One time there was a man, and he live close by a great big woods. There ain't no woods 'round here big as what that woods was. Get on a swift horse and gallop him seven days and seven nights, and you'd go as far as the woods was wide. Get on the same horse and gallop him under whip and spur eleven days and eleven nights, and you'd go as far as the woods was long. The woods was full of horned critters, and in about all of 'em was cattle. There might've been some deer amongst 'em, but the big run of 'em was horned cattle. They roamed 'round in the woods, cropping the grass, and cutting up their capers. They ain't had no trouble about nothing excepting what the man brung 'em.
Now, this here man, he hunt the cattle for their hide and tallow. He had a bow and arrow, and he had two big dogs, and the cattle what escape from his bow and arrow he'd catch with his dogs. There weren't no common run of dogs — they was big as a good size calf, — and they was more servigorous than a panther. They worried the horned critters constant. One of 'em was name Minny-Minny-Morack! The other was named Folla-malinska!
It went on that away till by and by the wild cattle held a meeting for to get up some kind of plan to make way with the man. The onliest way they can do is to fix it so they can catch the man by hisself. They study and study, but they don't know how they going to fetch that about. The dogs was in the way. If they can get the man by hisself, they can run in on him and hook him into giblets, but if the dogs along with him, then they get killed theyself. So they study and study.
By and by a nice young cow, white as snow, say she going to try a trick. She allow she going to change into a young woman and make him marry her. Then she say she'll persuade him to stay home long as she can, and when she can't persuade him no longer, then she'll take and tie the dogs so they can't go along with him when he go hunting, and then the horned critters can close in on him and make way with him. The Brindle Cow shook her head and allow, "Oh-ho!" and the Dun Cow switch her tail and allow, "Ah- ha!" and that the way they settle it.
So then, the next time the man start for to go hunting, he come 'cross a young woman in the woods. She was a likely looking gal, man! — just as pretty as red shoes with blue strings in 'em. The man he look at her, he did, and the gal, she look back at him, and then they both look at one another.
Yes, that white cow just went and change herself bodaciously from a cow and come to be a likely young woman! How she done it, I'll never tell you, but the critters in them days was just as mischievous as they could be; there weren't no end to their tricks. Just to sit here and chat about it, it don't seem like that a cow can change herself till she come to be a woman, but there she was right 'fore the man's two eyes, and how you going get round that? That what I'd like to know!
Now, then, there was the likely young woman, and there was the man. The woman, she held her head down like she ashamed; and the man, he stood there, he did, and make sheep-eyes at her. Well, you know how it is when folks do that away. After 'while, the man, he sort of sidle up to the young woman and ask her if she'll have him, and the young woman, she took and chew on her bonnet string, and allow that she ain't know nothing contrary to the question. That the way women folks say, "Yes sir, and thanky too!" Then they went off and got married, and the man took the young woman home, and they set up housekeeping.
The man sort of dropped his hunting after that. Look like he sort of lost the appetite for killing the wild cattle for their hide and tallow. His bow and arrow was put up on the shelf, and he stayed 'round the house. The dogs ain't know what to make of this; they wonder and wonder what the matter is, and some days they'd stand on the door-sill and look at the man and whine. All this time the wild cattle was roaming in the woods, grazing, and cutting up their capers.
By and by the man begun to hone for to go hunting, and one night he took and told the young woman that he pleased to go hunting the next day. So, 'fore day the next morning, the woman went out and tied the dogs hard and fast, and then crept back to bed. The man, he got up, he did, and fried him a rasher of meat, and dropped a pone of cornbread in his wallet, and then he put out for to hunt the wild cattle. He ain't pay no attention to the dogs, 'cause he been in the habits of going a-hunting without 'em, and when he need 'em right bad, he'd just holler and call 'em. No matter how far off he might be, he'd just put his hand to his mouth and holler, "Minny-Minny-Morack! Folla-malinska! Here, boys, here!"
Some of the wild cattle seed him a-coming, and they went and told the others, and then the whole drove took to their heels and made off as hard as they could. The man followed their tracks, and this was exactly what they want. They want to toll the man just as far in the woods as they can. By and by he come on 'em in one of these here big open places, like the clay galls you see in a pine thicket. There the wild cattle took their stand, and they was so many of 'em it look like they fair swarmed all over the face of the earth.
Then the man drawed his bow and let fly his arrows, and called his dogs as loud as he could. He listen for the dogs, but the more he listen the more he ain't hear 'em, and he keep shooting at the cattle and calling the dogs, till he ain't got but three arrows left. Then the wild cattle put their heads down and hoisted their tails in the air, and come a-rushing at him same as a hurricane. The big old bulls allow, "Oo-hoo! Now we got you!" and the cows they holler, "Ma-hah! Now we get your hide and tallow!"
But just about that time the man took one of the arrows what he got left and stuck it in the ground, and 'fore you can say Jack Robinson with your mouth open, the arrow growed to be a great big tree, with the man straddling the top limbs. This make the wild cattle feel astonish, and then they got mad and run at the tree and hook it till their horns got sore. Then they pawed up the ground and bellow, just like the cows does when they smell fresh beef blood. But it ain't do no good, — there the tree was, and there she stood.
Then some of the wild cattle put out and got some axes, and begun to cut the tree down, and it look like mighty scary times for the man. Sitting in the top of the tree, he call his dogs, "Minny-Minny-Morack! Folla-malinska! Here, boys, here!"
Down at the bottom of the tree the wild cattle they chop and chop, Blam! Blip-blip-blam! Blip-blip-blam ! Blam! Blam-blam-blam! Blip-blip-blam!'
Course no tree can't stand that kind of doings, and this one begun to get shaky. The man call the dogs, and they ain't come! The axes call the tree, and by and by down she come! Time she struck the ground the man stuck another arrow in the ground, and up it growed bigger than the other one.
The man call his dogs, "Minny-Minny-Morack! Folla-malinska! Here, boys, here!"
The axes they call on the tree, "Down! Down! Dip-dip-down! Down-dip! Dip-down! Dippy-dip! Dippy-down!"
The dogs ain't come, but the tree come, and the man just had time for to stick his onliest arrow in the ground 'fore the wild cattle swarmed in on him. The arrow growed up bigger and bigger than the others. In the top the man sat and call the dogs louder and louder, and at the butt the wild cattle cut harder and harder.
Now all this time, the dogs hear the man calling, and they pull at the ropes and tug at 'em hard as they can, but the ropes big and strong. The man, he call, and the dogs, they tug. By and by they set in to gnawing, and just 'fore the las' tree fell they gnawed the ropes in two. Man, sir! When they did get loose, they just come a gallivanting! The man hear 'em coming, and he call louder. The wild cattle hear 'em coming, and they cut harder.
The man call, "Minny-Minny-Morack! Folla-malinska! Come, boys, come!"
The axes talk, "Tree-down! Tree-down! Trip-trip-tree-down!"
By and by, just as the tree come down ker- blashity-blam! The dogs rushed up. The man sicced 'em on, and they was so mad that they destroyed mighty nigh all the wild cattle. After they done killed all they could, the man seed a snow white cow laying mongst the rest. The hide was so nice that he save it for hisself.
He went back home, but his wife done gone, and he ain't never see her till this day. He ain't know nothing at all about the white cow.