the Cricket Got its Churp
By Drew Echols
In 1988-89 Drew was a student at Lula Elementary in Lula,
GA, and Sarah Harris (who taught grades 4-5) was his
teacher. Reprinted in AppLit with permission, from Journey
Through Fantasy Literature: A Resource Guide for
Teachers. Vol. I, p. 174.
Ed. Roberta T. Herrin. Developed during a Teachers
Institute sponsored by East Tennessee State University
and the National Endowment for the Humanities, 1988-89.
Activities on Folktales
Appalachian Animal Tales Index
of Student Writing in AppLit
List of AppLit Pages on Folklore (more tale texts,
bibliographies, study guides, lesson plans)
the Porcupine Got His Quills is another pourquoi tale
by a student.
AppLit's pages on Cherokee
Tales and Tall
Tales give other examples and background on pourquoi
tales like this one.
Once in the cotton fields of Georgia an old man
named Chuck picked cotton six days a week. He had five
gold teeth. One day Chuck hired two brothers to help him
pick his cotton, because he had six fields to finish that
day. Farmer Chuck was pleased with the two brothers' hard
The next day Farmer Chuck told the two brothers, whose
names were Joe and Jim, that he was going into town.
After the old man was gone, the brothers plotted to kill
him for his five gold teeth.
When Farmer Chuck returned, he began to do his chores.
Suddenly, a little cricket said, "Chuck,
Chuck." Farmer Chuck stopped and said,
"What?" But he didn't see anyone.
The next day the cricket said, "Chuck, Chuck, the
two brothers are plotting to kill you." But no one
was close enough to hear the cricket, so he hopped to the
cotton field where Farmer Chuck was working and said it
again. "Chuck, Chuck, the two brothers are plotting
to kill you." This time Farmer Chuck heard the
cricket, but he didn't believe what he heard.
That same evening when Farmer Chuck went to bed, the two
brothers got a hatchet to kill the old man. But the
cricket jumped through the window and turned into a snake
and tripped Joe and Jim. All the commotion woke up Chuck,
and he saw the two men with the hatchet, but he thought
they were trying to kill the snake.
The next morning Joe and Jim woke up before Farmer Chuck
did, so they put "raz-a-taz" poison in Chuck's
coffee. But the cricket who was sitting on the window
sill saw them. This time the cricket turned into a rabbit
and knocked the coffee off the table just as Chuck was
walking into the kitchen, and the rabbit jumped out the
The evening came quickly, and Chuck went into his house.
At 7:30 p.m. he heard a loud noise outside, so he went to
see what it was. To Chuck's surprise, he saw the ghost of
his dead wife who said, "Beware. Danger is
near." Then the ghost disappeared. And all Chuck
heard was a shutter banging against the house.
Chuck stayed up late worrying about what the ghost had
said. Jim got his pocket knife and walked down the dark
hall in the house. Chuck heard the floor creak, and so he
got up. He opened the door and looked down the hall
toward the kitchen. Jim sneaked up behind him and got
Chuck right in the back. To this day, you can still hear
the cricket saying, "Chuck, Chuck."
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