Nineteenth-century America’s rural nature meant that children could become lost in the woods. “Singular Adventure of a Lost Child” concerns a five-year-old lost for nearly a week while looking for the family cow. The Youth’s Companion wasn’t the only children’s magazine of the time to explore the theme; usually, however, the lost child learns a lesson of obedience.
[Variety] “Singular Adventure of a Lost Child,” (reprinted from the Newark Daily Advertiser ; from The Youth’s Companion, August 23, 1855; p. 72)

On Saturday, the 7th of July, a child of Henry Nicholson, residing about two miles north of Rockway, went into the woods with an older brother to hunt the cows. The boy was only about five years old, and by some means got separated from his brother, who came home without him. The mother then started in search of him, but he could not be found. On Sunday, the parents, aided by a few neighbors, searched in vain, and in the afternoon, some seventy persons turned out to scour the woods, but they found no trace of him. On Monday, probably over one hundred persons were searching the woods in all directions, and on Tuesday and Wednesday, it is said that two hundred were searching, but without discovering him. On Thursday morning a young man from Denmark Forge concluded he would search, and accordingly went from his house to Beach Glen, directly across the mountain, which overlooks the Glen. On the top of a mountain, lying on a rock, he found the child alive and bright, but very thirsty and hungry. He had lived on berries, and told his discoverer that he was “looking for the red cow, and had not found her yet.” Being very timid, it is supposed that he had heard the calls of the men looking for him, and had hid himself, for they went several times through the mountain where he was found.—For the same reason he had not dared to approach the houses at the Glen, which were in sight. When found he had given up hope of finding his way home. He had been without food from Saturday noon until the next Thursday forenoon, about five days, except the berries he picked in the woods. During that time he had not had a single drop of water. The little fellow was disinclined to tell his adventures, but called loudly for bread and water, which were given him sparingly at first. The boy is now as well as ever.—[Newark Daily Advertiser.

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