Inside Front cover - Dan MacNeil and the Devil, 1928Published by Ronald Caplan on 1984/8/1 (1279 reads)
Dan MacNeil and the Devil, 1928 I didn't see anything, but this thing both? ered me on the road. That was in 1928. I was over to a wedding, and she was pretty bad there, boy, they were fighting. They used to fight like cats and dogs. Yes, those days, dances and liquor, boy--they'd fight like cats and dogs. They were mon? sters, they were big men, boy. They'd fight. There'd be blood flying all over. And I left there. It was dark as the devil in hell, and I guess it was the devil that I met, too. I started, boy, and I was going up a hill. And I was just at the bottom of the hill. When I heard this thing coming, coming .down when I was going up, just like this, walking--like sheep walking • I thought it was sheep. This thing was coming towards me. And this thing just came, I'd say, a- bout 10 or 12 feet and it slid right into me and it made a sound like "bah." I said to myself. That's only a sheep. Used to be on the road those years. That's the kind of sound it was. It didn't push me or anything. It would come to 6 or 7 or 8 feet, and slide right in. You've often seen a sheep bracing its feet like this, forward--and this thing would slide right in, and he'd make this queer noise. My gosh, that was all right, that was the bot? tom of the hill then. I thought it was on? ly a sheep, you know. And then about halfways up the hill--you wouldn't hear the thing going back at all-- but halfways up the hill, started again. The thing coming towards me again, down the hill, boy. And it came right about 7 or 8 feet to you, and it slid in again, slid right in on the ground, and it made a "bah." Similar to a sheep, I'd say it was. And then about top of the hill--it's the third time, boy. This thing started down towards me again. Going like this, boy, like a sheep. And it was maybe 10 or 12 feet it slid in again--and slide on the ground. "Bah." And I got mad, boy, I said, "You fly to Hell, you son-of-a-bitch." I called him every name in the book. "You go straight to Hell," I said, "if it's you." Holy Christ Almighty, the racket he made going, boy, it was fearful. (What kind of a rack? et?) You'd think they were breaking fences and breaking sticks and everything else. That is the kind of a racket. The cove sounded. I never saw anything, but I heard this awful racket. And I'm pretty sure to this day, boy, it was the devil, trying to stop me. It wasn't a sheep, I don't think; I don't think it was a sheep or a ram or anything. I think it was the old fellow himself. That's what I think. (And it was a black night.) Black as--it was kind of foggy, too, to make it worse. You couldn't see any? thing, what was coming. And you couldn't hear him going away from you--this is the funniest thing. But to hear it come to you. And I'm pretty sure it was the devil. I was all alone. It was foggy and dark. Dark as a crow. It wasn't a sheep. It was try? ing to take me back to the dance. There might have been more trouble if I went back. And that's the only time in my life I ever met him. I didn't see anything, but whatever it was, I'm pretty sure it was him. Nobody else. I told that to lots of people and they say, "You're right. It was him, boy, trying to send you back over there." (Why do you think he came to you?) Might have been more trouble if I went iDack. I don't know. I was young then, spry. That's what I was thinking. That I'd get scared. Get into it over there. They were fighting at the wedding after that. I was thinking it was the old fellow himself. It was no sheep. I took the beads out of my pocket, and I blessed myself. I used to wear a hat. I had lots of hair then, boy. My hat came right up over my head. By gosh, I was scared before I got home, but I said to him, "By gosh, there's not a devil in Hell that's going to stop me from going home." He made quite a racket going. I called him all kinds of names, dirty names too, boy, I was mad. BACK COVER PHOTO: A 1919 overview of the Coke Ovens, Dominion Iron & Steel Company, Ltd. Photograph courtesy Sydney Steel Corporation.
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