THERE WAS A big, overgrown cow poke named Tall Cotton, whose specialty was going to sleep during duty hours, leaving the rest of the crew to do his share of the work…
The boys took it for a time, but they finally decided that something had to be done about the matter.
Then came the day they found Cotton curled up in a haystack, boots off, sound asleep. They opportunity was golden. The boys rounded up a huge tarantula, killed it, and laid it close to Cotton’s leg. Then they tied a pin on the end of a stick and jabbed the sleeping cowboy a couple of times. Cotton came awake like a wild Comanche doing the snake dance and, at the same time, a cowboy rushed up and smashed the tarantula with his boot heel.
Cotton took one look at the dead tarantula and turned white. He began to get sick, even though the other cowboys did their best to console him with stories of horrible deaths they had seen as a result of tarantula bites. Finally, one of the crew, who laid claim to having read Ten Thousand Things Worth Knowing, as well as Dr. Chase’s Recipe Book, offered to try to save Cotton, even though he admitted it seemed hopeless.
First, the cowboy poured a pint of Castor oil down Cotton. Then he followed it up with a glass of soda, a cup of vinegar, and finally a quart of water in which a plug of tobacco had been soaking. For a while it seemed almost certain that Cotton was going to die from the tarantula bite, but the medicine was potent and, eventually, he was saved.
After that, the crew had very little trouble with him lying down on the job, especially in haystacks! (Stan Hoig, The Humor of the American Cowboy, 26, 27)
“Give no sleep to your eyes, nor slumber to your eyelids.” Proverbs 6:4; cf. 6:9-10, 24:33