Jack and his Lump of Silver

Reprinted in AppLit with permission, from the James Taylor Adams Collection
U of Virginia's College at Wise/Blue Ridge Institute of Ferrum College

Collected by James M. Hylton,

Wise, Virginia

NOTE: This text was recopied directly from a typewritten copy in the archives of the Blue Ridge Institute. James Taylor Adams (1892-1954) kept typewritten copies of the folktales he and others collected during the last thirty years of his life, while he lived in Wise County, VA. Dialect spellings and apparent typographical mistakes in the archive manuscript have not been altered below, except where characters inserted in brackets represent interpretations of garbled characters in the typescript. There is another version of Jack and his Lump of Silver in AppLit, from Franklin County. In that version, the animals talk to Jack. See also the bibliography page Foolish Jack - or - Jack and his Lump of Silver in AppLit's Annotated Index of Appalachian Folktales.

November 17th, 1941.                          

Related to this writer by Mrs. A. M. (Amy) Vicars, aged 79 yrs., who is one of the oldest resident living in [t]his section today who took interest in the old songs and tales of the days gone by. She has contributed in the past as a help to this Writer and upon occasion can recall incidents and songs and tales that were handed down to her by her parents and friends who were in contact with her during her childhood days and later years. Her mother Aunt Cynthia Jessee Fuller told her many tales brought over from England and Scotland and which were Legends of the early days which were supposed to be about the time of the High Sheriff of Nottingham mentioned in the days of Robin Hood and some of the others wide known bandits of that day. She says she does not recall how long it has been since she heard this tale but that it was told to her by her mother who in turn told it to her friends many times. It seems, she says, People in them days always had a story or legend to tell of their fair lands and some were about fairies and some were about robber or about people in general. The young children of her day and time knew no other tales but the one brought about by the people who came over here to settle years before from England and other Countries.


"Jack And His Lump of Silver"

Jack who had been a good worker for his master in England for several years grew tired and lazy but his master told him he had been a good worker and should pay him well. He gave him a big lump of silver as big as his head. Jack started on his trip to his home to see his father and mother but grew very tired on the way as the silver grew heavier. Soon he sat down to rest when a man on a pretty horse rode by in a swirl of dust. He sat upright and held his head hight. Jack stopped the man and told him it was a pretty and good horse and it seemed easy enough to ride. The man finally talked him into a swap for the silver in return for the horse and told Jack that he wanted to ride fast to say, "Git up". Jack got on and rode off. Later he thought he would like to ride fast and said to the horse, "Git up" and the horse bolted from under him and he fell into the road in the dirt. As he got up he saw a man coming up the road driving a cow and told him he would swap the horse for the cow which he did. Later he grew hungry and wanted some milk to eat with his bread he had brought along and he tried to milk the cow but she kicked him and jumped to one side. At that time a man came along with a pig tied by the hind leg and laughed at him trying to milk the cow. Jack was worried and said that he could eat the pig meat and would swap with the man. The man as usual was eager for the trade and made off down the road with his cow, as Jack went the other way with his pig. But the pig wanted to go in the opposite direction and Jack couldn't do anything with it and didn't know what he was going to do about his position. But luck was with him he thought as he saw a man coming with a white goose under his arms. He swapped the pig to the goose and went off down the road in lighter spirits. The goose could lay an egg and he wouldn't go hungry and he could sell the feathers, he thought. As he neared a small town he met a man with a grind stone grinding away and a whistle on his lips as he ground. "I whistle because I always find money in my pocket all the time, it is a good grinder that can do that". Jack thought it was too and he told the man he would trade the grindstone to the goose if he wished and this he did. He went down the road happy with the stone on his back. But later he grew tired and the stone heavy and he grew thirsty too. He spied a well and looked into it to see if he could see water. As he did so the stone fell into the well with a loud noise. "Oh well", thought Jack, "I have nothing to worry me now and nothing to carry and make me tired so he sat down on the side of the road and at the dry bread happily that he had nothing to worry him more".

(Folk Tales) 560 Words

Replaced Copy Made by the Blue Ridge Institute to Replace Unstable Original April, 1991

copyright 2005 U of Virginia's College at Wise/Blue Ridge Institute of Ferrum College/Tina L. Hanlon
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