Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mountain Lion Kittens for Sale!

It is funny how a little rumor will turn into an elaborate tale - quite literally - over night!
A few weeks ago, the newspaper staff had heard about a mountain lion sighting in our county and set out to find the roots of the rumor.
Some of the rumors that were going around town by Monday would read something like the following article if we didn’t check into all of our news sources and just wrote from hearsay!

(We did print this article, but just for fun - italics are my added notes)

"A mountain lion was spotted in western Sully County by Bob Pierce in the latter part of last week. He was out searching for six of his missing cows with a friend when he saw the feline along the banks of Sully Lake, 13 miles west of Onida (that lake is actually only 6 miles west).

Several "ear" witnesses say they heard of Bob’s purchase of a butcher knife from Lamb’s Discount, which he confirmed that he would use to ward off the cat, should it decide to attack him at any point. It is already well known that the cat has eaten six of Bob’s fully grown cows, so Bob had concluded that it’s after him. The fact that he has seen it stalking around his back door every evening, also adds evidence to that theory.

Reporter Amanda Fanger was said to have gone out to Sully Lake, where it was first reported that Bob saw the cat, in search of a photo opportunity for the newspaper. Later, some say that she was seen petting the mountain lion, having tamed it in a matter of hours. It is likely that she will now raise mountain lion kittens and sell them to exotic pet owners. This seems extremely unlikely, however, because, as everyone knows, Amanda does not know the location of Sully Lake and couldn’t possibly have found her way. (I do know the way, but this was just part of the rumor that was going around.)

As you know, the Onida Watchman strives to publish nothing but the truth and never make any mistakes, so if this story makes it into Thursday’s paper you know it is the truth, by golly!"

The story started with six missing calves, which soon became six cows, then there was word that the lion had six kittens! We called the farmers who allegedly lost six calves. The first two we talked to hadn’t lost any, but a third did say he had lost six calves somewhere along the line, although he didn't have any idea how or if they had even died, because he hadn’t found any carcasses. He wasn’t blaming the loss to mountain lions.

Some of the rumors were blamed on the Internet, but I only heard of one reference to the rumor being on Facebook. So, I don’t think all of the rumors floating around town were actually typed on "the Internet."

I can understand how the story got changed.

It is hard for me to remember details at time, especially if I’m not listening very carefully. Yes, I will admit to not always hearing every word. I start thinking about a response and miss what is being said next.

So please speak in short sentences when you're talking to me and give me time respond or find a pencil so I can write it down.


  1. The part about me not knowing my way to Sully Lake... I do know my way there, but the rummor was going around that I thought it was 13 miles west of town when it is only 6. I had a good laugh over this when I heard it all.

  2. That sounds pretty silly. Seems like that game I played as a kid called Telephone. You all sit in a line and the first person in line makes up a sentence and whispers it to the person sitting next to her, who repeats what he or she heard to the next person, and so on down the line. Then, the last person in line tells everyone what they heard. It is usually nothing at all like the original sentence.

    1. That's exactly what this was like! There's a saying that goes: "There may not be a lot to see in a small town, but what you hear makes up for it!"

      Thanks for the comment Millie :)


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