My Forty Years Scribblin's
Personal Memories
A Campfire Tale

A tall tale written in 1996 and published in the July-August issue of The Montana Journal, based on a “bucksin” story told by Henry Moss more than fifty years ago.


An old-time farmer fabricated a new set of working gear for his oxen team, yoked them to the wagon, and set out with his hired man to cut a load of fire wood. Having run out of leather, the old timer had used rawhide for tugs. The hired man, poor feller, was clad only in a top hat and buckskin pants. Scarcely had they reached the scene of operations when there came a torrential thunderstorm, soaking everything including the farmer, the hired man, and the rawhide tugs. The buckskin kept stretching, and the hired man had to keep cutting off chunks of his pants to keep from getting his feet tangled up in his britches legs.

Soon the wagon wheels were sunk hub-deep in the mud, and the rain-soaked tugs lay limp upon the ground. Undeterred, the farmer instructed the hired man to load the wood, and he himself drove the oxen home and tied them to the fence. He then went in to take a nap. Presently the clouds disappeared, the sun came out full force, and the farmer arose and looked out the door. Sure enough, the rawhide tugs were shrinking.

There came the wagon up the road and walking beside his load of wood, poor feller, was the hired man clad only in a top hat and a buckskin breech cloth!