A scary Bedtime Story.
On hot summer nights in Lometa, Texas, we grandchildren often vacated hot bedrooms and slept on a Baptist pallet on the round south porch of the house Grand Papa built to take advantage of whatever breezes came along. Most of us slept there all night; Grand Mama would stay out there with us until it became cooler, then she went inside.
There on that porch in the darkness with the whip-poor-will's vigorous call coming from the woodlands in the south pasture, Grand Mama often told us stories. Some were literary favorites, but she had a few that we heard nowhere else.
The Old Man and His Big Toe
was one of these:
The Old Man and His Big Toe
by Nollie Hill Godwin
Once Upon A Time there was an Old Man and an Old Woman and a Little Girl who lived out in the country a long way from town. One day the Old Man hitched his horse and buggy and went into town. Now it happened that there was a hole in the bottom of the buggy and as the Old Man went through the turnip patch, he lost his big toe down through that hole.
Later in the morning when the Old Woman went to gather some tunips for dinner, she found the big toe and brought in in with the turnips. She washed the turnips and put them on to cook. She just happened to put the Big Toe in to cook too.
Now when the turnips were done, the Old Woman took them up. The Big Toe looked so good that she decided to take a little taste of it.
I want a taste too, said the Little Girl
Just a little taste! said the Old Woman.
And the Little Girl took a little taste. And the Old Woman took another little taste. And the Little Girl took another taste until pretty soon they had tasted it a-l-l-l up.
The Old Man was gone all day and when dark came he was not yet home, so the Old Woman and the Little Girl went to bed and went to sleep.Suddenly they were awakened by a loud voice saying,
Where's-my-big toe? Where's-my big toe?
The Old Woman got up and looked and looked to see where the voice was coming from. She looked under the bed and behind the door. She looked under the table and in the oven But she couldn't find anyone, so she went back to bed.
Again they heard the voice saying,
Where's-my-big-toe? WHERE'S-MY BIG TOE?
This time the Little Girl got up and looked. She looked in the cupboard and Behind the curtains She looked under the dresser. She looked and looked, but she couldn't find anyone, so she went back to bed.
The voice boomed out,
WHERE'S-MY BIG TOE?
The Old Woman got up again and looked and looked. She looked under all the chairs and even out on the porch!, but still she didn't find anyone.
Finally she stooped awaaay down and looked up the chimney and
THERE HE WAS!!!
Retold from a story that Nollie Godwin entertained her children and grandchildren then passed on to great-grandchildren of the Godwin family as a traditional bedtime story.
Gadbury, Ruth. "The Old Man and His Big Toe." Your Eggs And My Eggs Stories of The Godwin Home Place. July 1998.