Maud Baker, Dry River, Cock-pit country.
Once Jack's wife gave him a cow to sell, and she told him the cow cost twenty pounds. Three men bet they could get the
cow cheap. They bid at different places along the wayside, and one came out and asked Jack if he was selling that goat. Jack said, "No, me man, it's a cow, not a goat! because me wife told me it's a cow and I can't sell it for a goat." The man told Jack his wife was making a fool of him and he would give him a dollar for the goat, but Jack refused. After he had gone for a couple of miles, a second man came out and repeated to him all that the first had said. And Jack refused to sell the cow and went on. After a couple of miles again, the third man came out and said he must sell him the goat. Jack got angry himself now, and the man offered him three dollars and he took it and returned to his wife with it and told her all that had happened to him with this goat she gave him for a cow. The wife was angry and told him she would have nothing more to do with him until she got her twenty pounds for the cow.
Jack took the three dollars and started off in a deep study. He went to a shop and called for a bottle of whiskey, which cost a dollar. After paying for it, Jack asked the man to let it remain until he returned back, and the clerk consented. He went to a second shop and bought a bottle of whiskey for a dollar and asked the clerk to put it up also till he returned. He went to a third shop, bought a bottle of whiskey also and asked the clerk to let it remain. After going about three miles, he met up with the three men who robbed him out of his wife's cow and says to them would they mind going to the shop and taking a drink with him; and they said yes. At the shop, Jack called for a bottle of whiskey, the four of them served it in glasses and drunk it all. Jack took off his hat and clapped it on the counter and said, "It's well paid for!" and the clerk said, "All right, Jack, we know that." After they go outside, the three men want to know how Jack didn't pay for the whiskey and yet the clerk believe that he paid for it. Jack said as long as he clapped his hat on the counter, they must say that he paid for it. They bet Jack that he couldn't go to the next shop and do the same, and Jack said that he could; and he went into the second shop and called for a bottle of whiskey again, the four of them drunk it off, and, taking off his hat, he clapped it on the counter again saying that it was well paid for. The clerk said, "Yes, Jack, it is all right." They go to the last shop now, call for the third bottle and do the same thing again. They wonder how he can do that and ask to buy the hat. Jack said no. He asked them one hundred pounds for the hat, and the three of them made it up and Jack gave them the hat and got the
hundred pounds and carried them to his wife. She was well pleased now.
The three men started with the hat to see if they could get something by it also, After buying some things, one of the men tried the hat and it wasn't successful. The other two were rowing with him, saying that wasn't the way Jack did with the hat. The second one now took it and went in, but the clerk was angry and was about to call the police; they had to pay for what they called for there. Then there was a big row, the other two saying that wasn't the way Jack had done with the hat. Now the third one tried it and was not successful. They threatened now to catch Jack and to kill him.
Jack knew what would happen and he told his wife he was going to put up a trick. He went to the bed and lay down, and when the wife saw the three men coming she started crying. They asked her what was the matter, and she said her husband was dead and nobody to help her bury him. They said, "A devil act that! should have been dead before now!" and asked to see him. Jack was lying in bed as if dead, and a stick beside him. One of the men said, "Yes, me man, we were looking for you to kill you; we are glad that you are dead already!" and he took up the stick beside him and gave him a wonderful stroke. Jack started up with fright and said to them, "This is the stick of life! it raised me from the dead!" and the wife was so glad to have her husband back again! Well, the three fools asked Jack now to sell them the stick. Jack refused, but they begged and Jack consented. They gave Jack one hundred fifty pounds for the stick because it was the "stick of life."
The men started 'round the village advertising that they could raise the dead. The king's daughter was dead. They went to the king's home and told him that they could raise the dead, and he was glad and carried them inside where the daughter was lying dead. They began beating her with a stick and crying, "Princess, arise from the dead!" but nothing happened. The king was angry, ordered the furnace well heated and had them thrown into it. That was the end of the three men, and Jack was well rid of them.