Day 98: The Forty-Mile-Jumper

The witch in her “Forty-Mile-Jumper” reminds me of images of Baba Yaga riding around her her giant mortar and pestle.
The witch in her “Forty-Mile-Jumper” reminds me of images of Baba Yaga riding around her her giant mortar and pestle.


Story told by Mary Celestia Parler in Fayetteville, AR, on November 20, 1950. Collected by Merlin Mitchell, transcribed by Mary C. Parler. Further transcribed by me.

I’m going to tell a folk tale which was told to me, when I was a very small child back in South Carolina, by Mum Flora, who lived on the other side of our orchard. This is the story as she told it to me:

Once there was two men who was going through the country. And night caught ‘em, and they stopped at a hotel. And that hotel was kep’ by an ole witch. But they didn’t know it was kep’ by a ole witch, so they stopped there.

And the ole witch tole ’em that she’d give a room and they could stay there; but they had to sleep with her two daughters. So the two men said, that suited them fine.

So that night when the ole witch put the two mens to bed with her two daughters, she went in to see that her two daughters had on their nightcaps. And that make the two mens ‘spicious. So after the two daughters went to sleep, they took the nightcaps off the girls heads and put them on they own heads.

And after the ole witch was sho’ everybody was asleep, she went in and she felt round who had on the nightcap. And then she cut the throats of the two people who didn’t have on the nightcap.

The two mens run out the hotel just as fast as they could, and they took out down the big road.

Well, when the ole witch come in the nex’ mornin’ and found out she had cut the throat of her two daughters, she got on her Forty-Mile-Jumper. And she jump, and she jump, and she jump after the two mens.

And the two mens, they saw her coming. And one of ’em climbed a tall high tree. And the other man he runs off cross the hill, a-callin’ the dogs: “Bahmanecka Rody Kai-anger.”

And the other man done climbed this tall high tree. And he saw the ole’ witch comin’.

And she got off her Forty-Mile-Jumper. And she took her axe. And she started choppin down the tree. She say, “Willy-willy-willy, come down.” And the chip fly down.

And the man up the tree he say, “Willy-willy-willy, come up.” An’ the chip fly back up.

An’ the man cross the hill he kep’ a-callin’ the dogs: “Bahmanecka Rody, Kai-anger.”

An’ the ole witch a-sayin’, “Willy-willy-willy, come down,” An’ the man up the tree kep’ a-sayin’, “Willy-willy-willy, come up.” An’ the man cross the hill kep’ a-callin’ the dogs: “Bahmanecka Rody, Kai-anger.”

An’ pretty soon, here come the dogs: “Ah ooh! ah ooh!”

An’ pretty soon the dogs come, an’ they jump on the ole witch, an’ they kill her, an’ they et her all up.

An’ then the man come down out the tree, and the man come back down the hill, and the two mens got on the Forty-Mile-Jumper, and they jump back to the hotel, what that ole witch been kep’.

They go in the hotel, and they go down in the cellar, and they finds lots o’ people’s bones. An’ they find all kind o’ treasure.

And then they know how come people been seen goin’ in that hotel, an’ ain’t nobody never been seen comin’ out.

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