The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

Old timers observed many things that occurred in the forest that does not take place now because the birds and wild animals are growing scarce. The natural traits of serpents and animals are peculiar in many ways. The following account was given me by Fate Jones, son of John Jones, who said that one day during the summer of 1865 while his father lived on the Tom Keeling farm in Locust Hollow in what is now Crocket Township in Marion County, Ark., "my father sent me on an errand to the north side of White River to the old Mat Hoodenpile place. I was ten years old and was afoot. As the river was low I waded it just above the log chute. When I got back on the south side of the river and while going up big Beach Hollow near the mouth of the right hand prong I heard a noise up on the side of the hill of a snapping, popping nature which come from a small thicket of post oak bushes. I went up the side of the hill in a cautious way for I was at a loss to understand the cause of the noise. When I got up at the edge of the thicket I looked in and saw an enormous black snake robbing the nest of a wild turkey. I could see that the nest contained several eggs and it seemed that the snake had not been there long. I stood and watched the actions of the reptile while making way with the eggs. The strange part of it was that it would break the eggs before swallowing them by taking one in its mouth and draw back its head as if to strike at something and then dart it forward and I could hear the egg pop or burst in its mouth and the serpent would spit out the broken shell and swallow the white and yellow of the egg. I waited until the snake had repeated this four times and then I killed the snake with stones and appropriated the remainder of the eggs to my own use by taking them out of the nest and put them into my hat and carrying them home with me."

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