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The Lost River-driver, Part I

It was a century ago when Joe Gibbs’ rode the water’s flow, driving logs through the river’s waves, a young man only twenty years, fast with a pick-pole, had no fear, and never had they seen a man more brave. At night he did joke with the guys, in drunken song his voice did cry, the river-driver’s all liked him, he could make the devil himself grin, was on his second season out when a jam snagged the river proud, the boss cried out, quite clear and loud, “Now who will clear this snag?” Young Joe leapt up and raised his hand, said, “Boss, I’ll do it! I’m your man,” out through the jumble he did leap. He found the lynch-pin half submerged, the log was jammed, and broadly turned, and what was holding it up Young Joe did seek, a rock poked up where no one saw, it held the log like fearsome jaws, it was just beneath the surface and quite an easy thing to miss, he stepped on it and gave a heave, the log jam suddenly swept free, and dragged young Joe away swiftly, the men knew things looked bad. They searched the shore for any trace, nut none would ever see Joe’s face, and his body was never found. The preacher’s came and said their prayers, the men had no time to despair, logs were moving, and men before had drowned. The days went by, and folks forgot, then one looked at the submerged rock, he saw a blue figured floating, just above the stone and waving. It appeared on the windy days, when boats were tossed amongst the waves, from that rock Joe warned them away, to the cheers of boaters glad. Then more logs came down next year, the drivers would shrink back in fear when they saw the ghost of their lost friend; but Joe would motion to the sides, then men would see, their logs divide, and they would all pass safely in the end. Joe would vanish when they were past, to him the men would raise a glass, and thank God for their lucky charm, a ghost who steered men from real harm. As years went by the legend spread, and countless stories filled out heads, or rivermen alive, not dead, and all thanks to this lad. CONCLUDES IN PART II.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2021

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