Friday, December 17, 2004

Shave That Hawg!

The other day while going through some of my pulps I came across the January 1950 issue of MAX BRAND’S WESTERN MAGAZINE, which contains a reprint of a Pike Bearfield story by Robert E. Howard, “Shave That Hawg!”, originally published in Argosy in 1936 after Howard’s death. I’d never read it, so I sat down and did so this morning. What a joy it is to encounter an unread Howard story and go through it for the first time. This one has plenty of action, the usual exaggerated violence and instances of dry wit, and a fairly complicated plot for a short story. Pike visits East Texas in response to a plea for help from another branch of the family. It seems that his Uncle Joab has started rustling hogs, which of course brings shame to the family and threatens to start a feud. When Pike gets there he discovers that his uncle is not only stealing hogs but is shaving them as well. And then after that it gets even wilder. Highly entertaining, and great work on Howard’s part.

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