Collected by Irene Carlisle Mrs. Betty Minnick
Transcribed by Mary C. Parler High, Arkansas
Reel 97, Item 7
How the Witch Doctor Broke A Spell
Well, he (her father) was in bed, and they couldn't—they'd be
snakes come in the bed where he was at, and none of 'em couldn't see
'em. So Grandma Grandpa told him to cover up his head; he'd cover
up his head, and there'd come waffle irons, right in his face, hot—
red-hot waffle irons.
So they was an old man come there, and he says, "Do you believe in
witches?" Said, "We sure do!" Said, "Well, I'll cure your child;" said,
"if you believe in witches, I can have the one to come, bring her right
here, that's a-doin' this bewitchin'."
So he said he'd be back the next day, this old man did; and he was
a witch doctor. So next day he came back, and he said, "How's the boy
this morning?" Grandmother says, "He's no better; he's just like he
was." He set and looked at him for awhile, and he said, "Give me a little
salt." Well, this old man went to eatin' salt, and dreckly, he looked out
the door and says, "They'll be here dreckly," says, "git a lot of brush
in here." So they made a red-hot fire; put brush on the fire, in the old
chimly—they had an old stick-and-clay chimly, so they put their brush
in there, and fixed their fire, and set the chair right close by, so that
she could set down. Says, "She'll come to borry somethin'; now watch, she'
Here she come; says, "And don't let her have it!" He et salt; this
old man et salt.
How the Witch Doctor Broke a Spell
Reel 97, Item 7
Said, "I'm in a hurry; I want some salt." Says, "Take that chair"—
the old man says, "Take that chair." "Oh, I'm in a hurry; I want some
salt; I've got to get back." Says, "Set down there in that chair." She
says, "I've not got time; I've got to get back; give me some salt!"
And he said, "You say, 'Bless this house and family; great God of
high heavens, bless this house and family.'" She says, god!" He says,
"Your god's the Devil." said, "You bless—say, 'God of htihegh h igh heavens, bless
this family and this child.'" So she said, "God of the heavens, bless this
child and this house and family"—and out at the door she went, and away
she went, and they never saw her nor heared of her no more; and the boy
(He made her break her own spell?)
(What did salt have to do with it?)
Well, I don't know; that's jist their way of doctorin', I reckon.
(Why did witch have to borrow salt?)
Well, I don't know; she'd borrow salt or something ever' time she'd come.
(Mrs. Mary Briscoe: "If you leaned it to her, why, then, she could go on.")
She'd go on, bewitch—bewitch people; but though they wasn't s'posed
to let her have nothing at all.
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