Digital Tradition Mirror

Little Joe the Wrangler's Sister Nell

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Little Joe the Wrangler's Sister Nell

She rode up to the wagon as the sun was getting low,
A slender little figure dressed in gray.
We told her to get down, of course, and pull up to the fire
And red hot chuck would soon be on its way.

An old slouch hat with a hole in the top was perched upon her head
A pair of bullhide chaps well greased and worn;
An old stock saddle scratched and scarred from working in the bush
And her slick maguey tied to her saddle horn.

She said she'd rode from Lyano, four hundred miles away
Her pony was so tired he couldn't go;
She asked to stop a day or two and kind of rest him up,
Then maybe she could find her brother, Joe.

We could see that she'd ben crying, her little face was sad
When she talked her upper lip would tremble so.
She was a living image, we all saw at a glance
Of our little lost horse herder, Wrangler Joe.

We asked wher@ Joe was working, if she knew the outfit's brand
Yes, his letter said it was a circle bar;
It was mailed at Amarillo about three months ago
From a trail herd headed north to Cinnabar.

I looked at Jim, he looked at Tom, and then looked back at me
There something in our hearts, we couldn't speak,
She said she'd got kind of worried when she never heard no more
And things at home got tougher every week.

"You see my mother died," she said, "when Joe and I were born,
And Joe and I were twins," her story ran;
"Then Dad ups and marries, and gets another wife
And then it was our troubles sure began.

"She beat us, she abused us, and starved us most the time,
You see, she had no children of her own;
Nothing Joe or I could do ever seemed just right,
Then when Joe pulled out that left me all alone."

I gave the kid my bedroll, while I bunked in with Jim,
We talked and planned and schemed the whole night through,
As to which of us would tell her the way that Joe got killed
And break the news as gently as we knew.

"I'll wrangle in the morning, boys," she said as she turned in
"I'll have the horses at the wagon before day."
As the morning sun was rising I saw the kid roll out,
Saddle up the gray night horse and ride away.

Soon we heard the horses coming headed into camp,
It wasn't light but we plainly heard the bell,
And then someone crying coming on behind,
It was little Joe the wrangler's sister Nell.

We couldn't quite console her; she'd seen the horses' brands
As she drove them from the river bank below;
From the looks on our faces she seemed to realize
That she never again would see poor Wrangler Joe.

note: Not one of the most successful follow-ups, but a tear-jerker
     nevertheless. RG

Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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