First appeared in WEIRD TALES, June 1936 - copyright un-renewed.
"Here comes John with the blacksnake!" shouted someone, and a tremor ran through Tope Sorley's shivering body.
I pushed aside the butt of the ugly whip thrust eagerly into my hand.
"Tope," I said, "you've worked one of my father's farms for years. Has any Buckner ever treated you any way but square?"
"Nossuh," came faintly.
"Then what are you afraid of? Why don't you speak up? Something's going on in the swamps. You know, and I want you to tell us why the town niggers have all run away, why Ridge Jackson was killed, why the swamp niggers are acting so mysteriously."
"And what kind of devilment that cussed Saul Stark's cookin' up over on Tularoosa!" shouted one of the men.
Tope seemed to shrink into himself at the mention of Stark.
"I don't dast," he shuddered. "He'd put me in de swamp!"
"Who?" I demanded. "Stark? Is Stark a conjer man?"
Tope sank his head in his hands and did not answer. I laid my hand on his shoulder.
A straight adventure story, set in the post-Civil War 19th century South. A voodoo man has set himself up a little kingdom in the swamps and is planning a black uprising to drive out or kill all the whites between two rivers. It's moody and atmospheric, the descriptions are good for a pulp story, and the N-word is all over the story.
It's a well-plotted, good story, but the language is distressing, and there is no underlying moral message as there is in Twain.
If you can get past the considerable racism (the setting is the Jim Crow Deep South; the story's told in first person), it's a creepy swamp voodoo tale comparable in its eerieness to many of the darker Conan stories. "The Pool of the Black One" comes to mind. I enjoyed it, but you may not if you can't stand casual use of the "N" word.
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