October 13, 2020
American Legends: Cowboys/Wild, Wild West
this story comes from American Folklore and Legend by Reader’s Digest
Hope you enjoy!
Map of the “wild west”
from Louisiana/Iowa to New Mexico/Wyoming
Texas to Nebraska
– – – – cattle trails
________ main overland stage
and mail routes 1849-1866
_________ Pony Express
“There once was a big, overgrown cowpoke named Tall Cotton, whose specialty was going to sleep during duty hours, leaving the rest of the crew to do his share of the work. The boys finally decided that something had to be done about the matter.
cowpoke = U.S. slang, a cowhand
that tends free range cattle
One day, they found Cotton asleep in a haystack, boots off, and sound asleep. What a golden opportunity!! They found a huge tarantula, killed it and placed it near his leg. They then found a large stick, tied a pin to it, and jabbed Cotton with it a few times. He “came awake like a wild Comanche doing the snake dance”. At the same time, one of the men came up and stepped on the tarantula.
Comanche = pronounced /kəˈmæntʃi/
Native American Nation/Indian,
highly skilled horsemen
Cotton took one look at the tarantula and turned white as a ghost. He began to get sick, even though the rest of the crew did their best to console him. They told him “stories of horrible deaths they had seen as a result of tarantula bites”. One of the men, who claimed to have read Things Worth Knowing and Dr. Chase’ Recipe Book, finally offered to try and save Cotton, even though all seemed hopeless.
First, the cowboy “poured a pint of bear’s oil down Cotton” (throat?), then when some of the poison started coming up, it was followed with a glass of soda, a cup of vinegar, and then finally, a quart of water. In the water, a plug of tobacco had been soaking.
For a while, it seemed certain that Cotton was going to die. The medicine was potent, and eventually he was saved.
After that, the crew had very little trouble with Cotton falling asleep during on the job.
cinch = strap that holds a saddle on a horse