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5/12/2005  

Slue-foot Sue

Who else would the ultimate cowboy fall in love with than the ultimate cowgirl? That's Slue-foot Sue all right. First time Pecos Bill saw her, she was "ridin' a catfish down the Rio Grande. She was riding standing up and holdin' on with only one hand sose she could take pot-shots at the clouds with her six-shooter. Was making a right pretty pattern too." (Pecos Bill and Slue-Foot Sue retold by S.E. Schlosser) Where does this unparalleled cowgirl make her home? Well, some say its Pecos County, Texas!

In some versions of the legend, Pecos Bill and Slue-foot Sue are sweethearts who go adventuring together, like in the drama "Pecos Bill and Slue-foot Sue Meet the Dirty Dan Gang". Disney also featured Pecos Bill and Slue-foot Sue in the movie Melody Time.

In others, Pecos Bill and Slue-foot Sue get married, but before they can start on their honeymoon, Sue gets thrown from Bill's horse Widowmaker. Sue was wearing really springy hoop skirts so that "when she hit the ground, she bounced up again. She bounced so high she kept hitting her head on the moon...Finally, Bill realized that she was gonna starve to death before she stopped bouncing, so he had to shoot her."

There are a few versions of the story in which Bill manages to rescue Sue from her bouncing and they live happily -- if stormily-- ever after. (Geekteacher.net has several variations on the Pecos Bill Story, including one with a happy ending) Since Pecos Bill and Slue-foot Sue are both such strong individuals, their courtship and marriage often reminds me of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew! There's also a fun poem by Kevin Andrew Murphy that has a different take on the Pecos Bill/Slue-foot Sue courtship!

Author's Note: There is also a folk-song about a Slue-Foot Sue who worked in a shirt-tail factory, but she doesn't sound much like Pecos Bill's girlfriend to me!


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