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During a wet summer night with a storm raining down from above, Jody asks his pa, Penny Baxter, to "tell us a tale." Jody always enjoyed his father's stories, so Penny thought hard before coming up with one that hadn't been told before. As Jody "tingled" at the sound of his father's voice, Penny began a tale about an old hunting dog who learned how to double back on his prey and wait for them to arrive. But the dog, Old Dandy, finally met his match when an old twisted-antlered buck outsmarted him.
(Jody) sighed with relief. That was a proper tale. When he thought of it again, he could picture the dog trailing the buck perpetually.
He said, "Tell another tale like that un, Pa. A tale has got a answer but no endin'."
"Now boy, they ain't many tales like that in the world. You best be content with that un."
Then Jody's mother took her turn at spinning a tale.
Ma Baxter said, "I ain't much for dogs, but they was a dog oncet I takened a notion to. It was a bitch and she had the purtiest coat. I said to the feller owned her, 'When she finds pups,' says I, 'I'd like one.' He said, 'You're welcome, but 'twon't do, for you got no way o' huntin' it'--I wasn't yit married to your Pa--'and a hound'll die,' he said, 'if it ain't hunted.' 'Is she a hound?'
says I, and he said, 'Yessum.' And I said, 'Then I shore don't want one, for a hound'll suck eggs.'"
Jody waited eagerly for the rest of the tale, then understood that was all there was to it. It was like all his mother's tales. They were like hunts where nothing happened. He went back in his thoughts to the dog that could out-smart wild-cats and foxes, but never caught the buck.
It was simple. Penny's stories were entertaining, with a beginning and an end. His mother's tales were pointless and boring--"like a hunt where nothing happened."
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