Henry David Thoreau
Putorius vison, Mink
Walden and Other Writings
An Insect View of Its Plain
Insects, Nature and God in Thoreau, Dickinson and Muir
H. D. Thoreau, a Writer's Journal
Thoreau in His Own Time
A Biographical Chronicle of His Life, Drawn from Recollections, Interviews, and Memoirs by Family, Friends, and Associates
river to J. Farmer's .
He gave me the head of a gray rabbit which his boy had snared. This rabbit is white beneath, the whole length, reddish-brown on the sides, and the same spotted with black, above; the hairs coarse and homely, yet the fur beneath thick and slate-colored as usual.
Well defended from the cold. Sides I might say pale brick-color, the brown part. The fur under the feet dirty-yellowish, as if stained by what it trod upon. He makes no use of their skins or fur. The skin is very tender. The tail, short and curled up, is white on the inside.
I hear that he gives $1.75, and sells them again at a profit. They are used to trim ladies' coats with, among other things. A mink skin which he showed me was a darker brown than the one I saw last (he says they changed suddenly to darker about a fortnight since); and the tail was nearly all black.
He said that his grandfather, who could remember one hundred and twenty-five years before this, told him that they used to catch wolves in what is now Carter's pasture by the North River (east of Dodge's Brook) in this manner: They piled up logs, cob-house
fashion, beginning with a large base, eight or ten feet square, and narrowing successively each tier, so as to make steps for the wolves to the top, say ten feet high. Then they put a dead sheep within. A wolf soon found it in the night, sat down outside and howled till he called his comrades to him, and then they ascended step by step and jumped down within; but when they had done they could not get out again. 'They always found one of the wolves dead, and supposed that he was punished for betraying the others into this trap.
A man in Brighton, whom he fully believes, told him that he built a bower near a dead horse and placed himself within to shoot crows. One crow took his station as sentinel on the top of the tree, and thirty or forty alighted upon the horse. He fired and killed seven
or eight, but the rest, instead of minding him, immediately flew to their sentinel and pecked him to pieces before his eyes. Also Mr. Joseph Clark told him that, as he was going along the road, he cast a stick over the wall and hit some crows in a field, whereupon they flew directly at their sentinel on an apple tree and beat and buffeted him away to the woods as far as he could see.
There is little now to be heard along the river but the sedge rustling on the brink. There is a little ice along most of the shore throughout the day.
November 27, 1855
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