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Ol' Tarpin started to cross the road. One of his neighbors saw him a week a-crossin'. Tree fell jus' as he got across. He said, "Ain't it well tobepyrt!"*
54. THE WOMAN-CAT.*
Der was a man owned a mill, an' he couldn't stay at it late. Something would run him away.4 One day an ol' traveller * come along, an' asked him what would he give him to stay dere dat night. He said he would give him mos* anything if he would stay. So he went in, an' takin* his book, his Bible, an' surd, an* sat down an' kimminced a-readin'. It was eight or nine cats* came in 'rectly after dark, an' staid there until gettin' late. An' one of them made a drive at de man, an' he up with his surd an' cut his right front foot off. An' dey all left then. Nex' mornin' he went up to de house fur breakfast. An' de miller he was gettin' breakfas'. His wife was not able.7 He wanted to know what was de trouble. He said she was cuttin' a ham-bone in two an' hurt her han'. He showed the man a ring, an' asked him would he own it. He said he would. He said that was his wife ring he bought him [her] befo' dey was married. So they went in de room an' asked her was dat her ring. She said it was not. Then they looked, an' her right han' was cut off at de wrist.
55- THE MURDEROUS MOTHER.8
An oT man caught a 'possum, an' carried it home for his wife. An' she put it on an' baked it. An' she kept a tastin' until she eat it all up.' An' she had a little boy name Finlay. An' she said, "If I give yo a piece of butter an' bread, can I kill you?" — "No'm." — "Say 'yes,' Finlay." She cut his head off an' his fingers, an' put his head in de bed, an' his fingers on de stone. An' de ol' man come. An' de bird flew in his do'. Says, "Wonder where is po' little Finlay!"
Pert, meaning lively.
Variant: She turn to a horse an' run the men away from the mill.
Variant: First came in was a white cat. Taken seat up there beside the man. Nex' was a yaller cat. The white cat said, "Come in, pussy, like I had to do." The yaller cat was taken a seat. Nex'was a black cat. "Come in, pussy, like I had to do." . . . —Another variant: Something like a rabbit.
'Variant: "My wife in bed." — "Get her up." Got her up. She was out of her skin. It was jus' like a beef. — Another variant: She had shoes on her hands, like a horse. He took and killed her.
• Informant 7. Compare MAFLS 2 : 61, 75.
For this opening cf. "The Milk-White Doo" (Chambers, p. 49).
"Just look on de bed, you'll find his head.
Then the ol' man prayed, "Drap^a little marble stone." There dropped a stone an' killed the ol' lady.1
De mother cooked a 'possum, an' she kept a tastin' it till she ate it all up. Then she takin' her little girl an' cut her head off an' cooked her. An1 ol' par't [parrot] he would say, "Where's little Nellie? Where's little Nellie?" She would shoo him off. An' when her husban' come at dinner, he wanted to know where was the baby. She says she eat her dinner an' gone to sleep. An' ol' par't would come an' say, "Where's little Nellie?" He said, —
"Little Nellie is dead.
Look in de bed,
An' you'll see her head."
An* he looked an' found her head. He take it an' put her in a barrel, poured lamp-oil over her, an' drove spikes, sot it a-fire, an' rolled her off down the hill.
"If I give you a lump of sugar as big as my fist, can I kill you?" De chil' said, "Yes." She took it out to de chop-block, an' she laid it on de block an' she chopped off its head. De fader came home. De moder cooked her, an' gave her to de fader to eat. De speerit came an' said,
"My mother killed me.
My father ate me.
My brothers buried my bone
Under a marble stone."
56. THE CAT WHO WANTED SHOES.2
Once dere was a man named Tom Conder. It was a great large cat come in his house, an' staid for twelve months. He got ready to go to town with some 'backer. An' de cat said to him, "I want you to bring me back a pair of shoes. If you don't, I will destroy your wife an' childrun while you gone." So he promised her he would. He tol' some fellows about de cat talkin'. Dey said it was a witch, an' fur him to bring it off de nex' day, an' they would meet him an' kill it. An' so he gethered it up to carry it to town to get a shoe. When he met .'em, they wanted to know what he had in his sack. One said, "Have you got liquor?" An' he said, "No." Then the oder jerked de sack off his back, an* out jumped de cat, an' de dogs ran in behind it.
1 Another stone dropped, but what it did the informant forgets. * Informant 2.' 1 Informant 2. Compare Smith, 20-34.
57. STRAW INTO GOLD.1
Once dere was a queen married a c'uel man. He would put a lot of straws down an' tell her to turn 'em into gold by de time he get back. One day she was a grievin' because she could not turn 'em into gold. An* a ol' man come along an' axed her why does she weep, kind miss. "Because I cannot turn those straws into gold." An' he said, "I will turn 'em into gold fur you if you will give me your first chil'." An' he did. An' he come again fur de chiT. She did not recep [?] to him to take de chil' jus" den. An' he said, "If you will tell me my name, I will not take it." Another man come an' tol' her to write down all de dead an' all de livin' people names. An' she did. One day ol' man was a-huntin'. He seen a little cabin in de forest. He heard a noise. He went close an' listened, an' he heard an ol' man singin', —
"To-day I was buried,
To-morrow I was brew.
And then for de queen chil'
I shall take.
I'm so glad then she do not know
That my name is Tambutoe."
He went back to take de chil'. She said, "You go away, ol' Tambutoe!"
Once a woman had three children. She was sendin' to mind de cow in de bottom. She would stick a pin in her sister's ear an' put her to sleep. An' then she would take a little red switch an whup on de ground, an' fix a nice table fur dinner. Then she would wake up her sister, an' they would eat. Her mother sent de three-eyed girl one day to watch um. She taken an' stickin a pin in the threeeyed girl's head; an' two eyes went to sleep, an' one eye watched her an' seed how she fixed her lunch.
59. THE FROG WHO WOULD FLY.*
Once there was a frog that wished to fly. So some ducks decided to carry the frog. The ducks got a stick, and told the frog to take hold of it in the middle with his mouth. The ducks took hold of the stick at each end. They went flying up in the air with the frog. They got up in the air, and met a gang of birds; and they said, "What a beautiful frog!" And the frog began to swell. "What a beautiful frog!" The frog swelled. And went to open his mouth to speak a word to the birds, and opened his mouth and turned the stick aloose, and fell to the ground and bursted himself open.
1 Informant 2.
« Informant 7. This tale is a variant, I surmise, of a tale I found common among the Cape Verde Islanders, in which the birds lend their feathers and take them back again. The tale is also known to the Pueblo Indians. The only other American variant of the tale I have found is from Jamaica (Pub. Folk-Lore Soc. 55 : XL).
6O. BRAVE FOLKS.1
Man an' his wife livin' in a small log-cabin. One day settin' by the fire. A big bear walked in. So dis man he become frighten. He jumped upstairs. He was settin' up there, lookin' at his wife kill this bear. After she killed him, then he says, "What brave folks are we!"
6l. THE ADULTERESS.*
While de man was gone from home, anoder man come and get in de bed. This man come home, an' said, —
"Ol' lady, ol' lady, what's dat tied out dar?" —
"You fool, you fool! you blin' as you can be.
It is nothing but a milch-cow my mother sent to me." —
"I been here, I been here, forty years or more,
I never seen a milch-cow with saddle on before.
"01' lady, ol' lady, what's dat on de floor?" —
"Ol1 lady, ol' lady, what's dat hangin' up?" —
"You fool, you fool! you blin1 as you can be.
It is nothing but a strainer my mother sent to me." —
"I been here, I been here, forty years or more,
I never saw a strainer with a brim on it before.
"Ol' lady, ol' lady, what's dat in de bed?" —
1 Informant 6.
J Informant 7. Neither my informant nor a much older woman who knew this fragment of the ballad of "Our Gude Man Came Hame at E'en" had any knowledge of its being sung. On Andros Island, Bahamas, it is still sung.
Once dere was three little children. Their mother had died. An* de people around had told de moder before she died dey'd treat her children kind. An' said, one day after de moder was buried, de children would go to some of de people round's house, an' said 'last de people drove 'em from de do' an' said de little children made a song: —
2. Tell moth-er . . that she must die, Thatyoutreatuschildrenkind.youknow,
But at the Cross I'll die. . . I'm on my way to heav-en an-y - how.
Thank God! an - y - how. New York.
1 Informant 7. The framing of this "spiritual" with narrative has a comparative interest for the student of the cante-fable'in'the Bahamas and elsewhere.