I'll tell you where the hurricane starts. They starts in the big swamp! In a hollow tree! Down there where the bullace vines grows! That's where they starts. You don't know how it is that dat there acorn in your hand is got a great big oak tree in it. There got to be a starting place. If trees was to start out trees, you'd see a monstrous upsetting all 'round everywheres. There'd be trouble, man, and a heap of it.
Well, sir, one time when I was a boy, there was a old Afriky man live on the place, and he kept a-telling me tales, and by and by one day he allow he want to show me some hurricane seed. I ain't had much sense, but I had enough for to tell him I don't want to look at 'em, 'cause I feared they'd sprout and come up right before my eyes. Then that old Afriky man, he squinch his eyes at me and tell me the tale how the hurricane start.
It's all on account of old Sis Swamp-Owl. All the birds of the air set her old man for to watch the vittles one time, and he took and went to sleep and let someone steal it. They catch him sleep, and from that time out they start in to fight him every time he show his head in daylight.
This make old Sis Swamp-Owl mad, and so one day, when the hot weather come, she make up her mind that she going to give the other birds some trouble. She come out the hollow tree and sit up in the top limbs. She look towards sundown, rain-seeds floating 'round; she look up in the elements, they look hazy. She tap on the tree.
"Wake up, old man; hurricane getting ripe."
She stretch out her wings, so — and flop 'em down — this away — and right then and there the hurricane seed sprouted.
When she flop her wings, the tree leafs begun to rustle. She flop 'em some more, and the limbs begun to shake, and the wing catch up more wind, and get harder and harder, till by and by it look like it going to claw the grass out the ground. Then the thunder and the lightning they joined it, and it just went a-whirling.
Since that time, whenever old Sis Owl gets tired of the crows and the jaybirds, and the bee-martins picking at her and her folks, she just comes out and flops her wings, and there's your hurricane.