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Old 06-13-2016, 06:31 AM   #1
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Paine, Albert Bigelow: The Arkansaw Bear (illus). v1. 13 Jun 2016

The Arkansaw Bear by Albert Bigelow Paine (1861–1935)
Illustrations by Frank Ver Beck (1858–1933)
First published in 1898. This book is in the public domain in countries where copyright is “Life+70” or less, and in the USA.
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Text and illustrations from archive.org. Illustrations are tinted with water-color wash. Embedded font for titling.

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Albert Bigelow Paine was an American author and biographer best known for his work with Mark Twain. He wrote in several genres, including fiction, humor, and verse, for children and adults. His most notable work was a three-volume biography of Mark Twain.

These humorous tall tales for children can be appreciated by adults as well.

Bosephus, a young runaway boy, takes up with Horatio, a talking, fiddle-playing bear. They embark on a journey as performers for tips, trying to earn money in order to realize Horatio's dream of establishing a bear colony in the Big Swamp Wood. The theme of the song “The Arkansaw Traveller” runs through the book.

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Editor’s advisory:

Recommended for readers age ten and up.
Several times, Horatio humorously implies he ate some villainous person – note that before the story’s end, the bear swears off this anti-social behavior.
Some racially derogatory language and caricature images are found in chapters 5, 6, and 7.

EXCERPT:
Spoiler:
“And now, Bosephus, let me tell you something. The bears owned that field long before old Zack Todd was ever thought of. We’re just renting it to him on shares. This is rent day. We don’t need to wake Zack up. You get over the fence and hand me a few of the best ears [of corn] you can get quick and handy, and you might bring one of those watermelons I see in the corn there, and we’ll find a quiet place that I know of and eat it.”

Bo hopped lightly over the rail fence, and, gathering an armful of green corn, handed it to Horatio. Then he turned to select a melon.

“Has Zack Todd got a gun, Bosephus?” asked the Bear.

“Yes, sir-ee. The best gun in Arkansaw, and he’s a dead shot with it.”

“Oh, he is. Well, maybe you better not be quite so slow picking out that melon. Just take the first big one you see and come on.”

“Why, Zack wouldn’t care for us collecting rent, would he?”

“Well, I don’t know. You see, some folks are peculiar that way. Zack might forget it was rent day, and a man with a bad memory and a good gun can’t be trusted. Especially when he’s a dead shot. There, that one will do. Never mind about his receipt — we’ll mail it to him.”

Bo scrambled back over the fence with the melon and hastened as fast as he could after Horatio, who was already moving across the clearing with his violin under one arm and the green ears under the other.

“Wait, Ratio,” called the little boy. “This melon is heavy.”

“Is that a long range gun, Bo?” called back the Bear.

“Carries a mile and a half.”

“Can’t you move up a little faster, Bo? I’m afraid, after all, that melon is bigger than we needed.”

If you ever loved a toy teddy-bear, you'll have fun with this book.
This work is assumed to be in the Life+70 public domain OR the copyright holder has given specific permission for distribution. Copyright laws differ throughout the world, and it may still be under copyright in some countries. Before downloading, please check your country's copyright laws. If the book is under copyright in your country, do not download or redistribute this work.

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