Uncle Josh's Punkin Centre Stories

Yosemite Jim, or a Tale of the Great White Death

YOSEMITE JIM wuz the name he had,
And he came from no one knowed whar;
Quiet, easy goin' sort of a cuss,
And wuz reckoned on the squar'.
Ridin' a route for the Wells Fargo folks
May have made him stern and grim;
But thar wasn't a man that crossed the divide
But 'ud swar by Yosemite Jim.

He wa'n't one of the regular sort
What you'd meet thar any day,
But as near as the camp could figure it out,
In a show down he'd likely stay.
A shambling, awkward figure,
Rawboned, tall and slim,
And his schaps and togs in general
Jist looked like they'd fell on him.

I wuz somewhat of a tenderfoot then,
Hadn't jist got the lay of the land;
Thar wuz a good many things in them thar parts
As I couldn't quite understand.
But I took a likin' to Yosemite Jim,
Wuz with him on my very first trick;
And from that time on I stuck to him
Like a kitten to a good warm brick.

Our headquarters then wuz the valley camp,
It wuz down by the redwood way,
With Chaparel across the spur,
'Bout fifty miles away.
Wall, what I'm goin' to tell you, pard,
Happened thar whar the trail runs into the sky;
And if it hadn't a-bin fer Yosemite Jim,
Wall, I'd be countin' my chips on high.

The galoot that wuz punchin' the broncos fer me
Wuz a greaser from down Monterey;
And Jim used to say, "Keep your eye on him, pard,
I don't think he's cum fer to stay;
His eyes are too shifty and yeller,
And his face is sullen and hard;
And 'taint that so much as a feelin' I have;
Anyhow, keep your eye on him, pard."

One day when the mercury wuz way out of sight,
And the frost it wuz on every nail,
With jist the mail sack and specie box,
The greaser and I hit the trail.
We picked two passengers up at Big Pine,
And while the broncos were changed that day
I noticed them havin' a sneakin' chat
With the greaser from down Monterey.

Did you ever hear tell of the Great White Death,
That creeps down the mountain side,
Leavin' behind it a ghastly track
Whar those who have met it died?
Wall, pard, as true as I'm a-livin',
No man wants to see it twice;
White and grim as a funeral shroud,
A mass of mist and ice.

Wall, we hadn't got far from the Big Pine relay
When my hair it commenced to rise,
For I saw across by the Lone Bear spur
A cloud of most monstrous size.
And the greaser acted sort of peculiar,
And the broncos commenced to neigh;
Wall, some thoughts went through my mind jist then
I won't forgit till my dyin' day.

In less time than it takes to tell it,
We were into the Great White Death,
With its millions of frozen snowflakes
A-takin' away our breath.
And jist then somethin' happened, pard,
The greaser from down Monterey
Tried to sneak off with the specie box,
Along with the passengers from Big Pine relay.

All at once a figure on hossback
Cum a-whoopin' it down the trail,
And bullets from out of a Winchester
Commenced to fly like hail.
The greaser and them two passengers
Cashed in their chips to him,
Fer the feller what wuz doin' the shootin'
Wuz my friend, Yosemite Jim.

Wall, we planted them thar together,
When the cloud had passed away;
And all they've got fer a tombstone
Is the mountains, dull and gray.
So, pard, let's take one together,
And I'll drink a toast to him,
Fer though he wuz rough and ready,
He'd a heart, YOSEMITE JIM.

The Great White Death, so named by the Indians, occurs in the higher altitudes of the Rocky and Sierra Nevada Mountains. It is almost indescribable. It might properly be termed a frozen fog. It has the effect of bringing on acute congestion of the lungs, from which few rarely recover. Viewed at a distance it is a magnificent sight, each and every particle of the frozen moisture being a miniature prism, which reflects the sun's rays in a manner once seen never to be forgotten.—By CAL. STEWART, formerly Overland Messenger for the Wells-Fargo Express Company.

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