Little children sometimes do unspeakably cruel things. It seems a natural phenomenon. They know that it’s wrong, but as long as they don’t get caught, they do it anyway.

I was thus guilty as a little kid myself.

Well-known folksingers, The Clancy Brothers, once sang about one of their childhood schemes. They would kill a little bird called the Wren, then march it on a platter from door to door, beseeching a penny to bury the wren.

The reader will recognize the cold-heartedness of the exercise, but, hey, they were kids. Many wild animals kill in like manner.

There was a wild animal that utterly terrified me when I was little. It was slow and lumbering, but if it wished, could unmercifully bite off my big toe! An adult Snapping Turtle could weigh 25 pounds.

And so it was. Our dairy barn was located maybe 150 to 200 feet from a pond where lived what was to, this little kid, a gargantuan Snapping Turtle.

The creature saw fit one day to amble from the pond all the way to the doorstep of our milk house. Unwittingly, I stepped outside that morning and practically tripped over the errant turtle. It scared the daylights out of me!

After breakfast, I ventured back to the milk house just to verify that the Snapper had moved on. Scheis ! He hadn’t even budged.

My little kid killer instincts kicked in. I busied myself finding the heaviest rocks I could find.

Snapper shells, I learned have quite the tolerance for shock and bombardment. Did it have to die that morning? Not without taking a beating.

The giant turtle just crossed paths with the wrong little kid.

I beseech forgiveness.




  1. Catchy title! Though I’ve never thrown rocks at a snapping turtle, I too am afraid of them and, if it came to battle, I’d fight to win.

    So happy you’re writing and publishing!


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