Man_and_horse_plowing_terraced_field_-_NARA_-_286149

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Based on the story “The Man Who Dug Arrowheads” from Vance Randolph’s “Sticks in the Knapsack”. 

Once there was this farmer, who every time he went out to plow up the fields he would pick up rocks in the way and throw them into a big pile near the house.

One day as he was plowing up a row he hit a big ol’ hump in the ground like a mole track. He hit the mule harder, and pushed and pushed and pushed on down the row until finally he was able to break through. “What in the world was that?” The farmer said looking back at the hump he just plowed through. There on the ground in between a pile of twisted roots he could make out three black rocks. The farmer reached down and picked up what he was sure were three flint arrowheads from out of the ground.

It’s not uncommon in the Ozarks to dig up arrowheads while plowing or taking out tree stumps, so the farmer just put the stones in his pocket and went on with his work.

That night when the farmer got back home his wife was all upset about something. “What’s wrong?” he asked her.
“The baby ain’t right.” she replied.
“What do ya mean, ain’t right?” the farmer asked, moving over to where the baby was lying in his crib by the fire.

As he looked down at the child the farmer recoiled in horror. There in the crib wasn’t the baby he knew, but a twisted, skinny creature with lots of hair on its head and two little red eyes.

The farmer and his wife sent for the doctor immediately, but even he couldn’t figure out what was wrong with the child. So the farmer sent for Granny Applegate who was sure to know about things like this.

Granny Applegate came into the cabin carrying a big bag and leaning on a cane made from the twisted root of a dogwood tree. She set to examining the child. She looked him up one side and down the other before she turned to the farmer and his wife. “Have you brought anything new into the house?” she asked the farmer.
“No, I can’t say I have.” says the farmer, but then he remembered those arrowheads he dug up that morning.
“Are you sure?” Granny asked, staring up at the man.
“Well I founds these,” says the farmer, taking the three black stones out of his pocket, “but they’re nothin’ but old arrowheads.”
“Them ain’t arrowheads.” the old woman replied with shock, “You need to take them rocks out to a swift flowing river and warsh em. Then you wrap em up in some leaves and put them right back where you found em. You hear me?”

The farmer nodded, and him and old Granny Applegate set out at midnight to the river. The farmer knelt down and washed the stones in the river, then wrapped them up in a pawpaw leaf and buried them right back down in the hill where he found them.

After that the baby started looking normal again, and the farmer never picked up any more rocks out of his field, and him and his wife never had any problems the rest of their days.