THE HAIRY WOMAN
NOTES: 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. No editorial
changes have been made in Adams' manuscript.
Told me August 19, 1940, by Samuel Simpson Adams. He learned it from his father, Spencer Adams, about eighty years ago.
One time there was a ship wrecked and everybody on it was drowned except one man. He swam to a little island and saved hisself.
He built hisself a little hut and lived there keeping close watch out for a ship that might come near enough for him to call to.
One day he looked out and seed a hairy woman standing behind a tree peeping around at him. He kept right still and she kept coming a little closer and closer. Finally he motioned to her to come to him, but she run off in the woods. The next day she come back and he let her get up pretty close again and then motioned for her to come to him. But she run off again.
The next day when she come back and he motioned to her she just run off a little piece and stayed awhile and come back. She had some meat with her that time and she throwed him a piece. He took it and built a fire and broiled it and throwed her a piece. She picked it up and smelt of it and throwed it down. Bit off a piece of the raw meat and throwed him another piece. He kept on, broiling it and throwing her little pieces of it until she at last tasted of it. She frowned and spit it out, but he kept on until finally he got her to eating the broiled meat.
At last she ventured up to the hut and they would make motions to one another instead of talking. All she could do was make some jabbering noise.
So they lived together there and she would go off in the woods and come back with a deer. She had great long claws for finger nails and she'd catch these in the deer and rip it open and tear it up into little pieces and he would broil it and they would eat it.
It went on for about a year and she had a baby. Half of the baby was hairy like her and the other half like him. And they lived on there until the baby was about six months old and then one day he saw a ship and he waved his arms and hollered till he got them to notice him and they sent a boat with some men in it to see who it was and what they wanted.
This was his first and would probably be his last chance to ever get away from that island and back home. He hated to leave the hairy woman for he had learned to love her and he loved the baby. But he knew he couldn't take either one of them with her.
He made motions to her to tell her he was
going away and she cried and held to him until he got in
the boat. They just had to tear her loose from him. Then
as the boat started off to the ship she stood on the bank
and motioned to him to come back and cried and wrung her
hands. She grabbed up their baby and held it up and
motioned to it like she meant for him to come back and
stay with her for its sake. But he shook his head to show
her he couldn't stay with her but had to go with his own
sort of people. Then she give one loud scream and taking
hold of the baby head and feet she tore it in two and
throwed the piece that was like him after him and the
last he seen of her she was going back toward their hut
with the piece of the baby that was hairy like her hugged
up to her breast.