Granville lifted the lid from a big Dutch oven and reported "Bread's
There was a flash in the frying-pan, a curse and a puff from Little
John. The coffee-pot boiled over. We gathered around the hewn benches
that served for tables, and sat à la Turc upon the ground. For
some time there was no sound but the gale without and the munching of
"If the wind'll only cease afore mornin', we'll git us a bear
A powerful gust struck the cabin, by way of answer; a great roaring
surged up from the gulf of Defeat, from Desolation, and from the other
forks of Bone Valley - clamor of ten thousand trees struggling with the
"Hit's gittin' wusser."
"Any danger of this roost being blown off the mountain?"
"Hit's stood hyur twenty year through all the storms; I reckon
it can stand one more night of it."
"A man couldn't walk upright, outside the cabin," I asserted,
thinking of the St. Louis tornado, in which I had lain flat on my belly,
clinging to an iron post.
The hunchback turned to me with a grave face. "I've seed hit
blow, here on top o' Smoky, till a hoss couldn't stand up agin it. You'll
spy, to-morrow, whar several trees has been wind-throwed and busted to
I recalled that several, in the South, means many - "a good many,"
as our own tongues phrase it.
"Oh, shucks! Bill Cope," put in "Doc" Jones, "whut
do you-uns know about windstorms? Now I've hed some experiencin' up hyur
that'll do to tell about. You remember the big storm three year ago, come
grass, when the cattle all huddled up a-top o' each other and friz in
one pile, solid."
Bill grunted an affirmative.
"Wal, sir, I was a-herdin', over at the Spencer Place, and was
out on Thunderhead when the wind sprung up. Thar come one turrible vygrous
blow that jest nacherally lifted the ground. I went up in the sky, my
coat ripped off, and I went a-sailin' end-over-end."
"Yes. About half an hour later, I lit spang in the mud, way down
yander in Tuckaleechee Cove - yes, sir: ten mile as the crow flies, and
a mile deeper 'n trout-fish swim."
There was silence for a moment. Then Little John spoke up: "I
mind about that time, Doc; but I disremember which buryin'-ground they-all
planted ye in."
"Planted! Me? Huh! But I had one tormentin' time findin' my hat!"
The cabin shook under a heavier blast, to match Doc's yarn.
"Old Wind-maker's blowin' liars out o' North Car'lina. Hang on
to yer hat, Doc! Whoop! hear'em a-comin'!"
"Durn this blow, anyhow! No bear'll cross the mountain sich a
night as this."
"Can't we hunt down the Carolina side? I asked.
"That's whar we're goin' to drive; but hit's no use if the bear
don't come over."
"How is that? Do they sleep in one State and eat in the other?"
"Yes: you see, the Tennessee side of the mountain is powerful
steep and laurely, so 't man nor dog cain't git over it in lots o' places;
that's whar the bears den. But the mast, sich as acorns and beech and
hickory nuts, is mostly on the Car'lina side; that's whar they hafter
come to feed. So, when it blows like this, they stay at home and suck
their paws till the weather clars."
- Our Southern Highlanders, Second edition, pages 76-79.