Haunts & History of the Sandhills - Stories

The Campfire

a Southern Folktale

The story I'm gonna tell you comes from the South...the dark places...the gloom places. And out this swamp comes a creature with a great long tail behind. And, when Tailypo comes outta that swamp, he's just a hoppin' and a skippin', and a dancin'. Why, he dances to the right and the Tailypo's left and he dances to the left and the Tailpo's right. Just hoppin' and dancin' havin' himself a good ole time, when he looks up on the mountain...and sees a cabin. Tailypo hadn't never seen no cabin before. So he climbs to the top of that mountain.

When he gets to the cabin, he starts in a sniffin' (sniff, sniff, sniff) at the cracks in the walls and scratchin' at the door. (scratching). Inside there is an old man sleepin' on a cot. Old man wakes up. "Who's that?" he yells. Old man looks out of a knot hole.

Eyes, eyes, eyes! Well, if you can call them things eyes!

Old man calls out, "How come? How come you most curious critter. You a standin' outside my door a hoppin' and a sniffin' and a scratchin'! Why I show you!"

And he went back into the kitchen and got himself a...butcher knife! He come out and snip-snap; slip-slap! He cut Tailypo's tail clean off.

Then, the old man he went back to the kitchen and got himself a fry pan and he took that tail and flip-flop/ flippity-flop! He ate that tale blood and bone.

Now I haven't met any swamp critters myself mind you...but I don't think I could have eaten that tale. And, poor ole Tailypo, he just run off into the wood on those little bitty legs of his. (boogidy-boogidy-boogidy) Well, if you can call them things...legs!

Then, that old man went back to bed...and he slept.

It was long though before a moon rose up over that mountain. And. just as it did, it hid behind a tall oak tree...and there was darkness everywhere. And if you listened real careful you could hear..."Tailypo, Tailypo, I want my Tailypo" And that sound...that sound...it hurt!

Why it wasn't long before that sound was standin' right outside that old man's door. (louder) "I want my Tailypo!"

Old man woke up. "What is that sound I hear. Why that sound is a gray sound...that sound don't have no bottom to it." So, he reached under his bed where he kept his three fine hound dogs. "Here, Dogs!"

Those hound dogs jumped up and they started chasing Tailypo. Tailypo ran and ran until kersplash-a! He jumped right into that swamp. Right over his head...well, if you can call that thing a head!

The old man rounded up his dogs and went back to bed...and he slept. But it wasn't long before that moon that I was tellin' you about? Well, this was this cloud, like a hand that come over it and everything was in darkness. And if you listened you could hear a sound, a sound comin' in on little cat's feet..."Tailypo, Tailypo, I want my Tailypo! I'm a comin' closer...comin' closer!" It wasn't long before that sound was standin' at the foot of that old man's bed, (louder) "I want my Tailypo!"

Old man looked up. "How come? How come you most curious critter? How come you a standin' at the foot of my bed. Why your shape is a gray shape...why that shape don't have no bottom to it." And, with that he called for his three fine hound dogs. Those hound dogs come out like greased lightin'. They grabbed hold of that Tailypo's rear end and off all four of them went (brow-wow-woww!) All the way down to the swamp...where that most curious critter...lives. Well, dogs don't know...they just be...The old man waited for dog to come back...but they never came back. So he went back to bed...and he slept...and he slept.

Now, you remember that moon that I've been tellin' you about - well, it was there. It was! But there wasn't any light, 'cause all light had been gobbled up in the darkness. And, if you listened, listened real hard you hear, "Tailypo, Tailypo...I want my Tailypo. I'm comin' closer, comin closer. With the moon, with the moon, with the moon...darked out!"

It wasn't long before that sound was sittin' on that ole man. Ole man wakes up. "Who is that? Who is that starin' at me with them curious eyeballs?" Then, that ole man reached under his bed for his three fine hound dogs. "Here Dogs!" But, dogs don't know...they just be. "Where's my dogs?" Everything stopped. "Where's my dogs?" Everything listened. "Where's my daaaaaawgs?"

"Where's my Tailypo!"

Now, the people that lived down in the valley. They never saw that ole man again. But they do say that on a night when the moon is full, and there is cloud, like a hand, that comes over the moon. Well if you listen real hard you can hear, "Tailypo, Tailypo...I...got...my...Tailypo."