Marilyn A. Kinsella, copyright, 1981
I discovered this folktale in Treasury of American Folklore
Author: Sandburg, Carl - Botkins, B.A.
Publisher: Crown Publishers, Inc. New York 1944
It was written in heavy dialect. I’ve altered the dialect somewhat and kept a lot of the delicious flavor of the language by using idioms and sayings. The style of my writing was vastly influenced by my teacher and mentor - Dr. Jack Stokes, of Belleville, Illinois. Drama Choir differs from a Readers’ Theatre in that the parts are memorized and the drama parts come to the front of the chorus to dramatize their lines. However, it could be presented as a Readers' Theatre. I give free use of this manuscript to schools and libraries. If you choose to use this script, I do ask that you let me know, give me credit, and tell me about the performance. Any commercial use of this script including publishing and taping of any type requires my permission.
Drama parts: Little Eight John (J), Mama (M), Papa (P), Old Raw Haid Bloody Bones (R)
Chorus (CH) parts: A, B, C, D, E
A. Now where is that Little Eight John?
Is he hidin’ from his Mama again?
That little prankster Little Eight John.
Is he a-snickerin’ away in some corner somewhere?
D. But Mama knowed…She knowed what happened to that baby of hers.
M. (walks out in front of chorus) I tol’ Lil Johhny! I tol’ him to never to go a-
moaning and a-groanin’ –
all on a Sunday mornin’! And, you know what it means when you moans and
groans. It means you’ll meet up with Ole Raw haid Bloody Bones!
M. That’s right! If’n you a moan on a Sunday morn, you’re askin’ fer your comeuppance with Ole Raw Haid Bloody Bones.
A. Is that what happened, Mama? Is that what happened to Little Eight John?
M. Oh, that Little Eight John weren’t so bad. Deep down in my Mama heart, I knowed he weren’t so bad – just a frightful disrespectful and sassy around the edges, he was.
B. You got to hand it to Mamas. They always stands up for their babies…no matter what!
M. Like the time I tol’ Little Johnny, “Don’ you go a-steppin’ on no toad-frawgs or you will bring bad luck to the fambly,
you will. And, he just looked up at me with them cow-brown eyes of hissin’ and said…(LEJ rises up and faces mama)
J. No’m, I won’t step on those toad-frawgs...I won’t step on any.
A. But, sho’nuff, when his mama wasn’t lookin’, he went out to find a toad –frawg
to squirsh. In fact, sometimes he squirshed a whole heap of toad-frawgs!
J. Here toad-frawggie. Lookee what’s I got fer ya – a nice, juicy skeetter. That right, just unfurl that sticky tongue of yours out of that buggy-eyed face and you can have it.
CH. KER…SQUISH! (all stamp on the floor with LEJ who looks at the bottom of his
A. Oh, Little Eight John!
B. An’ then, the cow wouldn’t give milk
Ceptin’ milk that was sour
An’ the baby would have the colic
An’ a bad case of the scours.
C. An that Little Eight John would just duck his had and laugh and laugh.
D. You better not laugh
That don’t carry no clout
Cause Ol’ Raw Haid Bloody Bones
‘ill get cha, if’n you don’t watch out!
E. But, Little Eight John, he don’t care…he jus’ don’ care!
(LEJ – sitting backward on a chair and getting up when Mama speaks)
J. Now, what should I care if’ns we git the weary troubles. Me, I jist ain’t sitcheeated right lessin’ I sits backwards, hmmph!
With that creepy stare
As he set in that chair
Just waitin’ out the dare…
Why, he don’ care…
CH. (softly) He jus’ don’ care.
And the milk wouldn’t churn
Why, that child never did learn.
CH. (sing-songy) Oh, Little Eight John…listen to your Papa (right hand to ear)
That smile of yours don’ carry no clout
CH. Oh, Little Eight John…listen to your Mama (left hand to ear)
M. (pointing a finger at LEJ) Cause, Old Raw Haid Bloody Bones’ill get cha if you
don’ watch out.
CH. (all pointing to audience) Cause Ole Raw Haid Bloody Bones’ill get cha if you
don’ watch out!
M. Oh, goonies, goonies! Bad luck will be with us if’n you climb those trees on Sunday.
J. Why Mama, you wouldn’t catch me up a tree on a month of Sundays. Even, if a most ferocious-type bear should be at my rear…so have no fear.
A. But, that Little Eight John. That bad, bad little boy, he sneaked up the trees on Sundays. He jist sat up there scarin’ all the little birdies with his cat noises (J – make cat noises) and silly faces. (J make silly faces) and throwin’ spit balls (J flicken finger toward chorus) at every critter that happened to pass by.
CH. (reach for head and say) “Yuuuck!”
J. Some day they is gonna thank me fer this…Ridden the trees of all these pesky birds. Bad luck? Why, theys should pay me fer this here bad luck.
B. An’ when pappy’s taters wouldn’t grow
An’ his mule, Ole Jack, wouldn’t go
Little Eight John just put on a show.
C. After shakin’ his shoulders
He’d say with a lie
That he didn’t know why
With a great big ole. “And I don’t care” sigh.
CH. (sing and wave with right hand) Bye, bye Birdie
P. (hands on hips) Don’t think that sighin’ of your carries any clout
CH. (singing with left hand shading forhead) We hate to see you go.
M. (pointing to LEJ) Cause Ole Raw Haid Bloody Bones’ill get cha, if’ns you don’ watch out!
CH. (all pointing at audience) Cause Ole Raw Haid Bloody Bones’ill git cha, if’ns you don’t watch out.
M. Now son, I’ll be tellin’ ya true. Don’ be goin’ ‘round countin’ your teeth. Cause shore as it rains on washday – dere comes de bad sickness in your fambly.
J. Yes, Mama, you done tol’ me since that first tooth popped into my lovin’ baby face, that I shouldn’t oughta be countin’ my teeth
A. But dat , Little Eight John, he go right ahead an’ counted them teeth. He counted his uppers (point up) and he counted his lowers (point down). In fact, he even counted all the teeth that fell out of his lovin’ baby face on weekdays and twice on Sundays!
J. (counting teeth)
One, two, three,
It’s plain to see
Four, five, six
That Mama’s in a fix
Seven, eight, nine
Cause I ain’t denyin’
Ten, eleven, twelve’ll
To stirrin’ up the devil.
B. An’ that Little Eight John would just snicker an’ sin
With that toothy, sickenin’
C. Den his Mama would whoop
And de baby git the croup
All’s on account of dis nincompoop!
CH. (finger to lips) Hush little baby don’t say a word.
P. (hands on hips) Go ahead an’ grin that toothy grin…that don’t carry no clout!
CH. (cradle arms – rocking) Mama’s gonna buy you a mockin’ bird.
CH. (all pointing to audience) Cause Ol’ Raw Haid Bloody Bone’s ‘il git cha, if’ns you don’ watch out!
M. Lawsy-mercy! All de money is done gone from the poke. Whatever will we do?
This certainly a case of the weary-money blues. (pause – look at LEJ). Don’ tell
me, Little Eight John, that you been a-sleepin’ at the foot of your bed to bring us
such money-troublin’ blues to our front door?
J. Why, Mama, didn’t you tuck me in yourself last night…and listen to m prayers…”Now I lay me down to sleep, I
prays the Lawd my soul to keep” Wasn’t my little punkin’ head layin’ on my goosey-down pillow, when you kissed
my little-boy face? (looking at Mama batting his eyes at her)
know that the preacher man would be proud…proud, I say…of the way I saved
this fambly from E-ternal damnation. (like a little petulant boy shuffling one foot)
And, besides, don’ she know that the mornin’ sun burns my baby brown eyes,
if’n I sleep with my head up there?
C. And, he began to giggle and chortle and snort…cause, as I sadly has to report, that little boy was an ornery sort!
CH. (turning to the right) Turn to the east, Johnny (turning left) turn to the west
P. (hands on hips) Dat gigglin’ of yours, don’ carry no clout.
CH. (point to neighbor) Turn to the one that you love best!
M. (point to LEJ) Cause, Ole Raw Haid Bloody Bones’ill git cha, if’n you don’ watch out!
CH. (all pointing to audience) Cause, Ole Raw Haid Bloody Bones’ill git cha, if’n you
don’ watch out!
M. One last warnin,’ my little one. Don’ you go havin’ no Sunday moans….for fear of Ole Raw Haid Bloody Bones.
J. What you talkin’ about Mama? What else have you ever heered from you Little Eight John’s lips but a quiet whisper on a Sunday morn? (Mama returns to the group)
A. But sho enough – comes high noon and everyone else is still in church with the preacher man, Little Eight John lets out with a moan and a groan.
J. (moan and groan)
B. Listen to him moan and groan…all on this Sunday morn.
J. (moan and groan)
C. But Johnny din’ have time to laugh, or giggle…or grin…
Cause Ole Raw haid Bloody Bones was standin’ there right next to him.
R. (ORBB enters) Was that you I heared Little Eight John?….a moanin’ and goanin’?
Was that you I heard disturbin’ my Sunday rest?
J. (Shaking) Uh, no sir! You must be mistaken. You see, my Mama tol’ me never to moan and groan…leastways never
long abouts no Sunday morn. And, I always do what my Mama says.
R. Is that right? Well, where is the varmint that conjured me here?
J. That must have been my little brother you heered.
R. No such-a-thing. Your brother and fambly is church-gin’ people. In fact, you is the only one for a mile around.
R. No such-a-thing! You skeered all the birdies from this farm and two farms over.
R. No such-a-thing! Why, you squirshed every toad-frawg in this here county.
R. I reckon…it was a lyin’, disrespectful, toad-frawg-squirshin’, Little Eight John. That’s what I reckon!
CH. Run, Little Eight John! Run and hide! (LEJ “run” to the middle of the chorus with R behind him
A. Little Eight John made his way right quick fer the kitchen…but not quick
enough, cause Ole Raw Haid Bloody Boones caught him and turned him into a
grease spot…(R take hand and bring it down on LEJ’s head as chorus says….)
CH. (right hand up and down) Ker-Squirish!
A. On the kitchen table. (both R and LEJ back in chorus)
B. Next mornin’, mama comes in and tries to wipe up that ole grease spot. But, it never went away.
C. And Mama did cry, for she knowed why…she knowed why.
D. And now you know what happens to never-mindin’ little boys…and girls.
CH. This is the way we wash the table, wash the table (pretend to wash the table)
P. Don’ think you can laugh and giggle and grin, that don’ carry no clout.
CH. This is the way we wash the table…early in the morning. (keep washing, then abruptly stop… and look up at the
CH. (to audience pointing say firmly…) Cause Ole Raw Haid Bloody Bones’ll git
cha, if’ns you don’ watch out. (heads down)