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'coon-dog Wess' Post by :Phillip_Stein Category :Poems Author :James Whitcomb Riley Date :November 2011 Read :1129

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"coon-dog Wess"

"Coon-dog Wess"--he allus went
'Mongst us here by that-air name.
Moved in this-here Settlement
From next county--he laid claim,--
Lived down in the bottoms--whare
Ust to be some coons in thare!--

In nigh Clayton's, next the crick,--
Mind old Billy ust to say
Coons in thare was jest that thick,
He'p him corn-plant any day!--
And, in rostneer-time, be then
Aggin' him to plant again!

Well,--In Spring o' '67,
This-here "Coon-dog Wess" he come--
Fetchin' 'long 'bout forty-'leven
Ornriest-lookin' hounds, I gum!
Ever mortul-man laid eyes
On sence dawn o' Christian skies!

Wife come traipsin' at the rag-
Tag-and-bobtail of the crowd,
Dogs and childern, with a bag
Corn-meal and some side-meat,--Proud
And as independunt--My!--
Yit a mild look in her eye.

Well--this "Coon-dog Wess" he jest
Moved in that-air little pen
Of a pole-shed, aidgin' west
On "The Slues o' Death," called then.--
Otter- and mink-hunters ust
To camp thare 'fore game vam-moosd.

Abul-bodied man,--and lots
Call fer choppers--and fer hands
To git cross-ties out.--But what's
Work to sich as understands
Ways appinted and is hence
Under special providence?--

"Coon-dog Wess's" holts was hounds
And coon-huntin'; and he knowed
His own range, and stayed in bounds
And left work for them 'at showed
Talents fer it--same as his
Gifts regardin' coon-dogs is.

Hounds of ev'ry mungerl breed
Ever whelped on earth!--Had these
Yeller kind, with punkin-seed
Marks above theyr eyes--and fleas
Both to sell and keep!--Also
These-here lop-yeerd hounds, you know.--

Yes-and brindle hounds--and long,
Ga'nt hounds, with them eyes they' got
So blame sorry, it seems wrong,
'Most, to kick 'em as to not!
Man, though, wouldn't dast, I guess,
Kick a hound fer "Coon-dog Wess"!

'Tended to his own affairs
Stric'ly;--made no brags,--and yit
You could see 'at them hounds' cares
'Peared like his,--and he'd a-fit
Fer 'em, same as wife er child!--
Them facts made folks rickonciled,

Sorto', fer to let him be
And not pester him. And then
Word begin to spread 'at he
Had brung in as high as ten
Coon-pelts in one night--and yit
Didn't 'pear to boast of it!

Neghborhood made some complaints
'Bout them plague-gone hounds at night
Howlin' fit to wake the saints,
Clean from dusk tel plum day-light!
But to "Coon-dog Wess" them-thare
Howls was "music in the air"!

Fetched his pelts to Gilson's Store--
Newt he shipped fer him, and said,
Sence he'd cooned thare, he'd shipped more
Than three hunderd pelts!--"By Ned!
Git shet of my store," Newt says,
"I'd go in with 'Coon-dog Wess'!"

And the feller 'peared to be
Makin' best and most he could
Of his rale prospairity:--
Bought some household things--and good,--
Likewise, wagon-load onc't come
From wharever he'd moved from.

But pore feller's huntin'-days,
'Bout them times, was glidin' past!--
Goes out onc't one night and stays!
... Neghbors they turned out, at last,
Headed by his wife and one
Half-starved hound--and search begun.

Boys said, that blame hound, he led
Searchin' party, 'bout a half
Mile ahead, and bellerin', said,
Worse'n ary yearlin' calf!--
Tel, at last, come fur-off sounds
Like the howl of other hounds.

And-sir, shore enugh, them signs
Fetched 'em--in a' hour er two--
Whare the pack was;--and they finds
"Coon-dog Wess" right thare;--And you
Would admitted he was right
Stayin', as he had, all night!

Facts is, cuttin' down a tree,
The blame thing had sorto' fell
In a twist-like--mercy me!
And had ketched him.--Couldn't tell,
Wess said, how he'd managed--yit
He'd got both legs under it!

Fainted and come to, I s'pose,
'Bout a dozen times whilse they
Chopped him out!--And wife she froze
To him!--bresh his hair away
And smile cheerful'--only when
He'd faint.--Cry and kiss him then.

Had his nerve!--And nussed him through,--
Neghbors he'pped her--all she'd stand.--
Had a loom, and she could do
Carpet-weavin' railly grand!--
"'Sides," she ust to laugh and say,
"She'd have Wess, now, night and day!"

As fer him, he'd say, says-ee,
"I'm resigned to bein' lame:--
They was four coons up that tree,
And hounds got 'em, jest the same!"
'Peared like, one er two legs less
Never worried "Coon-dog Wess"!


(The end)
James Whitcomb Riley's poem: "Coon-Dog Wess"

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