Wednesday, October 29, 2008

OZARK HORROR: The Ozark Wildcat

Late one evening, a young farmer was riding home after having his cow butchered. He decided to take a shortcut through Walleye Hollow.

Walleye Hollow was named for Old Walleyes, the legendary Wildcat of the Ozarks. He was like a panther, but almost as big as a bear. Folks said his head was as big as a washtub. If he got a smell for your blood, you'd better ride fast, or you were a goner.

The reason the beast was called Old Walleyes was because his eyes were foggy: he was blind.

But the young farmer took no stock in these tales. They'd been told for years. Probably Old Walleyes would be dead by now.

As he was passing the cave that Old Walleyes was said to live in, a wheel broke off of his wagon. He stopped the horse, and began to fix it. Night began to fall, and the smell of that fresh beef began to waft in the air.

All at once, from the cave, the farmer heard a growl, and a snort. Something was in there. It sounded hungry.

He began to use some wire to get the wheel fixed.

The sounds got louder. Something was coming out!

Finally, the wheel fit on the lynchpin. He got back on the wagon and got the horse going, when he heard the tailgate of the wagon shatter.

He looked behind him. There, were two pale, glowing orbs of light: Old Walleyes was real, and on his tail!

The horse needed no prodding and began to gallop.

Old Walleyes can't be that fast, thought the farmer. He's too big.

But as he looked behind him, he saw Old Walleyes keeping instep, and it looked as if he was actually catching up!

All at once the man had an idea. He dropped the reigns, turned, and kicked a slab of beef off the wagon. Better it than me, he thought.

He watched Old Walleyes stop and sniff the beef. He expected to see the monster begin to eat it.

The monster did eat it. In one gulp. The next moment, it was back on the trail.

The wagon passed through a couple of trees. It was very narrow going.

He won't be able to fit through there!

Old Walleyes got to the trees, and pushed them down!

The man kicked out another slab of beef off of the wagon. Old Walleyes stopped once again, and ate it down!

The farmer had got about thirty yards ahead, but Old Walleyes could run like a devil wind! Soon, it was trying to climb onto the wagon!

The farmer kicked the last of the beef into the road.

Old Walleyes stopped, and ate it down! But, soon enough, he was back, his hot, sticky breath smelling of fresh beef.

The wagon crossed through a stream.

The man looked behind him, expecting to see the monster still behind the wagon.

Instead, he saw Old Walleyes sitting on the other side of the stream, beef blood dripping from his mouth.

Then the farmer remembered the stories he'd heard: Old Walleyes can't cross running water, and he can't climb trees.

The man made it home, alive.

Years later, the farmer's son was taking a shortcut through Walleye Hollow after a trip to the butcher. When he was passing the cave, his wagon broke.

The son remembered his father's story and got on his horse and rode off.

Better it than me, he thought.

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