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Voices; Birth-Marks; The Man and the Elephant   By: (1866-)

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Author of Chit Chat, Nirvana


Copyrighted 1922 by The Author


VOICES ......................................................... 7

BIRTH MARKS .................................................... 71

THE MAN AND THE ELEPHANT ....................................... 341


Knowest thou only the language of man? Hast never heard the plaintive flute of Pan, Or those gladsome carols that greet the light? Or the wild, strange voices of darkest night? Each of earth's creatures when at work or play, Each of nature's force in some strange way, Has a manner of attaining to God's ear, And a voice which those attuned may hear. Voices of spring are love songs of the birds, Fragrant poems of lilacs, lacking words; Summer voices are of riper, mellower strain; Autumn's, sing of harvest and life not vain; Winter tells the story of what has been, Season of reflection, of the voice within, Promise of tomorrow, freedom from sin.

Big Creek bisects the narrow valley and the road to Hyden follows the bank, crossing from side to side as the sheerness of the mountain side makes necessary. Here and there the valley broadens until there is almost enough level land for a farm; and always where there is a little width of valley you find a mountain home. The mountain tops and sides are great wildernesses, though sometimes in a cove or on the plateau a hermit or outcast family makes its home.

At old man Litman's place the valley is quite narrow, except below the "Rock House," where there is an old field cleared by his grandfather, who came from Virginia in 1795. A sprawling rail fence, hedged about by thrifty bush growth, encircles the old field; pawpaw bushes growing in the fence corners encroach to the ruts of the road; and each year new growth of sumac and persimmon appropriate yet more of the old field; which having been cultivated for near a century and grown unproductive, is given over to a volunteer crop of broom sedge, which furnishes meager pasturage for an old mule and two cows.

On the edge of the road at the fence corner nearest the cabin, Litman's granddaughter has a doll house; if mere tracings of pebbles and shells gathered from the creek shallows can be called partitions and the bushes and vines, walls and a roof. The white room is traced in white pebbles the red room in red pebbles and the kitchen in the commoner blue ones. The furnishings are bits of broken crockery, glass and shell. The dolls are small bleached bones or bits of peeled pawpaw sticks, dressed in blouses made from a worn out sleeve of grandpa's red undershirt and skirts from scraps of worn and faded calico. She has never seen a doll house, never a real doll, only pictures. This, her creation, was suggested by instinctive motherhood and love for home.

A passing traveler would have thought several children were playing at the fence corner. The little make believe mother was talking to her babies and answering for them in even thinner and more subdued voice than her own; though she had the low voice of a child accustomed to play alone.

"Now Jeanne, let's make grandpa some nice pone bread; the meal is fresh and sweet. When it is ready you run to the spring and bring him a cup of cold milk."

"Granny, while you are mixing the bread maybe I can find an egg in the loft. I heard Old Speck cackling."

"There is grandpa calling, I will go and see what he wants."

"He says, would you mind moving him a wee bit? His bones shore do ache... Continue reading book >>

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