Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Library of America Story of the Week Read-Along 99: Mark Twain, Hunting the Deceitful Turkey (#47)

Mark Twain, "Hunting the Deceitful Turkey" (1906) from Mark Twain: Collected Tales, Sketches, Speeches, & Essays 1891–1910:

A short piece about Twain's childhood experience of hunting, including an epic battle with a turkey who faked injury to lure Twain away from its kids. Although the piece has an obvious holiday appeal around Thanksgiving time; and though there was an important reason for putting this out in the year when his full autobiography was published; I find this story amusing and not much more. There's some nice self-derision about his poor shooting skills; and there's this one incredibly dark moment when Twain notes that the best turkey call is created from a turkey leg bone--
There is nothing that furnishes a perfect turkey-call except that bone. Another of Nature's treacheries, you see. She is full of them; half the time she doesn't know which she likes best--to betray her chid or protect it.
But besides that it's just hyperbole and understatement--his two classic comic modes--about hunting a turkey.

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