Wednesday, December 12, 2018

C063. The Silver Coins

29. A Ghost Story. Text Source: Nights with Uncle Remus by Joel Chandler Harris. Online at Project Gutenberg. I have removed the frame material and standardized the spelling; click here for the original spelling plus all notes to the story.


One time there was a Woman and a Man. Seem like they live close to one another, and the Man he set his eyes on the Woman, and the Woman, she just went along and 'tend to her business. Man, he keep his eyes set on her. By and by, the Woman, she 'tend to her business so much till she took and took sick and die. Man, he up and tell the folks she dead, and the folks they come and fix her. They lay her out, and they light some candles, and they sat up with her, just like folks does now; and they put two great big round shiny silver dollars on her eyes for to hold her eyelids down.

They was lots bigger than dollars is these days, and they look mighty pretty. Seem like they was all the money the Woman got, and the folks they put 'em on her eyelids for to hold 'em down. Then when the folks do that they call up the Man and take and tell him that he must dig a grave and bury the Woman, and then they all went off about their business.

Well, then, the Man, he took and dig the grave and make ready for to bury the Woman. He look at that money on her eyelids, and it shine mighty pretty. Then he took it off and feel it. It feel mighty good, but just about that time the Man look at the Woman, and he see her eyelids open. Look like she looking at him, and he take and put the money where he get it from.

Well, then, the Man, he take and get a waggon and haul the Woman out to the burying-ground, and when he get there he fix everything, and then he grab the money and cover up the grave right quick. Then he go home, and put the money in a tin box and rattle it around. It rattle loud and it rattle nice, but the Man, he ain't feel so good. Seem like he know the Woman eyelid stretch wide open looking for him. Yet he rattle the money around, and it rattle loud and it rattle nice.

Well, then, the Man, he take and put the tin box what the money in on the mantel-shelf. The day go by, and the night come, and when night come the wind begun to rise up and blow. It rise high, it blow strong. It blow on top of the house, it blow under the house, it blow 'round the house. Man, he feel queer. He set by the fire and listen. Wind say,"Buzz-zoo-o-o-o-o!" Man listen. Wind holler and cry. It blow top of the house, it blow under the house, it blow 'round the house, it blow in the house. Man get closed up in the chimney-jam. Wind find the cracks and blow in 'em. "Bizzy, bizzy, buzz-zoo-o-o-o-o!"

Well, then, Man, he listen, listen, but by and by he get tired of this, and he allow to hisself that he going to bed. He took and fling a fresh lighted knot in the fire, and then he jump in the bed, and curl hisself up and put his head under the cover. Wind hunt for the cracks—bizzy-buzz, bizzy-buzz, buzz-zoo-o-o-o-o-o! Man keep his head under the cover. Lighted knot flare up and flicker. Man ain't dare to move. Wind blow and whistle: Phew-fee-e-e-e! Lighted knot flicker and flare. Man, he keep his head covered.

Well, then, Man lay there, and get scareder and scareder. He ain't dare to wink his eye scarcely, and seem like he going to have swamp ague. Whiles he laying there shaking, and the wind a-blowing, and the fire flicking, he hear some or other kind of fuss. It mighty curious kind of fuss. Clinkity, clinkalinkle! Man allow, "Hey! Who stealing my money?"

Yet he keep his head covered whiles he lay and listen. He hear the wind blow, and then he hear that other kind of fuss—Clinkity, clink, clinkity, clinkalinkle! 

Well, then, he fling off the cover and sat right up in the bed. He look, he ain't see nothing. The fire flicker and flare and the wind blow. Man go and put chain and bar 'cross the door. Then he go back to bed, and he ain't more than touch his head on the pillow till he hear the other fuss—clink, clink, clinkity, clinkalinkle! 

Man rise up, he ain't see nothing at all. Mighty queer!

Just about time he going to lay down again, here come the fuss—clinkity, clinkalinkle. 

It sound like it on the mantel-shelf; let alone that, it sound like it in the tin box on the mantel-shelf; let alone that, it sound like it the money in the tin box on the mantel-shelf. 

Man say, "Hey! Rat done got in box!"

Man look; no rat dar. He shut up the box, and set it down on the shelf. 

Time he do that here come the fuss—clinkity, clinkity, clinkalinkle! 

Man open the box and look at the money. Them two silver dollars laying in there just like he put 'em. Whiles the man done this, look like he can hear something say 'way off yonder, "Where my money? Oh, gimme my money!"

Man, he sat the box back on the shelf, and time he put it down he hear the money rattle—clinkity, clinkalinkle, clink!—and then from 'way off yonder something say, "Oh, gimme my money! I want my money!"

Well, then, the Man get scared sure enough and he got of flat-iron and put on the tin box, and then he took and pile all the chairs against the door, and run and jump in the bed. He just know there's a booger coming. Time he get in bed and cover his head, the money rattle louder, and something cry way off yonder, "I want my money! Oh, gimme my money!"

Man, he shake and he shiver; money, it clink and rattle; booger, it holler and cry. Booger come closer, money clink louder. Man shake worser and worser. 

Money say: Clinkity, clinkalinkle! 

Booger cry, "Oh, gimme my money!" 

Man holler, "O Lordy, Lordy!"

Well, then, it keep on this a-way, till directly Man hear the door open. He peep from under the cover, and in walk the Woman what he done bury in the burying-ground. 

Man shiver and shiver, wind blow and blow, money rattle and rattle, Woman cry and cry. "Buzz-zoo-o-o-o-o!" says the wind; "Clinkalink!" says the box; "Oh, gimme my money!" says the Woman; "O Lordy!" says the Man. 

Woman hear the money, but look like she ain't can see, and she grope 'round, and grope 'round, and grope 'round with her hand hoist in the air.

Wind blow, fire flicker, money rattle, Man shake and shiver, Woman grope 'round and say, "Gimme my money! Oh, who got my money?"

Money look like it going to tear the tin box all to flinders. Woman grope and cry, grope and cry, till by and by she jump on the man and holler, "You got my money!'"

[To end the story, the teller grabs a member of the audience and shakes them.]

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