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CHESTER; A HERO.
N 1893, when the lands known as the "Cherokee Outlet" were thrown open to settlement, Mr. Wallace made the "run" and was successful in securing a I i lit- claim. For some weeks after the opening, he and his son Harry were very busy build ing a house and barn, besides digging a well and making other improvements necessary to es tablish a residence in the new country. Building a house did not con sist simply of making a frame and boarding it up, as one would naturally suppose, for lumber was expensive, in fact, it was almost impossible to obtain it at all, at that time. So that in stead of frame buildings, the houses and barns and other ¦ out buildings were, in a great , many instances, made of sod. The sod, which was plowed in •'strips about two feet wide, was broken or cut, making pieces, and when turned grass side down and placed carefully, made a very substan tial wall, there being enough planks used to keep the walls from slipping down or caving in. Mr. Wallace's house, however, was not made of sod, for on one corner of the claim there was some good rock, and of this the front and two sides were built, the mortar used in putting the walls together, being made of mud, sand, and water, instead of lime and sand. The back of the house was, for the most part, a solid wall of earth, Mr. Wallace having ex cavated into the side of a slope which would, he knew, afford excellent protection against the high winds which are of fre quent occurrence in that coun try. With space left on the west side — or side of the slope, for a large window in the gable of the roof, and a window on each side of the door in the eastern end, there was ample sunlight and ventilation. When the rock walls had been smoothed over nicely with the "mud plaster" and whitewashed and the in side of the roof covered with canvas, a cozier or more com fortable home could not have been found in all the length and breadth of the newly settled 1 country. When the sod barn and cow stable were completed, Mr. Wallace and his wife re turned to their former home in Missouri, leaving Harry on the claim to keep bachelor's hall until the following spring. It was not without many mis givings that Mrs. Wallace con sented to leave her son, who had been brought up in a city, and had never been alone a night in his life before, on a farm seven miles from the near est town, but Harry was seven teen years old, and with three horses and a cow and pig to care for, besides Jack and Beauty, the hunting dogs, and Black Tom, the cat, for com pany, the prospect of a winter on a farm had no terrors for him. c/4n Oklahoma Incident LAURA ELLEN BEALE Then, besides, there were several near neigh bors, as every claim of one hundred and sixty acres was occupied, and on some there were two or even more families who were contesting for the rights of that particular quarter section, so before the winter had fairly begun, neat little cottages, sod houses, or frame "shacks" dotted the entire coun try. Harry's work consisted mainly in "breaking out" as much of the land as possible, and when the weather was pleasant, the lad worked faith fully. His happy hours, however, came with the inclement weather, when all of his time was spent in hunting. Harry had often hunted with his father and brothers in Missouri, but the largest game he had ever found there was the "cotton tail," so easily captured after the first snows of winter. But this hunting was different — and it was one of the proudest moments of his life when he killed his first gray wolf. There had been quail and prairie chicken in abundance, as well as wild geese and the great jack rabbits of the western plains — but a gray wolf was indeed a prize. Harry had by this time become thoroughly familiar with the barking of the coyotes at night, and had often jumped up and slipped quietly out to get a shot at them if possible — but more especially to see that none of the nine new little pigs disappeared from the pen near the barn. Several of his neighbors had suffered consider able loss from coyote raids of late, and whenever there was a single wailing bark, soon followed by a louder and closer coyote yell, there was a great answering clamor from the dogs who were off like a flash after their game. That was exactly what the clever coyotes wanted. The dogs were enticed farther and farther away by one or two of the coyotes, then the rest of the wolves had nothing to interfere with their plans for the cap ture of young pigs, sheep or chickens. After several dogs belonging to neighboring farmers, had been led astray in this way, and killed by bands of coyotes, Harry kept Jack and Beauty chained up near the door of the house, and as soon as he heard a coyote yell close at hand, he quickly brought the dogs inside. They soon learned to keep perfectly quiet while Harry climbed out of the window in the west end of the house, and crept cautiously to the corner of the roof, from which point he had an unobstructed view of the pig pen. If the wind blew from the direction of the house, the coyotes did not venture near, for they have a keen sense of smell and al ways know if a person is near, but if the breeze carried to them no warning scent of danger, they came boldly on, and each time one and sometimes two fell victims to' well-timed shots. It was in this way that the brave young rancher soon gained the reputation of being one of the best shots in the country, which pleased him greatly, although he knew well that his success was not due as much to his skill with firearms as to the study of the habits of the cunning animals, which enabled him to become more than a match for them in cleverness. At last the winter, which had been at times lonely and dull, but for the most part delightful, drew to a close, and Harry's parents and two young sisters would soon be with him. One even ing he sat thinking about how the partitions which were to divide the house, could be arranged to the best advantage, when it suddenly occurred to him to build a sod house as a sleeping room for himself near the "shanty," as he expressed it. The next morning he was hard at work plowing sod, now wildly enthusiastic over the project. The more he thought of the plan, the more elaborate became the details, so when he finished the sod walls, he at once began preparations for the blasting and hauling of enough rock to put a stone wall inside of the sod, which he intended to plaster and whitewash like the main room. As a rule, Harry carried his gun with him when working any distance from the house, as he was continually on the lookout for jack rabbits, and the day he began blasting rock for his "den" was no exception to the rule. In his anxiety to hurry matters, he had that morning used an extra heavy charge of dynamite, and the explosion was ter rific. Just as the sound was dying away in the distance, Harry caught sight of a large gray ob ject, moving rapidly along the ridge, but in the shade of the bank in the early morning light he could not see it distinctly. His first thought was that a wolf had been disturbed by the explosion, and crouching low, was scurrying away from the scene of danger, so snatching up the gun, he took steady aim and fired, just as the animal disap peared into a hole in the hillside. A bunch of gray fur told that the shot had taken effect, and leaving the unfinished wall, he began digging for the animal. The task was not an easy one, and before it ended Harry knew this was not the abode of a wolf, but some other gray animal, he knew not what — and he proceeded more cautiously. When at last he reached the nest, he sprang back in delight, exclaiming, "A Badger!" His pleasure was very soon changed to the deep est sorrow, for when he fully uncovered the nest he saw three little baby badgers trying vainly to hide beneath the body of their mother. As he stooped to see if the badger was indeed quite dead, the little ones fled with frightened cries to the farthest end of the nest. For the first time, Harry regretted his good markmanship, and tenderly caressing the fine coat of the dead animal, he said aloud, "I'm so sorry; I wouldn't have done it for anything if I had known. You poor thing! Hurrying home to protect your little ones from danger, and I had to kill you. It's a shame, that's what it is." Al most a man, though he was — great tears welled up into his eyes, and even when one splashed down onto his hand he was not ashamed. Speaking of the incident afterward to his father he said, "I tell you, pa, I just felt as if I wanted to fight some one, when I found I'd killed that poor mother badger." Seeing the little badgers still endeavoring to escape from their enemy, he covered up the nest again, and hurrying to the house, returned with two gunny sacks— into one of which he placed the three little ones — not, however, before receiving several "nips" from their sharp little teeth. After carefully wrapping the old badger in the other sack and throwing some earth over her until he could come back to bury her properly, Harry went to the house to give the little animals some milk. That was a difficult problem, as they were too young to know how to feed themselves, but with Jack and Beauty and the cat as interested spec tators, Harry worked with the little strangers until he succeeded in feeding them from a spoon enough milk, sweetened and warmed, to nourish them for a while. The greater part of the next two or three days was spent in much the same way, although Harry found time to bury the old badger near her former home. The stone wall, as may be imagined, pro gressed slowly, only the west and part of the south sides being finished when a letter came stat ing that Mr. and Mrs. Wallace, and Clara and Bessie would arrive on the following day. Anxious to have the "den" make as neat an appearance as possible, Harry covered the unfinished walls with sacks, ripped open, and fastened up with wooden pegs, intending to complete the other sides as soon as possible. Clara and Bessie were delighted with the baby badgers, and at once named them Chester, Carl and Tip. Under the skillful ministrations of Mrs. Wallace, who fed them on a bottle, Chester and Carl thrived and grew rapidly — but Tip, who had never seemed as strong as his brothers, was in a few days buried in the same grave with his mother. As the weeks passed Chester and Carl became very tame, and were on the friendliest terms with the dogs and cat. When Carl was three months old, the wheels of a wagon put an end to his exist ence, and only Chester remained. The death of Carl caused such deep grief among the children that every precaution was taken to prevent Ches ter sharing a like fate. By the time he was eight or nine months old, he had been taught several very clever tricks and furnished much amusement for the entire family. He learned to catch and bring back a ball, to feign death, sit up and ask for food, and do many other interesting things. What pleased the family most, however, was the cute way he had of throw ing back his head, and actually laughing after he had performed one of his tricks. Being raised with Jack and Beauty, he had no fear of dogs, and when strange dogs came near the house, Chester would walk quietly up behind them and if he could get near enough, would give them a little nip on the leg. When the dog MAGAZINB SECTION 10