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“The Gingerbread Boy”

Some of the Appalachian stories have become well known as folk tales and are even taught in schools. They are usually quite short, except for the Jack tales. The Scots-Irish brought them into our country in the 18th. century.

The calendar says it’s fall, and the clear blue skies and color-changing leaves attest to the truth. Pumpkin patches are open for business, pansies are for sale, and mothers hunt packed up sweaters for their children.

My grandmother passed on her gingerbread recipe to my mother, and it was a favorite whenever it was served. It is different in the additions, and I thought you might want to try it. Using your own favorite gingerbread recipe, serve it in a bowl topped with sliced bananas, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and then several spoonfuls of brown sugar sauce. Not only does it make a picture presentation, but its sweetness will be remembered. In my opinion, it is worth every calorie!

Here is “The Gingerbread Boy” written in dialect.

One time there was an old woman and old man. They had a little boy and a little girl.  The old woman decided to bake some gingerbread. She made out one gingercake in form of a boy an’ put it in the baker an’ put the led on it an’ some coals on the led an’ went out in the garden to he’p her ol’ man do sump’n an’ told the boy an’ girl to watch it.

            She hadn’t been out of the house long till the baker led jumped off an’ the gingerbread boy jumped out o’ the baker an’ took out o’ the door an’ right down the road. The little boy an’ girl took after it an’ the old man an’ woman seein’ them a-goin’ took after them.

            They run an’ run, but the gingerbread boy just kicked up his heels and run off an’ left them. He run an’ he run till he passed by a field where some men was workin’. “Where’ye goin’ Gingerbread boy they said. Stop an’ we’ll eat ye. “No ye won’t,” said the gingerbread boy, “I’ve outrun a little boy an’ girl an’ an old man an’ woman an’ I’ll outrun you.” An’ he just kicked up his heels an’ run off an’ left ‘em.

            He run an’ he run till he come to dog trottin’ down the road. “Where ye goin’, gingerbread boy,” asked the dog. “Stop an’ let me eat ye.” No you won’t,” said the gingerbread boy, “I’ve outrun a little boy an’ girl, an’ old man an’ woman, an’ some men an’ I’ll outrun you.” An’ he kicked up his heels an’ run off an’ left the dog.

            So he run an’ he run till he come to a cow feedin’ in a pasture. “Hey,” said the cow, “where ye goin’, gingerbread boy?  Stop an’ let me eat ye.” “No ye won’t” said the gingerbread boy, I’ve out run a little boy an’ girl, an’ old man an’ woman, some men, a dog an’ I’ll outrun you.” An’ he kicked up his heels an’ run off an’ left the cow.

            So he run an’ he run till he come to a fox comin’ out of his den in a cliff. “Ha, ha,” said the fox, “where ye goin’, gingerbread boy, stop an’ let me eat ye” No ye won’t” said the gingerbread boy, I’ve outrun a little boy an’ girl, an’ old man an’ woman, some men in a field, a dog in the road, a cow in the pasture, an’ I’ll out run you.”   

        “Wait a minute,” said the fox, “I didn’t hear what ye said, I’m almost deaf. Come a little nearer.” The gingerbread boy went closer an’ said “I’ve outrun a little boy an’ girl, an old man an’ woman, some men in the field, a dog in the road, an’ a cow in the pasture, an’ I’ll outrun you.” “Can’t hear a thing you say,” said the fox, “come a little closer.  The gingerbread boy walked right up to the fox an’ the fox grabbed him an’ eat him up.

I had the privilege of teaching kindergarten for several years, and this was one of my favorites to share with them. We even went on a hunt to find the gingerbread boy who had been carefully hidden ahead of time. They loved the repeating line of “Run, run as fast as you can. You can’t catch me. I’m the gingerbread man.” There were clues to follow, and he was always found. Then we brought him back to a gingerbread feast.

So run, run  to the kitchen as fast as you can to bake some gingerbread. The smell will fill your house, and you will know it is fall.

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