John Oakhurst was a gambler. He had resided in the little western tvery own of Poker Flat for only a short time. He had defeated many kind of people at cards. He had actually additionally won many their money. For that factor alone, he was not well preferred.

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On the morning of November twenty-3rd, eighteenager fifty, he observed some men talking as he walked down the main street of town. As he came close to, they got quiet. He said to himself, “Hmmm, I guess they are talking around me. And that can’t be excellent.” Oakhurst was ideal. A few of the town’s leaders had actually met privately and also decided to force some world to leave. They believed Poker Flat would certainly be a far better location to live if those human being were gone.

Besides Oakhurst, two womales of low morals were resulted in the edge of tvery own. They were the “Duchess” as she was dubbed, and “Mvarious other Shipton.” A male called “Uncle Billy” was added to the group. He was recognized to drink also much. Some people thought that he had actually also stolen some gold. They had no proof. But that did not matter. Uncle Billy was just no great, and he had actually to go. The “outcasts” were told that if they ever came ago, they would certainly be killed.

So, the 4 of them progressively rode out of town. The “Duchess” cried and also sassist she would most likely die on the road. Mother Shipton and also Uncle Billy cursed. “Mother” shelp she would choose to “reduced the heart out” of the civilization who done this to them. But John Oakhurst rode in silence. He believed every one of life was a gamble. He had actually simply run right into some poor luck. That was all.


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The outcasts were headed for Sandy Bar, a camp not too far ameans. But it was high up in the cold Sierra Mountains, and the path was anything yet smooth. Around noon, Mvarious other Shipton ended up being so tired she fell off her steed. She shelp that was as far as she was going now. Oakhurst tried to make them move on bereason they had actually no food or fuel. But the 3 would certainly not listen. Instead they began to drink alcohol that Uncle Billy had hidden. Soon they were quiet and asleep.

Oakhurst did not drink. He stood nearby and watched them. He began to think around his life and also around just how lonely he was. Yet he was stronger than his three companions. He can have left them there and collection off alone. But he did not.

Then, he heard someone call “John Oakhurst.” A young male called Tom Simchild came riding up. The gambler kbrand-new Tom. They had actually as soon as played cards and Oakhurst had won. But after the game, he told young Tom that he was too easy to beat. And he offered him earlier his money. Tom sassist Oakhurst would certainly be his frifinish for life.

Tom was not alone. From behind a tree came his new wife, a girl named Piney Woods. Her father had not wanted her to marry Tom. So they had actually run away. Tom told Oakhurst that he had a little food. He also verified him an old log house simply off the route. Years of harsh weather had actually practically damaged it. But it was all they had actually, and also it would need to execute. The womales could spfinish the night in tright here. The guys would make a fire and also sleep on the ground by the door.

The night appeared to pass quickly. But the weather ended up being colder. The wind raised, and also it began to scurrently. Oakhurst had actually a negative feeling. He turned to wright here Uncle Billy had actually slept, and also uncovered him gone. He had actually left the others and even taken their equines. Oakhurst shelp Uncle Billy had more than likely gone for help. But he knew much better. The group of 5 decided to wait for the scurrently to speak before traveling farther. They no much longer had horses. From right here on, they would be on foot.

By the third day out from Poker Flat, the snow had actually acquired deep. They can no much longer watch the course. Food was running low. Everything approximately them was white and cold. One week later they still had not moved. The scurrently had actually continued to autumn and also was deeper than ever before. And it continued to autumn. It formed a prison they might not escape. Still, they could view smoke increasing from the warmth fires in the residences down listed below in Poker Flat. The site appeared particularly cruel.

But the little team of outcasts tried to store up their spirits. They tried to remain as heat as they could. They sat together by their very own open-air fire. And Tom Simboy pulled a little accordion from his load. Piney Woods played the instrument. They all sang songs. The music took on a defiant top quality, a high quality of resistance. But the outcasts had actually to listen to the sad cries of their largely empty stomachs. The hunger acquired worse with each passing day.

At midnight on the tenth day, Mother Shipton called Oakhurst to her side. She said, “Give this to the young ones.” In a bag was all her food. She had actually not consumed for days. She had saved the food for the others. She turned quietly to the wevery one of the log home, and also died.

John Oakhurst started to think that none of them would live out the storm. He offered Tom Simkid a pair of snowshoes and asked him to attempt to walk earlier to Poker Flat for help. He guessed it would take Tom at leastern two days, if not even more, to acquire tright here. Tom kissed his brand-new bride and also left on foot. Soon he was out of sight. The Duchess and Piney were surprised, and also frightened, once Oakhurst likewise turned to leave. “You’re not going, as well,” they cried. He said, “Only a little means. I need to find us some assist.”

At that time of year, daylight did not last long. When night came, Oakhurst had actually not went back. The 2 women were also hungry, weak, and cold to also include even more wood to the fire. They passed the stormy night holding each various other close. And that is the method they were uncovered the following morning when help arrived from Poker Flat. They had actually frozen to death throughout the night.

The rescuers from town sassist that they had actually been ideal to force the outcasts to leave Poker Flat. But they never before assumed the punishment would end up prefer this. Justice was one thing, however freezing civilization to death was not their aim. And then they believed of the gambler. Wbelow was he? What had actually occurred to him? They searched as best they can. And then, they discovered him.

Under a tall tree a playing card was stuck right into the hardwood by a knife. On the card was written: “Beneath this tree lies the body of John Oakhurst, that had actually some poor luck beginning the twenty-third of November, eighteen fifty. He handed in his cards on the seventh of December, the exact same year.”

Oakhurst sat there, cold and also still. They shelp he looked peaceful. A single bullet from a tiny hand gun surrounding had finished his life. John Oakhurst had actually been both the strongest, and the weakest, of the outcasts of Poker Flat.

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“The Outcasts of Poker Flat” by Bret Harte was adjusted for VOA Learning English and read by Jim Tedder.