The Hunter Of Calawassee

: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

Through brisk November days young Kedar and his trusty slave, Lauto,

hunted along the Calawassee, with hope to get a shot at a buck--a buck

that wore a single horn and that eluded them with easy, baffling gait

whenever they met it in the fens. Kedar was piqued at this. He drained a

deep draught and buttoned his coat with an air of resolution. Now, by my

soul, quoth he, I'll have that buck to-day or die myself! Then he

aughed at the old slave, who begged him to unsay the oath, for there was

something unusual about that animal--as it ran it left no tracks, and it

passed through the densest wood without halting at trees or undergrowth.

Bah! retorted the huntsman. Have up the dogs. If that buck is the

fiend himself, I'll have him before the day is out! The twain were

quickly in their saddles, and they had not been long in the wood before

the one-horned buck was seen ahead, trotting with easy pace, yet with

marvellous swiftness.

Kedar, who was in advance, whipped up his horse and followed the deer

into a cypress grove near the Chechesee. As the game halted at a pool he

fired. The report sounded dead in the dense wood, and the deer turned

calmly, watched his pursuer until he was close at hand, then trotted away

again. All day long he held the chase. The dogs were nowhere within

sound, and he galloped through the forest, shouting and swearing like a

very devil, beating and spurring the horse until the poor creature's head

and flanks were reddened with blood. It was just at sunset that Kedar

found himself again on the bank of the Calawassee, near the point he had

left in the morning, and heard once more the baying of his hounds. At

last his prey seemed exhausted, and, swimming the river, it ran into a

thicket on the opposite side and stood still. Now I have him! cried the

hunter. Hillio, Lauto! He's mine! The old negro heard the call and

hastened forward. He heard his master's horse floundering in the swamp

that edged the river--then came a plash, a curse, and as the slave

arrived at the margin a few bubbles floated on the sluggish current. The

deer stood in the thicket, staring with eyes that blazed through the

falling darkness, and, with a wail of fear and sorrow, old Lauto fled the