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The Last Adventure of Daniel Boone
An excerpt from the recently discovered journal of Daniel Boone
November 30th, 1818
I’m not much for scratchin out words on paper and I ain’t got a lot of words to choose from, but my family thinks that while my mind is still clear I should record and incident which took place just a short spell ago. I will try to oblige them but I have been feelin my age of late and thoughts and memories are not always available on command like they used to be. I’ve been around for 8 decades and my sand is pert near sifted through. I don’t hunt much no more as I can’t see much no more. I can get by I reckon, but long gone is the eagle eye that I have always depended on. It’s a bit of hell to have to rely on others these days, but I do. I have no option.
I have been ridin this feather bed more than Blackie, my horse and the thoughts I do have to write down evaporate from my head like spit on a hot griddle. But I reckon that’s my reward for livin so long.
I have two of my beautiful granddaughters here to do the writing of my thoughts before they slip away into the great beyond. The only thing to make a man’s breast heave with pride more than a loving daughter, is granddaughters like these which dote on me like I was of royal heritage instead of the empty headed wanderer, which is what I have been most my life.
There’s been a lot said bout me, true and not, and I think my family wants my own account of my life. Truth told I can’t remember details and even the boldest of facts are lost in the head of this ole man. They think this will keep me busy and stop me from pondering my upcoming departure from this earth. Well, it won’t. They all think that I’m overcome with the thought of dying and anxious to depart from them. Truth is I don’t reckon dying scares me and I still have enough sense to know that eighty is a long run. Mostly though, I just like to rile em up and make em think I’m a little more crazy that what I am.
The main condition to me agreeing to put my thoughts down on paper here on what I call, ‘My Grandson’s Folly’, is that they don’t get to see it till I’m gone. I trust my two granddaughters will keep silent and guard the content with their lives as Jenny and Becca are the loyalist Boone’s in the family.
One of the things that get the family cranky is my box. I built this beautiful pine coffin bout 3 years ago. Took me a month total, but it is perfect if I do say so. About every other month I have Junebug, take it down out of the barn loft and I’ll try it on fer size. Even fell asleep in it before…sakes that really gets em going.
Of course Junebug knows that I’m greasing them, but he is as close to me as a man has ever been and wouldn’t backfire on me like that. He’s saved my life a few times as I did his a few. He don’t stay with me cuz I got slave papers on him…I told him years ago he’s free as a sparrow. He stays cuz he’s my true friend and been that way forty years, since he was born in Kentuck.
If I am to tell the tale of my ‘Grandson’s Folly’, I reckon I’ll start with an incident that took place shortly before. It was but afew weeks ago this here feller came to see me all the way from Kentuck. I been feelin poorly indeed and was saddled to my bed. Mae, Junebug’s woman, brung him to me in the bedroom where I laid tired and tuckered.
Turns out he was the husband of Suzy Randall, one of our dearest friends from back there. Suzy was a widow and one of the sweetest, tender souls we ever met. Meand Rebecca took her in for a few years after her husband died. Why I even give her 500 acres to help her out when we left. Now her husband, who she married after we moved on to Missouri and said his name is Chester Reynolds, claims that the courts took that land away from them. Said I plotted it out wrong. I heard that before and in fact that’s why I left Kentuck.
After all the land I claimed and what was give to me as payment fer bringing settlers in from back east, they took it all away, a bit at a time. I couldn’t even call a single acre my own. Now this Reynolds fool said that I owe him for that land they took. I asked him how Suzy was and all he could say was…dead! And the way he said it, all cold and callous like… I hated him from the start.
I told him he was daft, as I give that land to Suzy as charity. No money or goods exchanged hands. Well he told me he heard I was settlin all my debts, getting ready to die and he wanted payment for the land. I told him he heard right and I done settled all my debts. Well then he got right in my face and spread his coat so I could see his pistol in his belt and he demanded satisfaction and said he would get it one way or another!
I looked him dead in the eyes and growled, “Sir, you’ve come a long way to suck a bull, and I’m afraid you will go home dry!”
He grabbed me round the neck and commenced to chokin me as best he could with his tiny little fingers that were as weak as a newborn colt’s legs. I reached under the blanket and pulled out the clay piss-pot that I just filled up and walloped him a good one over his skull. Why it broke in a hundred pieces and warm yeller rain covered his scrawny face. He hit the floor with a good size gash to prove his foolishness.
Junebug and May come runnin when they heard the commotion and had a good laugh with me. I offered to have Junebug stitch up his head but he was too mad to oblige the offer. This was a wonderful day, ceptin fer finding out boutSuzy. May her sweet, sweet soul she rest in peace.
Well, it weren’t but a few days later when I was feelin a might better and out of the sick bed that the ’The Folly’ began. My son Nathan has a boy that’s 16, by the name of James, after Nathan’s brother that was kilt by savages in Kentuck. My son James was the sweetest youngun a father ever had. My grandson James is as worthless as they make em. Can’t tell ya why…I mean he has Boone blood in him through and through. And my son and daughter-in-law are good folk. But that boy has a seed from the devil in him I reckon cuz he just don’t pay no mind to know one, and he ain’t got respect fer nuthin.
Seems he took my ole long rifle with out askin me and went huntin. That rifle has seen a lot of adventure and has a few notches on the butt to prove it. Them notches are fer the Injuns I kilt and there’s quite a mess of em. But I never kilt an Injun what didn’t need to be kilt. Why some of em are as close as kin to me. But others will always be enemies on account of friends and family they kilt without cause.
So James, my grandson, was huntin with my rifle when he was surprised by a band of Sioux that has come down from way up north. These savages have robbed and burned out a few of our neighbors in the past few months. They took his horse and my rifle, but let James him go. I’da hoped they done it the other way round. Nathan was in St. Louis getting supplies so after a pow-wow with Junebug we set out with the boy to get my rifle back. I can’t stand the thought of a savage killin whites with my rifle!
Junebug didn’t want me to go cuz of my age and condition. I finally got him to see it my way so then he didn’t want the boy to go with us, as he would surely be in the way. But, James is responsible fer this predicament so I felt strong as an oak that he needed to go. I knew this will be very dangerous and more than likely will put some bark on the boy…if he makes it. Either way I didn’t care, he needed it.
Out on the trail things went bad right off on account of James. The first night we are camped out bout 3 miles behind the Sioux. Junebug and I counted 6 of them from their tracks, though James said there was closer to 30 that robbed him. I expected exaggerating from the boy as he has a difficult time corralling the truth.
After dark Junebug and I went to sleep, but was woke up by a loud boom from a rifle. James heard some noise in the bushes and thought it was one of the Sioux doublin back. Junebug went into the bushes and brought back the body of Bear, my dear old hound that came along with us.
I loved that dog for 10 years and can’t believe he died thataway. That boy was losin stock he never had to begin with. I remember thinking that James better not relieve himself in a bush or I might get scared and squeeze off a round myself. Ignoramus!
We gained ground on them savages over the next couple days and I hoped we would catch up to them soon. It was another learnin day for James. He was supposed to stay put one morning while we hunted up some meat for us, but instead he went huntin on his own. Wanted to prove something to us I reckon.
Well, he tried to walk across a pond he thought was frozen. When it cracked and thundered he slipped and fell and hit his head. Then he just cried like an igit, thinking he was goin through the ice any second.
An old Injun came by and said he would get him off the ice safe, but wanted his horse in trade. James made the deal and we came upon em as it was finishing up. It turned out the pond was less than 3 foot deep, so the Injun just stomped out there, breakin the ice and pulled James to his feet. He weren’t in no danger at all…the lummox.
When they got back to the bank James was a holdin the reigns tight and wouldn’t make good on the trade, on account of getting tricked. Junebug and I made him give his horse to the ole Injun, by the name of Two Feathers. The boy just don’t get it, but a deal is a deal…even though it might have some hair on it like that one. A man has to stand by his word on any deal, big or small. Being a fool don’t give ya grounds to be a whelcher. Never had no use for a whelcher myself. And now…he was a walker!
Turned out Two-Feathers got robbed by that by the same band of Sioux that we’re trackin. He said there were 6 of em, jus like we figured. I gave the ole Injun some jerky and a gun so he can get back to his family with some protection. I asked him bout his name and he told us it comes from when he was born. He was a twin, but his brother died 2 days later and they give him that name to remind him of his departed sibling. Said his twin was his spirit guide and always protected him.
He called me Sheltowee, which is my Injun name given to me long ago in Kentuck. I asked him how he knew that and he said everyone knows of Sheltowee among his people. Two Feathers was a good man and I sent him on with hopes he made it home with his scalp.
Tragedy struck the very next day. We came to a cabin what has been built next to a hillside in a very peaceful valley. But in the cabin was a young man and woman each swinging from the end of a rope. Besides being hung they was both scalped and looks like the savages tried to set fire to em. They was covered with tar from the roof the folks were fixin up. They had a few scorch marks, but reckon they give up on it. I think its cuz their scout saw us coming from a distance and they rode out quick…I hoped not.
I hoped not as we want them to slow down so we can catch up quicker. We dug proper graves for em and James emptied his stomach a couple times as we cut em down. Can’t blame the boy fer that. Think he mighta grow’d a little after being a witness to something like this. Killin and scalpin a woman has never set well with me. A man is a man and will at least fight ya fer his life. But a woman is God’s way of makin new life and ought not to be disgraced. Well, at least now we knew what kind of savages we were dealin with. The worst kind.
The next day we found that we were getting mighty close to the Sioux. Their tracks told us they ain’t movin in no hurry so they didn’t know we’re following. That’s what we hoped fer. In the next day or so we thought we could catch up. Me and Junebug decided that these vermin need killin or they’ll just keep on killin. Other wise we’d sneak into their camp whilst they was sleepin and take my rifle and all their horses. But…ain’t no doubt bout this, they are woman killers and need to be kilt.
James weren’t too fond of the killin part and was about to piss himself with worry. We figured he better hang back and wait ferus. He would surely get us kilt along with himself in his present cowardly condition. It’s a toss up to me, what I can’t stand worse…a coward or a whelcher?
After another day and a half of trackin we caught up with the savages. It was quite an ordeal that took place. I’m still shakin my head.
We left James behind a couple miles when we knowed we was close. Bout dark me and Junebug finally caught up with them and found them eaten round a fire. We crept in close without snappin a twig until we were right up on them savages.
I gave the signal and we each shot one dead with our rifles and then rushed em with our pistols and kilt 2 more. The first one I just aimed at the loud, disgusting chewing and hit the mark. Then the next one charged me so I fired my pistol as I was right upon him and gut shot him. I didn’t see but I heard Junebug’s pistol fire as well and heard the thud into the body. But there was 2 left and I couldn’t get my tomahawk up fast enough and one of them struck me down with his.
Junebug was struggling with the other savage, but he flat give up when the other one got the drop on me and threatened to crack my skull wide if he kept on a fightin.
They tied us up and looked over their dead. One at a time they turned them over and let out a loud scream showing their grief. I reckon based on the amount of caterwauling they was related to a couple of them.
The savage what got the drop on me walked slowly over to me and glared down. His eyes were as angry as any savage I ever seen. “This is the great warrior Sheltowee?” he exclaimed in his own language. He laughed and kick my side, bustin a rib or two. “You are an old man Sheltowee. You should have been dead a long time ago.” he snickered. “You should be hunkered in a warm shelter close to the fire with the squaws and the children.”
“You are a worthless coward.” I told him in the Sioux language.
“Does your squaw have to chew your food for you old man?”the savage asked me.
“Leave him alone!” Junebug hollered.
“Is this your squaw, the black one who looks like a moonless night?” he snickered.
“Your old gray scalp will look good on my lodge pole Sheltowee. It will bring me much honor among my people.” he strutted by the fire.
“Do your people honor the hanging and burning of innocent women?” I asked him. “I have met many brave warriors who deserve respect in my time, but you deserve a beatin and a cold hard death, one this old man will gladly give you.”
“I did that not for honor Sheltowee. I did that for my own enjoyment. Listening to her scream was like the sweet music of the howling wolf. And I defiled her too, before she swung in the breeze like a lost leaf, I had her many times.”
I have never been stoked up and full of hate as I was right then.
“I am not a helpless squaw; untie me and I will show you the fire this old man still has and I will snuff out your evil light once and for all.” I told him. “Unless you are afraid as you rightfully should be.”
That riled him up as the other savage began laughing loudly at him and mocking him. “I think Sheltowee kills you if you untie him.” he scoffed.
That fired his furnace even more and so he pulled his knife and flipped me over to angrily cut my ropes off. His act was interrupted by a loud BOOM and the savage fell dead on top of me. Then out of the dark came a blood curtlin war scream and my grandson James dove on the last Injun with a powerful fury. But he quickly got twisted underneath and the Sioux warrior knocked him unconscious with a mighty blow to the jaw. In fact one of James front teeth landed in my lap as I rolled away from the Injun he had shot dead.
The savage stood up and was just bout to stab James with a knife when there was another boom that scared the unholy tar out of me and Junebug. Truth is I leaked a little water on that one. The Injun fell dead on top of James and out of the bushes come Two Feathers! I ain’t never been so happy to have soiled britches in all my days!
He said that his spirit guide, his twin brother, told him that we were gonna need help so after a few miles he turned back to find us. We celebrated with the Sioux’s whiskey and venison, which is always the best kind, and headed for home in the morning. I invited Two Feathers to stay the winter with us and he has agreed.
After cleaning my ole rifle that the Injuns stole, I gave it to James with much pomp. Then I notched it on account of the savage he kilt, even though it was with a different rifle. He almost teared up but I made sure he knew that wasn’t a moment for tearing.
I imagine that truly will be my last adventure, all though these days just makin water can be a bit of an adventure for me. But, I reckon that’s my reward for livin so long.
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