Parley P. Pratt uses an Old Trick

Fifty miles west of Kirtland, in Amherst, Ohio, Parley was arrested on a frivolous charge, tried, found guilty, and ordered to pay a fine. Because he could not pay, Parley spent the night locked in a public inn. The next morning, he was visited briefly by his companions and urged them to move ahead on their journey, promising to soon rejoin them. Parley reported: “After sitting awhile by the fire in charge of the officer, I requested to step out. I walked out into the public square accompanied by him. Said I, ‘Mr. Peabody, are you good at a race?’ ‘No,’ said he, ‘but my big bull dog is, and he has been trained to assist me in my office these several years; he will take any man down at my bidding.’ ‘Well, Mr. Peabody, you compelled me to go a mile, I have gone with you two miles. You have given me an opportunity to preach, sing, and have also entertained me with lodging and breakfast. I must now go on my journey; if you are good at a race you can accompany me. I thank you for all your kindness—good day, sir.’

“I then started on my journey, while he stood amazed and not able to step one foot before the other. . . . He did not awake from his astonishment sufficiently to start in pursuit till I had gained, perhaps, two hundred yards. . . . He now came hallooing after me, and shouting to his dog to seize me. The dog, being one of the largest I ever saw, came close on my footsteps with all his fury; the officer behind still in pursuit, clapping his hands and hallooing, ‘stu-boy, stu-boy—take him—watch—lay hold of him, I say—down with him,’ and pointing his finger in the direction I was running. The dog was fast overtaking me, and in the act of leaping upon me, when, quick as lightning, the thought struck me, to assist the officer, in sending the dog with all fury to the forest a little distance before me. I pointed my finger in that direction, clapped my hands, and shouted in imitation of the officer. The dog hastened past me with redoubled speed towards the forest; being urged by the officer and myself, and both of us running in the same direction.”

14. Pratt, Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, pp. 36, 38–39.

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