Eben Holden, a tale of the north country eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 273 pages of information about Eben Holden, a tale of the north country.
’n the dark.  Shone like tew live coals eggszac’ly.  The panther ’d never sot ’n a tree when he was hungry, ’n see a boy below him.  Sumthin’ tol’ him t’ jump.  Tail went swish in the leaves like thet.  His whiskers quivered, his tongue come out.  C’u’d think o’ nuthin’ but his big empty belly.  The boy was scairt.  He up with his gun quick es a flash.  Aimed at his eyes ’n let ’er flicker.  Blew a lot o’ smoke ’n bird shot ‘n paper waddin’ right up in t’ his face.  The panther he lost his whiskers ’n one eye ‘n got his hide fill’ o’ shot ’n fell off the tree like a ripe apple ’n run fer his life.  Thought he’d never see nuthin’ c’u’d growl ’n spits ’ powerful es thet boy.  Never c’u’d bear the sight uv a man after thet.  Allwus made him gag ’n spit t’ think o’ the man critter.  Went off tew his own folks ‘n tol’ o’ the boy ’at spit fire ’n smoke ‘n growled so’t almos’ tore his ears off An’ now, whenever they hear a gun go off they allwus thank it’s the man critter growlin’.  An’ they gag ’n spit ’n look es if it made ’em sick t’ the stomach.  An’ the man folks they didn’t hev no good ‘pimon o’ the panthers after thet.  Haint never been frien’s any more.  Fact is a man, he can be any kind uv a beast, but a panther he can’t be nuthin’ but jest a panther.’

Then, too, as we lay there in the firelight, Uncle Eb told the remarkable story of the gingerbread hear.  He told it slowly, as if his invention were severely taxed.

‘Once they wuz a boy got lost.  Was goin’ cross lots t’ play with ’nother boy ‘n lied t’ go through a strip o’ woods.  Went off the trail t’ chase a butterfly ’n got lost.  Hed his kite ‘n’ cross-gun ‘n’ he wandered all over ’til he was tired ‘n hungry.  Then he lay down t’ cry on a bed o’ moss.  Putty quick they was a big black bear come along.

’"What’s the matter?” said the bear.

’"Hungry,” says the boy.

’"Tell ye what I’ll dew,” says the bear.  “If ye’ll scratch my back fer me I’ll let ye cut a piece o’ my tail off t’ eat.”

‘Bear’s tail, ye know, hes a lot o’ meat on it — heam tell it was gran’ good fare.  So the boy he scratched the bear’s back an’ the bear he grinned an’ made his paw go patitty-pat on the ground — it did feel so splendid.  Then the boy tuk his jack-knife ‘n begun t’ cut off the bear’s tail.  The bear he flew mad ’n growled ’n growled so the boy he stopped ’n didn’t dast cut no more.

‘"Hurts awful,” says the bear.  “Couldn’t never stan’ it.  Tell ye what I’ll dew.  Ye scratched my back an’ now I’ll scratch your’n.”

‘Gee whiz!’ said I.

‘Yessir, that’s what the bear said,’ Uncle Eb went on.  ’The boy he up ’n run like a nailer.  The bear he laughed hearty ’n scratched the ground like Sam Hill, ’n flung the dirt higher’n his head.

‘"Look here,” says he, as the boy stopped, “I jes’ swallered a piece o mutton.  Run yer hand int’ my throat an I’ll let ye hev it.”

‘The bear he opened his mouth an’ showed his big teeth.’

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Eben Holden, a tale of the north country from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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