Barkerville, Williams Creek, Cariboo
HOW HE LOST HIS TAIL
"Gentlemen," said a tall Kentuckian, hauling up, and leisurely
taking his seat in a vacant chair, "don't make fun of that thar dog
if you please," and with a face of profound melancholy and touching
pathos he added, "unless you want to hurt his feelings."
"Of course not, if you dislike it. But pray how did he become curtailed
of his fair proportions?"
"Well, gentlemen, I'll tell you." said the Kentuckian, replenishing
the spacious hollow of his cheek with a quid of tobacco. "That thar
dog was the greatest b'ar hunter of Kaintuck. A few years ago I used to
take my rifle and old Riptearer of an arternoon, and think nothing of killing
ten b'ars. One cold day in the middle of winter bein' troubled a good deal
with an old b'ar, that used to carry off our pigs by the dozen, I started
out with Riptearer determined to kill the old rascal or die in the attempt.
Well, arter we had gone about two miles in the woods, we all of a sudden
came right smack on the old b'ar with his wife and three cubs. I know'd
I couldn't shoot 'em all at once, and I know'd if I killed either of the
old 'uns t'other would make at me for I could see they were mortal hungary.
So says I, "Rip, what'll we do?" Rip know'd what i was sayin',
and without waiting to hold any confab about it, he gave a growl and pitched
right in among them. With that I let fly at the she b'ar, cos I know'd she
was the worst of the two when the cubs was about.
"Over she rolled, as dead as a mackerel. Rip, he hitched on the b'ar,
and they had a mighty tussle for about five minutes, when the b'ar began
to roar enough like blue murder. I ran up then and knocked his brains out
with the butt end of my rifle. The cubs were so skeered and cold that I
killed 'em all in five minutes with my knife. But Rip took on terrible about
my knocking of the b'ar on the head. At first I thought he was going to
tackle on me, and says I, "Rip, that's downright ungrateful. With that
he sneaked off in a huff, but I could easily see he was terrible mad yet.
Well, I left all the b'ars on the ground concluding to come back with the
neighbors for 'em as soon as I could let 'em know. On the way home Rip kep
ahead of me. Every time he thought how I killed the old b'ar his tail would
stand right up on end - he was so powerful mad. It was getin' on to night
and began to grow freezin' cold. About half a mile from the house, Rip,
he came to a halt, thinkin' he'd have another look back in the direction
of the b'ars. The scent of 'em raised his dander more than ever.
His tail stood right square up as stiff as a hoe handle. Just then it comes
on colder than ever and Rip's tail friz exactly as it stood. i was in a
bad fix - I had no fire to thaw it. While I was thinkin' what I'd do to
get it down again, a big buck deer sprung up and darted right over a fence
about fifty yards ahead. Rip, did not wait to be told whar to go, and pitched
evil bent after the deer. I cracked away with my rifle and just raised the
fuzz between the horns. As soon as Rip got to the fence he thought he'd
make a short cut, so he dashed right through but his tail was so brittle
that it broke off between the rails. Poor old rip was done for good. He
never had a tail to show after that. It broke his feelings as well as his
tail, and that's how he came to lose it. And, now gentlemen, I'm gettin'
a little dry, and if you have no objections we'll take a horn."
JANUARY 30, 1867
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