You've all on you, heered of Mike Fink, the celebrated, an self-created, an never to be mated, Mississippi roarer, snag-lifter, an flatboat skuller. Well, I knowed the critter all round, an upside down; he war purty fair amongst squaws, cat-fish, an big niggers, but when it come to walkin into wild cats, bars, or alligators, he couldn't hold a taller candle to my young son, Hardstone Crockett. I'll never forget the time he tried to scare my wife Mrs. Davy Crockett. You see, the critter had tried all sorts of ways to scare her, but he had no more effect on her than droppen feathers on a barn floor; so he at last bet me a dozen wild cats that he would appear to her, an scare her teeth loose, an her toe nails out of joint; so the varmint one night arter a big freshet took an crept into an old alligators skin, an met Mrs. Crockett jist as she was taken an evening's walk. He spread open the mouth of the critter, an made sich a holler howl that he nearly scared himself out of the skin, but Mrs. Crockett didn't care any more for that, nor the alligator skin than she would for a snuff of lightnin, but when Mike got a leetle too close, and put out his paws with the idea of an embrace, then I tell you what, her indignation rose a little bit higher than a Mississippi flood, an she throwed a flash of eye-lightnen upon him that made it clear daylight for half an hour, but Mike thinkin of the bet an his fame for courage, still wagged his tail an walked out, when Mrs. Crocket out with a little teeth pick, and with a single swing of it sent the hull head and neck flyin fifty feet off, the blade iist shavin the top of Mike's head, and then seeing what it war, she trowed down her teeth pick, rolled up her sleeves, an battered poor Fink so that he fainted away in his alligator skin, an he war so all scaren mad, when he come too, that he swore he had been chawed up, and swallered by an alligator.
The celebrated Mike Fink once observed some Indians stealing into a widow's milk-cave, from which they had frequently stolen quantities of cream, meat, cheese, &c. He watched them until they got in, fastened the door outside, and then bored holes through the bank above. He and his son then commenced pouring hot water down on them, until they yelled, kicked, and fainted; while those who could broke out, and ran off to the woods, half scalded, telling their people that the milk-cave rained hot water.
One day a Snake Indian walked into Mike Fink's cabin, when he was out hunting, picked up a venison ham, and ran off with it. Mike's wife hearing a noise, looked out, and saw the robber making off with his booty. She picked up a gun and a hunting-knife, and started in pursuit. Finding that he could outstrip her in running, she fired a ball into his right thigh, which disabled him. She then came up to him, secured the ham, tied the villain's hands together, dragged him back to the cabin, and kept him prisoner until her husband returned; who, thinking that the poor devil had already suffered enough let him go. He went limping off, saying he would never steal anything more from Mrs. Fink.
The celebrated Mike Fink, the great admiral of flat-boatmen on the Western rivers, the William Tell of marksmen on land, and the most daring of all wild-forest adventurers, was the Prince of moose-catchers. A moose reader, is a very large species of deer, with a body like a fat horse, without the tail, and a head something like that of a jackass, to which is appended a large pair of horns, weighing sometimes as much as ninety pounds. They are higher than an ordinary horse, and frequently weigh more. A mammoth specimen of one of these brutes had long baffled the skill of the best of marksmen and hunters, principally from his furious character, his peculiar ability to ford the most rapid streams, and his practice, on observing a single hunter on his track, of darting from an ambush, and, with the force of his horns and hoofs, dashing him to pieces. Mike Fink in a late moose hunt, had gone far ahead of his companions, and remained so long away that they became alarmed. They lit the hunters' signal fires all along the ravine, but could discern neither sign nor sound to respond to their hopes. A short and awful time elapsed, when, amid the roar of a torrent, they heard a wild cry of a human being, accompanied by a tremendous snorting. They sprang upon a cliff, from the top of which they beheld Fink clinging to the horns of a huge moose, which was swimming rapidly towards an island, and at the same time endeavouring with all his fury to shake the intruder off. On reaching the shore the animal was somewhat weakened by his journey and heavy burthen, yet he darted back, disengaged himself, and prepared for a last, death-like effort. Fink's gun and pistols being wet, were of course incapable of being discharged; yet he up with the butt of his rifle, which, at the second blow, was shivered to pieces by the heavy horns and head of the animal. He made a third, yet fainter dart, but Fink dodged him, and he fell upon his knees; upon which Fink, turning quickly, plunged his long knife into his throat-a second blow, and Mike Fink stood in triumph over the conquered moose.
Mike Fink, having turned his attentions and adventures from the forest to the water, was one day pursuing his famed fishing skill on the Mississippi, without the slightest notion of any interruption from his old antagonists, the wild beasts of the wood: when suddenly, he found himself attacked, while in his very boat, by a monster wolf-who, it was evident, thought to surprise and overcome him without much resistance or danger. A most terrible struggle ensued, and in a most dangerous place for the brave Fink. But our indomitable hero was not to be daunted by anything that threatened him-and he wrestled and tugged with his sturdy antagonist, till the beast foamed at the mouth, and howled-as if more under the effects of pain than rage. Fink next contrived to secure the fore paws Of the wolf within the powerful gripe of his two hands-and by a quick and most herculean effort, he flung him from the side of the boat, into the water. The animal slipped from his gripe only to come at him with renewed fury. Fink kicked and pelted him with the oar; but still he managed to bound back at him, as if determined to overcome his intended prey, or die in the effort; at last Fink, taking advantage of his approach at him, seized his fore paws again, and pressing them up against his head, plunged him back into the torrent, and held him fast there, till he was completely drowned.
Sal Fink went out one morning to gather acorns for her pet pigs, and upon approaching a huge hollow oak tree, and taking a characteristic peep into the opening, she was instantly startled by a loud growl, which was followed by the sudden egress, from the aperture, of a huge she bear, followed by her cubs, who instantly arrayed themselves for an attack upon her. Tle old bear made a grab at her fair and inviting shoulders, while the young ones sprang and snapped at her exposed extremities, with the fury of wild cats, while Sal greeted their repeated approaches with a furious kick, worthy of a two-year old colt, which sent them rolling over each other, and causing them to bite the ground. But how was the girl managing the mother bear all this time? Springing upright before her, the old one most zealously endeavored to lock her in one of those close embraces or hugs for which Bruin is so famous. With her naked fists, (for she scorned the use of her side arms on the occasion) did the intrepid Sal Fink send the creature such a succession of ponderous thumps in the chest, and under the wind, that the old bear became too weak to rise erect before her, although in the last effort, she so far succeeded as to get her forepaws and teeth entangled in Sal's hair, which she held on to with terrible tenacity-and the brave girl struck and kicked to effect her release, like an enraged wild cat-and, darting back to the full length of her hair, she seized on a piece of loose rock, with which she dealth Bruin a death-blow-and dragged her home to her father, Mike Fink.
During the life of Mike Fink, the great roarer of the Mississippi, large and ferocious wolves were the terror of those regions to both the natives and settlers: and although the government offered high rewards for their extirpation, yet few persons were found with sufficient daring and courage to go far in their pursuit, or even venture in the vicinity of their known haunts. One of these monsters, belonging to a pack, and become a particular terror-and this one, the celebrated Mike Fink determined to seek out, and, as he said, "spiflicate him hull!' But it happened that Mike fell in with the object of his adventure when he did not expect him: for, being out one morning strolling, for an appetite, he suddenly encountered the identical monster wolf in a spot well known ever since as "WoTs den," and the furious beast, being urged by hunger, sprang upon the defenceless intruder with a howl and a bound, that made the spot fairly groan. The daring Fink received his antagonist with nothing but his huge fists. At almost every blow, the animal was disengaged, and thrown upon his haunches. Finally, the wolf succeeded in getting Fink down upon the earth, where the struggle, if possible, became more desperate-while the hideous howls of the beast would have terrified any human being out of all consciousness, but the indomitable Fink. just as the wolf, with distended tongue and jaws, was making a death bite at him, Mike gave one terrible blow under the pit of the stomach, which rolled him over harmless and defeated.
I dar say you've all on you, if not more, frequently heerd this great she human crittur boasted of, an' pointed out as "one o' the gals"-but I tell you what, stranger, you have never really set your eyes on "one of the gals," till you have seen Sal Fink, the Mississippi screamer, whose miniature pictur I here give, about as nat'ral as life, but not half as handsome-an' if thar ever was a gal that desarved to be christened "one o' the gals," then this gal was that gal-and no mistake.
She fought a duel once with a thunderbolt, an' came off without a single, while at the fust fire she split the thunderbolt all to flinders, an' gave the pieces to Uncle Sam's artillerymen, to touch off their canon with. When a gal about six years old, she used to play sep-saw on the Mississippi snags, and arter she war done she would snap 'em off, an' so cleared a large district of the river. She used to ride down the river on an alligator's back, standen upright, an' dancing Yankee Doodle, and could leave all the steamers behind. But the greatest feat she ever did, positively outdid anything that ever was did.
One day when she war out in the forest, making a collection o' wild cat skins for her family's winter beddin, she war captered in the most all-sneaken manner by about fifty Injuns, an' carried by 'em to Roast flesh Hollow, whar the blood drinkin wild varmits detarmined to skin her alive, sprinkle a leetle salt over her, an' devour her before her own eyes; so they took an' tied her to a tree, to keep till mornin' should bring the rest o' thar ring-nosed sarpints to enjoy the fun. Arter that, they lit a _large fire in the Holler, turned the bottom o' thar feet towards the blaze, Injun fashion, and went to sleep to dream o' thar mornin's feast; well, after the critturs got into a somniferous snore, Sal got into an all-lightnin' of a temper, and burst all the ropes about her like an apron-string! She then found a pile o' ropes, too, and tied all the Injun's heels together all round the fire,-then fixin a cord to the shins of every two couple, she, with a suddenachous jerk, that made the intire woods tremble, pulled the intire lot o' sleepin' red-skins into that ar great fire, fast together, an' then sloped like a panther out of her pen, in the midst o' the tallest yellin, howlin, scramblin and singin', that war ever seen or heerd on, since the great burnin' o' Buffalo prairie!