“What kind of story shall I
tell you today?” Grandfather Will asked.
I, Will the younger, tucked my
feet under my legs Indian-style, scratched my knee, and considered.
“The one about the wicked Captain Hook.”
Grandfather snorted. “It wasn’t
Hook, youngin’, but Huick. Dutch. Nowadays folk
just call him Huck. Christian Huck—or Huick—was his given name.”
Could he not just tell the
story? “Yes, yes. The most feared Royalist of the Revolution.”
Grandfather smacked his gums,
but I waited, tugging on my ear.
“Fine, then. It was the summer
of 1780, and I was but a sprout like yourself.”
“And Huick was the terror of
the Carolina backcountry.”
“Aye, a right evil man. Bloody
Ban Tarleton had nothing on him.”
“And Huick had said—”
“Huick had said that even if
rebels was thick as trees, and if Jesus Christ Himself became a rebel,
they couldn’t stand against Huick’s men.”
Huick hadn’t been the only one
who spoke so foolishly. Captain Patrick Ferguson, himself a colonial
and a Royalist, had died on King’s Mountain after a similar
declaration. But I held my tongue and Grandfather went on.