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"What I'm about to tell you next I didn't find out till a year later. Becky had vowed that, if Jeb Daniels was acquitted of killin' Echota Reardon, she'd up and disown her family...by runnin' off to get hitched with Dooley."

"Well, sir; she was true to her word."

"Becky got together with Dooley and hashed out the followin' plan. They'd meet each other at Tortoise-shell Rock, which was the southern-most part of the county. Dooley, atop Gunmetal; and Becky astride her skewbald pinto, Crazy Quilt. From there, they'd high-tail it south towards Mexico, and find some priest to marry 'em, down there!"

"Well, sir; Dooley got there ahead of Becky. But, he weren't exactly the _first_ to arrive. Because, while rubbin' down his horse, afore lettin' him drink from the pond next to that rock, four riders came pourin' out from behind it! Namely,..."

"...Jeb Daniels and the red-headed Cousins Brothers."

" 'You lookin' for someone, Injun?' " Shadrach Cousins taunted him."

" 'Yeah,' replied Dooley (his hands already inchin' towards his double-holster rig): 'Someone a mite more attractive than you.' "

" 'Keep your hands where we can see 'em,' Shad snarled."

"Well, sir; that caused the other three to draw their Winchesters as one. Trainin' them in Dooley's direction, just like Shad's rifle already was."

" 'Our sister ain't ridin' off with the likes of you,' Shad continued: "Matter of fact, Pa locked her in her bedroom just to be sure! And, he ain't a-fixin' to let her out till you're six feet under. So, start sayin' your prayers. Assumin' you know any!' "

" 'How about this one?' a new (and very LOUD) voice interrupted: 'Now I lay me down to sleep. My brothers' hides to shear like sheep.' "

"Five pairs of eyes suddenly looked behind them and up. Up towards the top of Tortoise-shell Rock. And there, starin' back at 'em (with nothin' preservin' the modesty of her nether-portions but the rock, itself), was the topless upper torso of Becky Cousins, herself."

"Twenty-five feet tall if she was an inch!!!"

"Well, sir; before any of them four trigger-happy knotheads could think of firin' up at her, Becky came around from behind the rock and picked up Shad and Jeb, by the scruffs of their shirt collars, with her right hand. While doin' likewise, to Meshach and Abednego, with her left hand at the same time!"

" 'When you get back to the Crown-Bar-C,' she told 'em all (after givin' them a good, tooth-rattlin' shake): '...tell Pa that Rachel ain't the only one with the power in the family, now.' "

"At which point, she marched off a hundred yards, due west, which is where she'd left Crazy Quilt and her ridin' clothes. There, she kicked Jeb and her brothers--two by two--in the general direction of the Cousins ranch. Then, she picked up Crazy Quilt and her clothes; ran back to Tortoise-shell Rock; shrank back down to a normal person's size; and got re-dressed afore re-saddlin' her horse. All in less time than it takes to tell!"

"After that, they didn't stop ridin' till they hit the Mexican border. And, it was only after they had bedded down for the night, t'other side of it, that Dooley got the nerve to ask her how she'd been able to do what she'd done."

"That's when she revealed the Cousins family secret. Her mother came from a Swedish family in Minnesota. But, not just any Swedish family. It seems that Becky's ma's ancestors belonged to a Viking tribe called the Varangiants. And, at first, it was only the men-folk who had the power to grow giant-sized! Usually, bein' passed down from father to son."

"But, as time went by, this so-called 'magic power' began passin' down from mother to daughter. Then, finally, skippin' every other generation or two!"

" 'My older sister Rachel got hit with the power when she turned thirteen. Doublin' her inches, everyday. One; two; four; eight and so on. It got to the point where Pa's hands were rustlin' cattle twenty-four hours a day just to keep her well-fed! So, Pa telegraphed Ma's relatives in Minnesota for help.' "

" 'Ma's brother Peder is one of the two who came down. The other was their granny, Ingrid. The last one in the Ericcson family to have the power afore Rachel! And, Great-grandma Ingrid agreed to help train Rachel to control her power. But, on one condition. Rachel had to go back with her and Uncle Peder, to Minnesota, for that trainin'!' "

" 'Pa agreed. But, not afore addin' a condition of his own. Ma had to agree to stay at the ranch to help raise the boys and me (as I was only two at the time). And, she did!' "

" 'The War 'tween the States broke out, the followin' year, and Ma lost all contact with Minnesota. When the war ended, though, she couldn't take it any longer. She lit out, northward! Anxious to see how her first born was a-doin'. And, that's why Pa has never left me completely out of his sight, ever since.' "

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