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Shorty Dawkins
February 1st, 2012, 03:40 AM
This is a section of my book, The Legend of Shorty Dawkins.
These are two tall tales told by two brothers, Lester and Too-Tall Dawkins. Lester is Shorty and Edna Mae's Father, and Too-Tall is married to Annie. The rest is pretty explanatory.

I thought you might enjoy a laugh or two.


Tall Tales

“I remember a time,” Lester began, “when Shorty was just a toddler, when I was out doing some hunting. It was a nice crisp Autumn day, the kind of day that makes a man happy to be out in the woods. I’d been out in the woods for better than three hours and I hadn’t seen anything but a half-starved pheasant. I had a crust of bread in my pocket and tossed it to the pheasant, whereupon she gave me a nod of thanks and proceeded to devour the bread.

It must have been about twenty minutes later, when I found some fresh deer tracks. Looking closely at the tracks, I determined it was a nice ten point buck, maybe talked with a lisp. I hadn’t followed the tracks more than three hundred yards, when, as I was kneeling down, studying the tracks, I heard a funny sound. It sounded like, “Psssst”. Well, I looked around, but didn’t see anything, but just as I was about to rise, I heard it again, “Psssst”, and again, “Psssst”. I’m thinking to myself, “What in tarnation is that noise?”. Then I heard a rustle in the bushes beside me. I was mighty surprised, I’m not ashamed to tell you, when a rabbit pokes his head out from those bushes and says to me, plain as day, “Are you looking for that buck with a lisp?” I just stared at that rabbit for a moment, then, realizing he was talking to me, answered, “Yep”.

“He’s hiding behind that mound of boulders, over there.” The rabbit whispered, pointing to them.

“Thank you for your help, Mr. Rabbit.” I said, still reluctant to believe what was happening, but I headed towards the boulders nevertheless. Well, I walked clear ‘round those boulders, but saw nary a sign of that buck, though I will admit there were fresh tracks. The rabbit saw me coming around the backside of those boulders and started waving frantically for me to turn around.

“He’s coming around the other way.”

I’m not sure what got into me, but I did as the rabbit told me to do, still not seeing the buck. Each time I came back into view, that rabbit kept telling me to go the other way. He seemed like such an honest rabbit that I continued to do as he said. This went on for a good twenty minutes and I was getting right tired of walking back and forth around those boulders, so I decided to out-fox that buck. While I was on the back side of the boulders, I quickly changed direction, scooting out from behind the boulders. Sure enough, there was the buck. I heard him ask the rabbit, “Where ith he?” The rabbit started to warn the buck, but saw me watching him. He was caught red-handed, and he knew it. He looked at the buck and gave a little shrug of defeat. The buck looked at me, and I looked at him. I raised my rifle and took careful aim,……”

“And you shot that buck, dead as can be. Right, Dad?”

“No, Shorty, I didn’t shoot the buck. I shot the rabbit. I never did like a rabbit that would pull my leg.”

Too-Tall chuckled at his brother’s story. “I always did like your stories, Lester. So, you let the buck get away, did you?”

“I would have, Angus, but, truth be told, that buck was so startled when I shot the rabbit, instead of him, he had a heart attack and dropped dead.”

“Aye, and ye be telling’ a mighty good story, Lester Dawkins.” Argyle said. “Are ye sure ye have never kissed the Blarney Stone, now?”

“I think most of us here have more than enough Blarney in us, Mr. Murphy, that we don’t need to be kissing the Stone.” Lester said with a wink.

“It’s your turn, Uncle Too-Tall.” Edna Mae called out. “We’ll see how you do against Dad’s story.”

“All right, Edna Mae.” Too-Tall agreed. He settled himself on his stool, and began. “This is the story of how I came to meet Mr. Murphy. I hope you won’t mind if I add a few embellishments, Argyle.”

“Lord no, me lad. It wouldn’t be hurtin’ the story any, I’m thinkin‘.”

“Here goes, then.

We’d been having trouble with a wild boar ever since we first moved into the valley. This was a year after Angus was born. That boar was being a real nuisance, what with destroying crops and keeping the chickens in such a state of high agitation they weren’t laying like they should. I’d finally had enough and got my Winchester out, saddled my horse, and off I went, determined that it would be him or me.

I spent almost half a day looking for that critter, but I hadn’t seen hide, nor hair, of him. Finally, on the rise behind where Kent built his house, my horse started acting skittish, and I knew he must be near. As soon as I dismounted, my horse bolted, probably scared, and headed back to the safety of the barn, I figured. Anyway, I climbed up to the top of the rise, and there, not fifty yards away was that pesky boar. He was a big one, and he was facing straight at me. I cocked my Winchester, took careful aim, and fired. Now, you’re going to find this hard to believe, but imagine my surprise when that blasted boar opened his mouth and grabbed that bullet in his teeth. I rubbed my eyes, thinking I was seeing things. The next thing I know, he was spitting the bullet back at me. It hit my canteen that was dangling from my shoulder. I still have that canteen with the dent in it, where the bullet smacked into it. Well, I fired a second shot and found myself dodging another bullet. I don’t know about you, but I found it to be damn near remarkable that a boar could grab a bullet out of the air with his teeth like that, and not just once, but twice. I fired a third shot, just to see if he could catch it again and, sure enough, I found myself ducking once again. This boar is turning into quite a challenge, I was thinking to myself, when a voice behind me says, ‘Ye can never hope to be killing him like that, laddie.’

The first thought that came into my head was, that the boar was a ventriloquist, and he was throwing his voice behind me to divert my attention. The thing that baffled me most was, where did the boar learn to speak with an Irish accent?

‘That boar, standing before ye, could be giving ye a might bit more help alive, than dead, I’ll be telling ye, laddie.’ the voice behind me said.

I spun around to look where the voice was coming from, and imagine my surprise when I see a little man wearing a derby hat, sitting on a donkey, and he’s got a banjo on his lap. I rubbed my eyes, again, and wondered if maybe I wasn’t just having a dream.

‘Tis a fine afternoon, is it not?’ the little man said to me as he doffed his hat. ‘I’m Mr. Murphy. Some call me Mister, and others call me Murphy. The courteous call me Mr. Murphy.’

I was still in a daze, but managed to nod at him as I kept a wary watch on him and the boar.

‘And what do ye go by, might I be askin’ ye?’

‘I’m Too-Tall.’ I managed to spit out.

‘I can see that m’self, laddie. You’re taller than ye have a right to be, not meaning to offend ye, now. I’m wantin’ to know what good folks call ye, not your altitude.’

‘I’m Too-Tall Dawkins. At least that’s what folks call me. Who are you?’

‘Oh, I see! Folks call you Too-Tall. Well, it’s not surprising, now, is it? As I said, I’m Mr. Murphy.’

‘Where did you come from? And why are you here, in this particular valley?’ I asked him, as I was finally coming to my senses.

‘I’ve come from Ireland, laddie, and if you must be knowing, it’s the Leprechauns that brought me to this place. Perhaps I’m here to settle the differences between you and our large four-footed friend.’

Before I could say a word, the little man jumped off his donkey and handed me his banjo.

‘If you’ll be holding this for me, I’ll be asking our friend for his side of the story.’

I watched in disbelief as the little man walked over to the boar, sat down in front of him, and began making grunting and snorting sounds. I was utterly flabbergasted when I heard the boar making sounds in reply. I stood watching them for several minutes, banjo in one hand, and my rifle in the other. Strange thoughts were running through my head, and I was beginning to wonder if one, or the other, or both of us, were mad. Mr. Murphy returned, presently, and looked up at me.

‘Goliath is none too happy with ye, laddie.’ he shouted up at me.

‘Who’s Goliath? And you don’t need to shout, I can hear well enough.’ I said, starting to get frustrated with the little Irish fellow.

‘Goliath is the boar, Mr. Too-Tall Dawkins, and he’s a might bit perturbed with you. You’ve been shooting at him, and he doesn’t think it’s very neighborly of you. Now, I’ll be asking you, why?’

‘Why what?’

‘Why are ye shooting at him? What has got your feathers ruffled?’

‘Why am I shooting at him? That damn boar has been destroying my crops and scaring my chickens, so they don’t lay.’

‘Well, now we’re getting to the heart of the matter, aren’t we? I’ll be asking ye to set yourself down, now, Mr. Too-Tall Dawkins. I’m a wee bit tired of looking up at ye, don’t ye know. I’m getting a pain in the neck from the exertion, if ye know what I mean.’

I sat down, as he requested, but I kept my rifle handy, keeping an eye on Goliath at all times. In my experience, you can’t trust a boar, and I wasn’t too sure about the mental state of Mr. Murphy.

‘Now then, laddie. Goliath tells me he is of a mind to settle the differences between you in a peaceable manner. He doesn’t want to harm you in any way.’

‘He doesn’t want to …’ I started to sputter.

‘Calm yourself, laddie. Remember, if you will, that you were dodging bullets he spit back at you, just a few minutes past. I think it’s only fair that you should be hearing what he has to say.’

I scratched my head in amazement. Here I was, sitting on the ground, talking to a little Irishman who wore a derby hat, rode on a donkey with a banjo on his lap, and believed the Leprechauns sent him to negotiate with a wild boar that catches bullets in his teeth and spits them back at me. What did I have to lose? My sanity? I figured that was long gone.

‘All right, Mr. Murphy, why don’t you tell me what Goliath has to say, since you speak his language?’

‘He’s been watching you, laddie. He sees ye keep hogs. Ye feed them every day. He likes that, don’t ye know. Ye have sows that look mighty appealing to him, there‘s no denying, for he does love the ladies. On the other hand, the thought of being penned up all the time disturbs him. It disturbs him a great deal, for he does love to wander. So here is the deal he proposes, laddie. If ye give him some free time to wander, now and again, he’d be willing to be penned up most of the time, and he says he’ll be siring the best young hogs ye could ever be wanting. What say ye to his proposition, Mr. Too-Tall Dawkins?’

‘Where do you fit into this equation, Mr. Murphy? What do you want, or expect to gain?’

‘Tis true that I’d be lying to ye, if I said I expected nothing in return for me efforts. All I’m wanting, laddie, is to build m’self a little cabin in this valley, where I can play me banjo, and enjoy the blessings of Mother Nature. I’ll be happy to cure your animals, or your family, when they’re sick, and I’ll talk to your animals, if they have anything to say, and I’ll play a tune for ye, if you’ve a yearning to hear one.’
‘You can cure the animals, and my family, you say?’

‘Aye, the Leprechauns have been kind to me, it’s true. They have taught me the secrets of the herbs that heal.’

I pointed to the banjo. ‘You can play that thing?’

‘Aye. Would ye be wanting a tune, then?’

I nodded yes, and he picked up his banjo. He played several tunes, one after the other, and he sang as he played. Goliath moved closer with each tune, and before you know it, he was sitting next to me, with what I took to be a smile on his face.

‘It’s a deal, Mr. Murphy.’ I said, when he finished playing. ‘Annie’s not going to believe a word of this, though.’

‘She’ll be learning it’s true, soon enough. Shall we be introducing Goliath to the lasses, now?’

‘Aye, Mr. Murphy.’ And back across the valley we went, the three of us. We must have made quite a sight.”

“That you were, Bear.” Annie smiled in remembrance. “A very unusual sight.”

Ellis Schull
February 2nd, 2012, 08:10 AM
This is excellent writing! I enjoyed every bit of it and, even, loved the characters. You have a unique situation here which allows you to break one long story into many separate encounters, this is both fun and captivating. I think, however, that you may be misguided by thinking this is a work of humor. Perhaps I do not understand the larger work, and do not get me wrong that I smiled at the thoughtfulness and care of the elaborate stories, and gave pause for a chuckle now and again. I wonder, though, if it might be better categorized under general fiction. Other than that I am intrigued to read more.

Shorty Dawkins
February 21st, 2012, 10:14 PM
This is excellent writing! I enjoyed every bit of it and, even, loved the characters. You have a unique situation here which allows you to break one long story into many separate encounters, this is both fun and captivating. I think, however, that you may be misguided by thinking this is a work of humor. Perhaps I do not understand the larger work, and do not get me wrong that I smiled at the thoughtfulness and care of the elaborate stories, and gave pause for a chuckle now and again. I wonder, though, if it might be better categorized under general fiction. Other than that I am intrigued to read more.

Thanks Ellis, for your nice comment. I put this in humor, because it is two tall tales, which are humorous in nature. They are not comedy, but mildly humorous, and definitely tall tales. Perhaps I will post another humorous story from my book here, to give you a few smiles. I'll try and finf the one I am thinking of.

Shorty Dawkins

Shorty Dawkins
February 21st, 2012, 10:21 PM
This is another humorous segment from The Legend of Shorty Dawkins.

The ladies returned to the waterfall just as Millie was prepared to ring the triangle announcing lunch time.
“That was good timing.” Millie chuckled.
“It just takes practice, Millie.” Edna Mae gave her a wink, as she climbed off the wagon.
Caleb and Shorty were comparing blisters as they came around to the front of the house.
“Gee, Cap and I don’t have any blisters. How about you, Lester?” Jake asked, innocently.
“No, Jake, I can’t remember the last time I had a blister. My hands are too rough, I guess. How about you, Charlie?”
“It seems to me I got a blister, or two, the first day I ever worked at the Mill.” Charlie answered.
“Ow!” Shorty winced. “That hurt more than my blister.”
“I believe it was meant to hurt.” Cap said. “If you’ve got a pain from honest work, don’t complain about it.”
“Hey, Shorty. If those blisters aren’t hurting you too much, Maggie and I could use a hand unloading the wagon.” Edna Mae called.
“Come on, Caleb. We’ll get no sympathy from this bunch.” Shorty and Caleb went to unload the wagon and were joined by the others.
With the supplies put away, everyone filled their plates and sat down to have a good lunch of turkey sandwiches, fresh dandelion greens and some of Erma’s good three bean salad. Maggie started to tell everyone about their running into the Scalawags, but she was interrupted by Jack and Molly, who made a splashy entrance, literally.
They all heard Molly screaming, before they heard the sounds of the truck, as it came up the hill.
“For God’s sake, Jack, pay attention to where you’re going, or you’ll kill us both!” Came Molly’s plaintive cry.
“Everyone on alert!” Lester hollered. “Jack’s driving. Get the children up on the porch, quickly.”
Charlie and Edna Mae each grabbed one of their children and Caleb grabbed his little boy, hustling them onto the porch. Shorty gently pulled Maggie and Jane from the path of potential danger, though they looked at him with confused eyes. “You’ll find out soon enough.” He told them.
“Jack you idiot!” Molly screamed. They could hear the tires spinning in the gravel road, now.
“Don’t worry, Molly, my sweet. I’ve got it all under control.” Jack called back to her.
“I’ll get you under control as soon as you stop this thing. Just wait till I get my hands on you.”
Shorty looked at Caleb who just rolled his eyes and shrugged.
“Hey Molly! Look at that1” Jack called to her.
“Look out!” Molly screamed. A sharp thud was heard, followed by the roar of the engine.
“Just a small one, Molly. Nothing to worry about.” Jack tried to placate her.
“I’ll tell you what’s small, Jacques Rioux. Your brain is small.” Molly was mad. There was no doubt about it. When she called him Jacques, she was mad. When she called him Jacques Rioux, she was very mad.
Everyone’s eyes were focused on the spot where the truck would come into view. The sound of the truck got louder as they neared the last corner before the opening. Molly was still screaming at Jack, and they heard the sound of bushes slapping against the side of the truck. They finally made it into the open area, where the pool and waterfall became visible, and it proved to be Jack’s final undoing, as he shifted his gaze to the waterfall, and ignored where he was going. Without realizing it, Jack was headed on a path to crash into the bridge. Molly screamed at the top of her lungs, drawing Jack’s attention back to his driving. He jerked the wheel to the left, as he slammed on the brake, or so he thought. Instead of the brake, however, his foot hit the gas pedal. The truck shot forward and tipped onto two wheels, driving straight into the pool. Water and ducks went in every direction. When the truck came to rest, Lester turned to Shorty and calmly said: “Shorty, Jack and Molly are here.”
“Good day, Mr. D.” Jack said with a tip of his hat.
“Hi, Jack.” Lester smiled back at him.
“Jacques Ignatius Rioux!” Molly screamed at the top of her lungs, reaching for something, anything, to hit him with.
“Oh, oh.” Jack muttered. He knew what to expect when Molly used his full name, and it wasn’t going to be pretty. He struggled to get the door open and started to get out, but Molly caught him in the backside with her foot and he went sprawling, face first, into the pool.
Molly was right behind him, out the door of the truck. In her hand was the first thing that she grabbed, which was his fiddle. She raised it above her head, intending to hit him with it when he surfaced. He came sputtering up for air and saw the fiddle poised before him. “Not the fiddle.” he pleaded, along with most everybody else. Molly thought better of it and threw the fiddle back in the truck, coming out with her umbrella, instead. Jack tried to escape her by wading out of the water, but Lester shoved him back in. “Take your medicine, Jack.” Lester smiled for what was to come. Molly was on a mission to knock some sense into Jack. She wielded her umbrella with great accuracy, and Jack howled at each blow, knowing there was nothing he could do, or say, to stop it. Poor Jack. Shorty almost felt sorry for him, yet knew he deserved the medicine Molly was dishing out. If Jack turned his back, Molly smacked him on his shoulders and buttocks. If he faced her, he got it in the stomach. He tried to escape, but she forced him back, until the only place he was safe was standing directly under the waterfall.
Everyone was laughing as Jack stood under the waterfall looking sad and pathetic. Molly’s anger abated and soon she began laughing at him, too. “Here, Jack.” She handed him the umbrella. “You can make better use of it.”
“I guess I deserved that.” Jack admitted. He opened the umbrella and stood with it over his head, which the children found extremely funny. He looked at his truck sitting in the middle of the pool. “I’ll make a deal with you, Mr. D. If you’ll help me get the truck out of the water, I’ll promise to never drive anything but a horse and wagon, ever again.”
“I’ll take that deal, Jack. Never was a man born less capable of driving an automobile or truck. Finally, you realize it yourself. I’ll hitch up a horse and we’ll get your truck out of there.”
“Thanks, Mr. D.”
With the horse pulling at one end, and Jack, Shorty and Caleb pushing at the other, the truck made it out of the pool. Everyone lent a hand unloading the truck and Shorty offered to help Jack set up his tent.
“I know you snore like a sick moose, Jack, so kindly set up your tent away from everyone else’s, if you don’t mind.” Caleb firmly requested.
“Jack, while everyone is still here, why don’t we tell them the news?” Molly suggested.
“Good idea, Sugar Plum. Why don’t you tell them?”
“All right. Everyone get ready for a real shocking bit of news.” She winked at Celia, who already knew. “Jack and I are going to have a baby. I’m pregnant.”
“Sweet Mother MacCree!” Erma exclaimed. “I’m so happy for both of you. It‘s time for a hug, Molly dear. You too, Jack.” Erma gave them warm hugs and congratulations, as did everyone.
“Well, now we’ve got three young ones, with two more on the way. Our family is getting bigger all the time.” Lester spoke in a serious tone. “I’d like to spend more time enjoying that fact, but winter is coming…”
“And we have work to do.” Jack finished. Lester saw the eagerness in Jack’s countenance.
“It’s strange what happens to a man when he is about to become a Father, isn’t it, Jack?”
“Yes, Mr. D, it is strange. Let’s get to work.”