Henry H. Tryon's
“ F E A R S O M E   C R I T T E R S
( 70th A N N I V E R S A R Y   H Y P E R T E X T   E D I T I O N )

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To those who have held the bag on a Snipe hunt, who have jumped sideways at the call of the Treesqueak, who have studied the trail of the Side-hill Gouger, and who perhaps have had a ringside seat at a Badger fight, this little collection, sympathetically dedicated.

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          The thought of preserving various legendary woods varmints in some permanant record form first came to me about thirty years ago when making a cruise of Sandy Bay Township for the late Roy S. Marston. It occurred to me then that these tales, originating chiefly in the logging camps and on the drives were a definite bit of American folk-lore, an intergal part of the history of American logging and lumbering and well worth recording. So I have been collecting them for a good quater-century.
          Tall tales of adventure and hair-breadth escapes have always sprouted wherever the lumberjack has started timber operations. The logger, the North woodsman in particular, is an imaginative fellow, with an inborn fondness for practical jokery of various sorts. Hence, with the adventurous yarns there has appeared an array of woods animals frequently terrifying , sometimes vicious, sometimes merely unique, whose appearance, characteristics, habits and habitat have for long been told and re-told with a gradually increasing degree of astonding detail for the puzzlement and temporary terrorization of some camp greenhorn.
          It is by no means unlikely that a number of these tales received their initial impetus through a woodman's being well startled by some odd noise, or perhaps by sighting some queer shape while travelling after sun-down. Such an experience, we've all had them, is as a rule quickly followed by a feeling of relief coupled with gratitude that our temproary panic has no witnesses. And the rest of the trip back to camp has often been employed in weaving the whole incident into a carefully-emboidered tale to be tested out at the first opportunity.

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Fearsome Critters, Written by Henry H. Tryon • Illustrated by Margaret R. Tryon
(Cornwall, NY: Idlewild Press, 1939) Original Text and Illustrations Public Domain License.
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