The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

Mr. William Hensely, an old time resident in Wiley’s Cove near where the town of Leslie now is in Searcy County, Ark., related to me this amusing story which, he said was true. "One night while I lived in the Cove," said he, "a panther attacked a calf just on the outside of my cow lot. I had only two milk cows at the time and both had young calves. One of the calves was colored red and the other was a speckled red and white one. I and wife would leave the cows in the lot of nights and turn the calves out and change them back of mornings. Near 10 o’clock in the night while the calves were at the milk gap I heard a great racket out there. A calf began bleating and struggling and the two cows made a big noise in running around and lowing to the calves and trying to get out of the lot to them. I knew a savage beast had attacked the calf but having no dog and as the night was very dark I was afraid to run out to the milk gap and try to scare the beast away. But thinking I could frighten the animal away with the report of the gun I snatched it from the rack and ran out of the house into the yard and shot at the noise, and I heard something running away and I then darted back into the house and did not hear the calf bleat or struggle anymore; but I did not think the calf was killed. On the following morning at daylight I rose out of bed and went out to investigate and was greatly surprised to find both calves lying dead. The wild beast had attacked the red calf and tore and bit it so horrible that it had died during the night. The speckled calf was lying between where I had shot from and where the other calf was struggling with its enemy and I had killed it with my random shot. The tracks of the wild animal and the deep gashes torn into the calf was evident that it was the work of a panther."

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