A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring. — Alexander Pope

Hannah of Kentucky - James Otis

Attacked by a Wildcat

My brother made us a swing by tying up the ends of wild grapevines, after which he pushed us high into the air, all the party shouting and laughing as merrily as if we had been safe at home on the banks of the Yadkin.

Israel had wandered off by himself, as he often did, but we gave no heed to his absence until I fancied I heard, above our noise, the cries of a person in distress, mingled with the most horrible yells and screams.

It was fully a minute before I could quiet the younger children so that we might listen, and then, when it was possible to hear distinctly, Billy cried as he ran at full speed in the direction of the noise:

"Israel is in trouble! Get back to the cabin, girls, for the Indians may be about!"

I knew that the Indians never made such a noise when they were attacking white people, and, leaving Jemima to look after the younger ones, I followed Billy.

Within ten minutes we were looking at a terrible sight. It seems that Israel had stopped to rest and was sitting on a log, when suddenly an enormous wildcat, snarling as if in a rage, stepped out from among the leaves in front of him, her short tail swinging from side to side viciously, and her crop ears lying back close to her neck.

Israel's first thought was to shoot, but immediately he realized that the report of his rifle would alarm those in the cabin, as well as us children, so he stooped to pick up a broken branch, hoping to frighten her with it.

It was while he was leaning forward that the animal sprang at him. He saw the moving shadow in time to jump up, but it was too late to guard himself wholly.

The cat, instead of seizing him by the neck, which was most likely her aim, fastened her teeth into his side, and began digging the flesh of his left leg with her hind claws.

[Illustration] from Hannah of Kentucky by James Otis


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