Barkerville, Williams Creek, Cariboo


"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

Return to Archive

©Contents Copyright Ron Young