THE WOLF WOULD NOT SCARE
By S. C. Turnbo
Among the amusing stories about wolves that we have collected is one
which occurred in the Buffalo Mountains and is furnished by Lee Bearden,
a prominent Methodist preacher who once lived near the famous Morning Star
Mine in Marion County, Arkansas.
In relating the story Mr. Bearden said that his father, Newton Bearden,
came to Buffalo in 1853, first settling on Blue John, a small stream that
runs into Clabber Creek. The hills abounded in game in those early days.
Of turkeys and deer there seemed to be no end, and there were bear in plenty.
He killed all the game he wanted. He could sit in his cabin doorway and
see deer feeding on the hillsides. During the winter wild turkeys would
approach his hog pen for corn. Game was then as great a blessing to the
early hunters as the mineral deposits there are now to the mining industry
of the present day. There were plenty of wolves there too and they made
night hideous with their howling. But my father, said Mr. Bearden, "was
not afraid of them. When he met a wolf in the daytime he put it to flight
by throwing his hat at it and then he would laugh to see it run away. He
was careful however not to be out at night. He had heard many stories of
the settlers about being chased of nights by wolves and of being treed by
them but he refused to believe these tales and pronounced them all fabrications.
He said these big wolf stories told by the hunters were more noise than
reality. But in the course of time his mind changed on this subject and
he concluded the most of them were true and the remainder partly true, and
this is the way it came about.
One bright moonlit night one of my aunts, Mrs. Minerva Bearden, was bitten
by a copperhead snake and father went to John B. Ingrams whose wife
manufactured a salve from herbs which was claimed to be an antidote for
snake poison. It was one and one half miles to Ingrams and father
went afoot. Not fearing the attacks of animals he rushed off without dog
On returning and when within one half mile of home he saw a wolf standing
in the trail in front of him. Walking up pretty briskly toward the animals
which stood still father aimed to give it a big fright and then laugh to
see it run. He had made them run from him so often in daylight that it was
splendid pasttime to him to see wolves flee out of sight. He wanted to see
this one run in moonlight.
Advancing within a few yards of it he jerked his coat tails over his
head and rushed toward it uttering unearthly yells. But he struck the wrong
wolf that time for instead of running it stood its ground and growled and
popped its teeth together in a most ferocious manner. Father was astonished
and wondered why it did not run. Father halted and man and wolf glared at
each other till other wolves appeared on the scene and threatened to spring
upon him. All his attempts to scare them away proving futile, father concluded
it was time to run. The path from there led along the creek bottom where
it was heavily timbered which made the path much darker than on the hillside.
To avoid this he turned to the left and ran around on the side of the hill
where there was better moonlight.
He intended to skirt the creek bottom then run down the slope to his home. He could discern by the light of the moon that there were only a few wolves after him but these were enough. Father did his best to reach home before the animals made a spring for him. They kept right along near him. He could hear their snapping teeth, and see them as they dashed about him. Finding his breath giving out by the time he was a quarter of a mile from home he glanced ahead to see a tree that could be easily climbed. On sighting one with low branches he made for it and succeeded in reaching a place of safety before his pursuers made an attack. And then he thanked God for his deliverance. The wolves out all sorts of didos at the foot of the tree in trying to get at him but he was safely out of their reach. After a breathing spell he called lustily for his dogs and they soon made their appearance, and as they dashed up the wolves sprang away. Mother heard him too and knowing something was wrong started soon after the dogs did. But before she reached the spot father had climbed down and he told her that he never did love dogs so well before and he wanted to hug each one of them. From that time on," added Mr. Bearden, "father quit throwing his hat at wolves to see them run."
Springfield-Greene County Library