Thursday, September 1, 2016

Tailypo

I'm getting a jump on Halloween here (pun intended, as you will understand if you know this story!) This is a favorite of audiences everywhere, and right now might be a good time to learn it for your own Halloween fun. It's an old mountain tale that's been passed down and enjoyed by anyone who likes a good creepy tale.

Tailypo

An old man once lived alone in a cabin in the woods. All alone 'cept for his three dogs, Yuno, Ino and Cometickocalico. Them's his three dogs.

One day the old man went hunting, but he came home with his gamebag empty, no meat for the pot. He looked around in the cupboard but all he found was an old dried-up piece of cornbread. He threw it in a bowl, poured some water over it, but it was still too tough to eat, so he threw it outside for his dogs.

"No meat tonight," he muttered to himself as he settled into his chair by the fire.

It was just at that moment that he heard something over by the wall. A sound like scritch, scritch, scritch. He looked into the dark corner of the cabin and right at the crack between the logs and the floor he saw two pointy ears, then two red eyes, and then a l-o-n-g, furry tail.

The old man grabbed his hatchet and crept toward that creature. Just as he was about to grab it, it saw him and jumped back under the floor. But the old man reached out and grabbed its tail--and cut that tail clean off with his hatchet!

"There's meat for the pot!" He laughed as he threw the tail into the kettle of water boiling over the fire. Cooked it, he did, then took it out and put it in his bowl, tried to eat it.

"Pah! That tastes awful!" The old man spit it out.

He carried the bowl out to the porch and called his dogs. "Yuno! Ino! Cometickocalico! Here! Here!" He threw the tail out into the yard.

Them dogs come running, took one sniff of that tail, and dragged it under the porch.

The old man went back inside. "Goin' ta bed hungry tonight." He crawled into bed and pulled the quilts up around his neck.

He hadn't been asleep very long when a strange sound woke him up. It was right by his gate.

Scritch! Scritch! Scritch! 

"Tailypo! Tailypo. Comin' ta git my Tailypo!"

The old man called his dogs. "Yuno! Ino! Cometickacalico! Here! Here!" Them three dogs come running, chased that creature clear down into the woods. And that old man, he went back to sleep.

But he hadn't been sleeping very long when he heard it again. This time it was right out by his gate.

Scritch! Scritch! Scritch! All I wants is my Tailypo!"

"Tailypo! Tailypo! 
The old man called his dogs. "Yuno! Ino! Cometickacalico! Here! Here!" This time, only two dogs come running, but they chased that creature clear down into the woods. And that old man, he went back to sleep.

But he hadn't been sleeping very long when he heard it again. This time it was right by his cabin door.

Scritch! Scritch! Scritch! 

"Tailypo! Tailypo! Comin' ta git my Tailypo!"


The old man called his dogs. "Ino! Cometickacalico! Here! Here!" This time, only one dog come running, but Cometickaocalico chased that creature clear down into the woods. And that old man, he went back to sleep.

But he hadn't been sleeping very long when he heard it again. Now it was right out by his front door.

Scritch! Scritch! Scritch! 

"Tailypo! Tailypo! All I wants is my Tailypo!"

The old man called his dog. "Cometickacalico! Here! Here!" This time, no dog come running.

The old man pulled the covers up to his eyes.

He looked down at the foot of his bed and saw two little pointy ears, and two little red eyes.

SCRITCH! SCRITCH! SCRITCH! 

"TAILYPO! TAILYPO! TAILYPO! COMIN' TA GIT MA TAILYPO!"

"I-I ain't got yore ol' Tailypo!"

"You know...and I know...that you...

DO!" And that creature jumped on that old man.

No one ever saw that old man again. No one ever saw them three dogs again either. 

But if you stand quiet and listen on a moonlit night, you just might hear,

"Tailypo! Tailypo! Now I've GOT my Tailypo!"


You can find many versions of this story-and many varied spellings of the name--online and in print. It's a favorite of storytellers looking for a good jump tale for Halloween or campfire tellings. One article that I found particularly interesting explored the origins of the Tailypo story, right back to the Brothers Grimm. The first printed version of the story appears to have been collected by Joel Chandler Harris, the man we usually connect with the Uncle Remus tales.

For links to other versions of this story as well as other jump tales (and a brief explanation of the jump tale genre) check out this post I wrote back in 2008. 

Have fun!





Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

2 comments:

Brig said...

What a great story!

Rowan said...

Creepy and scary!!

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