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Wolf Children by James Greenwood


Some years ago a soldier stationed at Bondee, in India, while passing near a small stream, saw three wolf cubs and a boy drinking. He managed to seize the boy, who seemed about ten years old, but who was so wild and fierce that he tore the trooper's clothes, and bit him severely in several places. The soldier at first tied him up in the military gun shed, and fed him with raw meat; he was afterward allowed to wander freely about the Bondee bazar. A lad named Tanoo, servant of a Cashmere merchant then at Bondee, took compassion on the poor boy, and prepared a bed for him under the mango-tree where he himself lodged; here he kept him fastened to a tent-pin.

Up to this time he would eat nothing but raw flesh, but Tanoo gradually taught him to eat balls of rice and pulse. In about six weeks after he had been tied up, and after much rubbing of his joints with oil, he was made to stand and walk upright, whereas hitherto he had gone on all fours.

One night, while the boy was lying under the mango-tree, Tanoo saw two wolves creep stealthily toward him, and after smelling him, they touched him, when he got up. Instead, however, of being frightened, the boy put his hand upon their heads, and they began to play with him, capering about while he pelted them with grass and straw. Tanoo tried to drive them off, but could not. At last, however, they left, but the following night three wolves came, and a few nights after four, which returned several times.

The wolf-boy, however, could not be entirely reconciled to civilized life. In being removed from place to place he never lost an opportunity of endeavoring to escape into the jungle. At last Tanoo was sent away on a short journey, and when he returned, his savage charge had disappeared, and was never again heard of.

The story of another wolf-child is even more wonderful than the above.

In March, 1843, a cultivator who lived at Chupra, about twenty miles from Sultanpoor, went to cut his crop of wheat and pulse, taking with him his wife, and a son about three years old. As the father was reaping, a wolf suddenly rushed upon the boy, caught him up, and made off with him toward the ravines. People ran to the aid of the parents, but soon lost sight of the wolf and his prey.

About six years afterward, as two sipahees were watching for hogs on the border of the jungle, they saw three wolf cubs and a boy come out from the jungle and go down to the stream to drink; all four then ran to a den in the ravine. The sipahees followed, but the cubs had already entered, and the boy was half way in, when one of the men caught him by the leg and drew him back. He was very savage, bit at the men, and seizing the barrel of one of their guns in his teeth, shook it fiercely. The sipahees, however, secured him, brought him home, and kept him for twenty days, during which he would eat nothing but raw flesh, and was fed accordingly on hares and birds. His captors soon found it difficult to provide him with sufficient food, and took him to the bazar in the village of Koeleepoor, to be supported by the charitable till he might be recognized and claimed by his parents.

He is unable to speak or to articulate any sound with distinctness. In drinking, he dips his face in the water, but does not lap like a wolf. He still prefers raw flesh; and when a bullock dies, and the skin is removed, he attacks and eats the body in company of the village dogs.