The Johnny Cake Boy
James Taylor Adams
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. It was retyped by Michelle Vincent (July 2005) without altering Adams' typographical errors or dialect spellings. One correction has been added in square brackets. For details on variants of this tale, see Runaway Cakes and Gingerbread Boys in AppLit's Annotated Index of Appalachian Folktales.
A version of the “Gingerbread Boy”, as told Sept. 8, 1941, by Woodrow Sexton, 25, Big Laurel, Va., son of the late Clinton and Hetty (Banks) Sexton. He learned this from his grandmother, Mrs. Celia Ann Banks, twenty years ago.
Said one time there was a ol’ woman. Said she put a johnny cake on the board an’ propped it u[p?] fore the fire to bake. Said she left her little boy to watch it while she went after a bucket of water. Said she heard the little boy a hollerin’ an’ looked an’ seed the johnny cake rollin’ off down the road with the little boy right after it an’ she dropped her water an’ took after him.
Said the johnny cake rolled on an’ rolled by some men workin’ on a mill. Said they axed his where twas goin’ an’ said for it to stop. Hit tol’ em hit had started off to seek hit’s fortune an’ rolled right on. The men dropped their tools an’ took right after it.
Said hit rolled on an’ come to a hog rootin’ by the road. Said the hog said, “oomph,oomph, where ye goin’ Johnny Cake?” Said hit tol’ the hog hit was goin’ to seek hit’s fortune an’ rolled on. The hog dropped an acorn hit was chewin’ on an’ took out after hit.
Said hit rolled on an come to a dog bayin’ up a tree. “Bow-wow,” said the dog, “where ye rollin’ off to, Johnny Cake?” Said it tol’ him hit’uz goin’ to seek hit’s fortune an’ rolled right on. The dog stopped bayin’ up the tree an’ took out after it.
Said hit rolled on till it come to a goose clippin’ grass by the road. “Quack, quack,” said the goose, “where ye rollin’ off to, Johnny Cake?” Hit tol’ the goose hit had started to seek hit’s fortune an’ rolled right on. The goose quit the grass an’ took out after hit.
Said hit rolled on till hit come to a fox settin’ on the bank of a river lickin’ hit’s lips. “Where ye rollin’ off to, Johnny Cake, said the fox. Hit tol’ him hit’uz goin’ to seek hit’s fortune, but couldn’t git across the river. Said the fox said “jes git on my head an’ here an’ I’ll swim across an’ we’ll both be across then." Hit did an’ when they’uz about half way across the fox sort ducked hit’s head down an’ the Johnny Cake rolled down hit’s nose an’ hit grabbed it in hit’s mouth an’ eat it up.
[JTA-109] 400 words
Record Copy Made by Blue Ridge Institute to Replace Unstable Original, April, 1991
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