Freitag, 9. Januar 2015

Joseph A. Altsheler: The Lost Hunters illustrated by Zdenek Burian

The Lost Hunters: A Story of Wild Man and Great Beasts by Joseph A. Altsheler (1862-1919) was printed by D. Appleton & Company in 1918. The book was illustrated by famed artist Charles L. Wrenn.
The Czech edition with the illustrations by Zdenek Burian appeared in 1935 - 1936. As far as I know there is no German edition of this story.
The Lost Hunters is the second volume of the Great West Series of which  The Great Sioux Trail was the first. In this story young Will Clarke, who has long been a captive among the Sioux, and who has risen to high favor, has become a Sioux himself, not only in manners and customs, but in thought. The world is clothed for him in a new atmosphere and he believes with the Indians that good and evil spirits fill air, earth and water - in truth all things. Hence, his eye and mind in this story are the eye and mind of a Sioux.

Dustcover of Harrap's edition (1934)

The pictures by Charles L. Wrenn

Hoton and the bear (Frontispiece)

He fell among the bushes, but had the courage and the tenacity to cling to his bow.

He sent three bullets crashing into his brain.

He pulled the trigger and sent his bullet directly at the target he had chosen.

Illustrations by Zdenek Burian

 Vignette of the title-page

"When you look up," said Will Clark, "you see no signs of spring, but when you look down the broken ice in the river tells you it's at hand." "It is so, Waditaka", said old Inmutaka.

Several layers of bark made a floor impervious to damp, and heavy buffalo robes, soft and warm, were spread over the bark like a carpet. will's rifle, never used by him now, rested on hooks....in the centre, where they had made a hearth of stone, a low fire burned and threw out a greatful heat....The lad presently closed his eyes and listened to the soft, musical tones of Inmutanka...

"you know what it is, Waditaka?" he said.
"The great wolves following on our flank."

A huge mountain wolf was sitting upon his bow and quiver, and, with his jaws open and slavering, was looking straight at him, his cruel red eyes expressing the certainty of triumph.

A mighty yellow shape launched itself from the over-hangig bough of a tree, but it was met in mid air by four arrows, which did not slay, but which broke its flight. the huge panther dropped almost at Will's feet, and the snap of its terrible fangs barely missed him.

The valiant Dakotas, Roka and Pehansan at their head, rushed forward and poured a stream of arrows into the bear, which was a terrible object, standing far higher than a man, shaft after shaft protruding from his body, stripped now with red by his flowing blood...

Tarinka bent beneath a great oak to pick up a fallen bough, and huge, tawny body shooting down struck him squarely upon the back....

The bull, a monster of the mountain or woods species, sprang to his feet, and with a puffing roar, charged....They leaped aside, but he whirled with uncommon agility for so huge a brute, and rushed at them again...

He managed to raise his head somewhat higher out of water and saw a current, with himself in the very centre of it, running like a mad torrent to an awful place where, in a cloud of foam, it dropped off into nothing.

...the great eagle, circling and swooping, came nearer and nearer. The rush of air from its wings fanned his face, and the beak and claws, sharp and hard as steel, cut alarmingly near. Will paused and clung tightly to the cliff. One foot rested in a small crevice, and the other was supported by a slight projection....he pulled the trigger....

Having dined well and being warm through and through, he fell asleep, wrapped in his robe, between the fires, and so sound were his slumbers that he never stirred once during the night. The great bear that he had wounded came back through the woods, licking his hurts, and eager for revenge, and another came with him....

It happened also that Waditaka was the first to catch a glint of brown in the bushes. His great elk-horn bow bent to the uttermost and his arrow shot forth, a flash of light. The death cry coming back showed that it had not been launched in vain....

And despite the darkness and confusion the Dakota never shot better. Figure after figure fell before their swift arrows,  but they were not escaping now without harm themselves.

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