , Whan the back gate was t '
' open he would stand there with his head out an 1
squeal to be allowed to go outside, yet he never tried
" to force the gateposts. He just had brains enough, ;
it seemed, to think a, very little bit, but not enough "
,. to do him much gooaV;.s'';a
All the neighbors fully expected him, however, to
break loose some day and devour all the citizens of
WatertOwn, and many of .them had arranged just
how to act when that happened; but I ani afraid that
few of them would have dono a thing had this enor
' mous reptile ever realized how powerful he was and
11 taken to rampaging about the village. , ; : a "fcA
' One day; a .man who', had a bill to collect from
.Harry's father-came to the house. . The bill had
, been contracted by Mr. Biddell, but ha had man
aged to put it on Mr. Eamsdell somehow, an when
Mr.' Raniadell .refused to pay it thd collector said ,
rnanythings which I cannot repeat here, for hewas r
disappointed. 1- He made such a fuss that 'even Tri
heard him and looked over the side fence to see .'
what was happening. . Just then the collector came
along grumbling in loud tones and looked up to see
that awful three-horned head, six feet long, looking
.down at.hlm with a smile, '
He stopped and trembled, but when Tri, smiling
yet njo pleasantly, reached down to him he turned
a back somersault and ran down the Street for a
( mile. He refused to try to collect any more bills in
Watertown, and so Mr. Biddell was obliged to get
another man to help him ruin Harry's father.
. ' This was soon found to be impossible,' and finally
the villain determined to get the sheriff from TJdink
port to take all tha bills he Lad against Mr. Rams--dell
and by demanding payment suddenly ruin him -completely,
so that he. would have to sell out tho
valuable quarry ta get money enough to live on. ;
The sheriff eama in 4 carriage which he left in
tha side street-and then had a long talk with Mr.
-Eamsdell. During the conversation the sheriff ro-
. vealed the fact that Mr. Biddell was the boI? cause
of this sudden demand for money, and so Mr. Bams
dell sent for his partner, who soon came and ad
raitted that he had put in operation this plan to get
his money. - --- -
, . Mr. Bamsdell was so disheartened that he was
speechless, for he had never suspected his smooth
talking partner at all
When he was obliged to reveal all his wicked in
tentions Mr. Biddell became very insulting and jeer-
.edhis partner, saying that he was not a business
man and anybody could skin him. They were in the
back parlor overlooking the yard where Tri was
stretched out in the warm sunshine, and hearing the
' voice of the man he hated he raised his gigantie
head to the level Of the window. There he saw his '
' enemy and the hood over his head swelled up like
the skin. on an angry turkey cock and his eyes glit-
s tered. . ..
In another moment, as Mr. Biddell. was laughing
at Mr. Ramsdell'a pitiful face, Triceratops darted
his great head into the room and seized Biddell by
the back of the neck and then pulled him outside.
There he stood up on his hind legs and shook the
man as a terrier does a rat, swinging him from side
; to side so rapidly that one could scarcely know that
it was a man. He looked more like a bundle of
rags. After shaking him for, a .while the animal
suddenly opened his mouth and swallowed him in :
one gulp! '
It was all done before anybody, could say "Jack
Robinson," but when Mr, Biddell disappeared for-
' ever down Tri's throat everybody uttered a yell that
seemed to astonish the reptile, usually so mild and
gentle, and he retreated to the end of the yard as if
. expecting Harry to come out and punish him.
But the Xo-f instantly realized that they never
would miss Mr. Biddell at all. He thought that
, was the best 'way out of the difficultyand the sheriff
soon came to the sameVconclusion, because Mr. Bid
dell happened to hava in his hand all the bills and
. notes which showed Mr. EamsdelPs debts, and of'
course Tri swallowed them with the man. .
' . "I don't see as how we can get at 'them lessen we ,
cut the animal open!" said the sheriff, "and I don't
hanker after that job." . '
So he went away and that was. the last of it
- ,W ; ; j ' . ' "
But alas the dose had been too much for poor
Tri, who. being a strict vegetarian, was poisoned by
Mr. Biddell, and little by little, day by day, he faded
away and in two weeks was dead. - To the last bo
gazed tenderly and lovingly at Harry and seemed
to want him by his side, and when he died they had
Jhim stuffed and mounted so that for all time we
might, all of us, know what a Triceratops looked
I do not think another egg is likely to be fqnnd.
and if it is the chances are against it being hatched
successfully, for it is unlikely that) being so awfully
.11 Ij. J11 1 t V. .!. ' .. .
. tuu, it wu uu iwu cuuugu,
Such things, I think, are in the main merely acci
dents, and such accidents rarely happen twice.
Harry still mourns the untimely death of his pet.
for he thinks he ought t6 have lived a long time,' but
when one considers how many ages he lay there in
the rock it's , a wonder he lived at all. t
Pinky, perhaps, is the only one, who is really and
truly glad the Triceratops died, for they were dread
fully Jealous of, each other, and when Tri en
deavored to limb rip on Harry's lap Pinky' always .
tried to bite his taiL ; i ; V ,.
If at any time you happen to be in WMertown go
to Harry's house and mention my namk when ho .
will gladly show you the great creature ii i the grand
hall which he has built for him: Althoug he gener-"
t lly charges fifty cents admission to othef people, he. !
lets mv little friends see him for nothings
, i ' - 4VALT McDUfy GALL..