The Boy from Hollow Hut A Story of the Kentucky Mountains

Language: English
Published: 1 month ago
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The rabbit bounded away and was lost in the underbrush. Steve stood looking disgustedly after him, a limp figure, one shoulder dropping until the old knit suspender fell at his side, and a sullen, discouraged look settling in his brown eyes.

“I ain’ no hunter noways. Peers lack I don’t even know ’nough to ketch a rabbit,” he said with scorn. “Whar’s that lazy Tige anyways?” he added, his scorn merging into wrath.

Then jerking the old suspender in place he straightened up on his sturdy, bare feet, and darted through the underbrush in the direction where the rabbit had disappeared.

“I’ll ketch you yit, yes I will, you same old cottontail,” he muttered through clenched teeth.

There it was again! Just a moment the round, gray back darted above the bushes, and then plunging into deeper undergrowth, bounded on and on. But the slim, knotty brown legs plunged on and on too, till at last a swift, cruel stone felled the unlucky little woodlander, for Steve was a most skillful marksman.

“Huh! thought you’d git away from me, did ye?” said the boy, picking up the still body. “I reckons I kin do some things yit,” he said, “ef I don’t know much.”

The boy was in a strange, new mood. He did not understand himself. Though a good hunter for a lad of twelve he had been heretofore a generous friend or conqueror of the fur and feathered folk, wont to deal gently with a fallen foe. Now he jerked up the limp body of the rabbit savagely and struck its head spitefully against a near-by tree trunk.

“I kin kill rabbits ef I can’t do nothin’ else.”

Just then a big black and tan dog came into view with the dignity befitting age. Boy and dog had been born the same month, but while one was scarcely well entered upon life, the other’s race was almost run. The boy was usually most considerate of the infirmities of his lifelong friend, but to-day he scolded the dog till with drooping tail and grieved, uncomprehending eyes he slunk away out of sight.

A strange experience had come to the mountain boy the day before which had changed his whole world. It was as though the wooded mountains which hemmed in his little cabin home had parted for a moment and given him a glimpse of a fascinating world beyond. He and Tige had wandered farther from home that day than ever before, though wanderers they had always been, the woods holding a deep interest for Steve. He loved to hide in the densest solitudes, lie still with his dog and dream, fantastic, unreal dreams. Now a definite, tangible vision had come to him out of the solitude of a hazy November day in the mountains of Kentucky. He had lain for two hours or more in the stillness when suddenly Tige lifted his head and gave a sharp bark, then came the sound of voices, strange voices Steve at once knew them to be, and as he caught the tones more clearly, recognized that one at least was of a kind which he had never heard before. Keeping Tige quiet with a firm hand, he lifted his head and listened with ear and soul, then into view stepped a man of medium height with a clean, fine face, clothes of a sort unknown to the boy, and an easy, alert stride totally foreign to the mountaineer’s slouching gait....