Apples Planted by Johnny Appleseed Saved the Baby

A few ripe apples by way of Johnny Appleseed helps to thwart a bears attempts to lift a baby.

Baskets of Apples

A handful of apples saved a baby from a bear. Sherwood Veith

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The apples that year were big and red when Great-Grandmother gathered them in the orchard near her new log cabin in northeastern Kentucky, an orchard which had been planted by Johnny Appleseed.

Her husband was in the woods cutting logs, and she was sewing strips of hand-woven woolen together for a blanket. The baby slept in the cradle. Because the fall day was sunny and warm, the door was open. Suddenly a shadow crossed the doorway, followed by a huge bear. In terror, Granny watched as he went toward the baby.

She had heard bears were fond of ripe apples, so she grabbed some and offered them to the bear just as he picked up the baby. He dropped the baby in the cradle and reached for the apples as Granny threw them out the door. When the bear lunged after the apples, Granny yanked the heavy timber door shut and bolted it. The bear ate the apples and tried to come back into the cabin, but was barred by the door.

Granny was still shaking when her husband returned and pounded on the door which she had been afraid to open. 

Mrs. Gayle Killinger
Lawrence, Kansas

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.