What Is Hamlin Garland's "Under the Lion's Paw"?

"Under the Lion's Paw" is a short story featured in Hamlin Garland's collection, "Main Travelled Roads," which was first published in 1891. The plot involves a hard-working farmer who is victimized by a greedy landlord. The 11 stories in the collection are considered semi-autobiographical.

The protagonist of "Under the Lion's Paw" is a poor, honest farmer named Tim Haskins who moves to a dilapidated farm with his wife and children. The farm is owned by Jim Butler, who acquired it through a dubious mortgage foreclosure and agrees to rent it to Haskins for three years. The remainder of the tale concerns what happens after the Haskins family makes vast improvements to the property.

"Main Travelled Roads" was the first major success for Garland. The stories were inspired by his life on the Wisconsin farm, where he was born in 1860. His characters live in the area of the United States that Garland calls the "Middle Border," which includes Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota. He dedicated the book to his parents, in acknowledgement of their hard work as Midwestern farm people.

"Many Travelled Roads" was published three times during Garland's lifetime. "Under the Lion's Paw" was one of the book's original six stories. In 1891, Garland added another three stories, and in 1922, he added five more.