AND THE SOW THAT MADE MISCHIEF
by C.F. Eckhardt
|They tell this story up around Wimberly. Im not sure what Squire Mays
real name was, but his wifes name was Aunt Polly. He come to be called
Square Mays when, after he was elected Justice of the Peace, he commenced to
put on airs. He put up a sign that had his name on it, suffixed by Esq.
Esq. is short for Esquire, which is usually abbreviated to Squire.
However, up around Wimberly they decided to pronounce it Square and Judge Mays
became known as Square Mays forever more.
Square Mays was apparently not an industrious man, and his wife, Aunt Polly, had to nag him considerable to get him to chink the chimney. The mortar was falling out and she was sure something bad was going to happeneither the chimney would fall, or it wouldnt draw, or sparks would come out of it and set the house afire, or something. She pestered Square for weeks to chink that chimney.
Finally, one afternoon, he decided hed been pestered enough. He got out his wheelbarrow and got a sack of cement and mixed up some mud. He laid the ladder up next to the chimney, filled his hod with mud, got his pointing trowel, and climbed the ladder. Carefullyfor Square Mays was a careful manhe began to chink the gaps between the stones in the chimney.
This took a while, but Square Mays wasnt in a hurry. he had all afternoon, and a whole wheelbarrow full of mud to work with. He used up a hod, maybe two, and wasnt finished.
Just below the house, resting in the shade of a fig tree, was an old sow. She was known as a cantankerous ol gal, and Square Mays saw her eyeing him. The more he worked, the more that sow eyed him. Square was absolutely certain that sow was up to no good at all.
"Aunt Polly!" He called.
"What do you want?"
"You see that ol sow down there? I want you to get the boys to run her off into the pasture."
There is very little more fun than chasing a hog, and on the average a feller doesnt get to chase a hog just for the fun of it. It runs the fat off the hog. When their mother showed up actually wanting her sons to chase a hog, they were delighted. The boys and Towser, the family dog, went out to chase the mischief-studying sow into the pasture.
The sow, whod been minding her own business in the leafy shade of the fig tree, suddenly found herself beset by two large, yelling boys and a barking dog. She took to her heels.
Hogs can run amazingly fast, andif animal behaviorists are to be believedtheyre among the smartest of four-footed animals. Whether they're smart or not remains to be proven to meanything that smart out to be smarter than to taste as good as ham, bacon, sausage, and pork chops taste. I will, however, concede the speed and a certain low cunning to the species.
The sow really didnt want to leave her leafy, shady bower. She took a wide detoura circle around the houseand tried to get back to it. In the meantime, Square was even higher up the ladder, a hod of mud on his shoulder, trowel in hand, chinking the chimney.
The sows fourth and fifth circles around the house were tighter than the previous ones. One the fifth one she passed between the wheelbarrow full of mud and Squares ladder. Square went on chinking the chimney.
On the sixth circle around the house, she cut even tighter. She wasnt a small sowshe probably weighed three hundred poundsand she smashed into the foot of Square Mays ladder.
The result was predictable. When a missile weighing upwards of three hundred pounds encounters, at a speed of ten or twelve miles per hours, a flimsy ladder, the ladder is going to come down. It didand so did Square Mays.
The sow, of course, was immediately forgotten. The boys went to see if daddyd gotten himself kilt fallin down might near plumb from the top of the chimney like that. While one got the old man out from under the hod of mudit fell, naturally, mud-side down square on top of his headthe other went to get mamma.
Square looked bad. He had chinking mudcement mortarin his hair, all over his clothes, in his eyes, in his ears, and in his mouth. He sputtered and spat, coughed and wiped. Aunt Polly got an old towel and tried to wipe some of the mud off, mostly the stuff out of his eyes, ears and mouth.
It took Square a while to get his breath backit had been a long fall. One of the boys brought him a dipperful of water and then something a mite strongerfor medicinal purposes, of course. At last he could quit panting and say something.
"You see, Aunt Polly. You see." He sputtered. "I tol you that dern ol sow was a-studyin on makin mischief."
The story of Square Mays and his mischievous sow has become a storyteller classic around Wimberly, Texas.
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