LITTLE CYCLONE: THE STORY OF A GRIZZLY CUB
By W. T. Hornaday
Little Cyclone is a grizzly cub from Alaska, who earned his name by
the vigor of his resistance to ill treatment. When his mother was
fired at, on a timbered hillside facing Chilkat River, he and his
brother ran away as fast as their stumpy little legs could carry
them. When they crept where they had last seen her, they thought
her asleep; and cuddling up close against her yet warm body they
slept peacefully until morning.
Before the early morning sun had reached their side of the
mountains, the two orphans were awakened by the rough grasp of
human hands. Valiantly they bit and scratched, and bawled aloud
with rage. One of them made a fight so fierce and terrible that his
nervous captor let him go, and that one is still on the Chilkoot.
Although the other cub fought just as desperately, his captor
seized him by the hind legs, dragged him backwards, occasionally
swung him around his head, and kept him generally engaged until
ropes were procured for binding him. When finally established, with
collar, chain and post, in the rear of the saloon in Porcupine
City, two-legged animals less intelligent than himself frequently
and violently prodded the little grizzly with a long pole "to see
him fight." Barely in time to save him from insanity, little
Cyclone was rescued by the friendly hands of the Zoological
Society's field agent, placed in a comfortable box, freed from all
annoyance, and shipped to New York.
He was at that time as droll and roguish-looking a grizzly cub as
ever stepped. In a grizzly-gray full moon of fluffy hair, two big
black eyes sparkled like jet beads, behind a pudgy little nose,
absurdly short for a bear. Excepting for his high shoulders, he was
little more than a big bale of gray fur set up on four posts of the
same material. But his claws were formidable, and he had the true
The Bears' Nursery at the New York Zoological Park is a big yard
with a shade tree, a tree to climb, a swimming pool, three sleeping
dens, and a rock cliff. It never contains fewer than six cubs, and
Naturally, it is a good test of courage and temper to turn a new
bear into that roystering crowd. Usually a newcomer is badly scared
during his first day in the Nursery, and very timid during the
next. But grizzlies are different. They are born full of courage
and devoid of all sense of fear.
When little Cyclone's travelling box was opened, and he found
himself free in the Nursery, he stalked deliberately to the centre
of the stage, halted, and calmly looked about him. His air and
manner said as plainly as English: "I'm a grizzly from Alaska, and
I've come to stay. If any of you fellows think there is anything
coming to you from me, come and take it."
Little Czar, a very saucy but good-natured European brown bear cub,
walked up and aimed a sample blow at Cyclone's left ear. Quick as a
flash out shot Cyclone's right paw, as only a grizzly can strike,
and caught the would-be hazer on the side of the head. Amazed and
confounded, Czar fled in wild haste. Next in order, a black bear
cub, twice the size of Cyclone, made a pass at the newcomer, and he
too received so fierce a countercharge that he ignominiously
quitted the field and scrambled to the top of the cliff.
Cyclone conscientiously met every attack, real or feigned, that was
made upon him. In less than an hour it was understood by every bear
in the Nursery that that queer-looking gray fellow with the broad
head and short nose could strike quick and hard, and that he could
fight any other bear on three seconds' notice.
From that time on Cyclone's position has been assured. He is
treated with the respect that a good forearm inspires, but being
really a fine-spirited, dignified little grizzly, he attacks no
one, and never has had a fight.