“The Legend of Potato Creek” by Maurice Thompson – Story #8 of Deal Me “IN” 2016

The Card:  ♣10♣ The Ten of Clubs

The Suit: ♣♣♣ Clubs ♣♣♣ – my suit for “legendary” Hoosier authors.

The Author: Maurice (pronounced like “Morris”) Thompson (1844-1901), born in Fairfield, Indiana, is one from the “Golden Age” of Indiana literature. He’s also a member of the archery(!) Hall of Fame.

The Story: “The Legend of Potato Creek” from his collection “Hoosier Mosaics.” I have one other story of his in this year’s Deal Me “IN” project, (“The Pedagogue”). Read “The Legend of Potato Creek” for free online at http://www.readbookonline.net/readOnLine/60358/ (& then let me know what you think, naturally 🙂 )

What is Deal Me “IN” 2016?  (For an explanation of the Deal Me In challenge, see the sign up post. For a look at my deck of cards/story roster see here. Since 2016 is my home state’s bicentennial, in this year’s edition of my annual Deal Me In challenge, I’m reading only stories that have an Indiana “connection”of some kind. )


As little as one year or so ago, I had never even heard of this author. He is one I was led to discover by Dan Wakefield’s Introduction in the late 2014 “Indy Writes Books Anthology.”

“The Legend of Potato Creek”

This was a profoundly sad story – something I wouldn’t necessarily have guessed based on the title – but one with just enough sweetness mixed in for me to still like it. Quite a bit, actually. 🙂

It’s the story of Rose Turpin, a charming sixteen year old girl spending the summer on a relative’s farm, and “perhaps 25 years old” Zach Jones “a person thoroughly saturated with ague in its chronic form.” They meet when Rose is settled in on a perch of roots near the titular Potato Creek and Zach comes along leading an old horse, one who was

“…sadly diseased with that scourge of the equine race, scrofulous shoulder or fistula, commonly called, among the country folk, fistleo, and because the animal could not get well the man was on the point of killing it…”

Yes, Zach is planning to euthanize the ignoble old steed, by bashing it on the head with an axe. This, of course, is more than the delicate sensiblities of our sweet Rose can endure, and she pleads on the horse’s behalf for its life. Naturally, being a human male, Zach relents and subsequently, under Rose’s care, the horse makes a remarkable recovery. Her uncle notes her seeming natural ability to heal and suggests she spend some time with Zach to see if her healing touch can help with Zach’s chronic ague. They begin spending time together and the effects are just as her uncle hypothesized.

The sweetness of the story was over, though, since – with apologies to Peter, Paul and Mary – disease and pestilence live forever, but not so young girls, and Rose returns home where, after making a most triumphant “debut” in society, she is eventually snapped up by one of the region’s eligible bachelors. What happens afterward one could likely imagine, but I will let you discover that for yourself by reading this entire (short) story. 🙂

Personal Notes: Not long ago I went to a talk at the (nearby) Greenwood Public Library in Central Indiana. The featured topic was “Books by Hoosier Authors Made into Films” or something like that. All the normal ones you’d expect were covered (Ben Hur, The Magnificent Ambersons, The Fault in Our Stars, etc.), but it was here I learned a little more about Maurice Thompson and the fact that he was a legend in the field of archery, and one of the first inductees into that sport’s Hall of Fame. According to their website, his book, “The Witchery of Archery” was ‘accredited for returning the sport of archery to public interest.’ and notes that ‘Some of this was due to rifles bringing back bad memories of the American Civil War.’ I particularly like a quotation of his that I found on that website: “So long as the new moon returns in heaven, a bent beautiful bow, so long will the fascination of archery keep hold of the hearts of men.” Very nice.

I became fascinated – only briefly – with archery as a youth from reading of the legends of William Tell and Robin Hood and later from seeing the famed Errol Flynn movie, “The Adventures of Robin Hood,” which featured an archery contest for the ages…

I also found, in my online researching for this post, that there’s a target game in archery called “bow poker” – how appropriate for the Deal Me In challenge!
Bonus trivia question: Can you identify the Roman Emperor below, known for his devotion to archery?

Deal Me In 2015 – Week 5 Wrap Up


Below are links to new Deal Me In posts that I saw since the last update. As always, if I’ve missed you, feel free to link to your post in the comments, and I’ll try not to miss you again. Happy reading!

“o” at Behold the Stars read Emile Zola’s “Death by Advertising” http://beholdthestars.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/death-by-advertising-by-emile-zola.html

Dale read Dorothy Parker’s “Here We Are” https://mirrorwithclouds.wordpress.com/2015/01/29/dorothy-parker-here-we-are/

John-Paul at The Reader Regards Himself read George Orwell’s essay “Why I Write” http://readerregards.blogspot.co.nz/2015/01/why-i-write-george-orwell.html

Tracy at Bitter Tea and Mystery read “The Mouse in the Corner” by Ruth Rendell http://bitterteaandmystery.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/deal-me-in-2015-story-2-mouse-in-corner.html

Cleo at Classical Carousel read Anton Chekhov’s “The Princess” http://cleoclassical.blogspot.ca/2015/01/the-princess-by-anton-chekhov.html

Though not technically part of Deal Me In 2015, James re-posted a great short story-laden post from his old blog that you may enjoy: http://jamesreadsbooks.com/2015/01/31/a-short-story-omnibus-edition/

Also not exactly a Deal me In 2015 post, Teresa writes about short story ace George Saunders’ collection “Tenth of December” https://shelflove.wordpress.com/2015/01/28/tenth-of-december-2/

Christine at The Moonlight Reader posted a summary of her January Deal me In reading Dana Cameron’s “Swing Shift”, Holly Black’s “Rag and Bones”; Pateicia Briggs’ “Star of David”, and “Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells” by Delia Sherman http://thedwsblog.com/2015/02/01/deal-january-wrap/

Katherine at The Writerly Reader read the Nikolai Gogol classic “The Cloak” https://katenread.wordpress.com/2015/02/01/deal-me-in-week-5-the-cloak/

Randall at Time Enough at Last posted about Grace Paley’s “Telling” http://timeenuf.blogspot.com/2015/02/deal-me-in-week-5-telling-by-grace-paley.html

I read Alice Munro’s “Some Women” but haven’t cobbled together a post yet (It was great, though) so look for two posts from me in the coming week. Maybe. 🙂

That’ is for this week. We’ve made it through the first month of Deal Me In, but their are still hundreds of stories (& essays, poems, plays, fairy tales) waiting their turn in the draw to keep us entertained for the rest of the year!


Deal Me in 2015 – Week 3 Wrap Up


A nice new crop of stories, poems, etc. this week. Below are links to new posts I found since the last update. If I’ve missed you, leave a note in the comments and I’ll update the post.

I’m also working on a new page that is an index of the stories read by last year’s Deal Me In participants. It’s the 2014 Deal Me In posts index by author page on my sidebar. Pretty much a bare bones list at this point (without links) but it does indicate the week the story was included in the wrap up post so one who is truly ambitious could get to the story by searching for the wrap up post. Maybe I’ll add links at the bottom to the weekly wrap up posts at some point, but – that’s a lot of links. :-). The list is kind of fun to peruse – seeing which authors were read the most, which stories were picked by two participants, etc. The group posted on over 300 stories last year.

Tracy at Bitter Tea and Mystery wrote about Roald Dahl’s “Lamb to the Slaughter” http://bitterteaandmystery.blogspot.com/2015/01/deal-me-in-2015-story-1-lamb-to.html

Cleo at Classical Carousel read Jean Fritz’s “The Cabin Faced West” http://cleoclassical.blogspot.ca/2015/01/the-cabin-faced-west.html

Jen at Military History read “With a Burqa” by Katey Schultz https://wisepursuits.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/deal-me-in-2015-week-3/

Dale at Mirror with Clouds wrote about E.B. White’s story “The Second Tree from the Cornerhttps://mirrorwithclouds.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/e-b-white-the-second-tree-from-the-corner/

Jim at Science a fiction Times has two posts, one on Isaac Asimov’s “The Callistan Menace” http://sciencefictiontimes.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-callistan-menace-by-isaac-asimov.html. and another on Harlan Ellison’s “Shattered Like a Glass Goblin” http://sciencefictiontimes.blogspot.com/2015/01/shattered-like-glass-goblin-by-harlan.html. I, for one, am loving this classic sci-fi!

John Paul at The Reader Regards Himself writes about the Peter Hessler article “China’s Instant Cities” http://readerregards.blogspot.co.nz/2015/01/chinas-instant-cities-peter-hessler.html

Somehow I previously missed a new participant, Elsie at The Book Drum. Check out her roster at https://thebookdrum.wordpress.com/2015/01/07/deal-me-in-for-52-weeks-with-wordsworth-2/ Her “twist” on Deal Me In is that she’s reading 52 Wordsworth poems. Her entries so far are: “The Solitary Reaperhttps://thebookdrum.wordpress.com/2015/01/17/the-solitary-reaper/The Reverie of Poor Susanhttps://thebookdrum.wordpress.com/2015/01/12/52-weeks-with-wordsworth-week-2-the-reverie-of-poor-susan/ and “Simplon Passhttps://thebookdrum.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/deal-me-in-week-1-wordsworths-simplon-pass/

Marian at Tanglewood read Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid”

Katherine at The Readerly Writer tackles Ambrose Bierce’s “The Damned Thing” https://katenread.wordpress.com/2015/01/17/deal-me-in-week-3-the-damned-thing/

Randall at Time Enough at Last posted about Mark Richard’s “Strays” http://timeenuf.blogspot.com/2015/01/deal-me-in-week-3-strays-by-mark-richard.html

I read Annie Proulx’s “Rough Deeds” https://bibliophilica.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/rough-deeds-by-annie-proulx/

“o” at Behold the Stars covers “Arnita and Arcite” by Geoffrey Chaucer http://beholdthestars.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/anelida-and-arcite-by-geoffrey-chaucer.html

That’s it for this week. How is YOUR short story reading going in 2015?

(Below: Jupiter’s moon Callisto – one of the Galilean Satellites. It does look a little “menacing” doesn’t it?)


Deal Me In – Week 46 Wrap Up


A little behind schedule getting this posted as i was “out late” last night at the Colts game (which was a disaster for the home team, ugh). Anyhoo, here we are:

Only a few cards left now… Below are links to new posts this week.

It’s time for James to shuffle up as he drew his last two cards, getting Haruki Murakami’s “The Rise and Fall of Sharpie Cakes” and Henry James’s “The Figure in the Carpethttp://jamesreadsbooks.com/2014/11/10/henry-james-vs-haruki-murakami-a-deal-me-in-short-story-challenge/. James becomes the first of us to complete his 52 stories this year. Can’t remember everything he read? His original roster can be found at: http://readywhenyouarecb.blogspot.in/2014/01/deal-me-in.html

Dale read the oft-anthologized James Baldwin story, “Sonny’s Blues” http://mirrorwithclouds.wordpress.com/2014/11/12/james-baldwin-sonnys-blues/

Randall read Bruce McAllister’s “The Boy in Zaquitos” http://timeenuf.blogspot.com/2014/11/the-boy-in-zaquitos-by-bruce-mcallister.html from the Best American Short Stories anthology of 2007.

I read Katherine Vaz’s “Fado” https://bibliophilica.wordpress.com/2014/11/16/fado-by-katherine-vaz/ and continue to enjoy one of my favorite new to me authors of 2014.

Return Reader delivers four new posts:
On George Saunders’s “Sea Oak” http://returningreader.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/short-story-35-sea-oak-george-saunders/

On Olufemi Terry’s “Stickfighting Days” http://returningreader.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/short-story-36-stickfighting-days-olufemi-terry/

On Saki’s “The Mouse” http://returningreader.wordpress.com/2014/11/16/short-story-37-the-mouse-saki/

On Ray Bradbury’s “The Veldt” http://returningreader.wordpress.com/2014/11/16/short-story-38-the-veldt-ray-bradbury/

Katherine wrote about Matthew Costello’s “The Final Vanish” http://katenread.wordpress.com/2014/11/16/deal-me-in-week-46-the-last-vanish/ and shares a video of another famous vanishing…

Deal Me In – Week 14 Wrap Up


We start the second quarter of Deal Me In 2014 with another eclectic group of short stories and thoughtful posts. Below are links to new posts by our participants since our week 13 update last Sunday. (I try to meet an unofficial deadline of five p.m. EST for these wrap-up posts)

Please consider taking the time to visit the other participants’ posts or even “like” them or leave a comment to share some feedback.

Dale posts about a baseball story by Zane GreyThe Redheaded Outfield http://mirrorwithclouds.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/zane-grey-the-redheaded-outfield/

Hanne reads Alice Munro’s The Bear Came Over the Mountain http://readingoncloud9.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/week-14-the-bear-came-over-the-mountain-by-alice-munro/

Katherine links to another card trick for her two of hearts, “16 Minutes” by Eric Lustbader http://katenread.wordpress.com/2014/04/05/deal-me-in-week-14-16-mins/

My king of hearts led me to Katherine Vaz’s story “Undressing the Vanity Dollshttps://bibliophilica.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/undressing-the-vanity-dolls-by-katherine-

Candiss of Read the Gamut drew the five of clubs and read Denis Johnson’s story, “Emergency” http://readthegamut.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/deal-me-in-challenge-story-14-emergency-by-denis-johnson/