Monday, October 30, 2006

Don't Cut your Granny

Campfire, MS> (As told by Hershel Howell)This tale used to scare the heck out of me as a kid! (Editor) Years ago, before Sardis Lake was built, the Tallahatchie River Bottom was a wild and treacherous forest filled with cane breaks, river runs, giant old cypress, scaly barks, and water oaks. The land was swampy with bog holes and quicksand that a person could disappear into and never be seen again. All sorts of wild animals were there. Panthers, some bears, alligators, snakes, wild hogs, and about any other animal you could name. It was also a place made for a young boys’ wild adventures and a true hunters dream. In those days a lot of time was spent coon hunting which combined the both of them.
The boys sat around the big fire, talking and relaxing, as they waited late that night. Far off they heard the dogs hit the trail, and cut loose howls that the boys had never heard before. The spine-tingling howls chilled the young men as they listened to the dogs trail deep into the swamp. Finally, they heard a wild barking and howling as they treed the coon. The boys gathered up their things from around the fire, lit their coal-oil lanterns, doused the fire and headed out. They knew the great swamp well and crossed into the heart of it by walking on hidden deer trails. They led the old pack mule, with no problem, but the wails and barking of the dogs was eerie and the mule fought against heading in that direction. They finally advanced into a small clearing with a tall dead cypress snag sticking up in the middle of it. Holding a lantern aloft, they could see the large pack of dogs frantically biting the base of the tree and fighting among themselves. One group started grabbing the dogs and fighting them away from the tree, while the other group tried to spot the coon. The dogs acted crazy and it took most of the boys to round them up and move them away to a safe distance. Looking way up, they could see a black hole in the side of the dead tree. There was nothing to do but cut the tree down. A fire was started to give some light and keep warm while the crosscut saw was unloaded from the mule. The biggest boys grabbed each end and started sawing while others held back the dogs. The two young men quickly sawed the rotted old tree till it cracked and crashed to the ground. Moving up the tree, they located the hole in the tree and found it was an opening into a large hollow place that was too big to spot the coon. There was also a horrible stench coming from the blackness and no one wanted to stick a hand in there. They laid their lanterns on the log beside the hole, put the saw to the wood and started cutting right across the hole. As they cut deeper into the hollow spot of the dead tree, they heard a terrifying grunting and hissing sound coming out of the black hole. They stopped and pulled the saw out to listen. A rumbling was coming nearer to the cut in the tree and they stepped back. Then a sickening odor rolled out of the hole, followed by a maniacal laugh. The boys froze, the dogs became silent and cowered in fear, and then a horrible black head rose out of the hole. The horrible red-eyed thing looked at the boys, rolled its’ tongue out about a foot and said “ Mind boys, Don’t Cut Your Granny!”, and gave a crazy, horrible laugh.
The mad, demonic sight sent the terror filled boys scrambling as they all broke and ran, as did all the dogs. All of them took off across the swamp as fast as they could. It was claimed the boys outran the dogs back to the house. The mule was never seen or heard from again and none of the boys ever ventured into the swamp after dark again.

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