|emerge from the buds on the trees on which they live.
Year after year, 249 of them to be exact, the giant Post Oak, growing near the
meadow on the side of the hill, had produced its crop of new leaves. It is always
an exciting time in the forest with the newborn twin fawns and baby rabbits running
wildly around. The expectant birds were busy building a nest in which to lay their
eggs. If you are a tree it can be a noisy time of the year, with the cries of all the baby
Noise, you say! Sure, but only the trees can hear it. Haven't you ever been in the
woods on a quiet, windless day, hearing the whispers of the trees visiting, telling
the tales of times gone by, of magnificent Buck Deer, of the Indians and the
Pioneers who wandered over the land, of Fires, Droughts, and years of Plenty?
The cries of the baby leaves never bothered the mother Post Oak because the
years had taught her that soon the young leaves would be hard at the task of
producing food from the nutrients brought up the tree from the roots. The leaves
lived only during the cool, hot, cool period of each year and had to grow rapidly in
the warm sunlight.
Library of Congress #TXU001067536
|John had been swimming in the creek a short way from his home when it
happened. Without warning, water came rushing down the canyon, sweeping
everything in its path downstream. John, being young and inexperienced, did not
against the force, he was being swept far away from his home. He was dazed and
getting tired, but he kept struggling to keep control. A huge log came crashing at
him, but he dove down deep toward the bottom of the stream to escape it. John
looked up to see it twisting and crashing into the rocks. He tried to swim toward the
edge of the creek, but the current was too strong. Finally, in a desperate attempt to
get out of the powerful flow, he turned around and started swimming with the water
instead of against it. He was surprised how much easier it was until he realized
that he was going downstream so fast! He went farther and farther away from his
mother, his brothers and his sisters. John had been washed several miles
downstream. It was water his mother had told him to stay out of.
The stream began to get deeper and widen out. He could tell that the power of the
water was beginning to lessen but he was so tired that it continued to carry him
downstream. He used every ounce of strength to keep upright and to prevent
crashing into underwater obstacles. He looked down into the water, which was
becoming muddy. He saw a powerful old flathead catfish using his broad tail to
swim into the strong current. He wished that he could swim like the catfish, but he
was not as strong or as experienced as this monster.
Library of Congress TX0006521221
|granddaughter, asked me to tell a bedtime story. I started making up a tale about
a larger-than-life person that rode a giant chicken al the way around the earth.
Dangerous Dan seemed like a good name for this mountain man.
The next morning my daughter Julie, who had overheard the tale, suggested that I
write the story down. So I did. From then on, the grandchildren’s, (also including
Kayl and Kendie) bedtime stories were “The Amazing Tales of Dangerous Dan”.
I started adapting various old stories told to me when I was a kid. My Uncle Ferg
told me a version of “The Long-Shooting Shotgun” and “The Great Hunt”, on which
I elaborated just a bit. Well, quite a lot. Another older hunter told me the basic
unknown fish story, on which I developed in even more detail. The rest of the
stories are purely my imagination.
Short stories are fun to write because you get through quickly and can see the
finished product sooner. Have fun reading “The Amazing Tales of Dangerous
By the way, "Spot" is my grandkid's dog--Oscar.
Library of Congress TX0006963708
Jack Earl Curtis, author
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