MONARCH: the Big Bear of Tallac

How perfect is it that a guy named David “Grizzly” Smith put this together? It’s another classic American tale — Ernest Thompson Seton’s MONARCH: the Big Bear of Tallac.

Ernest Thompson Seton’s book, “Monarch, the Big Bear of Tallac.” Published in 1919, it tells the story of a tiny Grizzly cub who grew to be the Monarch of the Plains — and the Prisoner of humanity’s arrogance.

“Kind memory calls the picture up before me now, clear, living clear: I see them as they sat, the one small and slight, the other tall and brawny, leader and led, rough men of the hills. They told me this tale–in broken bits they gave it, a sentence at a time. … They told of the river at our feet: of its rise, a thread-like rill, afar on Tallac’s side, and its growth–a brook, a stream, a little river, a river, a mighty flood that rolled and ran from hills to plain to meet a final doom so strange that only the wise believe. … reverencing the indomitable spirit of the mountaineer, worshiping the mighty Beast that nature built a monument of power, and loving and worshiping the clash, the awful strife heroic, at the close, when these two met.”

– Ernest Thompson Seton

Thanks to Griz for putting all 16 episodes of this serialized free audiobook online. If you’re a download-them-all-at-once kind of person, you’ll take the default feed. If you’re like me and have only small windows of time to listen in any given day, you’ll probably want a customized feed. That lets you pick how often new episodes come to you until you’ve listened all the way through.

3 Responses to “MONARCH: the Big Bear of Tallac”

  1. Grizzly Smith Says:

    Funny thing about recording audiobooks of whatever format. It’s always a learning experience.

    This was the third book I’d recorded for my regular podcast, just after “Beggars,” and my second Seton book. I think I was a little too in love with the sound of my own voice in the first episode, but it get’s better. As Seton put it, “The great grizzly, Monarch, still pacing in his prison in Golden Gate Park, is the central fact of the tale.” I forgot I wasn’t the “central fact,” in spots.

    First time I read the book was while I was recording it. It’s a great story, funny in some spots, sad in others. The great thing about recording older books is that it gives folks a chance to rediscover them, rather than leaving them collecting dust on library shelves.

    I hope you enjoy the book — and can forgive my lousy accents. 😉


  2. psionandy Says:

    Having listened to “Beggars” when I saw you’d recorded some others I put them in my queue.

    The first episode wasn’t bad, but (perhaps due to the writer setting up his tale) didn’t have any of the magic that filled the later chapters. But as it went on, I couldn’t put it down. I just had to hear what happened to the bear.

    I ‘d never heard of Seton, or Monarch but it was like being a kid again reading, and being read, Jack London’s stories of wolves.
    It was wonderful.

    I honestly can’t remember a book having quite the same effect on me as the last chapter of this one…. thank you again. You did such a great job

  3. Grizzly Smith Says:

    Thanks! What you’re hearing is the second version I recorded of that last chapter. I broke down the first time. I hadn’t read the book before recording it.

    I actually have five books here:

    A Handy Guide for Beggars, Monarch, Wild Animals I Have Known (also by Seton), Flatland by Edwin A Abbott, and Biography of a Grizzly (another Seton book).

    I think the first chapter of Monarch was what it was because I’d recorded Biography of a Grizzly first. I thought it was going to be easy, and wasn’t really into the story myself till a few chapters later.

    Evo has asked those of us who have multiple books here, to do an extra episode for each book, listing our other books. Guess I’d better get to work on that!


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