Monday, 30 June 2008


By A. Hyatt Verrill

Vol. XXIV.—July 1898. page 777 St. Nicholas magazine, from a copy courtesy Linda Young 2007, digital capture by Doug Frizzle 2007

WHAT are they? This is doubtless the question which will arise in the minds of the readers of St. Nicholas when they see the picture at the top of this page. Are any of Mr. Cox's Brownies quainter or more droll than these queer, spectacled creatures with their outlandish head-gear? Nor are these little elfin-like beings inventions of the imagination. From the time when the first green leaves burst forth in spring until the keen, frosty air of autumn ends their strange existence, they live and thrive under our very eyes.

The little people created in Palmer Cox's brain[1] never wore a greater variety of dress than do the Leaf-Hoppers; for these droll little faces are nothing more nor less than the heads of the common insects called Leaf-Hoppers as they appear when viewed through a magnifying-glass. There are more than one hundred species of these little insects found in the eastern United States alone, no two of which are alike. Some are brown, others green, blue, white, or mottled in various colors and patterns; while one patriotic little fellow goes so far as to wear our national colors in stripes of red, white, and blue upon his roof-shaped back.

The Leaf-Hoppers are as erratic in their movements as the Brownies themselves, and could easily give hints to those favorites of the children in regard to traveling through space; for although these insect-Brownies possess wings and moderate powers of flight, yet their usual method of traveling is by sudden, elastic leaps, often covering as much as six feet, or over five hundred times their own length, in a single bound. If man could move in this manner, there would be little need of express trains, for in two jumps a person could travel a mile!

A favorite resort for these insects is among the stems and leaves of the grape-vine and Virginia creeper. If you look in these places on any warm summer's day, you will find them with their bodies lying close to the surface on which they may be resting, while their pointed caps look like small protuberances of the bark.

These queer-shaped humps are not alone for ornament, but, like everything else in nature, have their use. The little fellow with the tall, peaked cap on the extreme left of the picture lives on rose-bushes, and his cap, of a dull olive color, appears so much like one of the thorns that you will have to look sharp to find him.

After you find your Leaf-Hopper, approach with great care; for no matter how cautiously you move, he will see you with those sharp goggle-eyes, and if you are approaching him from the side or rear, will wheel quickly about until he faces you, and slightly raising the forward portion of his body, will watch your every move. Now make a quick motion or extend your hand as though to touch him. Quick as a flash, he will take a short backward step and be up and away with a lightning-like spring, as though hurled from a miniature catapult, and the chances arc you will never see him again. The Leaf-Hoppers, like their cousins the common plant-lice, or aphides, are sap-eaters (or more properly sap-suckers), and, like them, many species secrete a sweetish substance called "honey-dew." This secretion is considered a great delicacy by the ants, and if you look carefully you may often see a procession of small ants passing up and down a plant on which the little hoppers are feeding. At first sight the ants seem to be eating the little creatures, but if you examine them with a lens it will be seen that they are merely feeding on the honey-dew. In fact, the Leaf-Hoppers and aphides are utilized as cows by the ants. They take excellent care of their cattle, too, watching over and guarding them constantly. In the autumn the ants take the eggs of the aphides or Leaf-Hoppers into their own nests, where they keep them through the winter.

In the spring, when the eggs hatch, they carry the young and nearly helpless brood to some plant where they can feed; and if the plant dries up or dies, they carry the little sap-suckers to better feeding-grounds. In some cases the ants even build tiny sheds over their herds to protect them from the weather. When they desire the honey-dew, the ants gently stroke the backs of the insects with their antennae, when the little creatures immediately expel a drop of the coveted fluid.

The Leaf-Hoppers belong to the order of insects known as Hemiptera, and, like the other members of their order, do not pass through a grub or caterpillar state as do the butterflies and many other insects. The young, when first hatched, look much like their parents, with the exception of the wings, which do not appear until the first change of skin. With each successive molt the wings increase in size until fully formed. Although the existence of the most of the Leaf-Hoppers ends with the falling leaves, yet quite a number live over winter, passing the long, cold months in a sort of sleep beneath dead leaves, straw, or any other rubbish that will keep out the cold.

[1] Refers to a series of ‘Brownie Books' a series circula 1897; still in publication today.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

The Husky — Hero of the Arctic

The Husky Hero of the Arctic

Laurie York Erskine

Author of "Renfrew of the Mounted"

Condensed from National Home Monthly (January, '50). copyright 1949 by Home Pub. Co., Ltd., 25 Richmond St., W., Toronto 1, Canada Digital format by Doug Frizzle, June 2008.

His boundless vitality and unstinted devotion make habitation possible in the Far North

The Eskimo sled-dog, commonly called the Husky, is one of the hardiest animals on earth, yet no other breed of dog has perished in such great numbers in the service of mankind.

Until recent years the Husky provided the only means of overland transportation throughout the two million square miles of North America that stretch from the 60th parallel to within 500 miles of the North Pole; and in the largest part of that area he is still man's sole means of locomotion. Without the Husky, explorers, pioneer traders, prospectors and engineers could never have developed the rich fur and mineral resources of the North. Today doctors, missionaries and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police still depend almost entirely on dog-team transportation.

Among the first necessities flown in to the chain of weather stations now being jointly maintained by the United States and Canada in the Arctic were teams of sled-dogs, so that the weather crews can hunt fresh meat and reach help if they need it. This dog is called a Husky not because of unusual strength but because early traders coined the name as a short form of the word Eskimo. Today it is loosely applied to any kind of dog that draws a sled, but it rightly belongs to only three breeds: the Malemute of western Alaska; the Siberian Husky, which was brought to this continent by the Russians when they occupied Alaska; and the pure strain of the original breed which lives in northern Canada.

A typical Husky of this original breed stands about 25 inches high and is about 44 inches long from the tip of his nose to the base of his bushy tail, which curls proudly over his back. His weight ranges from 60 to 100 pounds. The female is slightly smaller and lighter, but both are built for hard pulling, with deep wide chests, thick muscular necks and iron-hard legs. Their toughly padded feet can take punishment on jagged rock and broken ice that would split the hoofs of a horse.

The Husky's coat is a dense growth of coarse hair four to six inches long. Under it is another coat of oily wool two or three inches thick. This double covering enables the Husky to endure great cold, even 50 degrees below zero, without the need of shelter.

The true Husky never barks, but gives an eerie, long-drawn howl which, combined with his shaggy coat, sharp face and slanting black eyes, makes people think he is a domesticated wolf or a half-breed "wolf-dog." Actually, although the wolf and the Husky spring from the same family tree, they branched off in different directions thousands of years ago. Today the wolf is the Husky's bitter enemy. So great is this aversion that, even when starving, the dog won't eat wolf flesh.

However, Huskies will mate with wolves. Sometimes a wolf bitch will lure a male dog to break away and follow her; but she always leads him back to the wolf pack, which promptly kills him. The female Husky is more fortunate. If male wolves court her, they invariably let her return to camp unharmed.

A Husky may come into the world at any time of the year as one of a litter of from six to eight pups. In winter the mother pulls her weight in the traces up to the day her puppies are born, and from her warm body they emerge into a temperature that hovers between 20 and 60 degrees below zero. As a rule the Eskimo will build the mother a snow kennel in which she can nurse her brood. If she must nest in the snow only a few of her litter survive.

Most Huskies pull a great deal more than their own weight. Loaded for the start of a trip, the average Eskimo sled weighs about 1100 pounds, and is usually drawn by a team of from 12 to 15 dogs. As long as he can move from one good hunting ground to another the nomadic Eskimo lives well. If he cannot move, he perishes, so his life depends on the faithfulness and efficiency of his dogs. He will seldom part with them at any price, and will frequently risk his life for them. Many an Eskimo has died trying to free his dogs when thin ice has broken under a heavy sled.

The Eskimo trains the pups by putting them, one or two at a time, into a team of veterans. The rookie pup will be about eight months old, and he finds that the seasoned old-timers are tough teachers. For years they have toiled together as a team, but all will fight like a flash for a lion's share of the food, and they carry on an unending competition for the favors of the females.

This hard-bitten crew is harnessed to the sled in what is known as the "fan hitch." From the front of the sled runs a stout walrus- or seal-hide pull-rope about six feet long. Each dog is hitched to this separately by a rawhide tug line about 12 feet long. Thus, when the team starts pulling, the dogs at the ends of their tug lines are abreast of each other in a fanwise formation. Compared with the single tandem hitch, which we generally see in pictures, this seems clumsy, but it has sound practical advantages. For one thing, it is the only method by which more than eight animals can be handily controlled.

The young Husky will probably first find himself hitched beside a cantankerous veteran. This is the "boss dog." He can lick any other member of the team and is always ready to prove it. His job is to see that every Husky pulls its full weight and obeys the driver's commands, and he runs tirelessly back and forth behind the formation, bounding over the tug lines and unmercifully nipping shirkers.

The lead dog, chosen for character and intelligence, works with a quiet determination that holds the rest of the team together. Some of the best lead dogs are bitches, for the female often shows a keener intelligence than the male and gets better support from the boss dog. A good leader reacts to its master's voice with almost human understanding and will frequently make wise decisions of its own. It will often feel out thin ice before its master does and veer the team away from danger. Sometimes it can lead the team back to base when the driver has completely lost his bearings.

Food is the dogs' greatest incentive because it is always scarce. The dog needs rich fats, muscle-building meat and loads of vitamins, all of which are concentrated in the flesh of the Arctic seal — the Eskimo's staff of life. A tired team will often dash forward without any visible reason, only to bring up at a seal hole several miles away. A veteran Hudson Bay trader declares that once when, all out of food, he was following the coast line in search of fresh meat his dogs veered inland against all he could do to control them and led him to a herd of caribou 12 miles away. This ability to discover food is probably due to a keen sense of smell, aided by the Arctic atmosphere, which will sometimes carry a scent for miles.

In the two months of Arctic summer, when the Eskimos turn their dogs loose to shift for themselves, the Huskies range along the shore line eating shrimp, mussels, birds' eggs and dead things cast up by the tide, or they scatter inland and run down hares and lemmings. This scanty diet reduces them to such a state of starvation that they gladly come back to camp when the weather turns cold, knowing they can count on a feast of rich walrus meat.

Much of the Husky's reputation for ferocity is due to his generally famished condition. Well fed and well treated, he is affectionate and friendly. Goaded by hunger, however, Huskies put up a fearsome show of snarling and snapping at feeding time, and have a dangerous habit of hurling themselves upon any human being who stands between them and their food. This can be fatal, for a fur-clad human being flopping about on the snow can be easily mistaken for a seal by a famished and excited dog. If this draws blood the whole pack may set upon the victim. The wife of one of the Canadian Mounties was killed in this way.

The Husky more than makes up for his occasional lapses by extraordinary devotion and self-sacrifice. Under ordinary conditions he will cover 25 miles a day at the rate of six or seven miles an hour, and hardly feel it. When the sledding is really tough, he will outstrip almost anything that can be imagined in the way of endurance.

Sub-zero gales that lash the dogs with drifting sand and snow will sometimes freeze their faces so severely that the dogs have to be destroyed. When the thermometer falls under 50 below zero the lungs of a panting dog become frostbitten if he is driven too hard, causing hemorrhages that choke him. If the snow is slushy it packs between the dog's toes and forms hard balls of ice that cripple him. Thoughtful drivers make him boots of rawhide or canvas, but while these protect his feet, they hamper his footing, making the pulling much harder. In spite of such hardships, a team of 15 Huskies traveled 1300 miles in 85 days, bringing home a rescue party of the Mounted Police and hauling the last ten days of the journey without any food at all.

Realizing how greatly the development of the North depends upon this indomitable dog, the Canadian Government now sends animal pathologists into the Arctic to study the Huskies' needs and combat epidemics of rabies and distemper that used to kill them by hundreds. Closely cooperating with the Canadian Government's Northwest Territories Administration, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Hudson's Bay Company are teaching the Eskimos to feed their dogs a full ration all year round, to breed them for strength and intelligence, to have them inoculated against disease, and to isolate them when they fall sick.

In many settlements throughout the Arctic hundreds of white men and women are pioneering in a country which, 25 years ago, most people considered uninhabitable by any but Eskimos. Steadily they are turning it into a new stronghold of civilization. But the first credit for anything they achieve must go to the faithful Husky. By his boundless vitality and his unstinted devotion, it was he who first made it possible for white men to enter that land of long winters and hard sledding.

He Makes People Proud of Their Jobs - McCormick

In McCormick & Company, the employes[1] help to run the business

He Makes People Proud of Their Jobs

Laurie York Erskine

Condensed from Future {July, '50), copyright 1950 by United Stales Junior Chamber of Commerce, Akdar Bldg., Tulsa 3, Okla.

WILLOUGHBY M. McCORMICK started a spice and flavoring-extract business in Baltimore in 1899, and built it up from a one-room plant to a $3,500,000 company in 1928. To him, workers were simply a commodity. Disagreement with the boss meant dismissal. The only employe who dared talk back was his nephew, young Charles P. McCormick, who had begun as an office boy and had risen through all the departments. His uncle had fired him seven times, but had rehired him each time because "he had ideas."

McCormick & Company began losing money in 1932, and was in the red for that year. The company's troubles were deeper than just the depression. "The workers were dispirited," explains Charlie. "Their pay was low and they weren't sure of their jobs. We had a labor turnover of about 30 percent. The work involved processing and packing hundreds of items — spices, extracts, tea, coffee and insecticides — and the cost of training new workers ran high. Poor morale and obsolete methods made production slump. The sales force lost spirit and orders dwindled."

Uncle Willoughby met the crisis by wage cuts, until he had slashed pay 25 percent. Then one week-end he told Charlie to announce another wage cut of ten percent. Charlie protested vainly, but before he could announce the cut his uncle died of a heart attack.

At a hurried meeting of the board of directors Charlie was elected president, and at the age of 36 was burdened with the responsibility of putting the failing firm on its feet. His first act was to call the company's 500 employes together.

"We're close to the rocks," he told them, "but we can win out. Prices for raw materials are low; however, we've got to turn them into salable products at lower production expense. If you'll increase production we can cut costs, lower prices, and thus give our salesmen the stimulus they need to bring in orders. That means an all-out effort on your part, and you can't do it on poor pay and long hours. So we're raising your pay ten percent and reducing the work week from 48 hours to 44. From now on every worker is going to prosper exactly as the firm prospers."

This amazing proposal, made in 1932 when wage cuts and unemployment were sweeping the country, had a breath-taking effect. The astonished employes not only increased their output beyond Charlie's highest expectations but found ways to eliminate waste. In three months the company was out of the red and Charlie raised wages again.

But he knew that the company needed more than the stimulus of raises. "About one out of every ten persons is a creative thinker," he says, "and I decided to use whatever creative minds we had in the company."

He selected 17 young men who worked at such jobs as credit clerks, cost accountants and assistants to department heads, and told them that they were to be a junior board of directors. "No one of higher rank will be present at your meetings," he said. "Your job will be to create ideas to increase the company's success and make it a better place for our people to work. The books are open to you; ask anything about the company's affairs you want to. Any ideas you recommend unanimously will be placed before our board of directors."

The first thing the junior board did was to overhaul the company's packages. They designed handier spice tins with more attractive labels, and a new extract bottle with a broad base and indentations for the housewife's fingers. Next they set up a system for testing stenographers to put the most efficient girls in important posts. They introduced speedier and more accurate billing machines. They suggested a number of new products and by fresh promotion ideas stepped up the sale of old ones.

When the head of the city-order department reported that he could handle 40 percent more business with the same number of employes, the junior board came through with a sales campaign for a somewhat moribund line of foods and remedies for household pets. This gave the city-order department all it could handle and led to nation-wide sale of products that had long been in the doldrums.

The youthful directors changed their chairman every three months. Every six months they rated themselves. The top six became a membership committee empowered to replace the three lowest-scoring members with three other promising employes.

In its first five years the junior board turned in 2109 recommendations to the board of directors, of which only six were rejected. Elated by this success, Charlie called together the foremen, mechanics and supervisors, and invited them to set up a similar board.

At the first meeting of this nine-man factory board, one member produced figures to show that too many cans were carried in stock and became shopworn before they were needed; new purchasing schedules were adopted. Other proposals overhauled the handling of three important products in a way that doubled output with the same machines and man power. Installation of new tanks and bins made it possible to buy more raw materials in bulk and at lower cost; packing methods were standardized.

By giving an open hearing to every worker with a grievance, the factory board was soon accepted by the workers as their representative before the board of directors. This made it possible to solve labor problems in a spirit of cooperation.

Was an accident the fault of a careless employe, or was there company negligence? Hearings by the board so justly placed the blame that the workers developed new safety codes and the company new safeguards, to the satisfaction of all.

The factory board suggested a 15-minute rest period every two hours; the result was a nine percent boost in production. Recommendations for a 40-hour week and for wage increases, bonuses, health insurance and other benefits, made by the factory board, were adopted by the company.

The board's biggest achievement was a reorganization of production schedules to avoid periodic layoffs after Christmas and during the summer months, when sales of spices and extracts slow up. These slack seasons were used to produce year-round items such as teas and insecticides, leaving the schedule free for full production of spices and extracts during the seasons of greatest demand. As a result employes were sure of at least 48 weeks of work a year. Labor turnover dropped to four percent.

Charlie McCormick next formed a board of salesmen, and soon the three groups — junior board, factory and sales force — were working together, each sending representatives to the others' meetings and adding its knowledge to the development of the others' ideas. Through such relationships, in which everyone spoke his own mind regardless of position, the gap between labor and management vanished.

As news spread of the revolutionary ideas that brought McCormick's triumphantly through the depression, businessmen all over the country came to examine Charlie's system at work, and Charlie wrote a book explaining it. He called it Multiple Management. It went into five editions. It was also published in England, Spain and France.

Today some 500 companies use various forms of multiple management in the United States, Canada and England.

McCormick's is the largest firm of its kind in the United States, and has sales representatives in Europe and a branch in Mexico. Gross sales were 28 million dollars in 1949. Stockholders, who now include most of the company's employes, enjoy fatter dividends than ever before. But more important in Charlie's mind is the fact that anxiety and dissension have been replaced by opportunity and contentment.

Workers — there are 1200 of them now — have a paid vacation, and a yearly profit-sharing bonus that equals four to seven weeks' wages. A company-financed pension system, which applies to all ranks from janitor to president, provides a retirement income equal to about half basic pay, up to a maximum annual payment of $5000. A share of the profits is put into a trust fund that is paid to the employe whether he quits, retires or is fired.

The workers have demonstrated that they regard partnership as a two-way obligation. "Early in December 1945," says Charlie, "we announced there'd be a two weeks' Christmas holiday with pay. To my amazement our people turned out five weeks' production in the next three weeks." Since then the holiday has been an annual event, and production has never suffered.

Once-a month the company holds a meeting of all employes and tells them frankly the condition of their business. At a yearly meeting the company's financial report is read, and its details are illustrated with stacks of silver dollars which graphically show the firm's expenditures for materials, wages, etc., and the profits.

Charlie believes that multiple management holds the solution to the most urgent problems that confront labor and management. "If the employes of a business know its affairs, are given a democratic voice in running them, and are paid according to the profits that their ideas and efforts bring in, they will loyally put their minds to bear on making that business a success."

As Charlie sees it, the American wage earner wants to feel that he's more than just a number on the payroll. "Of course he wants security," says Charlie, "but he wants to earn it through his own efforts, working for the success of a business he's in. Let every employe feel that the firm he works for depends on his ideas and energy for its success or failure, and returns him his fair share of what he earns for it, and he won't want Government handouts.

"Workers who play a part in actually building the business which produces their living can never be convinced that the profit system is unsound, or that they can improve their lot through any form of socialism that takes their welfare out of their own control."

[1] Employee is the usual American English spelling, but employe is a Standard variant used especially by some corporate house organs and business publications.

Gray Wolf

The Great Gray Wolf —

Mighty Hunter of the Wilds

Laurie York Erskine

Condensed from Frontiers: A Magazine of' Natural History {December, '50), copyright 1950 by The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 19th St. & The Parkway, Philadelphia 3, Pa.

The gray wolf has the greatest range of any wild animal in the world. In spite of every effort to exterminate him he persists in most of Canada and Alaska in vast areas of Asia, in Eastern Europe and in at least 14 of our states.

He is the most efficient big-game hunter of all four-footed beasts. Some of the big cats are faster and stronger, but no other animal hunts in such uncanny cooperation with his fellows, or is so sure of success. This has not only gained for him a reputation for supernatural cunning but it has also earned for him the undying enmity of man.

In the early days of cattle ranching many small stockmen were wiped out by wolves. Certain wolves became famous. The Aguila wolf of southern Arizona averaged one calf every fourth night for eight years, and sometimes he wantonly slew half a hundred sheep in a single night. The Custer wolf in the Black Hills destroyed $25,000 worth of stock in seven years; old Three Toes of South Dakota slew $50,000 worth before he was captured in 1925, after being hunted for 13 years.

We call him the gray wolf, but his coat is often a tawny brown or red. Off-color wolves can be easily mistaken for dogs. Once in Ontario I saw three animals 100 yards away; one was gray, the others were brown, and they stood gazing at me with such friendly curiosity that I took them for Indian sled dogs. But when I stepped toward them they moved off into the woods, and I'll never forget the chill that ran up my spine when I recognized the unmistakable lope of the wolf.

The wolf is slower than many of his victims but he makes up for this by his endurance. He'll keep up a steady lope of 15 to 25 miles an hour all night if need be, in order to give his quarry no rest.

An average gray wolf is five and a half feet from nose to tail tip, stands 32 inches high and weighs 80 pounds. Seven-foot, 175-pound wolves have been killed. Stanley P. Young, veteran biologist of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service who, with Dr. Edwin Goldman, has collected almost everything that is known about the animal in their book, The Wolves of North America, reports that in Alaska he saw wolfskins eight feet long.

At two or three years of age the wolf finds a lifetime mate. The young are generally born in the late spring. The parents prepare for them by making four or five dens in high places, with a view of all approaches so that mother wolf always has other safe refuges for her little ones if the birth den must be abandoned.

The litter of from seven to 14 whelps is nursed for about two months, during which the male hunts alone, dragging part of his kill home for his mate. As soon as the young are weaned the mother helps with the hunting, for the whelps are then hungry for meat. If the parents make a kill far away they gorge themselves with meat and disgorge it again at the den entrance for the whelps. In the daytime the male wolf lies down on some high place overlooking the den where he can warn his family of danger. If a man approaches, he may show himself to divert the enemy from his family. When the young ones are three months old the family lives in the open, sometimes roaming a territory of 200 square miles.

Moving always counterclockwise, the wolf patrols his hunting route constantly. He knows every hiding place and lookout, every spot where he can blend his color with the landscape and melt from sight. Along this route the parents teach their young to hunt. A strange wolf enters the area at its peril.

Since the young often stay with their parents until two or three years old, a family may consist of from five to eight full-grown wolves and a litter of whelps. This is the legendary wolf pack. It seldom includes wolves of more than one family, though several families occasionally run together for brief periods.

Few wild-animal families are more devoted. At least one member is always on watch to warn the others of danger. They often risk their lives to protect one another. Once in the wilds of British Columbia I found myself watched by a wolf crouching on a hill near my camp. When I reached for my rifle the animal dashed for cover. As I fired, a second wolf ran openly across the hill, yelping loudly — apparently trying to save his mate by diverting my gunfire to himself.

Wolves will take on any odds to protect their young. Stanley Young tells of four grizzly bears that came too close to a wolf den in which there were whelps, and were rushed by the four grown wolves of the family. Forest rangers watched the battle through binoculars for three hours, until four badly slashed bears limped defeated from the field.

Wolves are immensely strong. At the mouth of a den in New Mexico I found the remains of a yearling calf; the head and hindquarters were missing, but the wolf had dragged the rest of the carcass two miles from the nearest grazing land over ridges and through tangled brush that my companion and I had found hard going.

A wolf's long curved fangs are sharp as steel and he can sever the spine of a calf or break a deer's leg with- one bite. Traps have often proved unable to hold him. Few dogs can survive a fight with a wolf.

Much of the wolf's diet is made up of rabbits, mice, gophers and birds, but he prefers big game, cattle or sheep. In attacking sheep and cattle he is seemingly crazed by their stupidity and defenselessness and slaughters them indiscriminately, killing far more than he needs for food. But when hunting wild game he is a sportsman — and no more cruel than nature is.

Led generally by a she-wolf, a pack scouts for prey, and when the deer, elk, caribou or moose is found, one or two wolves will approach the animal from downwind until it is started up. Then the long chase begins. One wolf will follow directly behind the quarry; others take strategic positions and head it off so that it runs in a circle, until the quarry tires. Then the pack brings it down by tearing at its throat and hindquarters.

The cooperation of a hunting wolf pack is amazing. They seem to have a system of communication and take their positions like a well-trained team. They will herd a quarry to the edge of a cliff and run it over, or corner it in a steep ravine. In winter they run a deer onto ice, where it has no foothold. In summer they cover both banks of a stream and keep the deer swimming until it is exhausted. Bull moose, elk and caribou, however, often kill the attacker with their antlers or hoofs.

Man is the only animal the wolf fears. Today he will come close to a man's camp only in the Far North, where there are thousands of wolves that have never known man's scent.

Stories of human beings killed by wolves have little foundation in fact. Perhaps in Europe in the old days, when wolves roved near every village, some such cases may have occurred, but all who know the gray wolf of North America agree that he is no man-killer. The Canadian Wildlife Service knows of only one authentic instance of an unprovoked attack on a human being. Even a trapped wolf will seldom fight his captor, but will cringe away in fear.

The wolf has sharp eyesight, keen smell and good hearing. Hunters in prairie country have declared that wolves learn the range of a rifle and stay safely beyond it. Men who have set trap guns have found the trigger cords cut by wolves that have stolen the bait.

In outwitting this cunning opponent, expert wolf hunters have succeeded best by taking advantage of his two most dependable habits. His appetite for carrion makes him vulnerable to poisoned bait. In the first great campaign to wipe him out from the cattle ranges, professional hunters killed many thousands by poisoning carcasses with strychnine. In time the wolf learned to avoid such bait.

The wolf's second vulnerable habit is one which he shares with the dog. Along his hunting route he has his visiting posts, the equivalent of a dog's favorite tree or hydrant. The trapper who can find these posts and conceals his trap close to them usually gets results if the trap has the scent of a strange wolf. Smelling it, a wolf scratches up the area and strikes the trap.

Hunters have tried to rear captured wolf pups with varying degrees of success. Many Indian trappers in the North use half-breed wolf dogs for their sleds, but these beasts can seldom be controlled by anyone except their master.

The famous Joe Laflamme, a gigantic, bearded trapper of northern Ontario, lost all but two of his dogs in a distemper epidemic in 1923, and in desperation he made up a complete team with wolves captured in his traps. I've seen him put that team into harness. He'd lure each wolf with food into a small pen, and kneeling before it while it snarled and cringed he'd take a strangle hold around its neck with one arm and slip on a muzzle. Dragging the animal by a steel chain to the sled, he'd snap on the harness. After all his team was hitched up he'd whisk off the muzzles. "Wid de muzzle on," he explained, "dey do not pull!" Without it they pulled magnificently, but with their heads down and tails between their legs — cringing wild things shackled in fear to a task they despised.

Thousands of years ago, when the first dog wagged his way into the cave man's heart, the wolf remained true to the wilderness — and he has never changed his mind. No lure of care or comfort will ever tame him, and he will outtrick man's every effort to exterminate him. Indeed, if naturalists have their way, we shall always preserve him in the remoter regions where he can do no harm to man. There he will help maintain nature's control of the wildlife population, and remain the proud, defiant dog which refuses to wear man's collar.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Who Are The Mysterious Bearded Indians?

 Who Are The Mysterious Bearded Indians? Part 1.
A Strange Tribe, With Strange Customs and Strange Physical Characteristics, Is Being Investigated in South America. Are They Truly Indians or Are They Descendants of Some Other People?
Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation
SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN magazine, June 1928. Researched by Alan Schenker; digitized by Doug Frizzle February 2012.

ELSEWHERE in this issue (page 503) the ethnographer, A. Hyatt Verrill, has described a little-known but apparently anomalous tribe of savages who inhabit an inaccessible area in Bolivia. According to his hypothesis these people are not American Indians but some of the island stocks from the distant archipelagos of the Pacific, transplanted to South America. Admittedly, a close scrutiny of the photograph reproduced above lends some support to this suspicion. How these or similar island peoples may have reached South America from across the broad Pacific has perhaps been best explained by the anthropologist, Professor G. Elliot Smith, who believes they came in large canoes. Although this "diffusionist" belief is opposed by the majority of anthropologists, it is nevertheless in good scientific standing and may yet become the accepted doctrine.

Concerning The Author
DURING the past four years Mr. Verrill has made five expeditions to South and Central America and has visited 18 countries. On these trips he has traveled over 60,000 miles by sea and more than 6000 miles by canoes, horseback, afoot, and other means.
He has visited during the same period 33 tribes of Indians and has made ethnological and archeological collections totaling more than 15,000 specimens for the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation, and the American Museum of Natural History.
In addition, he has discovered and excavated the remains of an unknown prehistoric civilization in Panama, has written seven books, has made over 100 oil portraits of Indians from life, as well as an equal number of paintings of South American views and street scenes. And still he has found time to contribute more than 150 stories and articles to magazines and periodicals in England and the United States.—The Editor.

MY most recent expedition to Peru and Bolivia was not, as has been stated in the daily press, in search of the bearded Indians, but was primarily archeological, although large ethnological collections and valuable ethnological data were secured among the living Indians of the interior.
The bearded Indians were merely a side issue. Moreover, I lay no claim to having "discovered" them, and neither are they a "new" race. In fact they have been known, or rather rumored, to exist for fully 200 years; but I believe I am the first to secure ethnological specimens and notes of the tribe and to bring them to the attention of science.
SCIENTIFICALLY, the bearded Indians are of the greatest interest, being in many ways unique, and may prove to be the key that will unlock the mystery of the origin of man in South America. Even to the casual observer they are strikingly un-Indian in appearance and have a far greater resemblance to inhabitants of the South Sea Islands than to any aborigines of America.
I have long held to the opinion that the Indians of western South America were of Oceanian and not Asiatic origin, and I am convinced that a further study of the bearded Indians will go far towards proving this opinion. The mere fact that the men are bearded is by no means the most important peculiarity of the tribe, although to the public it might seem so. Many, in fact nearly all, Indians possess beards, but as a rule these are shaved off or plucked out; and when allowed to grow, the beard is thin, scant, stiff and wiry.
The beards of the bearded Indians, however, are heavy, luxuriant, bushy, fine, soft, and slightly wavy; as is the hair on the heads. Neither are their features, their bodies nor the shapes of the heads Indian, although a comparison of their cranial measurements with those of Oceanian tribes will be necessary before direct relationships can be established or disproved.
In height they are well above the average forest Indians of South America, and in color they are darker and more of a brown than an ochre or red.
They are an exceedingly primitive race, wearing no garments whatever, having no knowledge of weaving or spinning, and not even using the bark-cloth which is almost universally used among other tribes. Their huts are scarcely more than rude shelters of brush and thatch; they have no regular villages and no chief, each collection of huts housing the members of one family or of relatives, with the head of the family acting as a local chief.
As far as I could ascertain they have no marriage ceremonies and no true religion. They believe that practically every object, animate or inanimate, is inhabited by a spirit; certain objects and creatures possessing evil spirits and others good spirits. If a tree is cut or a bird or animal killed which is supposed to harbor an evil spirit, there is rejoicing, for the act robs the evil spirit of its home and prevents it from doing harm.
BUT if any object supposed to contain a good spirit is injured or destroyed, or a creature with a good spirit killed, offerings must be made and profuse apologies and sorrow expressed. Moreover, a new home for the spirit must be provided. This may consist of a bit of hair from the Indian's head or beard; a rudely formed, unrecognizable image; a crudely drawn mark in the earth or sand; or even a bit of the hide or feathers of the slain animal or bird.
Their burial customs are very peculiar and interesting. The body is placed in a roughly woven container or net of bark and vines and is buried in the earth. After a sufficient time has elapsed for the body to decompose thoroughly the bones are disinterred and cleaned and the skeleton is suspended from a tree in a rude basket-work receptacle.
The dialect of these bearded Indians is wholly unlike any of those of the neighboring tribes. It is low and guttural but not inharmonious, and is spoken in a sing-song monotone.
The vocabulary obtained shows many striking resemblances to dialects of the Pacific archipelagos, some of the words being almost identical and having precisely the same meanings. This is not, however, confined to this tribe, for words in many of the Indian languages of western South America, even the Quichua and Aimara, in fact, show similar resemblances; all of which tends to sustain the theory that these people are all descendants of migrants from Oceania, although doubtless more or less mixed with the races of Asiatic origin farther north.
For weapons the bearded Indians use rude wooden clubs and bows and arrows. The latter are most remarkable, the bows being often eight feet in length and the arrows seven to eight feet long, over an inch in diameter and with feathers 18 inches or more in length and from two to three inches wide. (See page 488.) In using these gigantic bows and arrows, the string and arrow are grasped in the right hand which is braced, against the right hip. The lower end of the bow is rested upon the ground against the great toe of the left foot and the bow is pushed forward to the full extent of the left arm, instead of being drawn by the string in the usual manner. Why these people should prefer such immense unwieldy weapons, especially as the arrows are poisoned, is a mystery.
ALTHOUGH the existence of these people has been known, more or less traditionally, for centuries, yet until recently no one had ever been able to enter or pass through their territory and live to tell of it. I was told by a Redemptorist priest that his order had been trying for over 100 years to establish a mission in the bearded Indian country but without success, although they had flourishing missions among other tribes within a few miles of the borders of the bearded Indians' district.
Not only were the bearded Indians reputed to be savage, implacable, hostile cannibals but they were well protected by nature. Their country was remote; it held little or nothing to attract prospectors or other adventurers, it was in the heart of impenetrable jungle country and it could be reached only by traveling over rapid-filled and dangerous streams.
FEW persons who have not had experience in exploring the South American jungles realize how completely isolated such a tribe may remain, or how dangerous and difficult it is to reach it. The perils of the tropical jungles of South America have been greatly exaggerated by many a traveler and even more greatly exaggerated by romancers who have never entered the jungles. They have told hair-raising tales of gigantic serpents attacking men, of poisonous snakes at every turn, of multitudinous wild beasts and wilder men, of pestilential miasmas and noxious insects.
Much of this is pure fiction. Giant snakes are not common and are not particularly gigantic, and they never molest a man. During nearly 30 years of exploration in South and Central America I have never seen or found a snake over 24 feet long, despite large rewards offered for larger specimens, and a 20-foot anaconda or boa is about as dangerous to man as an ordinary black snake here in the United States. They are sluggish, timid, and will not attack any creature larger than a small deer, for example.
Poisonous snakes are about the rarest denizens of the tropical jungles of America and are seldom seen unless one is clearing or burning land. Even when present they keep out of man's way if possible. The Indians wander barefoot and nude everywhere, and in all my years of experience I have known of only one Indian who was bitten.
Insects there are, it is true, sometimes in swarms, sometimes not, and while jiggers or chigoes, ticks and ants are at times a nuisance, mosquitoes are rarely seen except in low swamp areas. Nowhere in the tropics have I ever experienced as much trouble with insects as in our northern woods when the black fly season was at its height.
LEAST of all dangers are wild animals and Indians. There is not a wild animal in the whole of South or Central America that will attack a man unless wounded, and personally I do not believe that any Indian ever molested a white man unless the white man started trouble or unless the Indians had suffered at the hands of white men and did not discriminate. I have visited and lived among innumerable tribes, many of whom had never met white men and still more of whom were supposed to be savage and hostile, and never yet have I received anything save the most friendly and hospitable reception.
All these dangers and hardships—and the latter are enough without any exaggeration—are nothing when compared with the perils and hardships of river navigation which, oddly enough, are seldom mentioned in tales of adventure in the vast stretches of any of the American jungles. And yet, in order to penetrate any distance into the interior or to reach such a country as that of the bearded Indians, one must depend entirely upon river travel. The craft used may be a frail canoe of bark or as it is called a "woodskin"; it may be a cranky dugout; or it may be a strong, well built craft with a dugout shell built up with planking. But in any case it must be small and is in constant momentary danger of being capsized, smashed to bits, sunk or hurled over a cataract. Manned by Indians or half-breeds, the craft is paddled through the short stretches of smooth water, is dragged, hauled and lifted by main strength upstream through foaming, churning, roaring rapids; is carried laboriously through the jungle around falls and, in many cases where falls are too high or too long to portage, it must be abandoned and a new boat built in order to proceed.
PROGRESS is exceedingly slow. Hauling up streams, the boat crew do well if they cover 20 miles a day, and very often only four or five miles are gained by a day's unceasing, terrific toil.
Going down stream is in some ways even worse. To be sure, progress is anything but slow. The boat sweeps through rapids with the speed of an express train, in a few hours covering the distance which required weeks of labor to overcome on the upstream journey. But the dangers are a thousand times greater. One's life is in jeopardy every instant, and I know of nothing so exciting and thrilling as to descend some unmapped tropical jungle river in a native canoe manned by naked Indians and with one's life and all one's possessions and food staked against the chance of a broken paddle, an unseen rock or an error of judgment on the part of the Indians. Tearing through the foaming water and upflung spray, missing jagged rocks and certain disaster by a hair's breadth; skirting the swirling eddies of vast whirlpools, swinging about sharp bends at the very brinks of cataracts for hour after hour, day after day, one gradually becomes so accustomed to dangers and acquires such a confidence in the Indians that it all seems a matter-of-fact, everyday affair.
AND yet, should an accident occur, should the boat be capsized, "washed out" or sunk and no lives lost—which would be a real miracle— still the explorer and his men would be face to face with death. Without outfit, arms or provisions there is not one chance in 10,000 of reaching civilization or a distant Indian village. Despite all tales to the contrary it is practically impossible to live off the tropical jungle even when equipped with fire-arms and fishing tackle. Game is scarce and wary, and, as a rule, it cannot be found when most needed, and even the native forest Indians cannot sustain life on the game and fish alone. Of nuts, fruits and roots there are practically none. What there are are usually devoured by birds and animals before they are fairly ripe.
One's only hope if thus stranded is to reach an Indian camp or village and, very often, in fact usually, an Indian village is an unknown number of miles distant. These tropical forests are very sparsely inhabited. Often, for hundreds, perhaps thousands of miles, there will be no Indians, and when they do exist their homes are usually carefully hidden near some small stream deep in the jungle, and the stranger who hopes to find succor at one of these camps usually finds the Indians short of supplies themselves.
Once we understand this and realize the difficulties and dangers, the innumerable hardships and the heart-breaking dreary days of toil, the incessant drenching rains, the steaming heat of days and the bone-chilling misty nights which are all a part of penetrating these districts, we can understand how and why such a tribe as the Sirionos has remained isolated for so many years.
BUT, of recent years they have established a sort of armed truce with their neighbors and little by little have permitted strangers to visit their outlying homes and to trade with them, Moreover, with the improvement of transportation methods in the settled portions of the country, and with the pacification of tribesmen occupying the districts between the settlements and the Siriono country, the tribe has become more easy of access.
I cannot state positively whether, or not these Indians are cannibals. I have visited many reputedly cannibal tribes, but as yet have never actually witnessed cannibalism nor found positive proofs of the custom: But there is no reason to doubt that the Sirionos are cannibals, as cannibalism is not uncommon among the tribes of the interior of Peru, Brazil and Bolivia,
Next month the author will give his reasons for the belief that the tribes he describes are not actually Indians.

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As an armed forces brat, we lived in Rockcliff (Ottawa), Namao (Edmonton), Southport (Portage La Prairie), Manitoba, and Dad retired to St. Margaret's Bay, NS.
Working with the Federal Govenment for 25 years, Canadian Hydrographic Service, mostly. Now married to Gail Kelly, with two grown children, Luke and Denyse. Retired to my woodlot at Stillwater Lake, NS, on the rainy days I study the life and work of A. Hyatt Verrill 1871-1954.