Obo, the king of currumpaw

LOBO, The King of Currumpaw
I

CURRUMPAW is a vast cattle range in northern New Mexico. It is a land of
rich pastures and teeming flocks and herds, a land of rolling mesas and
precious running waters that at length unite in the Currumpaw River,
from which the whole region is named. And the king whose despotic power
was felt over its entire extent was an old gray wolf.

Old Lobo, or the king, as the Mexicans called him, was the gigantic
leader of a remarkable pack of gray wolves, that had ravaged the
Currumpaw Valley for a number of years. All the shepherds and ranchmen
knew him well, and, wherever he appeared with his trusty band, terror
reigned supreme among the cattle, and wrath and despair among their
owners. Old Lobo was a giant among wolves, and was cunning and strong
in proportion to his size. His voice at night was well-known and easily
distinguished from that of any of his fellows. An ordinary wolf might
howl half the night about the herdsman's bivouac without attracting
more than a passing notice, but when the deep roar of the old king came
booming down the canon, the watcher bestirred himself and prepared to
learn in the morning that fresh and serious inroads had been made among
the herds.

Old Lobo's band was but a small one. This I never quite understood, for
usually, when a wolf rises to the position and power that he had, he
attracts a numerous following. It may be that he had as many as he
desired, or perhaps his ferocious temper prevented the increase of his
pack. Certain is it that Lobo had only five followers during the latter
part of his reign. Each of these, however, was a wolf of renown, most
of them were above the ordinary size, one in particular, the second in
command, was a veritable giant, but even he was far below the leader
in size and prowess. Several of the band, besides the two leaders, were
especially noted. One of those was a beautiful white wolf, that the
Mexicans called Blanca; this was supposed to be a female, possibly
Lobo's mate. Another was a yellow wolf of remarkable swiftness, which,
according to current stories had, on several occasions, captured an
antelope for the pack.

It will be seen, then, that these wolves were thoroughly well-known to
the cowboys and shepherds. They were frequently seen and oftener heard,
and their lives were intimately associated with those of the cattlemen,
who would so gladly have destroyed them. There was not a stockman on the
Currumpaw who would not readily have given the value of many steers for
the scalp of any one of Lobo's band, but they seemed to possess charmed
lives, and defied all manner of devices to kill them. They scorned all
hunters, derided all poisons, and continued, for at least five years,
to exact their tribute from the Currumpaw ranchers to the extent, many
said, of a cow each day. According to this estimate, therefore, the band
had killed more than two thousand of the finest stock, for, as was only
too well-known, they selected the best in every instance.

The old idea that a wolf was constantly in a starving state, and
therefore ready to eat anything, was as far as possible from the
truth in this case, for these freebooters were always sleek and
well-conditioned, and were in fact most fastidious about what they ate.
Any animal that had died from natural causes, or that was diseased or
tainted, they would not touch, and they even rejected anything that
had been killed by the stockmen. Their choice and daily food was the
tenderer part of a freshly killed yearling heifer.