The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

Among stories of peculiar finds in the wild woods we submit the following which was told me by Mr. Rila Mullen in this way.

In Howell County, Mo., are spots of land known as Wet Prairie. In the early settlement of that country there wet lands were usually surrounded by a growth of scrub blackjack timber. The ground where these wet places exist is soft slushy with tall wild grass growing on it. One day my father told me that during the early days of southern Missouri while he and Wesly Hatfield were hunting together on one of these spots of wet land which was some 8 or 9 miles southwest of West Plains they came to an open place where the grass had been wallowed down and in the center of this was found the skeleton of a wolf and deer. It appeared that the wolf had either chased the deer and caught it here or had sprang on it while lying in wait in the tall grass and after a hard struggle both animals had died here. The finding of the skeleton would not have been so strange if it had not been for the peculiar condition of the two heads which were found to be fastened together in the following way. The skull bones of the animals were connected together by one tusk of the wolf which had penetrated the skull bone of the deer between the eye and ear and become so tight that the wolf was unable to extricate it and they had hung together until they died. My father said that they picked up the skulls and pulled them apart. The evidence indicated that the wolf in its efforts to kill the struggling deer had bit the deer on the head and the tooth had penetrated the skull bone and probably the deer had died soon afterward and the wolf had lingered for days before it finally died from exhaustion and starvation. I suppose Mr. Wolf thought it a very serious matter to have to die so near a feast of venison without being able to reach and devour the least bit of it.

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