Dakota Datebook

An Unfortunate Chain of Events

Saturday, October 20, 2012


It was about this date in 1916 near Calvin, North Dakota when six-year-old Russell Duncan noticed a snake skin in the grass as he herded cows to the barn for milking. While the cows munched their morning hay, Russell headed for the farmhouse where the family’s hired girl was preparing breakfast – heating up canned pork and beans, which had recently been developed to feed soldiers during World War One. But she did so without opening the can!

Russell slid the snake skin from his pocket and laid it on his plate just as she brought the beans to the table. Upon seeing the snake, she screamed and dropped the beans. The hot can hit the floor, exploded, and sprayed beans everywhere.

Dakota Datebook written by Karen Horsley


I Remember, by Russell Duncan, 1978


This text and audio may not be copied without securing prior permission from Prairie Public.

Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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