In my ninth year I told my grandmother about a large white wading bird that I saw on the banks of Skull Creek. She called it a Shypolt and advised me to leave it alone. Yeah. Right. What did she know?
In my dreams I had captured this bird alive to keep in our chicken pen. The world would beat a path to our door just to see this wonderful thing and marvel at my skills as a hunter and a capturer of wild game. I’d be famous and the riches would pour in.
I already knew how I’d do it. There was a tree that had blown over the creek. I would lay on the overhang like a leopard waiting my prey to pass underneath, before pouncing on it.
So there I lay, baking in the heat that reflected off the surface of the water. The ants, mosquitoes and the horse flies delighted in this buffet laying motionless and hidden by the leaves.
I was about ready to give it up, when around the bend comes the Shypolt, creeping along catching minnows and small frogs. Finally it was right underneath me and I rolled off the tree onto the top of it.
Oh my! It didn’t fall over in a dead faint nor did it run nor attempt to get away. Instead it decided to fight for the title of “King of Skull Creek” !
It beat me with its wings, I countered with a roundhouse right that missed. It poked my chest with that long sharp bill. I did a Bruce Lee kick, that it had no trouble in dodging. It started using those long legs and bony sharp clawed feet to rip my clothes and hide. I bent to pick up a stick to whack it with and it pecked holes in my back.
About that time I decided I’d cut it some slack (poor defenseless critter it was) and go home. It pecked the back of my head as I turned to leave. (What a dirty fighter)
I managed to get away and when I reached the house all bloody and torn, I found my grandmother sitting on the porch.
“You been messin with that Shypolt.” she said.
That woman was plum uncanny at times. : )