As for all those who live in or along the Laughing Brook or in the Smiling Pool, they let Little Joe have his own way in everything. Now having one's own way too much is a bad thing. It is apt to make one selfish and thoughtless of other people and very hard to get along with. Little Joe Otter had his way too much.
Placing himself on the top of the slide, he coasted in and under the water, and then came out with a great bunch of eels, which were soon cooked, and on which they dined. "By my life," thought Master Rabbit, "but that is an easy way of getting a living! Truly these fishing-folk have fine fare, and cheap! Cannot I, who am so clever, do as well as this mere Otter? Of course I can. Why not?"
Splash, plump, splash splash, plump, splash, went the otter family gleefully, running up the bank again, eager each to be first, it seemed, and to do the chute the oftenest. The gambolling grace, the obvious good humour, the animal hilarity of it all, was absorbingly amusing. The trappers gazed with pleasure that showed how near akin are naturalist and hunter.
Leslie started up with pleased surprise, "Hector Garret of Otter! he will come upstairs to see us; he will tell us how the country is looking; he will bring news from Ferndean," and for the next hour she sat in happy, patient expectation. Mrs. Bower, a fair, faded, grave woman, came into the room, and sat down with her needlework in the other window.
I had expected something so totally different that he caught me with surprise, and I looked up sharply. "Shows how lonely this place is. Otters are awfully shy things " "I don't mean that, of course," he interrupted. "I mean do you think did you think it really was an otter?" "What else, in the name of Heaven, what else?"
"Well, what with hunting deer, bear, and so on, for food, and lynx, otter, and sable, for furs, the next two months passed away, and the long anticipated November at length arrived; when, one dark, cloudy day, having cut a lot of bits of green wood for bait, got out my vial of castor to scent them with, and got my steel traps in order, with these equipments and my rifle I set off, for the purpose of commencing operations, of some kind, on my community of beavers.
These parks are favorite haunts of the deer, antelope and elk, while the streams which run through them are well stocked with otter and beaver. Kit and his companions were graciously received by Gaunt; and, with him they trapped the streams in the vicinity of the New Park and the plains of Laramie to the South fork of the Platte.
"I suppose you have pretty well seen the island?" "We have driven about a good deal. We have seen Southwest Harbor, and Somes's Sound and Schooner Head, and the Ovens and Otter Cliffs there's no end of things to see; it needs a month. I suppose you have been up Green Mountain?" "No. I sent Mr. Forbes." "You ought to go. It saves buying a map. Yes, I like the place immensely.
That evening was spent in telling and in listening to alligator stories, and Frank was the hero of the hour for having so skilfully captured and killed the alligator that had been for a long time the dread of the community. Besides showing Mark how to catch otter and alligators, Frank taught him how to kill or capture various other wild animals.
His tobacco sack was of otter skin decorated with porcupine quills. In it were dried red-willow bark, flint and steel, and tinder. His pipe was of curiously carved red pipe-stone from the peace quarries in present Minnesota.