Mrs. Nell Hughes
April 12, 1951
Collected by Irene Carlisle
Reel 109 Item 2
TALE OP THE WOODPECKER-WOMAN
Well, in the olden days, 'way back in the hills,
there was a poor little old woman, and she went around
wearin' a little black dress, and a white apron, and
a red dust-cap. And she was a good woman, only she was
kinda selfish, which caused her downfall in the end.
Well, one day she decided that she'd bake a cake;
and she had a little pat of dough, and she rolled it
out, and rolled it flat, and made the little cake; and
there was a scrap left over. And so she decided that
she'd make a cake for the poor old man that lived down
the road a piece. So after her first cake was done, she
rolled out this little pat, and made the tiny little
cake to give away.
But it looked so good that she felt that" that's just
too nice a cake to give away, so I'll just keep that one,
and I'll make up a little more dough, and give IT to the
old man."So she went to the flour-barrel, and got some
more flour, and mixed it up in a bowl, and made another
little cake, and made it up, and rolled it out, and
baked it; and IT looked so good that she couldn't bear
to give SEAT one away.
Well, she thought, "That'll never do; that poor old
man's bound to be hungry; so I'll just fix another little
batch of dough, and make him another cake." Well, she
done this, and she made another cake, and still it looked
too good to give away; and she kep' on, and on, and on,
till she'd used the last dust of flour in the barrel.
And in the meantime, she's been putting more wood in
the fire, and the oven was getting hotter and hotter,
and the draft was strong in the firebox, and the kitchen
was as hot as a furnace. So the last cake she had, she
put in the oven, and she thougnt, "Surely I'll give this
to the poor old man"; and she made it up, and baked it,
and it looked, seemed to her, the nicest cake of all; and
she thought, "Well, I just can't give these cakes away!"
And she had the whole table just piled full, but still
she couldn't bear to give any of 'em away.
So, when the last cake was ready, and she put it in
the oven, the fire was so hot and the draft was so strong
that it just sucked her into the oven, and the door
slammed shut, and baked her.
The Woodpecker-Woman Reel 109 2
And after 'while, when the fire died down, the
oven door fell open, and out popped a little old
And that was that poor little old woman, turned
into a woodpecker; and that's how come the woodpecker's
in the world today, they say back in the hills, because
of this poor little old selfish woman.
So that should he a lesson to ever'body about
(Did you say the way she was dressed turned into
the colors on the woodpecker?) (In former telling).
"Yes; and you'll notice that the same colors is
on the woodpecker today—is a little red cap, or the
top of—crest of--his head, ana the little white apron,
and his black feathers, is like the little old lady
(Story told in the family?)
"Yes, my Grandmother Carlisle told that to my sister
and I when we were small, when we were inclined to be
selfish. She'd always say, "Well! You remember what
happened to the woodpecker!"
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