Monday, July 18, 2011

The Gold Diggin’ Dead Suitor

James had two goals in life one to strike a rich vein of gold and the other to find a bride. He hadn’t had any luck finding gold but he knew a wealthy lady would solve both his problems. 

His eastern manners pegged him as tenderfoot and the fact that he had brought a bag of fool’s gold to town claiming he had made a strike had not improved his reputation. After that, the townsfolk and miners claimed he was a fool and a coward. But this did not deter him from courting every wealthy lady including some who were already taken.

Word of James’s gold-diggin’ ways got around and none of the eligible ladies would have anything to do with him. As it turns out he never had luck finding gold or a bride, in the winter of “49 his lifeless body was found at the bottom of a steep cliff. 

Some speculated that he had courted one to many ‘spoken for’ ladies. Others joked about whether it was the fall or his fear that had killed him. He was buried in the weed patch the town called a cemetery. Everyone promptly forgot about him.

This normally would have been the end of James except for several odd events. Two days after he was buried James’ remains where found in the local saloon lying in bed next to a well to do lady entertainer he had courted. The sheriff assuming that some local pranksters had gone too far, calmed the hysterical singer down and took James back to the cemetery.

When the sheriff questioned the townsfolk and miners no one seemed to know anything about it. 

But all the locals enjoyed the story and had a good laugh. Three days later the body of James was found at the bank. He was propped against the vault; he held a love note for the banker’s daughter in his hand. At this point he was not a pretty sight. The sheriff, the only one not enjoying the situation, removed the corpse for a second time and buried it as deeply as possible and piled heavy stones on top.

More time passed. Next James’ body was discovered sitting on the front porch of the local judges’ home, clutched in his hand were wilted wildflowers and a note addressed to the judges’ eldest daughter. Again the sheriff reburied him. 

He then was found sitting in the carriage of the town’s wealthy widow holding a box of sweets and a note addressed to her. The sheriff was now tired and angry. 

James' body visited several more local prosperous businessmen’s daughters with love letters and bouquets of dried up wildflowers. 

Disgusted the sheriff hired a local boy to watch the grave.

One night the boy roused the sheriff in a panic. “He came out of his grave and started pickin’ flowers. It was James, I swear!” The boy was hysterical and wouldn’t calm down until the sheriff agreed to follow him to the graveyard. Once there the sheriff saw for himself that the earth at James’ grave was disturbed.

The next morning the sheriff found the rotting corpse at the home of his own sweetheart, the daughter of a wealthy merchant. This was the last straw. "I have had enough of this tomfoolery," the sheriff declared. "If you won’t stay put then I am going to help you stay put."

After the sheriff’s declaration the townsfolk never encountered the courtin’ corpse again but several years later a pair of grave robbers dug up a large coffin. It was covered in fool’s gold and when they opened the lid there were two skeletons. On the arm of one they recognized the jewelry of the town’s wealthy spinster who had died just a short while after James. 

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