It happened this way: He was just a lad,
Though big for sixteen years; and there they stood,
He and some others, laughing as youth should,
About some nonsense or some fun they'd had.
Then some one said what made another mad,
And words were passed and oaths, (young blood! young blood!)
You know how 'tis! and suddenly, thud! thud!
Two boys were at it. Worse grew out of bad.
One boy went up to him we all admired,
The merry-hearted fellow, handsome one,
And with a curse about why, God knows what!
Just put a pistol to his heart and fired.
That was the feud's beginning. Some one's son
Shot some one's son, and he in turn was shot.
And so one night they came, in wild carouse,
The father and the kinsmen of the boy,
That young fiend shot. With never an"Ahoy,"
They shot into the windows of that house,
And burnt the barn and in it all the cows.
Not one was saved. They came there to destroy,
And did it thoroughly. Like some new joy
They toyed with death and made it boisterous vows.
They killed the boy first; while he blinked and gaped
They shot him by a tree outside the door:
The women fled: the men they killed like dogs,
The father and the uncle. One escaped,
The old grandfather in a gown he wore,
Who hid all night among a pen of hogs.