FAST IN A HOLLOW TREE
By S. C. Turnbo
There is a small farm between Big Creek and Pro-tem in Taney County, Mo. that is known as the Lige Hale place. Mr. Abe Cole and Rebecca Cole his wife once lived on this land. Among Mr. Coles sons is Sheridan or "Dick" Cold as he is commonly known. Dick was born in St. Clair County, Mo. in 1864 and has lived near Pro-tem the greater part of his life. When he was grown he married Miss Jainie McCall daughter of Newt McCall. On Sunday the 24 of March 1907 while Mr. Cole lived on the Owen farm near Pro-tem he furnished me with this interesting incident. "While my father and mother lived on the Lige Hale place we owned two splendid dogs that we called Shep and Cola. The first named was a sheperd dog as his name implies. The other dog was a black cur dog. We got this dog from Capt. C. C. Owen and raised him from a pup. One day I taken these two dogs and started out into the woods to hunt squirrels, Some time before I started back toward home I missed Cola and he did not go back home with me. As he was a favorite hunting dog I supposed he had went to a neighbors house and they intended to keep him a day or two to hunt with but in a few days as the dog did not make his appearance I made dilligent inquiry for him but could not find the least trace of him. I could not conjecture what had become of him until one day just one week after his disappearance I took the Shep dog and went out into the woods again squirrel hunting. I went in the same direction I had went before. Soon after I had left the house I noticed that the Shep dog was excited and anxious about something. He would run in advance of me and come back. The dog appeared to want to lead me to some spot but for what purpose I was not able to understand. I followed the animal as he guided me along until we reached a big hollow post oak tree that stood one quarter of a mile north of the house where he stopped at the foot of the tree and looked into the opening at the ground and then look up at me. I knew there was something in there that attracted his attention and I looked into the opening and saw the end of my Cola dogs tail. On examination I found that the hollow in the tree at the ground made a sharp curve. I picked up a stone and broke off the part of the wood in the opening that formed the obstruction and pulled the dog out. The dog had treed a rabbit in the tree and in following the rabbit into the hollow tree the dog had to bend double almost to get around the obstacle and when he got in there he could neither turn round or back out and would have died there if the Shep dog had not guided me to his place of imprisonment. The dog had beat down and wallowed a bed on the floor of the opening. Evidence indicated that the rabbit had either starved or its strength had become exhausted in remaining up in the hollow of the tree and had dropped down or the dog had pulled it down and devoured it. The hair of the rabbit was lying at the bottom of the cavity. The dog when I released him was weak and tottery but as soon as he could walk he and the Shep dog preceded me to the house and all the family was more than surprised to see him return back home again. It was several days before Cola recovered from his imprisonment. We kept both these dogs until they died of old age."
Springfield-Greene County Library