No Haid Pawn

No Haid Pawn

by Thomas Nelson Page

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It was a ghostly place in broad daylight, if the glimmer that stole in
through the dense forest that surrounded it when the sun was directly
overhead deserved this delusive name. At any other time it was--why,
we were afraid even to talk about it! and as to venturing within its
gloomy borders, it was currently believed among us that to do so was
to bring upon the intruder certain death. I knew every foot of ground,
wet and dry, within five miles of my father's house, except this
plantation, for I had hunted by day and night every field, forest, and
marsh within that radius; but the swamp and "ma'shes" that surrounded
this place I had never invaded. The boldest hunter on the plantation
would call off his dogs and go home if they struck a trail that
crossed the sobby boundary-line of "No Haid Pawn."

"Jack 'my lanterns" and "evil sperits" only infested those woods, and
the earnest advice of those whom we children acknowledged to know most
about them was, "Don't you never go nigh dyah honey; hit's de evil-
speritest place in dis wull."

Had not Big William and Cephas and Poliam followed their dogs in there
one night, and cut down a tree in which they had with their own eyes
seen the coon, and lo! when it fell "de warn no mo' coon dyah 'n a
dog!" and the next tree they had "treed in" not only had no coon in
it, but when it was cut down it had fallen on Poliam and broken his
leg. So the very woods were haunted. From this time they were
abandoned to the "jack 'my lanterns" and ghosts, and another shadow
was added to No Haid Pawn.

The place was as much cut off from the rest of the country as if a sea
had divided it. The river, with marshy banks, swept around it in a
wide horseshoe on three sides, and when the hammocks dammed it up it
washed its way straight across and scoured out a new bed for itself,
completely isolating the whole plantation.

The owners of it, if there were any, which was doubtful, were aliens,
and in my time it had not been occupied for forty years. The negroes
declared that it was "gin up" to the "ha'nts an' evil sperits," and
that no living being could live there. It had grown up in forest and
had wholly reverted to original marsh. The road that once ran through
the swamp had long since been choked up, and the trees were as thick
and the jungle as dense now, in its track, as in the adjacent "ma'sh."
Only one path remained. That, it was currently believed by the entire
portion of the population who speculated on the subject, was kept open
by the evil spirits. Certain it was that no human foot ever trod the
narrow, tortuous line that ran through the brakes as deviously as the
noiseless, stagnant ditches that curved through the jungle, where the
musk-rats played and the moccasin slept unmolested. Yet there it lay,
plain and well-defined, month after month and year after year, as No
Haid Pawn itself stood, amid its surrounding swamps, all undisturbed
and unchanging.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940013691575
Publisher: WDS Publishing
Publication date: 01/18/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 20 KB

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