Curley Fletcher

The Cowboy's Prayer

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Out on the Western prairies,
While riding after stock,
A cowboy met a shepherd
A-tending to his flock.

The herder asked the cowboy
If he would like to stay
To join him in a little drink
And put some grub away.

The cowboy said, "That's good enough.
When my belly's full of stew,
We'll bury the old tomahawk
And have a drink or two."

The herder cooked up quite a feed
And the cowboy ate his share
The herder got the jug out
And they started in from there.

The cowboy said, "Let's have a drink,
We'll forget about our war.
Well, sure let's have another one
And then we'll have one more."

"Your liquor's good," the cowboy said
"It surely hits the spot."
"Help yourself, " the herder says,
"And we'll have another shot."

Back and forth they passed the jug,
Until they went to sleep;
This puncher of the cattle
And this herder of the sheep.

The cowboy slept beneath a sage
And he was awful tight;
He rolled and tumbled all about
And snored with all his might.

His arm fell o'er a triantula's hole
Which made the spider mad;
He sank his fangs into the arm
And gave it all he had.

The cowboy waked and sobered up,
His arm was swelled and black.
He awakened the sheepherder
And they started for the shack.

The herder said, "That's pretty bad,
Looks like your judgment day.
If I was in your boots, cowboy
I'd start right in to pray."

"I'd like to pray," the cowboy said,
"But I don't know just how;
I'm doin' to do the best I can,
And I'd better start right now."

So he braced himself upon his knees
And raising up his head,
He cast his eyes toward Heaven,
And this is what he said:

"Oh God, if You see this poor cowboy,
Come down and lend him a hand.
Don't send Your Little Son, Jesus,
Boys sometimes don't understand.

"Oh God, I'm not one of them sinners
That's callin' You right along
I wouldn't take Your time up
Unless there's something real wrong.

"I'm a damned good bronk buster
And a ropin' son-of-a-gun;
It's many an outlaw I've ridden,
And it's many a dollar I've won.

"I've always been good to my horses,
Till today, never ate sheep,
I never did shirk on no roundup,
And I've always been worth my keep.

"I never have rustled no cattle,
I ain't never took up with no squaw
I ain't never fought 'less I had to,
Then I never went first for the draw.

"Of course, You know better than I do,
But it don't seem to be hardly right
For me to be cashin' my chips in
From a pot-bellied spider's bite.

"He crawled up while I was sleepin'
And he bit me while I was drunk;
I don't want to be belly-achin'
But that was the trick of a skunk.

"If I was hurt ridin' a broncho,
Or ropin' a steer, don't You see,
I wouldn't be here a beefin',
I'd figger it was comin' to me.

I've lived by my creed as I saw it,
And all that I ask is what's fair;
If You have been keepin' the cases
You know that I've been on the square.

"I never was strong for sky-pilots,
There's no place on them for to lean;
'Cause they ain't much better than I am,
I guess You know what I mean.

"I'm usin' a lot of Your time, I guess,
'Cause I don't know just how to pray,
But I won't ask any more favors
If You find time to help me today."

This was the prayer of the cowboy,
A prayer that was frank and sincere,
When he called on his God as he saw Him
To lend him a listening ear.

And the cowboy's God must have heard him
Out on the plains that day,
For He healed the suffering rider
And sent him upon his way.

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