Hannah of Kentucky - James Otis

Fighting with the Wildcat

He could not reach his rifle, which had been left leaning against the log, nor would it have been possible to use such a weapon even if it had been in his hands. He could only clutch her by the throat; unable to get a firm hold, he threw himself against a tree, with the cat between him and the trunk, hoping to crush her, and crying at the same time for us to come to his aid.

When he began to shout, the cat screamed. This was the noise that had attracted my attention.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis

As Billy and I came up we could not understand what the matter was. It seemed to me an age before we fully made out what was going on, and even then it was not a simple matter to end the battle. Israel did not dare move back far enough for Billy to strike a blow at the cat, and he could not release his hold of her throat to unsheath his knife, therefore he was forced to remain in the same position until Billy cried: —

"Can't you leap back when I strike?"

"No; but never mind what you do to me. Thrust at her! I'd rather be killed by a knife than torn to death by this animal!"

Again and again did Billy thrust, his face showing deathly white because of the fear that he might kill Israel, and each time he drew back I could see that the knife was crimsoned with blood, yet the cat continued to scream, bite, and tear.

It seemed to me that Billy must have struck at least twenty blows before the animal opened her jaws and fell backward as Israel staggered against a tree, the blood running in streams from his side and leg.

I really believed the poor boy would die before we could get him home, for we could not carry him in our arms without causing him pain, so we made a drag of branches, on which he was hauled as on a sled.

Mrs. Boone and mother washed and bound up his wounds quite as well as father could have done; but Israel was not able to move about for many a long day.


Front Matter

At Boonesborough
Beginning of the Story
Boone on the Yadkin
Boone Moves his Family
Ready for the Journey
What we Wore
Driving Cattle and Sheep
Camping at Nightfall
The Long Halt
Jimmy Boone Goes to Clinch
Murder of Jimmy Boone
A Time of Mourning
The Faint-hearted Return
A New Home
Making Moccasins
Tanning Leather
Governor Dunmore
Our Home on the Clinch
Household Duties
Attacked by a Wildcat
Fighting the Wildcat
Boone and Father Return
The Wilderness Road
Building the Forts
Gathering Salt
Our Home in the Fort
Ready for Cooking
Furnishing the House
The Hominy Block
The Supply of Water
Sports Inside the Fort
Wrestling and Running
Religion of the Indians
Indian Babies
Colonel Callaway Arives
News from Eastern Colonies
Venturing Outside the Fort
Dividing the Land
Who Owned Kentucky?
Ready to Build a Home
Billy's Hard Lot
Preparing Flax
Spinning and Soap Making
Broom Making
More Indian Murders
Indian "Signs"
Woodcraft and Hunting
Pelts Used as Money
Petition of the Settlers
Making Sugar
Building Fences
Capture of the Girls
My Willful Thoughts
Finding the Trail
The Pursuit
The Story Told by Jemima
Elizabeth's Heroism
Rescuing the Girls
Alarm Among the Settlers
Indians on the Warpath
The First Wedding
The Wedding Festivities
The Brides Home
The Housewarming
Attacks by the Indians
Besieged by the Savages
In the Midst of the Fight
The Assault by the Indians
Failure of the Assault
Watchfulness of the Indians
The Sortie
My Father Wounded
Our Wounded