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Fifty-two Story Talks To Boys And Girls by Howard J. Chidley

A HINT FROM A CARIBOU

This is an animal-story. It is about a caribou. A caribou is a kind of reindeer, and lives in Canada.

One day a man was out in a stumpy pasture-field beside a woods in Canada, and he saw a mother caribou and her little calf feeding quietly down in a valley nearby.

He was on a little hill some distance away, but the wind was blowing in the direction of the caribou. Presently the mother caribou raised her head, sniffed the air, and looked in the direction where the man was hidden behind a stump. She had caught the scent of a human being. That meant danger to her calf. Soon the mother caribou, leaving her calf in the valley, started in the direction of the man. He slipped from his hiding-place to another stump. On came the caribou till she reached the very stump behind which the man had first hidden. There she smelled the ground, and then a strange thing happened. She called her calf to her, had it smell the ground, too, so as to get the scent of the man. When that was done, she got behind that little caribou and butted it down the valley as fast as it could go. Why did she do that? It was to teach her calf that whenever it got that scent on the air, there was danger, and it must get away as quickly as possible.

Ever after that, even before the calf knew that this scent belonged to a man, or had seen a man, it would run away from it.

Your parents are constantly doing for you what that mother caribou did for her little one. When they tell you that such and such a thing is wrong, and you must not do it; when again they tell you there is danger in going to a certain place, or in chumming with a particular boy or girl, they are again doing the same thing for you. And when they punish you, as that mother caribou did her calf, it is because they know the danger far better than you, and they know that your safety depends upon keeping away from such things.

Then, bye and bye, perhaps, as you grow older, you will begin to see for yourself what the danger meant, just as the little caribou might some day see a hunter for itself. And then you will no longer think your parents cruel or strict; you will be thankful that they were so wise and kind.

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