Down in a hidden valley
Where the dogwoods bloom in spring,
There flows a clear mountain creek
Over rocks its waters sing.
On the west side of the creek
Is the dry mouth of Old Dave.
Here long ago came a man
To explore this mountain cave.
He was from Illinois.
A well-learned man he had said.
All the great books of the world
He had studied, he had read.
Warned he was, about that hole.
But he bragged that he was brave.
Boldly he searched the mountains
For the ancient dry mouth cave.
He told no one his real name.
Why we never truly knew.
A young hillbilly he found
And said to him, “you will do.”
He paid Tony rather well
But thought he was quite a knave.
Yet, it was Tony who found
The concealed mouth of the cave.
Deep into it they traveled,
Seeing by the faint torchlight.
Here Tony could guide no more.
Here Tony was filled with fright.
He said, “Stranger, let’s go back.”
The stranger said, “Child, behave.
I am the guide underground.
I’ve explored many a cave.”
The legend that Desoto
In the cave had put treasure,
Is what drove the Northerner.
Wealth he’d find without measure.
Onward, onward they traveled.
Hunting the gold he did crave.
But the boy sensed something
Way back in the Ozark cave.
Something shiny, far ahead.
Could that be the treasure there?
High up on a rocky ledge,
With lust the stranger did stare.
I’m rich the man said aloud,
Stumbling as he did rave.
Like a mad man running there
Far back in the treasure cave.
But before he could reach it,
The hole started caving in.
The last words the stranger said
Was, “Dave, I regret my sin.”
Quickly Tony ran back out.
Only himself he could save
From the ancient old black hole
That was later named, ‘Dave’s Cave’.
A.L. Shipman, Jr.
August 17, 1984
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