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Little Breeches

From The Birmingham Age Herald, December 9, 1914. By John Hay.

I don’t go much on religion,
    I never ain’t had no show;
But I’ve got a middlin’ tight grip, sir,
    On the handful o’ things I know.
I don’t pan out on the prophets
    And free-will, and that sort of thing—
But I b’lieve in God and the angels
    Ever since one night last spring.

I come into town with some turnips,
    And my little Gabe come along—
No four-year-old in the county
    Could beat him for pretty and strong,
Pert and chipper and sassy,
    Always ready to swear and fight—
And I’d learnt him to chaw terbacker
    Jest to keep his milk-teeth white.

The snow come down like a blanket
    As I passed by Taggart’s store;
I went in for a jug of molasses
    And left the team at the door.
They scared at something and started—
    I heard one little squall,
And hell-to-split over the prairie
    Went team, Little Breeches and all.

Hell-to-split over the prairie!
    I was almost froze with skeer;
But we rousted up some torches,
    And searched for ’em far and near.
At last we struck hosses and wagon,
    Snowed under a soft white mound,
Upsot, dead beat—but of little Gabe
    No hide nor hair was found.

And here all hopes soured on me,
    Of my fellow critter’s aid—
I jest flopped down on my marrow-bones,
    Crotch deep in the snow, and prayed.
By this, the torches was played out,
    And me and Isrul Parr
Went off for some wood to a sheepfold
    That he said was somewhar thar.

We found it at last, and a little shed
    Where they shut up the lambs at night.
We looked in and seen them huddled
    Thar, so warm and sleepy and white;
And thar sot Little Breeches and chirped,
    As pert as ever you see,
“I want a chaw of terbacker,
    And that’s what’s the matter of me.”

How did he git thar? Angels.
    He could never have walked in that storm.
They jest scooped down and toted him
    To whar it was safe and warm.
And I think that saving a little child,
    And fetching him to his own,
Is a durned sight better business
    Than loafing around the throne.

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