Some things you need to know about TX.
The Birth of Pecos Bill:
Well now Pecos Bill was born in the usual way to a real nice cowpoke and his wife who were journeying west with their eighteen children. Bill's Ma knew right from the start that he was something else. He started talkin' before he was a month old, did his teething on his Pa's bowie knife and rode his first horse jest as soon as he learned to sit up on his own. When he started to crawl, Pecos Bill would slither out of the wagon while his Mama was cookin' supper and wrestle with the bear cubs and other wild animals that roamed the prairies.
Yep, the whole family was expecting great things of little Bill; until they lost him in the drink. Seems they took the wagons over the Pecos River while Pecos Bill was taking a nap and he got bounced out of the back and swept downstream afore anyone missed him. If he hadn't taught himself to swim right-quick, he would have been a goner!
Right about the time Pecos Bill was drying out and trying to get a fix on where he was, a Mama Coyote came along and decided to adopt the poor waif and raise him with the rest of her pups. So Pecos Bill spent the first fifteen years of his life running around with the coyote pack, howling to the moon, chasing prey across the prairies, and having the time of his life.
Pecos Bill plumb forgot all about his real family, until the day he turned sixteen and his older brother came along. He was punchin' a herd of long-horn cattle and had brought them down to drink from the Pecos River. The ol' cowpoke took one look at Pecos Bill and knew he'd found his long-lost brother, on account of he looked jest like their Ma, who'd died of a broken heart after they lost little Bill in the river.
"See here, ain't you Pecos Bill, my little brother?" demanded the cowpoke of Pecos Bill when he came jumping over a giant log to run about in the field and howl at the full moon.
"Don't think so," said Pecos Bill. "I'm a coyote! Listen to me howl!" Pecos Bill let out a horrendous shout and scampered about the field on all fours. He scared the herd so bad that the long horns almost stampeded.
"You stop that!" Bill's brother shouted after he got the cattle calmed down. "And tell me this; how come you ain't got a long bushy tail if you're a coyote."
That was a tricky question. Pecos Bill thought about it for a long time.
"I got fleas," he volunteered. "And I howl at the moon!"
"Everybody in Texas has fleas and howls at the moon. That ain't no excuse," said his big brother. "Any how, you can walk upright like a normal person and you can talk too. That ain't what a coyote does."
"I guess you're right," said Pecos Bill.
"'Course I'm right. I'm your big brother and I outta know," snapped the cowpoke. "It's about time you stopped foolin' around on the prairie and became a cowboy like all the rest of us."
That made good sense to Pecos Bill. So he bid farewell to the coyote pack and went out west with his brother to learn to be a cowboy. Soon as he learned the ropes some, Pecos Bill began to realize that the cowboys needed some new tricks to help them cope with them stubborn longhorns. The cowboys kept getting the cows mixed up, which made the owners mad, so Pecos Bill invented the branding iron so they could put a mark on each cow telling everybody who owned it. Then he noticed that the other cowboys were having trouble making the wilder cows behave. Now whenever Pecos Bill saw a cow misbehavin', he'd jump on its back and ride it until it had bucked and kicked itself into behaving better. But the other cowboys weren't so skilled as Bill, so he invented the lasso to help them tame the wild cows.
Pecos Bill's brother was right proud of him. "Not bad for a kid raised by coyotes," he told his baby brother. "In another couple of years, you'll be the toughest cowboy in the world."
And he was right!
"Pecos Bill" was also the nickname of Civil War general William Shafter. Shafter was considered a hero in Texas and even had some legendary poetry written about how tough he was.
Pecos Bill Rides a Tornado:
Now everyone in the West knows that Pecos Bill could ride anything. No bronco could throw him, no sir! Fact is, I only heard of Bill getting' throwed once in his whole career as a cowboy. Yep, it was that time he was up Kansas way and decided to ride him a tornado.
Now Bill wasn't gonna ride jest any tornado, no ma'am. He waited for the biggest gol-durned tornado you ever saw. It was turning the sky black and green, and roaring so loud it woke up the farmers away over in China. Well, Bill jest grabbed that there tornado, pushed it to the ground and jumped on its back. The tornado whipped and whirled and sidewinded and generally cussed its bad luck all the way down to Texas. Tied the rivers into knots, flattened all the forests so bad they had to rename one place the Staked Plains. But Bill jest rode along all calm-like, give it an occasional jab with his spurs.
Finally, that tornado decided it wasn't getting this cowboy off its back no-how. So it headed west to California and jest rained itself out. Made so much water it washed out the Grand Canyon. That tornado was down to practically nothing when Bill finally fell off. He hit the ground so hard it sank below sea level. Folks call the spot Death Valley.
Anyway, that's how rodeo got started down in Pecos TX. the home of the first rodeo. Though most cowboys stick to broncos these days.
Pecos Bill finds a Hard Outfit:
Well now, Texas jest became too tame for Pecos Bill once he killed off all the bad men, so he struck out for New Mexico, looking for a hard outfit. He asked an old trapper he met on the way where he could find a hard outfit, and the trapper directed Bill to a place where the fellers bit nails in half for fun. It sounded like a promisin' place to Bill, so he set off. But his durned fool hoss got its neck broke on the way, and Bill found himself afoot.
Bill went a walkin' with his saddle on his back. Suddenly, he come face to face with a rattlesnake 'round about fifteen feet long and lookin' fer trouble. Now Bill wanted to be fair to the rattler, so he let it get in a few jabs before he beat the stuffin' out of it. Being a kind man, when the snake was beat, he picked it up, wrapped it around his neck and carried it along with him.
They was a headin' through a narrow canyon when a cougar thought he'd have a bit of fun and jumped them. Bill never turned a hair. He jest put down his saddle and then whipped the tarnation out of the cougar. Hair flew everywhere, blocking the light sose the jackrabbits thought it was night and went to bed. Finally that cat were so beat he cried like a lost kitten and jest licked Bill's hand.
So Bill saddles him up and they tear off across them hills like forked lightening. Whenever Bill wanted to calm that cougar down, he'd just give him a tap with the rattlesnake. They set such a pace that they soon rolled into the hard outfit the trapper'd told Bill about. Quick as a wink, Bill jumps off the cougar, helps himself to some beans and coffee, wipes his mouth with a prickly pear and turns to look at the toughs sittin' around the fire.
"Who's the boss around here, anyhow?" he asks.
"I was," said a big mountain of a feller about seven foot tall and wide, "but you are now, stranger!"
The Death of Pecos Bill:
Now, Pecos Bill didn't live forever. Nope, not even Bill could figure out how to do that. Here's how he died.
When Bill was gettin' on in years, a Boston man came down to New Mexico for a visit. He fancied himself a bit of a cowboy. Got himself one of them mail-order suits, don't ya know. The ones with the lizard skin boots, a shiny brass belt buckle, a new pair of blue jeans and a huge ten gallon hat with not a speck of dust on it. Well, when Pecos Bill saw him trying to swagger into a bar, he jest lay down on the sidewalk and laughed himself to death!
How you ask that I know the stories are true ? Cause Texas "jest" that kind of place.
And that's why the coyote howls at the moon now for they miss Pecos Bill.
"A feather fell from the sky. The eagle saw it, the bear smelled it, and the
deer heard it, but only the coyote did all three"