Day 189: Ozark Ghost Tales: Pennywinkle! Pennywinkle!



From Vance Randolph’s “Who Blowed Up the Church House?”

“One time there was a woman who got mad at her husband about something, so she killed their baby with the fire-shovel. Then she skinned the baby just like a rabbit, and cut it up just like a rabbit, and cooked it just like a rabbit. When her man come home that night she set the meat on the table. Him and her was not speaking, so he didn’t ask nobody what kind of meat it was. He set down and et every scrap of the meat, and the woman sent her daughter to put the bones under a marble stone down by the springhouse.

“Nobody said a word all evening, so pretty soon they went to bed, but they could not get no sleep. It seemed like something was a-crawling around the house, and crying. After while the man he says, “Who’s there? What do you want?” And then the little ghost hollered back, “Pennywinkle! Pennywinkle! My maw killed me, and my paw et me, and my sister buried my bones under a marble stone! I want my liver and lights and wi-i-i-ney pipes! Pennywinkle! Pennywinkle!” And when the fellow heard this, he got to thinking about what it meant. So after while he got out of bed and went down to the springhouse, and found the baby’s bones under the marble stone.

“Well, the man set there awhile and whetted up his knife. Then he went back to the house and cut his wife’s head off. The step-daughter she run away through the woods, and nobody ever did find out what become of her. The folks took the baby’s head and skin and bones out from under the marble stone, and put them in a regular little coffin, and buried them in the graveyard. And that is the end of the ‘Pennywinkle’ story.”

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