Volume 4 , Number 2, Winter 1970-71
"Shortly after my father settled the flat of ground between Big Buck Creek and Pond Hollow in the southwest part of Taney Co., Missouri, my step-brother, William Riddle, located on a flat of land between the mouth of the last named hollow and Little Buck Creek.
One evening in the latter fall of 1858, I mounted an old yellow horse that belonged to father, we called him Peet, and rode down to Riddles to chat with him until bedtime. Peet was a trusty old fellow, we had brought him with us from Decatur County, Tennessee the year before. I and Riddle prolonged our talk until late bedtime before I started my return home. The night was cloudy and very dark.
While following the trail which led over the flat, I heard an owl hallooing and I began to mock it. I was not in a hurry and rode slow. The owl continued to repeat its noise and I did not stop answering it until I arrived at a little pond of water where Almus Clark now lives. Here I heard the cry of a panther at the ford which broke up the fun of mimmicking the hoo hooing owl at once. My tune was changed and so was my feelings. I was terrified and according to the way the horse was prancing around, he was terrified too and almost frightened out of his hide.
The panther was only a few yards from me, which I could locate from its screams, but it was too dark to discern its form. In a little while, the animal quit screaming and began to growl. Oh my, how scared I was! Though the horse had passed through many years, and it did not seem there could be much life in him, yet he acted like a young horse that was wild. The beast would certainly attack me and I would have no show in the dark to resist it.
Fiercer and more vicious those awful growls sounded in my ears. Nearer it came to me and I must do something to prevent it from springing on me as I was powerless and at the mercy of the creature. Then I was reminded that a young dog dashing at a panther would put it to flight sooner than a large dog and I concluded to try this ruse on my dreaded enemy. Suiting the action to my thought, I urged old Pete into a gallop, which was not hard to do, and as I started, I barked similar to a fice, but I tried to make more noise than two fice barking together.
Peet acted so lively that we passed the panther in a rush and it quit growling immediately. If the animal pursued me, I did not know it for I kept old Peets hoofs clattering against the ground until he dashed up to the yard gate at home...and this is the end of my story..." said Mr. Jones.
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