Tuesday, 27 December 2011

My Funny Pets



WorldCat.org is a website that catalogues the worlds books and periodicals. There is not a great description of Everyland magazine, so I have created a PDF of one complete issue of the July “Philipino” issue. In the process of digitizing ‘My Funny Pets’ by Verrill, the story of the Big Brown Bear on PEI was a remainder, since digital, it is published as well./drf

My Funny Pets
By A. Hyatt Verrill
Everyland magazine, July 1916 from the column ‘Everyland Nature Club’ Care of Everyland, 156 Fifth Avenue, New York City, digitized by Doug Frizzle Dec. 2011.

NEARLY all boys and girls are fond of pets, and ever since I can remember I've owned odd and curious birds and animals; and whenever I've been in queer, out-of-the-way places I have managed to obtain peculiar furred or feathered companions. I would like to tell Everyland readers all about the many strange, funny, and interesting creatures I have had in tropical lands, but as this is not possible I'll try to tell the Nature Club about some pets I had in Central America.
My first was a native deer named Pepito. He was given to me when he was a little spotted fawn, and as he grew older and larger he became so tame he would follow me about like a dog. When we lived in the town, Pepito was kept in the open court or patio of the house, where he ran about at will among the flowers and grass and could drink or bathe at the fountain in the center. But we often made long trips into the country and Pepito always accompanied us. On the train he was perfectly at home, running up and down the center of the car, making friends with the conductor and passengers.
When at last we reached the little village where we stayed, a red or blue ribbon was tied about Pepito's neck and he was free to go where he pleased. All about were mountains covered with forests full of wild deer and other animals, and every morning Pepito would trot off into the woods to spend the day with his wild cousins. Often, when out hunting, I would see a herd of deer and would be surprised to see Pepito come running from among them to greet me. Sometimes, when the others saw how fearless he was and that I did not molest them, they too would come close and would follow a short distance away as I walked along with Pepito.
When the deer was about half grown a young peccary or wild pig was brought to us by a native hunter. These animals are usually fierce and vicious and hard to tame, but this little chap, which we called Chico, was an exception and from the first was very docile and affectionate. He would jump to my lap to be scratched, grunt at our door to wake us in the morning, and followed us everywhere we went.
He and Pepito soon became fast friends and inseparable comrades, and it was a funny sight to see the two trotting up the mountain path side by side on their way to the woods. All the hunters knew Pepito by his ribbon and took care not to shoot him by mistake, and to protect Chico we tied a bell about his neck.
Several months after Chico was added to the family a friend gave us a tame white-faced monkey named Tito. He was a very comical, inquisitive chap. His favorite toy was an old, battered doll, and he would carry this about for hours at a time and was most dejected if it was taken away or mislaid. But Tito's funniest trick, and the one which gave him the greatest pleasure, was to wait in the doorway and, as the peccary ran by, spring on the latter's back and have a free ride. Chico did not mind this, and in fact I think he really enjoyed it as much as the monkey did.
One day the monkey caught sight of the deer, and thinking Pepito would prove a better mount than the peccary he sprang on his back. The deer had never experienced such a sensation before and was frightened almost out of his wits. Evidently his first thought was to make for the woods, and he dashed off with the delighted monkey clinging fast to his back and chattering with joy at his fine ride.
Around the house there was a barbed wire fence, and when Pepito reached this he sprang through between the wires without the slightest hesitation. There was plenty of room for him but there was no space for his rider, and the poor monkey was swept from his seat and left hanging on the sharp barbs. He was badly cut, but he had learned a lesson, and from that time on Pepito's appearance threw him into a fit of rage and fear.
Perhaps the oddest of all the pets I had in Central America was a queer creature known as a kinkajou, or fruit bear. This animal grows to be three feet or more in length and has a little round head, solemn black eyes, sharp teeth, and strong claws. The hair is thick, woolly, and dull yellow in color, but the most remarkable things about the kinkajou are its tail and its tongue. Both are very long and both are prehensile, or, in other words, they can be used like hands.
Kinkajous are very fond of honey, and if they cannot get it in any other way they will reach their long tongues into the bees' nests and lick the honey from the comb. You can imagine that such a creature would make a very interesting pet, and I can't begin to tell you all the funny, unusual things our pet kinkajou did. He was just as curious as a monkey and was forever getting into mischief, but after licking out the contents of an ink-bottle or pulling over the furniture with his tail, he would climb up on my shoulder in such an innocent way and cuddle down in such a confident manner that his misdeeds were always forgiven.
But his curiosity and his "handy" tail proved fatal to him at last. One night he pulled a bottle of jam from a high shelf and with his ever-ready tongue licked up the jam and broken glass together. Even a kinkajou's tough stomach cannot stand such a diet and the following day he died.
Besides these pets we had many others; such as sloths, macaws, parrots, toucans, raccoons, foxes, and even a young jaguar. The last would follow me about like a dog and was very gentle and affectionate with us, but his strength was so enormous and he used teeth and claws so freely on strangers or any one to whom he took a dislike that finally I was obliged to put him in a cage and send him to a menagerie.

The Story of a Big Brown Bear As I Heard My Mother Tell It
By Regina F. Cowan
THE northern end of Prince Edward Island was sparsely settled in the year 1834, when my father leased a farm at Sea Cow Pond. There's a legend that the place derived its name from a herd of sea-cows which were driven ashore during a terrific storm and perished there.
My mother went to housekeeping in a log cabin of two rooms. The front door opened by pulling a thong attached to a latch on the inside, and a wooden button secured the door at night. The upstairs was a small unfinished loft, reached by a ladder. A hatch covered the entrance to the loft. Crude cod and whale oil in tin lamps and home-made tallow candles were used for illuminating. The house was heated by an open fireplace. Part of the cooking was done on a crane and roasts were prepared in a Dutch oven in front of the fire. An unfailing spring well furnished what seemed the most delicious water on this continent, with its old oaken bucket.
My father was out on business one evening, and baby Margaret was asleep when Mother heard something moving outside. She looked out of the window and there stood a big brown bear, his fore paws resting on the window-sill and his wild eyes fastened on the sleeping babe. Mother trembling with fear rushed to the cradle, tenderly pressed her treasure to her breast, and with haste and all the strength she could command climbed the ladder and laid the baby on a sheepskin mat. She came down again and looked for something to give the hungry animal. A box of dried codfish was found, and removing the small window mother threw out a large supply to Bruin, who at this time was trying to break through the door. The bear tore the fish in pieces and ate ravenously and picking up the remainder started off.
When my father returned, he found a very frightened mama. He vowed that he would not rest until he could get a shot at old Bruin. He did not have long to wait. Within a week Mr. Bear called to pay another visit and my father saluted him with an English rifle, and —Mother slept that night.

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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.