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Johnny-Cake
(Massachusetts, United States)

The following variant of the nursery tale of “Johnny-cake,” already printed in the JOURNAL OF AMERICAN FOLK-LORE (vol. ii., p. 70), is communicated by Miss Julia D. Whiting, of Holyoke, Mass., who remembers the story as a favorite of her early years. It will be found to resemble the Scottish version already alluded to in the preceding number in connection with the tale.                

THERE was once an old woman and old man who lived in a little house. One morning the old woman got up and made a Johnny-cake and put it in the oven to bake, and said to the old man, “I am going out to milk the cow and do you turn the Johnny-cake.”

The old man was lazy, so instead of getting up he lay abed, and by and by he said, “Oh dear, I shall have to get up to turn the Johnny-cake.”

The Johnny-cake called out, “I can turn myself,” and hopped out of the oven and ran away. The old man got up and ran after him, and called to the old woman, and they both ran as fast as they could, but they couldn’t catch Johnny-cake.

By and by Johnny-cake met (here my memory fails me. I cannot remember the persons and animals he met, but I know that every one said):--

“Where are you going, Johnny-cake?”

He answered. “I’ve run away from a little old woman, a little old man, a little old pot, and a little old pan, and I’ll run away from you if I can.”

Every one he met ran after Johnny-cake, but nobody could run fast enough to catch him, but finally he came to a river and he didn’t know what to do.

Here he saw a fox, and the fox said, “Where are you going, Johnny-cake?”

He said,-

“I’ve run away from a little old woman, a little old man, a little old pot, and a little old pan, and I’ll run away from you if I can.”

Then he said, “How shall I get over the river?”

The fox said, “Get up and sit on my tail, and I’ll take you over.”

So Johnny-cake got on the fox’s tail, and the fox went into the river. Pretty soon the fox let his tail down into the water and frightened Johnny-cake, and he said, “I am getting wet, I’m afraid I shall drown.”

So the fox said, “Get on my back.”

So Johnny-cake got on his back, but pretty soon he said, “I am getting wet, I’m afraid I shall drown.”

So the fox said, “Get on my shoulder.”

So Johnny-cake got on his shoulder, but the fox went deeper into the water, and Johnny-cake was frightened, and the fox said, “Get on my neck,” and then Johnny-cake got on his neck, and as soon as he did the fox turned round his head and eat poor Johnny-cake up, and that was the end of Johnny-cake.

Source:

"English Folk-Tales in America." The Journal of American Folklore.Vol. 2, No. 6 (Jul. - Sep., 1889). pp. 213-218.


 

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