We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE
OR
title

Stories From Under The Sky

John Madson

Publication Year: 1998

In Stories from under the Sky, John Madson salutes the outdoor life. These thirty-six essays display his healthy respect for the forces of nature, without diminishing his wry awareness of the foibles of beast, bird, fish, and human.
In sections on mammals, the river, and birds, Madson acquaints readers with some real characters—not all of them four-footed! Some are old favorites: the raccoon, the otter, the fawn, and the badger. Others are less familiar—the demonic shrew, the indomitable dogfish, and the exotic blue heron. Even the “unloved” come in for their share of attention: toads, waterbugs, wasps, and turkey buzzards. Madson has a yarn to spin about each one. Where else would you find an essay on “Snake Liars”?

Whatever the topic, Madson’s love of nature shines through, be it coon hunting or an explanation of the incredible bird machine. His obvious affection is tempered with the recognition that not everything “natural” is a pretty sight. All of which leaves readers with a better understanding of life under the sky. 

Published by: University of Iowa Press

Frontmatter

pdf iconDownload PDF (61.5 KB)
 

read more

Acknowledgment

pdf iconDownload PDF (55.9 KB)
 

The author wishes to acknowledge several sources from which many of these stories were drawn. Although a number of the articles in this . . .

Mammalia

read more

The Thimble Mill Fox

pdf iconDownload PDF (296.8 KB)
pp. 11-16

FROM FAR DOWN the valley came the first trail cry of the pack.
For a long time there had been only muted hunting noises from the Walkers as they cast through the creek . . .

read more

Little Brother to the Bear

pdf iconDownload PDF (360.4 KB)
pp. 17-23

SHAMBLING THROUGH our dense river forests in the easy, flat-footed fashion of the bear, goes an American legend.
He was the reluctant haberdasher . . .

A Songdog at Work

pdf iconDownload PDF (278.9 KB)
pp. 24-25

read more

Half-ounce Heller

pdf iconDownload PDF (481.9 KB)
pp. 27-36

IN SOME OF the quiet places, where leaf mold is heavy and old logs decay on the forest floor, lives the world's most savage mammal. It's a ravening . . .

read more

Sleepers and Snoozers

pdf iconDownload PDF (310.4 KB)
pp. 37-42

THE OLD WOODCHUCK labored slowly up the hill, breathing heavily and stopping often to rest. He was hogfat now that late September . . .

read more

The Fighting Doormat

pdf iconDownload PDF (294.9 KB)
pp. 43-48

WHEN OLD SKIP, our favorite feist dog, began hollering his head off on the other side of the pasture hill, we didn't pay much mind. Skip was . . .

read more

Than a Barrel of Monkeys

pdf iconDownload PDF (347.2 KB)
pp. 49-54

A TRIBE OF ACCOMPLISHED killers, most of the weasel clan take life seriously. There isn't much slapstick in the daily doings of a mink, ferret . . .

read more

Geomys

pdf iconDownload PDF (311.6 KB)
pp. 55-60

UNDERGROUND, IN THE dark cool world of roots, grubs and earthworms, lives the Digger. He is dedicated - heart, tooth and nail - to tunnelling. He is king of the miners, this . . .

read more

Fawns

pdf iconDownload PDF (141.3 KB)
pp. 61-63

GOBLINS AND ELVES have lost ground in most of today's forests.
The electric light and the picture tube have frightened them all away, driving them back into . . .

The River

read more

Old Man River's Shell Game

pdf iconDownload PDF (780.9 KB)
pp. 67-80

WHEN JOE MARTELLE stepped out of his cabin door the night mists were still hanging over Harper's Slough and the first rays of . . .

read more

Outlaw of the Dark Sloughs

pdf iconDownload PDF (265.4 KB)
pp. 81-86

JOHN A. GRINDLE is a stupid, vicious thug. About the only good things you can say about him are that he fights to the death, takes care . . .

read more

The World of Charley Gibbs

pdf iconDownload PDF (538.8 KB)
pp. 87-96

THE OLD BURNISHED richness of October was on the land, flavored with woodsmoke and tempered with frosty nights. That morning the western . . .

Aves

read more

The Gloomiest Bird

pdf iconDownload PDF (201.0 KB)
pp. 99-102

THE CREATURE called the turkey buzzard hovers over the land like a fallen angel. A great carrion bird with a naked, raddled head and . . .

read more

The Grand Passage

pdf iconDownload PDF (221.0 KB)
pp. 103-106

AN OLD GANDER raised his head from a meal of three-square grass and stretched his wings in the warm Louisiana sun. Nearby, other . . .

read more

Man and the Mallard

pdf iconDownload PDF (373.2 KB)
pp. 107-114

LIKE ALL LIVING things, the mallard duck is the fruit of its environment. As that environment frowns or smiles, the mallard fails or . . .

read more

The Bird Machine

pdf iconDownload PDF (461.2 KB)
pp. 115-122

A BIRD IS A flash of color, a burst of song, or a high, aloof vigilance. It can be all gentleness and soft appeal, or baleful, raptorial harshness. It may . . .

read more

Child of Adversity

pdf iconDownload PDF (148.8 KB)
pp. 123-126

THERE WAS THIS dude duck hunter at Big Wall Lake who'd just come ashore and was loading his new hunting gear into his new . . .

read more

Heron Summer

pdf iconDownload PDF (255.4 KB)
pp. 127-132

THE ROOKERY WAS somewhere just ahead in the dense tongue of lowland forest between the Nishnabotna and Missouri . . .

The Unloved

read more

Br'er Toad's Secret Weapon

pdf iconDownload PDF (176.3 KB)
pp. 135-138

AN OLD HOP TOAD isn't a very mean customer. He doesn't have much in the way of muscles, almost nothing in the tooth and claw line, and . . .

read more

Waterbugs

pdf iconDownload PDF (103.9 KB)
pp. 139-141

YOU'RE NOT ALONE, fishing. Skating around your bobber on the quiet water are water striders, and that commotion on the inlet is their . . .

read more

The Turtle Hunters

pdf iconDownload PDF (395.7 KB)
pp. 143-150

IT WAS EARLY JUNE and for ten days the south fork of the Skunk had been in full flood, drowning the bottomlands around Coons' Honey Stand . . .

read more

Beware the Paper Cities!

pdf iconDownload PDF (276.0 KB)
pp. 151-156

My MORBID ATTRACTION to bugs that bite and sting may stem from that day on Squaw Creek nearly thirty years ago when I was sitting . . .

read more

The Locks of Medusa

pdf iconDownload PDF (411.2 KB)
pp. 157-164

HUNTING POISONOUS SNAKES - whether for sport, profit, or out of some dim sense of ancestral outrage - is a tense . . .

Short Arrows from the Long Bow

read more

The Abashed Savage

pdf iconDownload PDF (95.6 KB)
pp. 167-168

AMONG MODERN Americans there are two sharply divergent views of nature. At one pole is Thoreau, who declaims: "In wilderness is . . .

read more

Snake Liars

pdf iconDownload PDF (87.8 KB)
pp. 169-170

OF ALL the unvarnished liars in this world, the snake liar is the worst.
It's pretty hard to beat a fishing liar or a grizzly-hunting liar, unless you ring in . . .

read more

The Little Sports

pdf iconDownload PDF (258.6 KB)
pp. 171-174

WHEN THE BASS go off their feed or the squirrel hunting slows down, I turn to the little sports.
They aren't much, but I've never managed to outgrow them and they give me homey . . .

read more

A Wilderness of Light

pdf iconDownload PDF (193.5 KB)
pp. 175-178

NOT so LONG AGO, between the eastern forests and the buffalo plains, there was a sea of grass and flowers.
The midland of the continent was open, rolling, . . .

read more

Rivers

pdf iconDownload PDF (79.0 KB)
pp. 179-180

THERE's LIFE and purpose to a river.
Lakes are fine but they never go anywhere; they just stay at home and sleep in their basins until they die. But . . .

read more

The Unforgettable Feists

pdf iconDownload PDF (155.0 KB)
pp. 181-183

LET'S TALK about hunting dogs. Not the blooded champs of stately grace and high birth, but those bandylegged heroes of a million squirrel and rabbit . . .

read more

Knife Talk

pdf iconDownload PDF (93.7 KB)
pp. 185-186

POKEY CHARLEY" Thompson was a leathery, dehydrated old prospector who had dug up the landscape from British Columbia to Sonora, and . . .

read more

Froze Fer Meat

pdf iconDownload PDF (97.6 KB)
pp. 187-188

IT STARTED at a high school picnic when we were teasing the girls with a big bullsnake. One of them screamed: "Why did you catch . . .

read more

On Crows

pdf iconDownload PDF (130.5 KB)
pp. 189-191

EVEN IF you don't care much for the crow, you have to give him his due. I've always had a deep, almost reverent awe for the raucous old . . .

read more

Romany Rides Again

pdf iconDownload PDF (258.4 KB)
pp. 193-198

IT HAS BEEN SAID that an outdoor life creates either monsters or poets. I wouldn't know about that, for I've met neither in my ramblings around . . .

read more

The Small Brown Bird

pdf iconDownload PDF (82.8 KB)
pp. 199-200

WHEN I'M TOO RICKETY to hunt, and find more pleasure in polishing my guns than shooting them, I have many things to . . .

read more

Outdoor Wishbooks

pdf iconDownload PDF (86.4 KB)
pp. 201-202

SOME MEN escape reality by chewing snoose, watching girls, or practicing their fast draw. Me, I'll take sporting goods catalogues every . . .

read more

A Place To Loaf

pdf iconDownload PDF (215.5 KB)
pp. 203-205

IF MY INCOME ever exceeds my outgo, I'm going to have a special room.
It'll be in a house just below the crest of a hill that breaks the . . .


E-ISBN-13: 9781609380304
Print-ISBN-13: 9781587295621

Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 1998

Recommend

UPCC logo
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access