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12 Works of John Fox

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Thar was a dancin’-party Christmas night on “Hell fer Sartain.” Jes tu’n up the fust crick beyond the bend thar, an’ climb onto a stump, an’ holler about ONCE, an’ you’ll see how the name come. Stranger, hit’s HELL fer sartain! Well, Rich Harp was thar from the head-waters, an’ Harve Hall toted Nance Osborn […]

The Message In The Sand

Story type: Literature

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Stranger, you furriners don’t nuver seem to consider that a woman has always got the devil to fight in two people at once! Hit’s two agin one, I tell ye, an’ hit hain’t fa’r. That’s what I said more’n two year ago, when Rosie Branham was a-layin’ up thar at Dave Hall’s, white an’ mos’ […]

Courtin’ On Cutshin

Story type: Literature

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Hit was this way, stranger. When hit comes to handlin’ a right peert gal, Jeb Somers air about the porest man on Fryin’ Pan, I reckon; an’ Polly Ann Sturgill have got the vineg’rest tongue on Cutshin or any other crick. So the boys over on Fryin’ Pan made it up to git ’em together. […]

Grayson’s Baby

Story type: Literature

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The first snow sifted in through the Gap that night, and in a “shack” of one room and a low loft a man was dead, a woman was sick to death, and four children were barely alive; and nobody even knew. For they were hill people, who sicken, suffer, and sometimes die, like animals, and […]

A Trick O’ Trade

Story type: Literature

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Stranger, I’m a separATE man, an’ I don’t inQUIZite into no man’s business; but you ax me straight, an’ I tell ye straight: You watch ole Tom! Now, I’ll take ole Tom Perkins’ word agin anybody’s ‘ceptin’ when hit comes to a hoss trade ur a piece o’ land. Fer in the tricks o’ sech, […]

Through The Gap

Story type: Literature

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When thistles go adrift, the sun sets down the valley between the hills; when snow comes, it goes down behind the Cumberland and streams through a great fissure that people call the Gap. Then the last light drenches the parson’s cottage under Imboden Hill, and leaves an after-glow of glory on a majestic heap that […]

“I tell ye, boys, hit hain t often a feller has the chance o’ doin’ so much good jes by DYIN’. Fer ‘f Abe Shivers air gone, shorely gone, the rest of us–every durn one of us–air a-goin’ to be saved. Fer Abe Shivers–you hain’t heerd tell o’ ABE? Well, you must be a stranger […]

I’ve told ye, stranger, that Hell fer Sartain empties, as it oughter, of co’se, into Kingdom-Come. You can ketch the devil ‘most any day in the week on Hell fer Sartain, an’ sometimes you can git Glory everlastin’ on Kingdom-Come. Hit’s the only meetin’-house thar in twenty miles aroun’. Well, the reg’lar rider, ole Jim […]

A drove of lean cattle were swinging easily over Black Mountain, and behind them came a big man with wild black hair and a bushy beard. Now and then he would gnaw at his mustache with his long, yellow teeth, or would sit down to let his lean horse rest, and would flip meaninglessly at […]

A Purple Rhododendron

Story type: Literature

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The purple rhododendron is rare. Up in the Gap here, Bee Rock, hung out over Roaring Rock, blossoms with it–as a gray cloud purples with the sunrise. This rock was tossed lightly on edge when the earth was young, and stands vertical. To get the flowers you climb the mountain to one side, and, balancing […]

The Last Stetson

Story type: Literature

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I. A MIDSUMMER freshet was running over old Gabe Bunch’s water-wheel into the Cumberland. Inside the mill Steve Marcum lay in one dark corner with a slouched hat over his face. The boy Isom was emptying a sack of corn into the hopper. Old Gabe was speaking his mind. Always the miller had been a […]

I. THE BLIGHT IN THE HILLS High noon of a crisp October day, sunshine flooding the earth with the warmth and light of old wine and, going single-file up through the jagged gap that the dripping of water has worn down through the Cumberland Mountains from crest to valley-level, a gray horse and two big […]