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THE OLD COWBOY Part Forty Two
I'd been down twenty miles of mean ground and brought fifty head or so back to the herd. There was one more ravine I hadn't scoured and I told the boss to go on without me. Get the herd on in to town 'fore dark, and I took off across that sage brush and sand.
Well sir, turns out I made the right move that time. The missing seventeen cows and three calf's showed up in that little box canyon. I was surprised some that they hadn't come out. Fer as I could see they weren't no water to drink, no food to eat, then I got this funny feelin' down my back and Ol' 'Tanner stopped dead right there.
The cows wasn't comin' out for the same reason I wasn't goin' in! Snakes!! Rattle snakes!! Them snakes was layin' all across the floor of that canyon. I figured I couldn't shoot 'em, 'cause they was around two hundred or more. If I'd fired one shot them cows, which was already scared, would have been leavin' in to big a hurry, and gettin' bit on their way by the snakes."
"So what could you do, Grandpa."
"I started a fire where the wind was blowin' towards them dang snakes. That old dry brush burned hot and fast. Twenty yards across that entrance, and it took all of about two minutes to clear them snakes out. Most of 'em scurri'd up the side of the canyon.
Me and 'Tanner' made a round in back of them cows, when them things slithered away. Grandboy, it didn't take much persuadin' ta get them critters movin' back to the herd and back to water.
The boss had his eye out fer me, so when I showed up they just cut 'em right in to the loadin' dock, put a tag in their ears and sent 'em on to the cattle cars.
The railroads had built..."
To Be Continued. . .
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