DOWN COME A LEG

Collected by Richard Chase

Damascus, Virginia


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

NOTE: This text was recopied directly from a typewritten copy in the archives of the Blue Ridge Institute. James Taylor Adams (1892-1954) kept typed copies of the oral folktales he and others collected during the last thirty years of his life, while he lived in Wise County, VA. The original transcript of this tale is somewhat difficult to read (especially in distinguishing "come" and "came, for example), but it seems to be complete.  One spelling correction has been inserted in square brackets. See AppLit's notes on other "Hainted House" tales.


       One time a stranger was goin' through the country, come to a house and saked [asked?] to stay the night. The man told him he didn't have any place to put him there, but said he had another house down the road he could stay in. Said it was ha'nted and nobody 'uld live in it.

     Well, the stranger talked the man into given' him ten dollars if he could stay all night in that ha'nted house.

      So the stranger-man went on down there and built him up a fire, and he was settin' there gettin' warm when down the chimney come a man's leg. He got it and laid it on the floor. He sit there a few minutes more and down came another leg. He got it and laid it out on the floor beside the first leg. After a while down come a man's body. He laid it with the two legs. Directly down came an arm. He put it one side the body. Then it wan't long till down come the other arm. He got it and put it on the other side.

     Then he sit there and waited and waited and there didn't nothing come down.

      So he went and hollered up the chimney,

      "Send me down a head,
       And I'll have me a man."

      Down dropped the head.

      He put on the head, says,

      "Raise up here!"

      It raised up. The man says,

      "Now tell me what you want."

      So the ha'nt told him, says,

      "If you take my body and bury it you can have all the money I got hid here."

      So the man said he would, and the ha'nt says to him, says,

      "You'll find six hundred dollars under the hearth there in a little tin trunk. Just prize the hearth-rock up and you can find it." Says, "And if you take that money without buryin' me, you better watch out, or I'll ha'nt you till the end of your days."

      So the man told him, Sure, he'd bury him right now.

      Then the ha'nt laid back down and the man gathered him up and buried him right quick.

      So then he prized up the hearth-rock and got the six hundred dollars. And next morning he went back up to that other house and got his ten dollars off that feller.

      And the ha'nt never was seen there no more.


Replaced Copy Made by the Blue Ridge Institute to Replace Unstable Original.
April, 1991
[JTA-3060]


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