The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

One of the most strange snake stories I ever heard of that was told me for the truth originated from a small stream in Carroll County, Ark., called Dry Creek, which runs into Long Creek from the west side. I obtained the account from Tom Erwin, an old pioneer settler of that section who in the bygone days hauled goods from Batesville to Carrollton in an ox wagon. The snake story as told by Mr. Erwin is as follows:

"One of my neighbors of the name of William Beck while hunting on Dry Creek discovered two large black snakes engaged in a fierce combat. Mr. Beck said that it was remarkable how these reptiles fought each other. They struggled with all the strength at their command to overcome each other until it seemed that their power of motion was nearly gone, when suddenly they changed their mode of fighting by each one taking the end of the other’s tail in its mouth foremost and began to swallow and they went on swallowing each other until there was nothing left of them to be seen except two reptiles in the shape of a hoop and after they had swallowed each other as far as they could they both sulled and lay as if perfectly torpid. Mr. Beck said that he then picked up a stout stick and lifted the snakes up with it like raising a hoop from the ground and when he did this he concluded to bring them to my house where I lived and did. They had made no effort to free themselves from each other while he was carrying them along in this way. When he layed them down in my yard they lay as quiet as if they were dead. It sounds unreasonable to make such a statement but it is a veritable truth that we could not separate the reptiles until we knocked them loose with the stick. But the moment they were freed from each other they took on new life and we killed them both."

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