My stepmother was vile. I guess most kids think that when their father remarries. But in this case, it was true. She only married Father because he was rich, and she hated children. There were three of us – me (Marie), my middle brother Richard and my youngest brother Charles. We were the price my stepmother Gerta paid for being rich. And we were all that stood between her and inheriting Father’s money when he died. So she took steps against us.
A preacher was riding to one of the churches on his circuit when darkness fell. It was about to storm, and the only house nearby was an old mansion which was reputed to be haunted. The preacher clutched his Bible and said: “The Lawd will take care o’ me”…
He couldn’t believe it when she fell ill just a few short weeks before their marriage. His betrothed was beautiful, strong, and healthy, but she just faded away before his eyes. He held her in his arms as she gasped out her last breathe, and was inconsolable long after her body lay buried beside the Dismal Swamp…
Once upon a time, a man lost his favorite axe in the river. After much searching, he sat down on the bank in grief and began to weep.
The Water-sprite heard the man crying and took pity on him. He brought a gold axe out of the river, and said: “Is this your axe?”
A Farmer went to town, on a market day, and bought five peaches. He gave one to his wife, and one to each of his four sons. The next day he said to his sons, “Well, what have you done with your peaches?”
Gouverneur Morris, American minister to the court of Louis XVI, was considerably enriched, at the close of the reign of terror, by plate, jewels, furniture, paintings, coaches, and so on, left in his charge by members of the French nobility, that they might not be confiscated in the sack of the city.
Jonah was a big strong man who worked as a carpenter. Most everyone in town liked him, but they all knew that his weakness was fishing. Jonah would go fishing every chance he got; even on Sundays when everyone else was in church. And that got folks in town riled up. There was a rumor – started so long ago no one could remember the details – that bad luck would come to anyone who fished that part of the river on a Sunday. For decades, pious folks had avoided the river on the Lord’s Day, just to be safe.
Long ago, on the shores of the Arctic Ocean, two Inuit boys were walking from their own home to a far-away village. While they were going along, a terrible storm overtook them, and they had to hold each other by the hand to keep from falling.
Some years before the outbreak of the Civil War, a man with his wife and daughter took up their residence in a log cabin at the foot of Sunrise Rock, near Chattanooga, Tennessee. It seemed probable that they had known better days, for the head of the household was believed to get his living through “writin’ or book-larnin’,” but was fairly useless at hunting and farming.
Wallen’s Ridge, a rough eminence about a dozen miles from Chattanooga, Tennessee, was once an abiding place of Cherokee Indians, among whom lived Arinook, their medicine-man, and his daughter. The girl was pure and fair, and when a passing hunter from another tribe saw her one day at the door of her father’s home he was so struck with her charm of person and her engaging manner that he resolved not to return to his people until he had won her for his wife.
Long, long ago, on St. Lawrence Island in Alaska, there lived an old woman with her little grandson. They were very poor, so poor that the old woman had a hard time to feed and care for the boy. It was always cold and stormy, and sometimes they had almost nothing to eat for days at a time, because the wind blew so hard that the little boy could not stay out to catch tom-cods.
Long ago, in a village in Alaska, there lived a man with his wife and five sons, of whom they were very proud.
One day the oldest son came to his father and said, “Father we have always been in the same place, and seen the same kind of people. I think it is time for me to go in search of another village and see something of the world.”
Long ago, near the mouth of the Copper Mine River, which flows into the Arctic River, there lived an enormous giant. His cave was not far from an Inuit village, and he kept the people of that village in constant terror because when he could not get enough whale meat, or seal to eat, he would capture the little children and eat them up.
Long ago, when crows were white, a crow and an owl sat on a log, talking together.
The crow said he did not like his color, and the owl said, “I wish I had some pretty spots on my back.”
“So do I,” said the crow. “Let us paint each other with black oil from the lamp.”
Did you hear how come that old Sis Pig can see the wind? You never heard that? Well, maybe you have noticed, many and many a time, how unrestful, and distracted-like the pigs are, when the wind blows, and how they squeal, and run this way and that way? Well, sir, all that is going on because pigs can see the wind.
Near the upper Hiawassee is a cave where a pile of human skulls was found by a man who had put up his cabin near the entrance. For some reason, which he says he never understood, this farmer gathered up the old, bleached bones and dumped them into his shed.
One day, old Brother Terrapin was a-grumbling and a-fussing, because he had to creep on the ground. When he met Brother Rabbit, he grumbled because he can’t run like Brother Rabbit, and when he met Brother Buzzard, he grumbled because he can’t fly in the clouds like Brother Buzzard, and so on. Grumble, grumble, grumble. That was Brother Terrapin.
Well now, Brother Deer and Brother Terrapin were both courting of Mr. Coon’s daughter. Brother Deer was right sure enough a gentleman, that he was, while old Brother Terrapin was a poor, slow, old man. All the creatures wondered how the girl could smile on Brother Terrapin with Brother Deer around, but I tell you old man Terrapin had a real taking way with the girls when he put his mind to it.
Well now, old Sam Gibb, he didn’t believe in ghosts. Not one bit. Everyone in town knew the old log cabin back in the woods was haunted, but Sam Gibb just laughed whenever folks talked about it. Finally, the blacksmith dared Sam Gibb to spend the night in the haunted log cabin…
Shortly after I got married, I went to settle on the north side of the Big Muddy with my new wife, Mrs. Davy Crockett. Now a cousin of my wife’s packed his bags and came along with us. He had been to Cincinnati and had got a great education for them days. He could grammar-itize and geography-itize and philosophize.
Long ages ago, when the first people roamed the land, a little yellow moon floated across the sky in the wake of the bigger one that is still shining. Melgasoway, a boy who – like other boys his age – would rather practice with his bow and arrows, go fishing and swimming, climb trees and pick berries than gather firewood and do errands, was sent by his mother to fetch a pumpkin out of a cornfield, for supper.
A couple of Welsh miners came to Nevada to help mine the Comstock Load. They were quite a pair of tricksters, yes sir! It got so bad that no one would believe anything they said, ’cause if’n they did, the Welshman would make them look like a fool. But they were popular. The miners dearly loved a laugh after a hard day working in the mine…
The infamous Red Dwarf (Nain Rouge) of Detroit was reputed to be the foul offspring of the Stone God, who only appeared when there was to be trouble. The Red Dwarf was called “The Demon of the Strait” and its appearance heralded disaster. Cadillac, founder of Detroit, encountered the Nain Rouge while sitting on the bank of the Detroit River.
Tommy Knockers are the spirits of departed miners that help miners find ore. They also knock on the walls of the mines right before a cave-in. When you hear a Tommy Knocker knocking, it’s best to depart the area right quick. They have saved the life of many a miner who has been in a danger. Some folks say that the very first man to hear the sound is jinxed, but that is not always the case…
If you travel to Bear Lake in Utah on a quiet day, you just might catch a glimpse of the Bear Lake Monster. The monster looks like a huge brown snake and is nearly 90 feet long. It has ears that stick out from the side of its skinny head and a mouth big enough to eat a man. According to some, it has small legs and it kind of scurries when it ventures out on land. But in the water – watch out!…
I got up at the crack of dawn and drove to Larry’s place to pick him up. We were going hiking along our favorite trail in the back of beyond. It was a sunny day, but not too hot; a perfect day for hiking. Larry and I walked along the rugged path leading into the woods, chatting off and on as the mood struck us…