Jack and the Varmints!

JACK was a-goin' about over the country one time, happened he passed by a place where am an had been rivin' boards, saw a little thin piece and picked it up, started in to whittlin' on it. Jack was so lazy he never noticed much what he was doin' till he'd done made him a little paddle. 

He didn't know what he'd do with it, just carried it along. Directly he came to a muddy place in the road where a lot of little blue butterflies had lit down to drink. So jack slipped up right close to'em and came down with that paddle right in the middle of 'em-splap! Then he counted to see how many he'd killed. 

Went on down the road, came to a blacksmith shop. He got the blacksmith to take some brads and make him a sign in big letters on his belt; buckled that around him and went on. 

Pretty soon here came the King on his horse, says, "Hello. 

"Howdy do, King." 

"What's all that writin' you got around ye, Jack? Turn around can read it." The old King read it off: 

"STRONG MAN-JACK." 
"KILLED-SEVEN-AT-A-WHACK." 

You mean you've done killed seven at one lick, Jack? You be gettin' to be an awful stout feller. I reckon you could pretty nigh anything, couldn't ye?" 

"Well," says Jack, "I don't know. I've pulled a few tricks." 

King says, "Well, now, Jack, if you're up to that adver-tize-ment you got on your belt there, you're the very man I'm a-lookin'. There's a big wild hog been tearin' around in my settle-ment, killin' lots of sheep. If you help us get shet of that hog, I'll pay ye a thousand dollars. All my men are scared of it." 

"Well," says Jack, "I'll try." 

So the King took Jack over on the mountain where that wild hog was a-usin'. Time he got up in the holler a ways, he turned his horse around, says, "You go on up in the mountain and find it, Jack. 

I got im-portant business back home." 

And the King gave his horse a lick and made it go back in a hurry. 

Jack he knowed that if the King was so scared of that hog, it must be awful dangerous. Decided he'd just not get mixed up with such a varmint. Said he'd wait a little while and then he'd slip out and get away 'fore that old hog smelled him. Well, directly Jack got to plunderin' around in there tryin' to get out, heard that hog a-breakin' bresh up the mountain, and then he saw it comin'. So Jack lit out through the woods -- him and the hog . . . 

Whippety cut! Whippety cut! Whippety cut! 

. . . and the wild hog right in behind him. 

Jack looked behind and saw it was gettin' closer; they say Jack com-menced jumpin' fifteen feet ever' step, but the old hog kept right on a-gainin'. Jack came out in a field, looked down it a ways and saw a old waste-house standin' there with no roof on it. Jack made for that house, ran in the door, and scrambled up the wall. That old hog was so close it grabbed hold on Jack's coattail, but Jack was a-goin' so fast it jerked his coat-tail plumb off. Jack got up on top of the wall, looked down at the hog standin' there with his forefeet up on the logs a-lookin' up after him. Then Jack jumped down and ran around outside, pushed the door to and propped it right quick with some timbers. Saw the hog couldn't get out, so then he pulled back to the King's house. 

"Hello, Jack. Did ye do any good?" 

"Why, no, King. I couldn't find no wild hog up there. Hunted all over that mountain, didn't see nothin'." 

"Why Jack, that old hog just makes for everybody goes up there. You must 'a seen it." 

"Well, there wasn't nothin' but a little old boar shoat, came bristlin' up to me, kept follerin' me around. I ran it off a time or two, but it kept on taggin' after me. The blame thing got playful after a while, jumped up and jerked a piece out of my coat- tail. That made me a little mad, so I took it by the tail and ear and thronged it in a old waste-house up there, barred it in. I don't reckon that was what you wanted. You an go up and see if ye want to."