Old Fire Dragaman

ONE TIME Jack and his two brothers, Will and Tom, were all of 'em a-layin' around home; weren't none of 'em doin' no good, so their daddy decided he'd set 'em to work. He had him a tract of land out in a wilder-ness of a place back up on the mountain Told the boys they could go up there and work it. Said he'd give it to 'em. Hit was a right far ways from where anybody lived at, so they fixed 'em up a wagonload of rations and stuff for house keepin' and pulled out. 

There wasn't no house up there, so they cut poles and notched 'em up a shack. They had to go to work in a hurry to get out any crop and they set right in to clearin' 'em a newground. They decided one boy 'uld have to stay to the house till twelve and do the cookin'. 

First day Tom and Jack left Will there. Will went to fixin' around and got dinner ready, went out and browed the horn to call Tom and Jack, looked down the holler and there came a big old giant steppin' right up the mountain. Had him a pipe about four foot long, and he had a long old blue beard that dragged on the ground. 

When Will saw the old giant was headed right for the house, he ran and got behind the door, pulled it back on him and scrouged back against the wall a-shakin' like a leaf. The old giant came on to the house, reached in and thronged the cloth back off the dishes, eat ever'thing on the table in one bite and sopped the plates. Snatched him a chunk of fire and lit his pipe; the smoke came a-bilin' out. Then he wiped his mouth and went on back down the holler with that old pipe a-sendin' up smoke like a steam engine. 

Tom and Jack came on in directly, says, "Why in the world ain't ye got us no dinner, Will?" 

"Law me!" says Will. "If you'd 'a seen what I just seen you'd 'a not thought about no dinner. An old Fire Dragaman came up here, eat ever' bite on the table, and sopped the plates." 

Tom and Jack laughed right smart at Will. 

Will says, "You all needn't to laugh. Hit'll be your turn to- morrow, Tom." 

So they fixed up what vittles they could and they all went back to work in the newground. 

Tom got dinner, went out and browed the horn. There came Old Fire Dragaman- 

"Law me!" says Tom. "Where'll I get?" 

He ran and scrambled under the bed. Old Fire Dragaman came on up, eat ever'thing there was on the table, sopped the plates, and licked out all the pots. Lit his old pipe and pulled out down me holler, the black smoke a-rollin' like comin' out a chimley. Hit was a sight to look at. 

Will and Jack came in, says, "Where's our dinner, Tom?" 

"Dinner, the nation! Old Fire Dragaman came back up here. Law me! Hit was the beatin'-est thing I ever seen!" 

Will says, "Where was you at, Tom?" 

"Well, I'll tell ye," says Tom; "I was down under the bed." 

Jack laughed, and Will and Tom says, "You just wait about laughin', Jack. Hit'll be your time tomorrow." 

Next day Will and Tom went to the newground. They got to laughin' about where Jack 'uld hide at when Old Fire Dragaman came. 

Jack fixed up ever'thing for dinner, went out about twelve and browed the horn. Looked down the wilder-ness, there was Old Fire Dragaman a-comin' up the hill with his hands folded behind him and a-lookin' around this way and that. 

Jack went on back in the house, started puttin' stuff on the table. Never payed no attention to the old giant, just went right on a-fixin' dinner. Old Fire Dragaman came on up.