... our big cousin... (Purdey, Symes & Wright 14)
… our big cousin… (Purdy, Symes and Wright - part 14)
… the smell was not unfamiliar, catlike but much stronger - and the shape was just like the shape of my own paw but more than four and a half times bigger in every direction - making it about twenty times bigger in area…
… it had to be… it could only be the print of a much, much larger cat - one I had never before seen evidence of…
I wanted my Dad - he would know what to do. So I went back to the house, as fast as I could go… running for a few yards then walking to regain my breath then running again…
… until after about ninety yards Purdey joined my where the path from the Old Orchard meets the lake; 'Symes, why are you running?
'Can't stop Purdey - I'll tell you later…'
As Dad has trouble understanding, I 'yowled' loudly several times - accompanied by running a few steps back in the direction from which I had come. Eventually he understood and said; 'OK Symes - I get the message. Wait while I find my stick…'
Dad followed me with his walking staff and camera. Nosey Purdey soon joined in and accompanied us in her usual curious manner.
'No wonder you seem bothered Symes…' as wee arrived at the place on the path where I found the large paw print in the large patch of mud - amongst hoof prints, deer slots and dog tracks.
'It's exactly the shape of your paw prints, Symes - only much bigger' remarked Dad. He put a five-pound note beside the impression in the mud - to give it scale and photographed it. On later analysis he calculated the animal had been about twenty time heavier than me - making it about two hundred and seventy pounds
'I wouldn't go there again if I were you, Symes…
… it's a very big cat…'
© Peter Hunter 2012