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Fur-Bearing Trout

A Colorado Tall Tale

Now it happened that there was a mining camp in Colorado where more than an average number of the miners were bald. An enterprising hair tonic salesman from Kentucky decided to take advantage of this golden opportunity, so he made the trip north. It was a rainy summer evening. The salesman was headed towards the mining camp with four bottles of hair tonic under his arm. As he was crossing one of the trout streams which lead to the Arkansas River, the salesman slipped and dropped two bottles of hair tonic into the water. The bottles broke, and the hair tonic spilled into the stream.

Not too long after this incident, the fishermen along the Arkansas developed a new method for catching trout. They’d head to the bank of the river carrying a red and white barber pole and some scissors. Then they would set up the barber pole and call out: “Get your free shave and a haircut here”. All the trout whose fur had grown too long or who needed their beards trimmed would hop right out of the water and be picked up by the fishermen. It wasn’t until the mills began muddying the waters so much that the fish couldn’t see the barber poles that the practice died out.

You can read more Colorado folktales in Spooky Southwest by .

S.E. Schlosser

S.E. Schlosser

S.E. Schlosser is the author of the Spooky Series published by Globe Pequot Press. She has been telling stories since she was a child, when games of “let’s pretend” quickly built themselves into full-length tales acted out with friends. A graduate of both Houghton College and the Institute of Children’s Literature, Sandy received her MLS from Rutgers University while working as a full-time music teacher and a freelance author.