Now I’ve got my Tailypo!

Posted by | April 27, 2007

Back in the hollers lived an old woodsman in a one-room cabin with his three dogs. After a day of hunting, the old man finds only a small rabbit to feed himself and his three dogs. Still hungry, the old woodsman begins to doze off. Just as he is about to fall asleep, the awfulest critter he ever did see in his life creeps through a crack between the logs in the wall. The old man cuts off the creature’s long tail, cooks and eats it, and goes to bed with a full stomach.


He is awakened several times throughout the night when the strange creature comes looking for its tail. Finally, the furry creature sneaks into the old man’s bed, and tears the man all to pieces. Nothing remains of the old man’s house except the chimney. At night, when the moon shines and the wind blows, you can hear a voice say: ‘Tailypo, tailypo, now I’ve got my tailypo.’

— Appalachian children’s folktale

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One Response

  • Yes! Tailypo, if you don’t know the story, is a VERY compelling one. It, along with the similar “Big Toe” story are staples of Appalachian folklore. Did you know it has roots in the Grimm Bros early tales and cannibalism??

    Be careful about how young of a child you engage with it, though, as I’ve talked to many people who carry it with them to this day — including myself!

    I had to pass it down to my kids in the form of a short film and documentary information about it (that’s how much it impressed me as a kid). You can learn more about tailypo here: : plus, find links to many other websites which also study the tailypo phenomena and tale type.

    Thanks to Mr Tabler for recognizing tailypo and allowing this post… Tailypo Community Unite! Let’s keep this story going for generations to come!

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