How 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.

See also:
Student Activities on Folktales
Appalachian Animal Tales Index
Index of Student Writing in AppLit
Complete List of AppLit Pages on Folklore (more tale texts, bibliographies, study guides, lesson plans)
How 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 work.

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 window.

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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