Stories for the Youth, Dog Irritation, & the Cook Quits – Bill Arp, 6/5/1887

Stories for the Youth, Dog Irritation, & the Cook Quits – Bill Arp, 6/5/1887

The cook has quit again. Mrs. Sicily Mims departed these coasts yesterday morning. We had a cold lunch for dinner but
we had a good supper-so its all right and no loss on our side. We save the cook’s board and her two children’s board
and her hire and some breakage and lossage and frettage. We will try home rule awhile. It was a cloudy morning this morning
and I overslept myself and when I do everybody else does and so breakfast was late and the children didn’t get off to school
until the second bell had rung and they will be kept in at recess for being tardy and so the sins of the father will be visited
upon the children which looks hard but is according to scripture. I worked late with them last night untangling four unknown quantities into equations and hunting all over Bingham’s Latin to find out the tenses and moods of the verbs we had to translate. There are more exceptions than rules and I’ve forgotten Latin anyhow-and if it wasent for those children I wouldent go to
school another day. But they need help and encouragement for it is a strain upon their young minds to grasp these obtruse
things. School will be out in two weeks and they are counting the days and laying their plans for vacation. I am the only boy
at home now during the day and have to bring water and dig the potatoes and pick the beans and fan up the stove and
water the horse, and put the beds out to sun, and be ready for anything that is pertinent or impertinent. I hired a vagabond
chunk of a darky and he stole a coat and vest and run off to Acworth and then I picked up another and he stole a shirt and he
stole a pair of earrIngs and drew his wages and quit. We never missed the things until ne had gone and his mammy strutted
around town with the earrings in her ears. She gave them up generously but seemed to think she was better than most
niggers, “cos she never hide ’em from nobody.” She is one of the crack shouters in the church and spends her time in
foraging aroutd and “sarving in’ de Lord.” They have no conscience about these little pilferings, and it does look like they
can’t help it, and so we have to put up with it and get alongg. The chain gang does not punish, neither does it reform
such cases. A good whipping is a better remedy. But the best protection after all is to not have them around. Let us
do our own work if we can. I like to be waited on, that is a fact, but there is a power of comfort in waiting on yourself.

It is better for the children to be raised that way. The town has a tendency to demoralize the children anyhow. There are so
many shows and picnics and frolics going on and it takes so many clothes and so mach washing aid ironing-so many visits
to pay and visits to receive, which is all right and pleasant and social but it don’t leave very much time for anything else. does
it? And besides it seems to wean the children from the parents, and they don’t hang around us and lean upon us like they did
in the country. All this is very natural and it is sad, but I don’t complain, for the young birds must quit the nest sooner or later.
In the country they had the fields and woods and meadows and mountains, and I frolicked with them, ane we would be picking huckleberries right now if we were there but the town is cramped and so there must to some substitute. They must visit their
companions and be visited and sometimes they would stay all night and they would play ball and croquet and have a good
time to make up for that algebra and arithmetic and Latin and other unknown quantities. Why even the dogs are demoralized
since they came to town. They used to follow us around and hunt rabbits, but now they run up and down the pailings and bark
at the outside dog, and when they are not running they are watching and waiting for one to come along. They kept up such an everlasting racket every night that we couldn’t sleep and they wouldn’t come wen I called them. So the other night about
midnight I got desperate and put on my shoes and hurried out “dishabil,” as they say, and trampoosed all around the fence
until I caught one, and I dragged him by the nap of the neck to a room in the cabin and shut the door aid mauled him with an
old broom-handle to my sat!sfaction, and was going to leave him there till morning, but just as I opened the door wide enough
to go out the rascal made a lunge over my shoulders and threw me sprawling on my all fours in a wet place, and my dishabil
was a sight and I was mad enough to have killed him if I could have caught him, and in ten minutes he was running another
dog up and down the palings. “For in this town the dogs go round, And many dogs there be: Both mongrell puppy, whelp and
hound And curs of low degree.”

The next morning I saw the town dray hauling three dead dogs to the woods and I was sorry that one of them was not mine,
but his turn will come. I reckon, for though every dog must have his day he needent have all night to bark and prowl around.
Living in town makes a dog impudent just like it does folks. Even our old mare is getting too fat and gaily for she don’t have that
five miles to travel now and puts on the airs of a town horse, but she don’t sit down. I heard a good story the other day about a horse, and must tell it to the children. A man had a horse who would sit down whenever he was touched in the flank. He would
just squat down on his hind quarters like a dog. The man tried to break him of it, but he couldn’t. and nobody would buy him
One day a sportsman came along and made his acquaintance, and they took a ride together to hunt partridges. When they
found a covey, the man touched his heels to his horse’s flanks, and he sat down. “What makes your horse do that?” said
the sportsman. “Why, he is a setter,” said the man, “He sets birds just like a dog.” So the sportsman thought he was a most wonderful horse, and he swapped for him and gave fifty dollars to boot, and he got on him, and after while they came to a
creek that was pretty deep, and as the sportsman hold up his legs to keep them out of the water his heels touched the
horse in the flank and down he sat in the water. When he got him up and out and was all dripping wet, he was as mad as
a wet hen and said, “Well, sir, what made this horse do that way in the water?” “I forgot to tell you,” said the man, “that he
sets fish just as well se he does birds. Now for another story for the children-a German story-just such as Hans Christian
Anderson tells. I had a visit the other day from a German friend and he told my children that “A long time ago a cranky
king went to visit one of his monastories, and while there he fell out with the monk, and told him ha would give him just
two weeks to answer three questions and if he didn’t answer them cornctly he would have his head cut off, 1. ‘`How
long,” said he, “will it take me to riide round the earth on horseback?” 2. “What would I bring if I was put up and
sold for my worth?” 3. “What am I thinking about, and I must be thinking wrong at the time.”

The poor monk was in great distress, and after the king had gone prepared himself to die. His old servant asked him what
troubled him so, and when the monk told him the servant said: “Oh, well, don’t be troubled. When the king comes I will put
on your gown and a wig and play monk and answer the questions.” The servant was very bald, but the wig and the gown
made him look very much like the monk, and so when the cranky king came and asked for the answers the servant said:
“If your majesty will begin to ride at sunrise and ride as fast as the sun moves it will take you just twenty four hours to ride
around the earth.” “Good; pretty good,” said the king; “I will take that for an answer. Now, for the next.” “Our Savior was sold,”
said the servant,” for thirty pieces of silver. Your majesty cannot be worth more than our blessed Lord, but would bring about twenty-nine.” Well, that will do, too,” said the King. “You are smarter than I thought you was, but I will get you on the last
questIon, and then off comes your head. What am I thinking and I must be thinking wrong?” “Well, your majesty,” said the
servant, “you are thinking that I am the monk and you are thinking wrong, for I am only his servant,” and he took off his wig
and showed his bald head, and the king was too much surprised to get mad„ and called up the monk and gave him a ring,
and then departed in good humor. There is a curious kinship among the stories of a race of people. The Persians have
theirs, as found in the Arabian Nights. The Brahmins have theirs as found in “The Old Deecan Days.” Hans Anderson
gives us samples of the German and Uncle Remus of the African. The Greeks had theirs and the Romans theirs and
the Scandinavians theirs, bat what we have got that would make up a book-a characteristic book of the Anglo-Saxon
race I confess I do not know. It would simply be a vast and wonderful variety-that’s all.

Last Updated on March 16, 2021 by Bill Arp

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