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TALES FROM GUILFORD COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA.

BY ELSIE CLEWS PARSONS.

CONTENTS.

186

187

176

PAGE

PAGE 1. (a) Tar Baby .....171 | 29. The Woman-Horse . . . . 186

(6) In the Briar-Patch . . 171 30. Racing the Train. .... 186 2. Big Fraid and Little Fraid. 172 31. “Man Above" ...... 3. Playing Dead Twice in the 32. The Three Little Pigs. ..

Road . ........ 172 33. The Witch Spouse .... 187 4. Rabbit makes Fox his Rid 34. Out of Her Skin .....

ing-Horse . ...... 173 35. Mustard-Seed . .... 5. The Race: Relay Trick . . 174 36. Feasting on Dog. ... . 188 6. The Race: Slow but Steady 174 37. Keeping Pace ...... 189 7. Above the Ground and 38. Buger. .........

189 under the Ground ... 175 39. The Witches and the Dogs. 189 8. No Tracks Out ...· · 175

40. Fatal Imitation ..... 190 9. In the Chest. ...... 175 | 41. The Pumpkin . .1... 190 10. Pay Me Now ...... 176 | 42. The Turnip ....... 191 11. Talks Too Much ..... | 43. The Single Ball .... 191 12. Dividing the Souls . ... 177 | 44. As Big a Fool ...... 191 13. The Insult Midstream . . 177 | 45. Pleasing Everybody ... 192 14. Watcher Tricked . .

| 46. (a) Playing Godfather . . 192 15. The Insult Midstream;

(6) Jumping over the Fire. 193 Watcher Tricked; Mock 47. The Step-Mother..... 193

Funeral . ....... 178 | 48. The Best Place...... 194 16. Brush-Heap A-fire .... 179 | 49. Woman on House-Top . . 194 17. The Spitting Hant .... 179 50. The Talking Bones . .... 18. Fiddling for the Devil . . 180 | 51. The Haunted House ... 195 19. "Fixed" .......... 180

52. The Black Cat. ....195 20. Alligator's Tail; In the 53. Self-Confidence..... 196

Briar-Patch : ...... 54. The Woman-Cat . .... 196 21. The Devil Marriage .... 55. The Murderous Mother . . 196 22. Blue-Beard ....... 183

56. The Cat who wanted Shoes 197 23. Tickling 'Possum. ...

57. Straw into Gold ..... 198 24. The Frog ........ 58. Three-Eyes ....... 198 25. Woman up a Tree .... 59. The Frog who would Ay.. 198 26. Old Man on a Hunt ... 60. Brave Folks . ...... 199 27. Fishing on Sunday .... 185 | 61. The Adulteress. . . . . . 199 28. The Little Girl and Her 62. Anyhow. ........ 200

Snake. ........ 185 |

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In the following collection we see the art of the folk-tale in its last stage of disintegration. The tale is cut down or badly told or half forgotten. And the narrator explains, “Lor', my gran'daddy tol' me that tale, but I hasn' thought of it for thirty years. I'se been working too hard.” The intrusion of the popular anecdote (see Nos. 30, 48) and of the story drawn directly or indirectly from a literary source (see Nos. 22, 32, 45, 53, 55, 57) is another evidence of the passing of the "ol'-timey story."

Some of the tales appear to be holding their own better than others. Nos. 1, 9, 10, 25-28, 39, 49, 51, 52, 54, are very generally known. No. 21, a very interesting variant of the widespread tale of the Devil marriage, is obviously an exotic. The mere fact that the verses were sung (or, rather, chanted) proves that it was borrowed from a region where the “sing" is an important part of the tale. The elimination of the “sings" from the other tales, “sings" found in variants elsewhere, is another evidence of tale disintegration. For example: in the Bahama variants of Nos. 27, 33, 39, which I have collected, the “sings” are retained.

Between the Bahama Islands and the Carolinas there is an historical connection which may account in part for the number of tales they have, I find, in common. During the period of the Revolutionary War a number of Tories known as United Empire Loyalists migrated from the Carolinas to the Bahamas; and they took with them, of course, their household slaves. In connection with this migration, it was of interest to find that what is still current belief in the Bahamas serves as a tale in North Carolina. I refer to the magical beliefs embodied in Nos. 28, 34, 35.

Below is a list of the narrators of the tales. 1. Henry Smith. About 70. Born and bred in Ida County, North

Carolina. 2. Lulu Young. About 25. 3. Carter Young. About 70. Father of Lulu, Nancy, and Katherine

Young. Born in Guilford County; but he has lived in Alabama,

Georgia, Mississippi. 4. George Marshall. About 73. Born in Rockingham County. 5. Bill Cruse. About 68. Born and bred in Forsyth County. 6. Sam Cruse. About 30. Son of Bill Cruse. He has lived in Ohio. 7. Maude Stockton. About 30. Born and bred in Rockingham County. 8. Author, a school-girl of sixteen. Her mother dictated these tales to

her. Her mother is the daughter of Margaret Burke (see No. 9,

below). 9. Margaret Burke. According to her "free papers," she is 87; but she

states that the papers, in order to guarantee her freedom, made her out 21 when she was only 10. Free-born of free parents. Used to live in Rockingham County. Her mother had lived in Robertson

County. 10. Katherine Young. About 16. Sister of Lulu Young. 11. Lamy Tatum. About 80. Sister of Margaret Burke (No. 9).

12. Mary Dalton. About 50.
13. Mary Bunch. About 45.
14. A boy of 12 in Greensborough.
15. Nancy Young. About 15. Sister of Lulu Young (No. 2).
16. Rufus Warren. About 50.
17. John Marshall. About 40. Son of George Marshall (No. 4).
18. Jennie Tatum. About 25.

BIBLIOGRAPHY.

Since I am giving a full bibliography of both European and African parallels of many of the tales in the Bahama tales to be published as a memoir of the American Folk-Lore Society, I have limited the following bibliography, for the most part, to North American Negro parallels. BELL, H. J. Obeah. London, 1889. Cited Bell. BACKUS, E. M. Animal Tales from North Carolina (JAFL 9 : 290). 1898.

Cited JAFL 9 : 290. CHAMBERS, R. Popular Rhymes of Scotland. London & Edinburgh, 1870. DORSEY, J. O. Two Biloxi Tales (Alabama Indians) (JAFL 6 : 48). 1893.

Cited JAFL 6 : 48. EDWARDS, C. L. Bahama Songs and Stories (MAFLS 3). 1895. Cited

MAFLS 3. FOLKLORE. London, 1904, 1915. Cited FL 15, FL 26, respectively. FOLK-SONG SOCIETY JOURNAL. London, 1905-06. Cited FSSJ 2 : 297–

299. FORTIER, A. Louisiana Folk-Tales (MAFLS 2). 1895. Cited MAFLS 2. HARRIS, J. C. Uncle Remus, His Songs and His Sayings. New York &

London, 1915. Cited Harris 1. — Nights with Uncle Remus. Boston & New York, 1911. Cited Harris 2. — Uncle Remus and his friends. Boston & New York, 1892. Cited

Harris 3. HOKE, N. C. Folk-Custom and Folk-Belief in North Carolina (JAFL 5 :

119). 1892. Cited JAFL 5:119. JACOBS. English Fairy Tales. Cited Jacobs. JACOTTET, E. The Treasury of Ba-Suto Lore. Morija, Basutoland &

London, 1908. Cited Jacottet. JEKYLL, W. Jamaica Song and Story (Pub. Folk-Lore Soc., 55). London,

1907. Cited Pub. Folk-Lore Soc. 55. JONES, C. C. Negro Myths from the Georgia Coast. Boston & New York,

1888. Cited Jones. JOURNAL OF AMERICAN FOLK-LORE. Cited JAFL. MEMOIRS OF THE AMERICAN FOLK-Lore Society. Cited MAFLS. PARSONS, E. C. Folk-Tales of Andros Island, Bahamas. MS. Cited

Parsons. SMITH, P. C. Annancy Stories. New York, 1899. Cited Smith. UDAL, J. S. (FL 26 : 281). 1915. WERNER, A. African Folk-Lore (The Contemporary Review, 70 : 383).

1896. Cited CR 70 : 383.

1. (a) TAR BABY.1 De fox, in order to git de rabbit, he fixes a tar bucket to his milkhouse door to ketch de rabbit when he comes in to eat his butter.2 An' den de rabbit seen de bucket sittin' dere, an' he spoke to it. “Who's this?” An' it didn't say nothin'. An' den he said, “If you don' speak, I'll hit you." An' he hit with one foot, an' it stuck in de tar bucket. Den he hit with de oder one. An' it stuck. De rabbit said, “If you don' speak, I'll hit you with de oder foot; an' it is rank pison an' it will kill yer." De fox come an' said he was goin' to kill de rabbit. An' de rabbit says to de fox, “If you don' kill me, I'll pray some for yer.” An' de fox tol' de rabbit he wanted to hear him pray then. An' de rabbit prayed, —

“Duck do stay in de water,
Duck do stay in de water,
Duck do stay in de water."

An' de fox said to de rabbit, “Ol’ Rabbit, hush! Let me go to town to get me wife an' chil'ren, let them come hear you pray."

(6) IN THE BRIAR-PATCH. Once de farmer had a spring of very good water. Ev'ry mornin' he'd go to de spring, he would fin' it muddy. He had studied all day long some plan to ketch Mr. Rabbit. He would come ev'ry mornin' an’ wash his face in de spring befo' de farmer could get there. So he made up his mind to play a trick on him. He made a tar baby 4 an' sot it near de spring. De nex' mornin' bright an' early Mr. Rabbit came down about de spring. He seen de tar baby, an' he did not like de looks of him. But he thought he would speak. So he said, Good-mornin'!” An' de tar baby did not say a word. An' agin he said, "Good-mornin'!" An' de tar baby did not speak. An' he walked up close to it, an' he said, “If you don't speak to me, I will smack you in de spring." De tar baby yet hadn't spoken. An' he said, “I will tach you some manners if you have not got any." An' he drawed back his front paw an' smacked de tar baby. An' it stuck there. An' he drawed back his oder one an' smacked him. An' he said, “If you don't turn me aloose, I will kick you into de spring."

1 Informant 1. I give titles in all cases as a matter of convenience. The narrator sometimes says a phrase or two which appears to serve him as a kind of title, but usually he starts in without this preliminary. Compare JAFL 9 : 290; Jones, IV; Harris 1 : II; MAFLS 2 :98; MAFLS 3 : 73; this number, p. 222; Parsons, X. See Bibliography, p. 170.

Variant: Man fixes a tar-bucket for one who is muddying his spring. • Informant 2. It is not unlikely that this variant is literary. Several of my younger informants stated that they had read “Tar-Baby" in a book. For the concluding pattern see Harris 1 : IV, XII; this number, pp. 181, 225; Parsons, X (variant).

Variant: Wax doll.

An' he drawed back an' kicked de tar baby with all his might. Both feet stuck there. “If you don't turn me aloose, I will bite you." An' he bit de tar baby. It was not very long befo' de farmer come down to see how his plan had worked out. He seen Mr. Rabbit stuck there fast. “Oh, yes! you're de one wha' ha' ben a-muddlin' my spring. I'm gwine to eat you fur my dinner.” Mr. Rabbit begin ter baig the farmer to let him aloose, but he would not do it. Now home he got, more harder de rabbit baigged de farmer. He passed by a briarthicket; an' de rabbit said to de farmer, “You can roast me, you ken skin me alive, but please don't throw me in de briar-thicket!” i De farmer thought that would be de best way to get shed of him, Mr. Rabbit, was to throw him in de briar-patch, so he throwed him as fare as he could. Just betime he taut (touched] de ground, he kicked up his heel 2 an' commenced sayin', “I was bred an' born in dis briarpatch." 3

2. BIG FRAID AND LITTLE FRAID. 4 Boy was afraid. When he went after de cows. Man put on a sheet to scare the boy. Monkey heard the man. He put on a sheet to scare the man. When he started to scare the boy, Monkey said, “Run, Big Fraid! Little Fraid will ketch you!” 5

3. PLAYING DEAD TWICE IN THE ROAD. 6 Ol' Rabbit an' Fox went a-fishin'. Ol’ Rabbit he was lazy, an' he wouldn't fish none; an' ol' Fox kep' a-tellin' him he'd better fish. An' he started home, an' ol' Rabbit tol' him to give him some fish. An' de ol' fox said he wouldn't give 'em none to save his life. De ol' rabbit asked ol' Fox if he see a heap of rabbits layin' in de road, would he pick 'em up. An' he said, not 'less he see a heap of 'em. He run round den an' got in de path ahead of him, an' lay down like as he was dead. Ol’ Fox he come on an' kicked him outside of de road. An' ol' Rabbit ran 'round again, an' got in de road an' lay down like he was dead. An' ol' Fox said, “Hum! I pick you up."

1 Variant: Man whose milk and butter Rabbit has been eating says, “I am going to boil you an' roas' you." ...-"Don't throw me in the briar-patch. Will scratch my eyes out."

2 Variant: Say, "Kiss my foot."

3 Variant: Fox said he would throw him in the briars. B'o' Rabbit said, “Dat's where I was bred an' born."

4 Informant 3.

5 Variant: Boy, seeing man and monkey on roof, said, “Dere sits big buger, little buger sittin' behin' him." Man runs. "Run, Big Buger! Little Buger ketch you!" (See p. 227.)

6 Informant 4. Compare Harris 1 : XV; Harris 3 : XXII; MAFLS 2 : 109; Parsons, VIII.

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