[Author’s note: Telling this story has worked well with all ages and was an adaptation of a Maryland folktale. Happy Halloween!]
Old Mrs. Piedmont lived in a log cabin in the tiny town of Frazier Park, California, in the early 1800s. She would forage for food every day hoping to capture a rabbit or other small game but often had to dig up some roots and cook them for dinner. One day while picking mushrooms from the base of her favorite tree, she spotted something strange sticking out of the ground. She brushed away the topsoil until she uncovered a great big hairy toe. There was some good meat on that toe and it would make a mighty tasty dinner. With a single whack of her hatchet old Mrs. Piedmont dislodged the toe, put it in her basket and took it home.
When she got back to her cabin, she boiled her vittles in a kettle and had hairy toe soup for dinner. The meat was so tender she ate it right off the bone. It was the best meal she'd had in weeks! With a full stomach old Mrs. Piedmont fell fast asleep at the kitchen table next to her napkin and the toenail clipping.
The moon rose, crossed the night sky and seemed to stop directly over her house. Cold wind started blowing and growing stronger until it howled through the tree tops. A soft hollow voice was carried through the air calling out, "Hairy toe! Hairy toe! I want my hairy toe!" Inside the house, old Mrs. Piedmont stirred and nervously looked around.
From the woods came a stomp-squish, stomp-squish, stomp-squish noise and the wind whistled louder. At the edge of the forest, she could make out a ghoulish cry: "Hairy toe! Hairy toe! I want my hairy toe!" Old Mrs. Piedmont shuddered and ran to the door and barred it.
Stomp-squish, stomp-squish, stomp-squish sounds came from the garden path outside her cabin. Mournful moans shook her window shutters: "Hairy toe! Hairy toe! I want my hairy toe!"
The front door burst open with a bang, snapping the bar in two and a massive figure walked through the shattered doorway – stomp-squish, stomp-squish, stomp-squish. It demanded: "Hairy toe! Hairy toe! I want my hairy toe!" and pointed to the missing digit.
Old Mrs. Piedmont shouted in terror, "But I ATE your hairy toe!"
“And I want it back.” The giant advanced into the room stomp-squish, stomp-squish, stomp-squish.
Old Mrs. Piedmont was never seen again.
And still to this day, more than 200 years later, people still ask, “What does hairy toe soup taste like?” It ain’t toe bad – tastes like chicken.
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