The paragraph comes from an old banjo instruction book:
These banjo and fiddle bands were an important part of rural society. When the community would pitch in at a "working" such as a log rolling, a barn raising or a corn shucking, whoever was hosting the working would make sure to invite local musicians to play for a dance. . . More often than not, these musicians were "paid" with homemade moonshine whiskey. No wonder that fire-and-brimstone preachers often accused banjo and fiddle players of being "the devil's stalking horses."
The devil's stalking horses?
Never heard that one before (But, I think I'm going to make that my first banjo tune if I ever learn to play the darn thing).
Turns out, a stalking-horse is a horse behind which a hunter hides while stalking game. Something serving to conceal plans. And, a fictitious reason that is concocted in order to conceal the real reason.
Is it possible that I've been seeing a lot of "stalking horses" on social media lately and didn't even realize that it's been a real thing for centuries?
"He uses his folly like a stalking-horse, and under the presentation of that he shoots his wit." -- William Shakespeare
Off to write a banjo tune. Need a word that rhymes with a horse, of course.
Carpe diem Life,