HOLLER LIKE A WOMAN
￼￼B: Well now they was panthers, boys, back in them, back in them days, now but you hardly ever seen one, now I’m tellin’ yuh, you didn’t see ’em, just ever’ time you went out. But they’d foller after yuh now
D: They would?
B: Yessir, they’d follow yuh all day long ‘n’ prob’ly you’d never know maybe if, if it wasn’t no snow you would never know they was a follow’n’ you ’cause you’d never hear one ‘nothin’ maybe slip just like a cat, along just after yuh, foolin’ around after yuh. And they’d get right close to yuh sometimes, now right close to yuh but you’d never see ’em, hardly ever see one.
D: Well, wasn’t Maggie or Sherman or someone tellin’ bout whenever they went out and they thought it was a dog follerin’ ’em?
B: Nah. That ‘s my Dad ‘n’ Uncle Jess Roberts prob’ly.
B: Yeah. They’d went a’fishin’ , ‘n’ well my dad had, he had a big yalla’ lookin’ dog, a big red lookin’ dog. And so, that ‘s my mother’s brother Uncle Jess Roberts was, and she said “Well they’re gonna catch us a mess o’ fish up,” I b’lieve it ‘s up the Middle Fork is where it was at . Well they, “Well” my dad said “We’ll just take the gun with us and we’ll kill us a deer too while we’re a’fishin’.” And he said they tuck off up the creek and the dog started to follow them and Dad run him back, and he’s . . . well, Uncle Jess, he didn’t like a dog, Uncle Jess Roberts didn’t, he said “Now don’t let the dog foller us”.
And he said they started up the Middle Fork he said they got a piece and he said they was, they catched, he said went to fishin’ ‘n’ he said they catched ’em all the fish they wanted and Uncle Jess was ‘a lookin’ back and he said “I see that danged dog” he said, ” a’ follerin’ after us” he said ” Look yander”, he said “He’s layin’, you see him a’layin’ in that sinkhole” he said “I have one of the biggest notions of shootin’ him” he said ” you
￼ever seen. ” Well” my dad said “don’t you shoot my dog” And he said “He’ll fool around in the camp maybe and eat our fish.” My dad said “A dog won’t eat fish” “Well” he said “he might” And he said they looked at it layin’ there in that sinkhole and it’s a panther now a’layin’ in that sinkhole. A’follerin’ there, they’d got a’way up the creek. And they’d got on up and they just walked on further and they got up wher’ they was a’goin’ ta camp, and my dad said “Now Jess” he said, he got down he said and git some kindlin’, a little bit of wood, it ‘s warm an’ the summertime comin’ an’ he said “Now I’ll go out an’ kill a deer” Well, he said “All right” And instead of gettin’ any wood an’ stuff my dad he went on a’huntin’ fer a deer and instead of doin’ that Uncle Jess just went into the camp and just laid down and went to sleep.
And he come back and it just pert’ near dark. Uncle Jess hadn’t got no wood ner nothin’ so–of course they didn’ need much–well, he said they got ’em up some wood ‘n’ fried ’em all the fish they could eat, he said by that time he said when they eat a big mess of fish they laid, just built ’em up a little far he said, it uz warm and just laid down and went to sleep. And in this rock where Uncle Jess laid his head they was a hole in the rock and, and it went plumb to the outside, this hole did, just as big as a man did just a hole in the rock. And they laid down there and went to sleep.
And my dad said he wakened up, he didn’t know what time it was, it’s maybe about ten or eleven o’clock he said he woke up, he said the fire pert’ near, he said he seen the fire had went down an’ he said just as he went to move he said, gosh, he seen somethin’ s head go back out from that hole he said, and he said he heared it. He said there’s a big log laid, I b’lieve he said it’s a chestnut log laid, had broke over and fell down below the camp but it retched right plumb on top of that rock where they was a’campin’ he said. Then he said he punched up the far he said ‘n’, he said he heared that thing he said. Up that log he said he heared him go that thing he said an’ he knowed it uz a panther he said, when he heared it go up that log he said, he never heared, he said them nails a’clickin’ ‘n’ that log up right on top a’ that rock it went. He said “Jess, you’d better get up.” He said, “blamed if there wasn’t a panther right there.” He said ” I think it had its head right in there where you was a’layin'” “Oh” Uncle Jess said “b’lieve it wasn’t” “Yes” he said “it was” he said,”and I heared it go up that log on top of the rock.” “Well now” Uncle
￼Jess said “if that’s the case” he said “I’ll tell you what I’ll do” he said. “Now” he said “you can just” he said “I’ll go ta sleep” he said “or you go ta sleep” he said, “an’ I’ll set hyere an’ watch fer it” he said. And then he said “You can set up an’ watch an’ I’ll sleep.” “Well, all right” he said, “that ‘ll suit me”. Well, he said Uncle Jess, he got the gun an’ seddown over there and he said “I’ll watch, now you can go to sleep” he said. He said he built up a right smart little far he said ‘n’ punched it up, and he said afterwhile Uncle Jess had got sleepy and that’s the first thing you know he just fell over asleep and the gun across his lap, he said.
He went to sleep, ‘n’ he said, he woke up again, ‘n’ he said long he said, it’s after midnight that time when he woke up and he said he went to punch the fire and he said there was the panther’s head, right back there he said, just as he moved, it, back went its head ‘n’ down over the hill ‘n’ up that big log it went. “Now” he said “Jess there was that panther. You went to sleep” he said “there it was.” he said, ” ‘n’ its head there in that hole.” “Well” he said, he said ” I ain’t a goin’ back tuh bed na’more tonight.” he said. “We just as well set up ‘n’ just put in the rest of the night”. And he said he could hear it down under the hill there ‘n’ he said he’d got down off’a the rock afterwhile he said they went to see he reckon’d it slipped back off’a the, down that log ‘n’ went around it ‘n’ he didn’t know how it got back down but he said they could hear it back down under there poundin’ around, foolin’ around, ‘n’ he said they could hear it. Then afterwhile he said it commenced gittin’ towards mornin’ he said and he said just directly up that log hit went he said, it sat on top of that rock, and he said directly hit fetched out a holler he swore it would make the hair raise on anybody’s head he said that uz the awfullest squall ever he heared in his life, and it’d, it uz right on top of the, he said, and it squalled an’ hollered an’ he said it took off direckly, and he said they heared it, listen’ at it till it went plumb out of hearin’ , said, back on the mountain said they heared it go out of hearin’ a’hollerin’
D: Would it holler?
B: Yes, they said, just holler like a woman. Oh he said, oh he said, gosh, it uz th’ awfullest, but he said that it hollered kind of just like a woman it’d holler, kindly, he said, he said they would hear it a long ways for he said they heared it go to the top of the mountain ever’ once in awhile they’d hear it holler he said and it went out uh hearing.
It was Sherman who told me “Now, boys, my daddy told me, when a panther would go to leave you, it would hollar. Then when it jumped a creek or went across a point, it would hollar. And when it would cross the top of a mountain, it would fetch a hollar.”