Nov 19, 2013 by

Kay or Lee: Tell him about the man and his pet panther.
Maggie: A man and his pet panther? Maybe he wouldn’t want to hear that,
BH: Sure. Is it a good story? M: Yes it’s a good’n
BH: Tell it.
M: It’s a true’n
BH: I’d like to hear it.
M: Well. There’s a man once who had, he’a catched a little kitten panther, just when it’uz a small kitten. Well, he said, he, they’d somebody I reckon they’d killed the old’un and he caught this small’un. They said it was just a little kitten. When he got it he told him he was a’gonna save it. Gonna keep it and make him a pet of it. Some of them around told him he said when it gets of any size I’d be afraid of that. Oh he said hit’ll be all right, so he caught the little panther and he took it in and he said it was te-gis to raise now when he first, when he first catched it. Said hit was te-gis to raise but he built it a cage and had it in it and he raised it and he handled it and ever’thing and had it real tame you see. And that panther went to growin’ and after while hit growed up to be a big panther. Well he got to takin’ it with him a’huntin’. That panther ‘d go right with him when he’d go out a’squirrel huntin’ why that panther’d go with him. And when he’d kill a squirrel, rabbit er anything why uh that panther . . . he’d take and take the entrails out of it and he’d give hit the, the livers and all that part of it, and it’d eat it. By jiminy it got so he couldn’t hardly get away from that panther. Whenever he’d go hit’d watch for him you see, and when he’d pick up the gun he said he’d know’d just as well he’s a’goin’ a’huntin’ as he did. Hit’d go right with him. He said it was a great big panther then, about , about a two or a
three year old. Well, so, one day he started a huntin’ one mornin’ he started to go a’huntin’ a’squirrel huntin’ and the panther started with him. And he said he went on a ways with that panther and he said that panther got to actin’ right strange, never did know it he said to do like that before. He said hit’d just wait till he’d come up to it and hit’d cross the, the little path right behind him and then just the first thing yuh know’d hit’d be in front of him. Hit’d cross over to one side, and then cross back to the other side. Course he said he had a gun he know’d that if he aimed to make attempt to catch him er anything he aimed to kill him. But he said hit acted strange, it never had done that before. Anyway, he just went on, and hit went with him, so he went on back up against the mountain a little ways and he heared a squirrel a’barkin’ . And he went up there, and he said the squirrel run up the tree he see’d the squirrel, and they’ s a big holler in the tree up high and into that hole went the squirrel .Well, he thought he’d set down there and watch for the squirrel to come out. He said he knew he’d be out, be out just in a little while and he set down there. Said he was looking for a comfortable place to set and his back kind’a laid up against a log and he said he thought he’d just wait till that squirrel come out and he’d kill him. He said he set there a little while and he said after while he done, hit laid down right by him. And after while he said he just got sleepy. He didn’t know what made him, he said he just got s’sleepy and he said he just fell over to sleep, first thing you know he just fell over to sleep and his gun a’laying right by the side of him. His gun just fell over by the side of him. And he said direckly, he didn’t know how long he’d been a layin’ there, but he couldn’t a’been a’layin’ there very long he said, that sump’n’ woke him up a’pullin’ him right down over the hill. And he said they was a big sinkhole , there ‘s a big sinkhole right down under the hill, for he was a sittin’ back on the hill and they’s a sinkhole down there and hit uz covered up you see with leaves . It uz in the fall of the year and the leaves been and just covered that sinkhole, filled it up with leaves mostly. And he said he felt somethin’ a’pullin’. And he said he thought, he said he just as quick as he come awake he said he just knew’d hit uz the panther that uz a ‘pullin’ him. He said hit wasn’t bitin’ him ner nothin’, it uz just a’pullin’ him by the clothes, but he was a’takin’ him right down the hill. And he said he thought he ‘d just play off asleep and see what he would do . He just took him on down to that sinkhole that big sinkhole they was down there, and just tuck his foot and raked the leaves out, just put him right in the sinkhole. Just drug him right in it he said and took it’s
foot and covered him up just good with them leaves. Just covered him all over he said, covered him all over with them leaves. And he said when he got that done, when he got him all covered up, why he just raised and sprung up on top of the, the bank, you see there was kindly a bank for the sinkhole. And he said when he sprung up on top of the bank he just went just a little ways and he fetched a holler. Oh, he said, he just screamed. Just fetched a holler. And he said, directly he fetched another holler. And he said he know’d they uz somethin’ wrong when he’d done that he said he know’d it uz up to somethin’ and he said he heared one answerin’ . The next time it hollered he said one answered it away back up on the mountain, Well, so he said he got outta there. He just crawled out he said just as quick as he could get out and they was an old chunk a’layin’ there and he just rolled it over in the sinkhole where he was layin’ just rolled that chunk and covered it up with leaves . He said he just hit her back up on the bank upon the hill and grabbed his gun. Said he had the gun loaded and ever’thing, ready, and he said he heared it holler again, it was a way up on the mountain that time and he heared the other ‘n answer it again and he said he heared it uz a gettin’ clost and just as quick as the other done got with it why he just took right back down the mountain. The tame one was in front and the other ‘n right behind him and he looked and see’d ’em a ‘comin’ right down off a the hill. He said he could see just right out through the woods, see ’em a comin’ right down. He said he never done a thing, he just set there he said, but he wanted to get a shot at the tame one. That’s the one he said he wanted to kill for he knowed it uz aimin’ to do somethin’ and he said he just come to that sinkhole where he’d left him a layin’, and he said the other ‘n just fell down right down on its belly and that’n just crawled up right easy on its belly, and he said just tramped its feet a few times and twitched its tail just like a cat you see, and just he said just all at once just fetched down right in that sinkhole hit went. He said and when it jumped in the sinkhole hit tuck hit’s foot and commenced raking them leaves off ‘n’ when it raked the leaves down in there, there laid that big chunk and he said hit was, hit uz fooled s’ bad, hit uz surprised s’ bad the panther was, he said hit looked right plumb straight, right where he was at, looked right back up where hit had fetched him from, just as plumb, he said, hit looked right straight, right at him, right at him, and he said when hit looked straight at him, he was ready. He said and right between the eyes he took it he said. Now, he said, that turned it a jug handle and he said that other ‘n he said he never even shot at the, said
the other ‘n went s’ fast nothin’ could ‘a catched it right back up the hill. Walked down and there laid the pet panther. He’d git ‘im a good shot the first shot, right between the eyes.Now you see that’s the dependence there. Now they claim a wildcat’ll do just the same way and a bear’ll do the same way. A bear will do just the very same way when they get any age on them. They will kill yuh.

Notes: The ‘child’ here is either Sherman and Allene’s granddaughter Sheila Kay or grandson Roy Lee. Maggie had told the children the story. BH is Bill Hicks who recorded this story is from N.C. He was visiting Maggie when she was staying with Sherman’s family out on the Williams River. The year was either 1970 or 1971. Thank you to Bill for permitting us to use this. Lee Hammons [b1883 but no kin] passed along a story from his childhood in Greenbriar County WVa. This is close to his words. “There was an old man who was walkin back to his cabin along just before dark. There was a panther layin in his path just ahead and there was on way around it. All he knew to do was run up and kick it in the face and keep on goin. What he had on was what the old people wore. They were high top boots [boots=no laces] that had those big thick leather soles. He took a run and kicked that panther in the teeth before it could move and kept on to his house. They used to keep their rifles up above the door. Just as he hit the door, he grabbed his rifle and shot out into the dark and slammed the door shut. First thing next morning he went out to check, and there layed the panther.” At the same time, Lee said ”I carried a .32 Smith with me all those years but I never did use it. But one time I was comin along and there was kind of a little bank comin down over with a spring right at the bottom of it. I dropped down to get a drink and just as I got down, a panther stepped up on a log up on the bank above me. I never did know what he did, but I left him some tracks.” “Well. How old do think you were at that time?” [Lee would have been approximately 86 years old when he was telling the story]. “Ohhh, I don’t know? I was just a boy”

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