Friday, July 18, 2014

Little Breeches

I don't go much on religion,
 I never ain't had no show;
But I've got a middlin' tight grip, sir, 
On the handful 0' things I know.
I don't pan out on the prophets 
An' free-will, an' that sort of thing
 But I b'lieve in God an' the angels,
 Ever sence one night last spring.
I come to town with some turnips, 
An' my little Gabe come along
No four-year-old in the country 
Could beat him for pretty an' strong,
 Peart an' chipper an' sassy. 
Always ready to swear and fight,
 And I'd l'arnt him to chaw terbacker,
 Jest to keep his milk-teeth white.
The snow come down like a blanket
 As I passed by Taggart's store;
I went in for a jug of molasses
 An' left the team at the door.
They scared at something an' started
I heard one little squall,
An' hell-to-split over the prairie
 Went team, Little Breeches an' all.
 Hell-to-split over the prairie!
 I was almost froze with skeer;
But we rousted up some torches,
 An' s'arched for 'em far and near.
At last we struck horse an' wagon,
 Snowed under a soft white mound,
Upsot, dead beat-but of little Gabe
 No hide nor hair was found. A
nd here all hope soured on me,
 Of my feller-critter's aid
 I jest flopped down on my marrow-bones
 Crotch-deep in the snow, an' prayed. . .
By this, the torches wuz played out,
 An' me an' Isrul Parr
Went off for some wood to a sheepfold
 That he said wuz somewhar thar.
We found it at last, an' a little shed
 Where they shut up the lamb at night.
We looked in an' seen them huddled thar,
 So warm an' sleepy an' white;
An' THAR sot Little Breeches an' chirped,
 As peart as ever you see,
 "I wants a chaw of terbacky,
 An' that's what's the matter of me:'
How did he git thar? Angels.
 He could never have walked in that storm.
They jest scooped down an' toted him
 To whar it was safe an' warm.
An' I think that savin' a little child,
iAn' bringin' him to his own,
Is a derned sight better business
 Than loafin' around The Throne.

John Hay

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