Hannah of Kentucky - James Otis
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.