The Conjure Wives- By Kate Farrell

Story Power author Kate Farrell has written a new blog post on a classic Halloween, Southern folktale- The Conjure Wives. Read the story here!

The Conjure Wives

Old Southern Tale

Once on a time when a Hallowe’en night came on the dark o’ the moon, a lot o’ old conjure wives was a-sittin’ by the fire an’ a-cookin’ a big supper for theirselves. The wind was a-howlin’ round like it does on Hallowe’en nights, an’ the old conjure wives they hitched theirselves up to the fire an’ talked about the spells they was a-goin’ to weave long come midnight.


By an’ by there come a knockin’ at the door.

“Who’s there?” called an old conjure wife. “Who-o? Who-o?”
“One who is hungry and cold,” said a voice.

Then the old conjure wives, they burst out laughin’ an’ they called out, “We’s a-cookin’ for ourselves. Who ‘ll cook for you ? Who? Who?”

The voice didn’t say nothin’, but the knockin’ just kept on.

“Who’s that a-knockin’?” called out another conjure wife. “Who? Who?”

Then there come a whistlin’, wailin’ sound, “Let me in, do-o-o-o, I’se cold thro-o-o-o an’ thro-o-o-o. And I’se hungry too-o-o!”

Then the old conjure women they all burst out laughin’, and they commenced to sing out,”Git along, do! We’s a-cookin’ for ourselves. Who ‘ll cook for you Who? Who?”

The voice didn’t say nothin’, but the knockin’ just kept on.

Then the old conjure wives they went to work a-cookin’ of the supper for theirselves, an’ they mixed an’ they baked an’ they fried an’ the voice didn’t say nothin’, but the knockin’ just kept on.

An’ then the old conjure wives they hitched up to the fire an’ they ate an’ they ate—an’ the voice didn’t say nothin’, but the knockin’ just kept on.

An’ the old conjure wives they called out again, “Go way, do! We’s a-cookin’ for ourselves. Who ‘ll cook for you ? Who? Who?”

An’ the voice didn’t say nothin’, but the knockin’ just kept on.

Then the old conjure wives began to get scared-like, and one of ’em says, “Let’s give it somethin’ an’ get it away before it spoils our spells.”

An’ the voice didn’t say nothin’, but the knockin’ just kept on.


Then the old conjure wives they took the littlest piece of dough, as big as a pea, an’ they put it in the fry pan.

An’ the voice didn’t say nothin’, but the knockin’ just kept on.

And when they put the dough in the fry pan it begun to swell an’ swell, an’ it swelled over the fry pan an’ it swelled over the top o’ the stove an’ it swelled out on the floor.

An’ the voice didn’t say nothin’, but the knockin’ just kept on.

Then the old conjure wives got scared an’ they ran for the door, an’ the door was shut tight.

An’ the voice didn’t say nothin’, but the knockin’ just kept on.

An’ then the dough it swelled an’ it swelled all over the floor an’ it swelled up into the chairs. An’ the old conjure wives they climbed up on the backs of the chairs an’ they was scareder and scareder. An’ they called out, “Who that a-knockin’ at the door? Who? Who?”

An’ the voice didn’t say nothin’, but the knockin’ just kept on.

An’ the dough kept a-swellin’ an’ a-swellin’, an’ the old conjure wives begun to scrooge up smaller an’ smaller, an’ their eyes got bigger an’ bigger with scaredness, an’ they kept a-callin’, “Who that a-knockin’? Who? Who?”

An’ then the knockin’ stopped, and the voice called out, “Fly out the window, do! There’s no more house for you!”

An’ the old conjure wives they spread their wings an’ they flew out the windows an’ off into the woods, all a-callin’, “Who’ll cook for you? Who? Who?”

An’ now if you go into the woods in the dark o’ the moon you’ll see the old conjure wife owls an’ hear ’em callin’, “Who’ll cook for you? Who-o! Who-o!”

Only on a Hallowe’en night you don’t want to go round the old owls, because then they turns to old conjure wives a-weavin’ their spells.

_________________________

Source: Frances G. Wickes, Happy Holidays. Rand McNally, New York, 1921.
Note: This is a great story to tell with the soft sound of a constant knocking. You or your listeners could set up a soft beat and say the refrains together or take turns.


Story Power by Kate Farrell

Story power

Secrets to Creating, Crafting, and Telling Memorable Stories

Stories are everywhere. The art of storytelling has been around as long as humans have. And in today’s noisy, techy, automated world, storytelling is not only prevalent—it’s vital. Whether you’re interested in enlivening conversation, building your business brand, sharing family wisdom, or performing on stage, Story Power will show you how to make use of a good story.

Get Our Latest News

Enter your email address below and subscribe to our newsletter