Hell Fer Sartain and Other Stories

Author: John Fox

The Passing of Abraham Shivers

"I tell ye, boys, hit hain t often a feller has the chance o’ doin’ so much good jes by DYIN’. Fer ’f Abe Shivers air gone, shorely gone, the rest of us— every durn one of us—air a-goin’ to be saved. Fer Abe Shivers—you hain’t heerd tell o’ ABE? Well, you must be a stranger in these mountains o’ Kaintuck, shore.

"I don’t know, stranger, as Abe ever was borned; nobody in these mountains knows it ’f he was. The fust time I ever heerd tell o’ Abe he was a-hollerin’ fer his rights one mawnin’ at daylight, endurin’ the war, jes outside o’ ole Tom Perkins’ door on Fryin’ Pan. Abe was left thar by some home-gyard, I reckon. Well, nobody air ever turned out’n doors in these mountains, as you know, an’ Abe got his rights that mawin’, an’ he’s been a-gittin’ ’em ever sence. Tom already had a houseful, but ’f any feller got the bigges’ hunk o’ corn-bread, that feller was Abe; an’ ef any feller got a-whalin’, hit wasn’t Abe.

"Abe tuk to lyin’ right naturely— looked like—afore he could talk. Fact is, Abe nuver could do nothin’ but jes whisper. Still, Abe could manage to send a lie furder with that rattlin’ whisper than ole Tom could with that big horn o’ hisn what tells the boys the revenoos air comin’ up Fryin’ Pan.’

"Didn’t take Abe long to git to braggin’ an’ drinkin’ an’ naggin’ an’ hectorin’ —everything, ’mos’, ’cept fightin’. Nobody ever drawed Abe Shivers into a fight. I don’t know as he was afeerd; looked like Abe was a-havin’ sech a tarnation good time with his devilmint he jes didn’t want to run no risk o’ havin’ hit stopped. An’ sech devilmint! Hit ud take a coon’s age, I reckon, to tell ye.

"The boys was a-goin’ up the river one night to git ole Dave Hall fer trickin’ Rosie Branham into evil. Some feller goes ahead an’ tells ole Dave they’s a-comin.’ Hit was Abe. Some feller finds a streak o’ ore on ole Tom Perkins’ land, an’ racks his jinny down to town, an’ tells a furriner thar, an’ Tom comes might’ nigh sellin’ the land fer nothin’. Now Tom raised Abe, but, jes the same, the feller was Abe.

"One night somebody guides the revenoos in on Hell fer Sartain, an’ they cuts up four stills. Hit was Abe. The same night, mind ye, a feller slips in among the revenoos while they’s asleep, and cuts off their hosses’ manes an’ tails—muled every durned critter uv ’em. Stranger, hit was Abe. An’ as fer women-folks—well, Abe was the ill favoredest feller I ever see, an’ he couldn’t talk; still, Abe was sassy, an’ you know how sass counts with the gals; an’ Abe’s whisperin’ come in jes as handy as any feller’s settin’ up; so ’f ever you seed a man with a Winchester a-lookin’ fer the feller who had cut him out, stranger, he was a-lookin’ fer Abe.

"Somebody tells Harve Hall, up thar at a dance on Hell-fer-Sartain one Christmas night, that Rich Harp had said somep’n’ agin him an’ Nance Osborn. An’ somebody tells Rich that Harve had said sompe’n’ agin Nance an’ HIM. Hit was one an’ the same feller, stranger, an’ the feller was Abe. Well, while Rich an’ Harve was a-gittin’ well, somebody runs off with Nance. Hit was Abe. Then Rich an’ Harve jes draws straws fer a feller. Stranger, they drawed fer Abe. Hit’s purty hard to believe that Abe air gone, ’cept that Rich Harp an’ Harve Hall don’t never draw no straws fer nothin’; but ’f by the grace o’ Goddlemighty Abe air gone, why, as I was a-sayin’, the rest of us—every durned one of us air a-goin’ to be saved, shore. Fer Abe’s gone fust, an’ ef thar’s only one Jedgment Day, the Lawd ’ll nuver git to us."


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Chicago: John Fox, "The Passing of Abraham Shivers," Hell Fer Sartain and Other Stories, ed. Davis, Charles Belmont, 1866-1926 in Hell Fer Sartain and Other Stories (New York: George E. Wood, 1912), Original Sources, accessed April 2, 2023, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CN7IZW9DR6AZP1L.

MLA: Fox, John. "The Passing of Abraham Shivers." Hell Fer Sartain and Other Stories, edited by Davis, Charles Belmont, 1866-1926, in Hell Fer Sartain and Other Stories, Vol. 22, New York, George E. Wood, 1912, Original Sources. 2 Apr. 2023. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CN7IZW9DR6AZP1L.

Harvard: Fox, J, 'The Passing of Abraham Shivers' in Hell Fer Sartain and Other Stories, ed. . cited in 1912, Hell Fer Sartain and Other Stories, George E. Wood, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 2 April 2023, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CN7IZW9DR6AZP1L.