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( 85th A N N I V E R S A R Y   O N L I N E   E D I T I O N . )

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Luke Sylvester “Lake Shore” Kearney never claimed to be a Twain, Hemingway, or Faulkner and never wrote another book after The Hodag and Other Tales of the Logging Camps. What the late Mr. Kearney presented himself to be was a plain, ol' fashion woodsman, to which he earns our sincerest respects. If nothing more is to be expected of this old Wisconsin head than to add more lumberjack yarns to our collection, than The Hodag delivers hundredfold. The manuscript, aptly named for that infamous varmint of the Wisconsin swamps, is over 150 pages long. While this is hardly a scratch in mainstream literature, it is more than Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods, Fearsome Critters, and all our other electronic collections combine. Logger tales were rarely ever presented in lengthy narrative, so such a quantity in volume is really quite something. Not only does the text make good on its promise to set down some bunkhouse tales, but divulges on the ways such stories were spun.

So from the “Deacon's Seat” to airy charm of Antigo, The Hodag takes the reader on a journey, via the habitual poetry and prose, to a simpler place and a simpler time. Of course, there is the occasional grammatical errors, false attributions, and other inconsistencies. But it is a woodsman's word after all and, much like the timberbeast himself, is a little rough around the edges. In this frame of mind, one may best enjoy the beauty of its imperfections, occasional uncouthness, dry humor, and conventional “wisdom.”

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The Hodag and Other Tales of the Logging Camps, Written by Lake Shore Kearney
(Madison, WI: Democrat Printing Press, 1928) Original Text and Illustrations Public Domain License.
Copyright © 2006-2014 Thrill Land.