Jack and the Robbers
Collected by James Taylor Adams
Big Laurel, Va.
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 typographical mistakes in the archive manuscript have not been altered. This tale is quite different from better known Appalachian tales called "Jack and the Robbers" or "Jack Goes to Seek His Fortune," which have a group of animals involved in scaring off the robbers. For details on parallel tales, see Jack and the Robbers in AppLit's Annotated Index of Appalachian Folktales.
This told me Nov. 20, 1940, by Mary Carter who learned it fifty years ago from her mother Elizabeth Roberts Adams.
One time there was a boy named Jack and one day he slipped off from home and struck out to seek his fortune. He went on and on until it was getting nearly dark. He come up to a big house and hollered and a girl come to the door and asked him what he wanted. He told her he was a traveling and was looking for a place to stay all night. She said she couldn't keep him, but Jack he was tired and so he told her he just had to stay and walked right in. She tried to get him to leave, but Jack wouldn't go. Finally she said, "Well, all right. If you won't go you won't go. Then she said, "Let us play some games. Let's see who can jump the furtherest." So Jack agreed. She said for him to stand in the door and jump first. He did and as he jumped she slammed the door shut and bolted hit and he couldn't get back in.
So he went on and on. It was black dark now. He come to an old deserted mill. He went in and looked around for some place to lay down. Best place he could find was the mill hopper. So he crawled up in it.
After a while Jack heard somebody talking. Then some robbers come in and set down right under the hopper to count their money. He lay right still for awhile, but he wanted to see them so bad that he at last sort of raised up to peep over when down went the hopper right among the robbers. They was so scared they all jumped up and run off, leaving their money a-laying there.
Jack he got up and gathered up the money and put it in one of the sacks he found there and struck out for home.
Typed from original by Blue Ridge Institute, April 3, 1991.
[JTA-74] 300 words
copyright 2005 U of Virginia's College at
Wise/Blue Ridge Institute of Ferrum College,
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