The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

One day while John Hardcastle was hunting Shoal Creek and while he was walking along the creek bank one half a mile from White River and near the division line between Marion and Boone Counties he saw a buck deer standing on the hillside above him. The deer was in rifle shot and the hunter aimed his rifle at the deer and fired and the buck fell on its tracks. Thinking it was dead Mr. Hardcastle walked up to it as it lay broadside to remove its hide and enjoy the pleasure of sweet thoughts of feasting on fat fresh venison. The buck was a big fellow with a fine set of horns, but Mr. Buck was not dead though and began struggling to get up and the man jumped to it and took hold of it by the horns to hold it down, but it rose on its feet in spite of him, the result of which was a desperate combat between man and beast. Each combatant fought with all the strength at his command and as they struggled together they gradually worked down the hill toward the creek. The infuriated deer did its utmost to gore the man with its horns. The hunter used his power to prevent it. After the fight had went on a few minutes the buck seemed to sull and was quiet. During the lull in the battle Hardcastle contrived to reach into his pocket and take out his knife and opened it with the aid of his teeth and made an effort to cut the buckle throat but the latter seemingly understood the motive of the humane enemy and with a quick movement the knife was knocked from the mania hand and the contest was resumed. The deer reared, plunged and pawed the ground and tore small stones out of the ground with its hoof, The deer was in a mighty rage and fought with great fury and the hunter exerted all the strength at his command to keep even with the antlered beast. These exertions were telling on him and his breath was growing short. His strength was almost exhausted and the enraged beast would have him at his mercy. He would be compelled to yield up his life to the wounded animal. How horrible to have to meet death in this way. "I wonder.." thought the man, "how long it will take the deer to do me up." Just awhile ago he was happy, he had not thought of death, but now it was staring him in the face. With these awful reflections he gave up to die. In the meantime man and beast were near the creek’s bank and before Hardcastle was aware of it the deer had pushed him up against an uprooted tree with the top resting against another tree. As the despairing man glanced his eye around at this tree he saw a chance to escape and the now almost exhausted form of the hunter took on new life and with a last effort he managed to push the deer aside and pull himself up on the trunk of the partly fallen tree and scrambled up far enough out of the way of the buck before it could strike him with its horns. This was happiness indeed for the man was safe. The buck looked up at him in disgust and turned around and walked off up the creek and the battle was ended.

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