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March 1887


IN school days I read the story of the wolf-reared children, Romulus and Remus, and the founding of Rome. Later in India I heard that at such a place or such another city a wolf-boy had been seen; but even in India, where people and wolves are most abundant, wolfreared children are rare. At last I have seen and conversed with one for myself. As I stood near a pillar, on a broad veranda in Cawnpore, a friend said to me, "Do you see that strange creature ?" A step forward brought within view the most animal human being 1 had ever seen. The first impulse was to rush in doors, but curiosity and my friend's speaking held me.

"He is a wolf-reared," he continued, "and has the strangest voice. Listen while I speak to him."

In response to some simple questions in Hindustani the wolf-man replied in a high-pitched and whining tone. It was not disagreeable or in the least calculated to frighten the most timid, save by its strangeness. It reminded one of the voice young children sometimes assume, when in a half-laughing, half-crying, teasing and petulant mood.

This man was evidently between twenty-five and thirty years of age, of medium height and fairly well developed. For a beggar, he was well dressed. He was of a dark-brown color, but not nearly so dark as many of his country men. He had a scanty beard and mustache with rather heavy side-locks. His hair, though combed after no fashion, could not be called untidy. His teeth were white, strong and even. He had evidently taken kindly to habits of personal cleanliness. His face was greatly disfigured by an uneven scar from the corner of the right eye nearly to the lower jaw. It must have been frightfully torn by some wild animal, and nature had been the only surgeon to attend him.

We asked him a few questions, and as the morning was growing hot, dismissed him with the pice he had learned to expect every Saturday at my friend's house. But we grew more and more curious about the wolf-man, and in a day or so sent for him.

What we learned from him was of comparatively little moment, but it was strange to see this creature so indelibly marked from long companionship with wild beasts, with bloodshot, blinking eyes; red, lolling tongue, tilted head and scarred face, and yet manifesting intelligence, and the emotions of affection, grief and reverence. I could only regard it as curious and rare evidence that there is that in man, however debased his body may become, which forever places him on a different level from the brute.

All the wolf-man's recollections dated from the time he " went on all fours and ate raw meat." Of that time he seemed to have nothing to say. He remembered how crooked and lame his legs were when he was found in the jungle and taken to the hospital, and that it was a long time before he could walk well. Pointing to my daughter, a rather tall girl of ten years, he said he was about her size when " Rose Sahib" found him in the jungle, goiugon all fours and eating raw meat," and immediately began to indicate how this was done with a perfectly natural, animal motion. After a long time in the hospital, "Rose Sahib" became his " papa—mamma" and kept him. He worked in his garden and attended the children when they went out for their walks. He spoke of this family with much affection, his voice grew more whining and with his cloth he brushed supposed tears from his eyes as he spoke of the sad day it was for him when his "papa—mamma" went to England. After this one or another of the English had, befriended him, but for the most part he had lived in the bazar by himself.

I attempted to find out if he was capable of religious emotion, and asked what he knew about God. He comprehended and immediately began reciting, with folded hands and uplifted eyes something concerning God and His dwelling place. More than this he did not attempt, and at once reassumed his usual position, with lolling tongue, eyes blinking like a wild beast's, and fingers of both hands held near his lips, like a timid child accustomed to bite its fingernails.

The wolf-man was greatly pleased with our artist's attempt to sketch him. A better sitter could scarcely be found. The artist was unable to speak Hindustani, but the wolf-man obeyed her slightest indication as to position. As we watched him, we could but think of an intelligent, kindly dog, with a human beings power of concentration and self-control.

Inquiries among the natives showed little except a spirit of aversion for the poor creature, though none could tell that he was ever dangerous except on one occasion, when he had chased and bitten a woman, who was angrily driving him from her door. The wolf-man was best acquainted with an animal's method of defense, and evidently had been provoked by what must have seemed to him most unreasonable prejudice. Others told that he always licked his jaws on seeing young children, but to a fair observer this seems to be a mistake. His voracious look, occasioned by his blinking eyes and lolling tongue, did not seem more marked in the presence of children than at other times. As an eater of raw meat, and the con) panion of wild beasts, bearing the ineffacable marks of that companionship, he would never be regarded by the Hindus, as other than uncanny and a sort of ogre. They give him a bit to eat, or a few pice to avert any evil influence he might exert if not propitiated.

An elderly native teacher, who could speak some English, happening to pass, we inquired of him of the wolf-man's early history. He knew little except that for years there was a rumor that a wild child, whom none could capture, had beenseeu in the jungle with wolves. Rose Sahib had succeeded iu seizing him, but all who had cared for him at that time were gone away. A lady in the station had of late years been considerably interested in him. He asked the wolfman some questions about her, and in the course of our conversation, mentioned her name several times. After a little pause the wolf-man began to whine and wipe his eyes. He was fearing that the teacher might have told me something unfavorable of his "mamma;" she had been very kind to him, and he would only have her well spoken of. A note of inquiry addressed to her brought the following answer.

"I am very sorry I can not give you any information about the man you write of. I gave him food, etc., for sometime, but he behaved very badly in ever}* way; was most ungrateful, and a groat drunkard, and I have not seen him for months. Although he left some clothes here he has not been near me."

Poor wolf-man, by his very sins still proving his manhood. We left Cawnpore the next day, but have often questioned since which were kinder to him, the wolves who reared him, or those humans who made him a drunkard.

MRS. I. L. hauser, Bareilly, India.

An English surgeon who was stationed in India for several years, relates a pathetic incident of a wolf-child, that came under his professional notice, and is particularly interesting in connection with Mrs. Hausers account. The surgeon writes:

"Futtehpore is a small civil station seventy-three miles northwest of Allahabad, and was the scene of the Nana's first check by Havelock. The American Presbyterians had and have a mission there, with orphanage attached, and this was in my charge as civil surgeon, in pre-mutiny days. The mission and orphanage were presided over by the Rev. Gopinath Nandy, an old man, who fell subsequently into the rebel Moulvi's hands at Allahabad, and was only saved from death by BrigadierGeneral Neil's force.

"To this Orphanage was brought by the police, early in 1857, a child, which they declared had been found in a wolfs den among the ravines of the Jamna; and I was summoned to see it. I obeyed with alacrity, for here was a proof in point of what at school we had been taught to regard as fabulous, the suckling of Romulus and Remus by a wolf. This human cub was a native child about six or seven, filthy in aspect, disgusting in odor and habit, with matted hair, and timid, suspicious face. Mr. Nandy told me that the child had no speech, though not dumb; would wear no clothes, and would eat nothing placed before it. Its efforts to escape were incessant.

"Confronted with this wretched object I placed a hand on his head, and said a word or two of kindness in Hindustani; but got no response beyond a kind of cackle. The poor child was a burden to the Padre, who knew not how to manage it. I recommended non-coercive confinement, with lots of straw and blankets, and a gradual introduction to civilized food, cooked bones being the present substitute. At my next visit I found dismav on the worthy Padre's face; nothing would succeed with the wolf-cub, and the whole establishment was upset in looking after him wandering about the garden. On seeing me he ran up and seized my knees, and then the one vocable of his language escaped him as lie looked upwards at me, and that was "sag." The memory of home and home-food had dawned upon him as he laid at mv feet a handful of the weed. Poor outcast! I again patted him, and spoke kindly to him, but in vain; the burden of his replies, or rather cackles, was sag. Taking the hint, I recommended sag and rice as the diet; and strange to say, it succeeded, and opened further the flood-gates of memory; for the word bap (father) and amma (mother) now recurred to him. But the diet, simple and nutritious as it was, proyed fatal to him; intractable diarrhoea set in and under its wasting influence, affectionate docility returned. I could not get away from him except with difficulty: and repulsive though he still was in sight and odor, my heart yearned for the poor outcast, now fast dying. At the last moment he tried to grasp my knees; and was evidently pleased when I placed my hand on his head, for he lay quite still, breathing out his life. Suddenly with a shudder the word "sag" escaped him, and with that password on his lips, he set out into the great unknown."