Down the Ravine by Charles Egbert Craddock

Down the Ravine

byCharles Egbert Craddock

Kobo ebook | July 9, 2013

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The new moon, a gleaming scimitar, cleft the gauzy mists above a rugged spur of the Cumberland Mountains.  The sky, still crimson and amber, stretched vast and lonely above the vast and lonely landscape.  A fox was barking in the laurel.

This was an imprudent proceeding on the part of the fox, considering the value of his head-gear.  A young mountaineer down the ravine was reminded, by the sharp, abrupt sound, of a premium offered by the State of Tennessee for the scalp and ears of the pestiferous red fox.

All unconscious of the legislation of extermination, the animal sped nimbly along the ledge of a cliff, becoming visible from the ravine below, a tawny streak against the gray rock.  Swift though he was, a jet of red light flashing out in the dusk was yet swifter.  The echoing crags clamored with the report of a rifle.  The tawny streak was suddenly still.  Three boys appeared in the depths of the ravine and looked up.

"Thar now!  Ye can't git him off'n that thar ledge, Birt," said Tim Griggs.  "The contrairy beastis couldn't hev fund a more ill-convenient spot ter die of he hed sarched the mounting."

"I ain't goin' ter leave him thar, though," stoutly declared the boy who still held the rifle.  "That thar fox's scalp an' his two ears air wuth one whole dollar."

Tim remonstrated.  "Look-a-hyar, Birt; ef ye try ter climb up this hyar bluff, ye'll git yer neck bruk, sure."

Birt Dicey looked up critically.  It was a rugged ascent of forty feet or more to the narrow ledge where the red fox lay.  Although the face of the cliff was jagged, the rock greatly splintered and fissured, with many ledges, and here and there a tuft of weeds or a stunted bush growing in a niche, it was very steep, and would afford precarious foothold.  The sunset was fading.  The uncertain light would multiply the dangers of the attempt.  But to leave a dollar lying there on the fox's head, that the wolf and the buzzard might dine expensively to-morrow!

"An' me so tried for money!" he exclaimed, thinking aloud.

Nate Griggs, who had not before spoken, gave a sudden laugh,—a dry, jeering laugh.

"Ef all the foxes on the mounting war ter hold a pertracted meet'n, jes' ter pleasure you-uns, thar wouldn't be enough scalps an' ears 'mongst 'em ter make up the money ye hanker fur ter buy a horse."

Title:Down the RavineFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:July 9, 2013Publisher:WDS PublishingLanguage:English

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