Friday, October 31, 2008

Ozark Funny Tales

These stories are a welcome break from the previous stories. I wrote these up last year, and they were only seen by a friend I wrote them for.


Once, a friendly old man passed away. His friends and neighbors got up the biggest funeral that'd ever been in the Ozarks for him.

However, a couple of young fellows decided they'd take advantage of this. They were grave robbers. Back in those days, medical colleges would pay quite handsomely for dead bodies to examine and run tests on. What these robbers would do is wait until dark, dig up the coffin and put the corpse in their wagon, covered in straw, so no one would see it. Then, they'd put the coffin back in the ground, fill up the hole, and put all the flowers back, and no one would be the wiser.

That night, the weather turned pretty cold, and some freezing rain began to fall. The two robbers went into an inn for a hot cup of rum.

They were in that inn for awhile. They polished a whole bottle of rum between them, and then laughed as they watched a younger fellow stagger out the door. They got a bottle of whiskey for the road, and headed back out.

The road they were on was pretty bumpy.

"Think he's thirsty?" joked the driver, meaning the dead man in the back.

"Let's see!" said the other. He held the whiskey bottle out and said, "Rise up, ol' stiff, and have a snort o' whiskey!"

A figure sat up in the straw and held out his hand and said, "Don't mind if I do!"

Those two grave robbers fell out of the wagon and were in the next county by sunup.

The younger fellow who had staggered out of the saloon brushed the straw off of him. That straw had been pretty nice to sleep off his whiskey. He turned the wagon around and went back to town. Pretty soon, he found the dead man in the back, and turned it over to sheriff, who turned the corpse, and the grave robbers money that had been left in there, over to the old man's family.

The family was so grateful for the return that they used the money to have an even bigger funeral for the old man.

Not everyone gets two big funerals, not even in the Ozarks.


A rich widow lived all alone in an old cabin. She was a pleasant woman, and lived pretty contendedly, and loved having visitors. But she was a little odd.

One odd habit she had was that she kept her fortune in plain sight, in a glass jar over her fireplace. Word of this soon got out, and soon One-Eye Jack, the crafty robber, heard about it. He was called "One-Eye Jack" because he had lost an eye some time ago, and wore an eyepatch.

To help him rob the old lady, he got two friends to come with him. Late that night, they went to go do the deed. They decided to send one of them ahead to see if the widow was asleep. One of the two other robbers went to her cabin. All her windows were closed shut, but he noticed a small hole in the wall by the chimney. He peered in.

There was the widow, knitting. All at once she yawned and said, "There's one. Soon, there'll be two more, and..." here she looked directly at the hole, "I'll get my knife and cut a piece out of you."

That robber was scared to death, and ran back to One-Eye Jack.

"She knows we're coming!" he gasped, "And she's ready to put up a fight! She wants to cut a piece out of me!"

"Rubbish!" said One-Eye Jack, and sent the other robber to check on the widow.

The other robber went up to the hole by the chimney, only to see the widow yawn once again, and say, "There's two. Soon, there'll be the third, and..." she looked at the hole, "I'll cut a chunk out of you."

That robber ran and told One-Eye Jack what he'd seen and heard.

"Baloney!" chortled One-Eye Jack, and went to look himself.

When he peered through the hole, the widow yawned again.

"There's the third," she said, putting down her knitting, and picking up her knife. "And now, One-Eye Jack," she continued, looking at the hole, "I'm going to cut a slab out of you!"

With that, One-Eye Jack took off running, and the other two robbers didn't catch up with him until they'd reached the next county.

The widow walked over to the chimney, and cut a piece out of a large, dried Jack Salmon she had hung on the wall. (She could only see one eye on it.) She out the piece in her mouth and began to chew, and headed off to bed.

She had a touch of rheumatism, and she heard fish oil was good for that. And if you yawned pretty big three times, it was time for bed, wasn't it?


One day, a well-fed boy was walking down the street. He was passing the graveyard when he stopped. He heard something: voices.

"You take this one, I'll take that one."

There was a pause, then he heard it again! It could only be one thing! He ran home, lickety-split!

When he got home, his father was on the porch.

"Pop!" he shouted. "I just heard it!"

"What, son?"

"In the graveyard! It's the Lord and the Devil! They're divvying up the souls!"

The father looked at his son sternly.

"Boy," he said, "I've told you to stay out of the corn-liquor."

"No, honest to goodness, pa! Come on! Hear it for yourself!"

The pop shook his old head.

"Son," he said, "You know I ain't done no big walks for five years now, what with my game leg and all. You're gonna haveta carry me."

The boy grabbed his father and hurried down the street.

As they got to the graveyard, they heard it again.

"You take this one, I'll take that one."

They listened to this awhile, then they heard the voices say something else.

"Well, there's none left but these two. Tell you what. I'll take the old, shriveled one, and you take that plump one!"

Fearing their souls had now been claimed, the boy ran home! But you know what? His pop beat him by a solid minute!

It was too bad they stick around longer. Otherwise, they could've caught the two boys who had stolen the paw-paws from their trees.


A drunk was walking through a cemetary on his way home from a party. He was staggering pretty bad, when he fell into a freshly-dug grave for a funeral the next day. The cold brought him back to his senses, and he tried to climb out, but it was no use. After an hour, he decided to wait until morning. By then, someone would find him and help him out.

Soon, another drunk came through the cemetary, even worse off than the first. He fell into the same hole. The first man watched him try to scramble out, before saying, calmly:

"You know, you can't get out of this grave."

But the second drunk did!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good job, son. Needs to be read with Ozark colloquialisms. like I just did to your dad.