In which there are winter stories to share with your friends and family

For many years now, I've been sharing stories.  Not just the everyday kind of "what kind of crazy stuff I did with my horse this week" stories, but actual folktales that I collect and tell--live, on the radio, and on this blog.

The story-behind-the-story of why I do this is HERE.  It's a story about Xmas, and love, and being sick-to-death-of-the-mall, and carrot-cauliflower soup.

I look for new stories and poems all year, and at the end of each year, I bundle them up into a little booklet.  If you live nearby and want a booklet, come find me.  I hand them out to family and friends during the holidays...and also to total strangers who seem like they could use a bundle of stories.

If you don't live nearby, do not despair!

I'll post all the stories and stuff here, beginning today.  Feel free to share these stories around.  I stole most of them from elsewhere, and it's only fair that folks should steal them from me.

Today's story is my own version of a tale I found in a book called Her Stories: African American Folktales, Fairy Tales and True Tales by the renowned folklorist and storyteller Virginia Hamilton.
She doesn't say if this is a folktale, a fairy tale, or a true tale.  So, neither will I.

Happy Merry Everything, Y'all.  I'll post another story here tomorrow.


Miz Hattie Gets Some Company (American South)

One time, there was Miz Hattie.

Miz Hattie lived all alone in the piney woods.  That was all right in spring, when the flowers were blooming and the air smelled sweet.  In the spring, she’d sit on her porch and admire the clouds up in the sky. 

It was all right in summer, when the sunshine warmed the trees, and the garden needed tending.  It was all right in the fall, when the pumpkins and the corn came ripe, and there was harvesting that needed to be done. 

But the piney woods in winter were not so good.  Miz Hattie was cold and lonely in her little house.  The only visitors who came were varmints.  Weasels stole her chickens.  Rats ate her corn.  And mice—well, sometimes it seemed like the mice were everywhere.

And Miz Hattie was afraid of mice.  She gather up her skirts and holler “Mercy me!” and those mice would skitter around her feet, and grab at her bootlaces, and torment her terribly.

One cold night, bad came to worse.  A whole squeak of mice was in the house—in the cupboards, in the bread box, and running around on Miz Hattie’s bedquilt itself.

Miz Hattie gave a yell like never before.  Loud as the wind itself, it was. 

“Oh, mercy sakes!  Lord, help me!” she shouted, and threw the quilt to the floor, mice and all.

Suddenly, there came a loud, booming knock at the door.  That frightened Miz Hattie even more, but the night was too cold for man or beast.  She went, and she opened the door.

And right there in the doorway stood the Lord himself, come all the way to help Miz Hattie as she’d asked.

He didn't say a word at first.  He pulled off one of his gloves, and threw it on the floor.  And that glove, lo!  It started to move.  Miz Hattie couldn't believe her eyes.

“Lord, is your glove a-moving there?” she asked.

He spoke gently to her.  “I believe it be so, Miz Hattie,” he said.

Sure enough, she saw the thumb of that glove turn into a tail.  The fingers of the gloves turned into four legs, and in no time at all, that glove had changed into a creature that stretched itself and worked its claws…and then it sniffed at the mouse tracks.

By-and-by, the new creature jumped at one of the little skeezicks that poked a head too far out the hole, and caught that mouse.  Then it laid that mouse at Miz Hattie’s feet.

Miz Hattie picked up that creature, that cat. 

Held it in her arms and nuzzled it some.  That cat was so pleased, it hunkered down in Miz Hattie’s lap and purred.

So that is how the cat came to be a friend. 

You must always watch out for cats and show them kindness, for they are made of the Lord’s own glove.  

That’s what Miz Hattie did, and she was happy.  She had some company at last.


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