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Uncle Josh's Punkin Centre Stories

Jim Lawson's Hoss Trade

SPEAKIN' of hoss tradin', now Jim Lawson was calculated to be about the best hoss trader in Punkin Centre. Yes, Jim he could sot up on a fence, chew terbacker, whittle a stick, and jist about swap ye outen your eye-teeth, if you'd listen to him.

Yas, Jim wuz some punkins on a swap; Jim 'd swap anything he had fer anything he didn't want, jist to be swappin'.

Wall, a gypsy cum along one day and tackled Jim fer a swap; and about that time Jim he'd got hold of a critter that had more cussedness in him to the squar inch than any critter we'd ever sot eyes on, 'cept a cirkus mule that Ezra Hoskins owned.

Wall, the gypsy traded Jim a mighty fine lookin' critter, and we all calculated that Jim had right smart of a bargain, 'til one day Jim went to ride him, 'n he found out if he fetched the peskey critter on the sides he'd squat right down. Wall, Jim knowed if he didn't git rid of that hoss, his reputation as a hoss trader wuz forever gone; so he went over in t'other township to see old Deacon Witherspoon. You see the Deacon he wuz mighty fond of goin' a-huntin', and as he had rheumatiz purty bad it wuz sort of hard fer him to git 'round, so he had to do his huntin' on hoss back. Wall, Jim didn't say much to fuss, just kinder hinted around that huntin' was a-goin' to be mighty good this fall, cos he'd seen one or two flocks of partridges over back of Sprosby's medder, and some right smart of quail over by Buttermilk ford, and finally he sed: "Deacon, I've got a hoss you ought to hev; he's a setter." Wall, you could hav knocked the Deacon's eyes off with a club, they stuck out like bumps on a log, and he sed, "Why, Jim, I never heered tell of sech a thing in all my life; the idea of a horse being a setter!" Jim sed, "Yes, Deacon, he's bin trained to set for all kinds of game. I calculated as how I'd git a shotgun this fall and do right smart of hunting." So the Deacon sed, "Wall, now, I want to know; bring him over, Jim, I'd like to see him."

Wall, Jim took the hoss over, and all Punkin Centre jest sort of held its breath to see how it would cum out.

Jim and the Deacon went a-hunting, and as they wuz a-ridin' along through the timber down by Ruben Hendrick's paster, Jim keepin' his eyes peeled and not sayin' much, when all to onct he seen a rabbit settin' in a brush heap, and he jist tetched the old hoss on the sides and he squatted right down. The Deacon sed, "Why, what's the matter of your hoss, Jim, look what he be a doin'." Jim sed, "'Sh, Deacon, don't you see that rabbit over thar in the brush heap? the old hoss is a-settin' of him." Deacon sed, "Wall, now that's the most remarkable thing I ever seen in my life; how'd you like to trade, Jim?" Jim sed, "Wall, Deacon, I hadn't calculated on disposin' of the hoss, but I ain't much of a hand at huntin', and seein' as how it's you, if you want him I'll trade you, Deacon, fifty dollars to boot."

Wall, the Deacon had a mighty fine animal, but he sed, "I'll trade you, Jim." They traded hosses, and when they wuz a-comin' home they had to ford the crick what runs back of Punkin Centre, and when the old hoss wuz a-wadin' through the water, Deacon went to pull his feet up to keep them from gettin' wet, and he tetched the old boss on the sides and he squatted right down in the crick. Deacon sed, "Now look a-here, Jim, what's the matter with this ungodly brute, he ain't a-settin' now be he?" Jim sed, "Yes he is, Deacon, he sees fish in the water; tell you he's trained to set fer suckers same as fer rabbits, Deacon; oh, he's had a thorough eddication."

Paradox—I can't exactly describe it, but it looks to me
like a tramp who once told me how to be successful in life.
—Punkin Centre Philosophy.


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