THE BOY WHO WAS SENT FOR SOAP
Collected by James Taylor Adams
Big Laurel, Virginia
Reprinted in AppLit with permission from the James Taylor Adams Collection
U of Virginia's College at Wise/Blue Ridge
Institute of Ferrum College
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. Note that this version of the tale
contains a joke about swearing and an abrupt ending that does not
show the boy's return home to his mother with the soap (unlike Richard
Chase's published version and Tom Birdseye's picture book adaptation,
for example). For another version, see "The Soap Tale."
For more details on other variants of this tale, see "Soap, Soap Soap."
As told me on March 19, 1942, by Mrs. Le[?]
Kilgore, Big Laurel, Va. She heard it from her grandmother [?] Mrs.
Mary Morris. [Torn corner on typescript. This may be Lenore Corene Kilgore, who also told Adams a version of "Jack Goes to Seek His Fortune."]
One time there was a boy who so forgetful that he couldn't remember
anything. His mother would sent him to the store for something and
he'd forget what she sent him for and get something else or come back
One day his mother sent him to
the store to get a cake of soap and told him to keep saying, "soap,"
so he wouldn't forget it. So he went down the road saying, "soap,
He went on till he come to a
big mudhole in the road and in the edge of the road was some pretty
flowers. He got to looking at the flowers and forgot to say "soap"
and what he'd been sent after. So he started going right round and
round in the mudhole saying, "Here I lost it and here I'll find
it, here I lost it and here I'll find it." He kept right on and
trampling in the mud. He got so mad that he started cussin'. Then
a preacher come along riding. He said, "Oh, ho, my young man,
what's the matter? You shouldn't swear like that."
"Oh, I've lost something
here and here I'll find it," said the boy keepin' going' right
round and round.
"What is it?" asked
"I don't know what
it is," said the boy, "but I lost it here and here I'll
The preacher slid off of his
horse and said he'd help him hunt for it. So he waded into the mud
and his feet slipped out from under him and down he came. "Oh,
tut, tut!" he exclaimed, "this mud's as slick as soap."
"That's hit," yelled
the boy and he took off down the road cryin' "Soap, soap, soap"
every breath, leaving the preacher to get the mud off his clothes
the best he could.
Made By the Blue Ridge Institute to Replace Unstable Original
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