“The Big Old Giant” from Vance Randolph’s “Who Blowed Up the Church House?” Told to him by A.L. Cline in Joplin, Missouri, July 1922.
One time there was a boy found a dead crow, and the crow had a funny looking grain of corn in his mouth. It was big as a walnut, and blue instead of yellow. So the boy planted it down by the big bluff and poured a hatful of stump water on it. Next time he come that way, the corn had growed up big as a tree, with regular bark on it, and blade-fodder hanging down forty foot long. The boy couldn’t see no tassel, on account of the trees on top of the bluff, and he couldn’t see no ears on the stalk, neither. He went home and told the folks, but they just laughed and didn’t pay no attention. So finally he says to himself, “I’ll go back and climb that there cornstalk, if I never see the back of my neck!”
Well he clumb and he clumb and he kept on a-climbing, right on past the top of the bluff, but there wasn’t no ears on the stalk yet. He got so high up he couldn’t see nothing but clouds. After while he come to a big pasture, so he got off the cornstalk to look around and stretch his legs. The grass in that pasture was ten foot high, and there was buckbrush in it bigger than apple trees. Pretty soon he seen some monstrous big sheep. There was one old sheep had a fine brass bell on it, about the size of a molasses barrel.
“The folks won’t never believe this,” says he to himself, “without I take something back to show ‘em.” So he out with his knife and started to cut the bell off’n the big sheep’s neck. It took a long time to saw through the leather strap, pretty near a foot thick, but he finally done it. The bell was too heavy for him to lift, so he just rolled it along on the ground, and it kept a-ringing. Just as he got to the edge of the big pasture, the boy heard a terrible loud hollering, and here come the big old giant that owned them sheep. He was maybe thirty foot high, and he was a-waving a club as big as a saw-log.
Well, when the boy seen this here giant a-coming, he just rolled the bell over the edge, and then he jumped onto the big cornstalk and slid down. The big old giant throwed the club, but it missed him. The boy was pretty near to the bottom, when the old giant jumped on the cornstalk and started down after him. Just as the boy lit on the ground the cornstalk broke off, and the big old giant come a-roaring down the mountain and busted open like a rotten apple. By the time the boy’s folks got there the bog old giant was dead, and that was the end of him.
The folks got the neighbors to help, and they went out and buried the big old giant in the night, and never did tell no outsiders, so as to keep down scandal. But next winter every family for miles around showed up with quilts and laprobes and saddle blankets made out of some might funny looking wool. Nobody in the country ever seen cloth like that before, and the old-timers all say them things was made out of the big old giant’s pants.
Some berry pickers found the big sheep bell four miles up the creek. The boy’s pappy wanted to put it in the new church-house, but the preacher says a bell like that was not made with human hands, and maybe it was the Devil’s work. And he says good Christian people better not ring that bell, because who knows what might come a-running? So they just left the big sheep bell there in the brush where it fell. And it’s still a-laying there to this day.