John Muir



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William and Maymie Kimes Annotation

For more than a decade Muir's solitary rambles through Yosemite gave him countless occasions to meet and observe the animals, whom he called his fellow mortals, and invariably endowed with human qualities. He became acquainted with the bear early in his wanderings, and half of this essay is given to his amusing but sometimes frightening experiences with them, from which he gained a proper respect for his fellow mountaineer. The chipmunk, "the best loved of the mountain darlings" he calls "confiding" and the lizards are "gentle and guileless" and "have beautiful eyes expressing the clearest innocence"; but perhaps Muir's most intriguing stories are about rattlesnakes. In this article he tells about killing two of them, which left him feeling "sore and guilty." He writes: "I felt degraded by the killing business, farther from heaven, and l made up my mind to try to be at least as fair and charitable as the snakes themselves, and to kill no more save in self-defense."


The Atlantic Monthly, v. 82, no. 493


pp. 617-631

Among the Animals of the Yosemite.



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