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Great men of one kind are known only in new countries like ours. These men discover new regions. They know how to manage the Indians. They show other people how to live in a wild country.

One of the most famous of such men was Kit Carson. He knew all about the wild animals. He was a great hunter. He learned the languages of the Indians. The Indians liked him. He was a great guide. He showed soldiers and settlers how to travel where they wished to go.

Once he was marching through the wild country with other men. Evening came. He left the others, and went to shoot something to eat. It was the only way to get meat for supper. When he had gone about a mile, he saw the tracks of some elks. He followed these tracks. He came in sight of the elks. They were eating grass on a hill, as cows do.

Kit Carson crept up behind some bushes. But elks are very timid animals. Before the hunter got very near, they began to run away. So Carson fired at one of them as it was running. The elk fell dead.

But just at that moment he heard a roar. He turned to see what made this ugly noise. Two huge bears were running toward him. They wanted some meat for supper, too.

Kit Carson's gun was empty. He threw it down. Then he ran as fast as he could. He wanted to find a tree.

Just as the bears were about to seize him, he got to a tree. He caught hold of a limb. He swung himself up into the tree. The bears just missed getting him.

But bears know how to climb trees. Carson knew that they would soon be after him. He pulled out his knife, and began to cut off a limb. He wanted to make a club.

A bear is much larger and stronger than a man. He cannot be killed with a club. But every bear has one tender spot. It is his nose. He does not like to be hit on the nose. A sharp blow on the nose hurts him a great deal.

Kit Carson got his club cut just in time. The bears were coming after him. Kit got up into the very top of the tree. He drew up his feet, and made himself as small as he could.

When the bears came near, one of them reached for Kit. Whack! went the stick on the end of his nose. The bear drew back, and whined with pain.

First one bear tried to get him, and then the other. But whichever one tried, Kit was ready. The bear was sure to get his nose hurt.

The bears grew tired, and rested awhile. But they kept up their screeching and roaring. When their noses felt better, they tried again. And then they tried again. But every time they came away with sore noses. At last, they both tried at once. But Carson pounded faster than ever. One of the bears cried like a baby. The tears ran out of his eyes. It hurt his feelings to have his nose treated in this rude way.

After a long time, one of the bears got tired. He went away. After awhile, the other went away too. Kit Carson stayed in the tree a long time. Then he came down. The first thing he did was to get his gun. He loaded it. But the bears did not come back. They were too busy rubbing noses.


Study the lesson for one week.

Over the week:

  • Read the story multiple times.
  • Review the synopsis.
  • Study the vocabulary words.
  • Learn the concepts.
  • Complete the enrichment activities.
  • Study the review questions.


Kit Carson was an American explorer and a guide. One day, he shot an elk while hunting. Unfortunately for Kit, two angry bears also wanted the meat. The bears chased him up a tree. Kit had dropped his gun to run, because it was empty and needed to be reloaded. Since Kit could not shoot the bears, he cut off a branch. Kit knew that a bear's nose is very tender. Whenever the bears climbed the tree to get him, Kit hit them on the nose with the branch. When hit, the bears would cry out and retreat. Eventually, the bears left. Kit still waited. Finally, he came down and quickly reloaded his gun. The bears did not come back.


Explorer: A person who explores an unknown area.
Guide: A person who advises or shows the way to others.
Tender: Showing gentleness and concern or sympathy.
Sharp: Producing a sudden, piercing physical sensation.


Kit Carson survived because he was resourceful. Resourceful means to be able to find clever ways to solve problems.

What was Kit Carson's problem?

  1. Bears wanted to eat the Elk that Kit shot, and chased him. His gun was empty.

What was Kit Carson's solution?

  1. He dropped the gun, climbed the tree, broke off a branch, and hit the bears' tender noses to protect himself.


Activity 1: Narrate the Story

  • After reading or listening to the story, narrate the story events aloud using your own words.

Activity 2: Color the Story   

  • Click the crayon above, and complete page 50 of 'History Coloring Pages for First Grade.'

Activity 3: Draw the Story

  • Draw Kit Carson up in a tree.
  • Draw two bears climbing the tree to get him.
  • Draw Kit hitting the bears on the nose with a stick.

Activity 4: Study the Story Picture

Study the picture below of Kit Carson. Zoom in to see the details, and answer the following.

  • What does Kit Carson ride? (Kit rides a horse.)
  • What does Kit Carson hold? (Kit holds a gun.)
  • Where does Kit Carson look? (Kit looks ahead, scanning the area for potential dangers.)
  • Who follows behind Kit Carson? (Settlers in covered wagons follow Kit.)
  • How does Kit Carson help the settlers in the covered wagons? (He leads the settlers to their destinations. He shows them the way and protects them from the dangers of the trail.)


Question 1

Why did the bears chase Kit Carson?
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Answer 1

The bears wanted to eat the Elk Kit shot.
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Question 2

Why didn't Kit Carson shoot the bears?
2 / 4

Answer 2

Kit's gun was empty after shooting the Elk.
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Question 3

Why didn't climbing the tree save Kit Carson from the bears?
3 / 4

Answer 3

Bears can climb trees.
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Question 4

How did Kit Carson protect himself from the climbing bears?
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Answer 4

He hit the bears on their tender noses with a stick.
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  1. Why did the bears chase Kit Carson? The bears wanted to eat the Elk Kit shot.
  2. Why didn't Kit Carson shoot the bears? Kit's gun was empty after shooting the Elk.
  3. Why didn't climbing the tree save Kit Carson from the bears? Bears can climb trees.
  4. How did Kit Carson protect himself from the climbing bears? He hit the bears on their tender noses with a stick.