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Johnny-Cake

Once on a time there was an old man, and an old woman, and a little boy. One morning the old woman made a Johnny-cake, and put it in the oven to bake.

"Watch the Johnny-cake while your father and I go out to work in the garden," she said to the little boy. Then the old man and the old woman went out and began to hoe potatoes and left the boy to tend the oven.

But he didn't watch it all the time, and all of a sudden he heard a noise. He looked up and saw the oven door popped open. Out of the oven jumped Johnny-cake and went rolling along end over end towards the open door of the house.

The little boy ran to shut the door, but Johnny-cake was too quick for him and rolled through the door, down the steps, and out into the road long before the little boy could catch him.

The little boy ran after him as fast as he could, crying out to his father and mother. They heard the uproar and threw down their hoes and gave chase too.

But Johnny-cake outran all three a long way, and was soon out of sight, while they had to sit down, all out of breath, on a bank to rest.

On went Johnny-cake, and before long he came to two well-diggers who looked up from their work and called out: "Where are you going, Johnny-cake?"

He said, "I've outrun an old man, and an old woman and a little boy, and I can outrun you too-o-o!"

"You can, can you? We'll see about that?" they said, and threw down their picks and ran after him. But they could not catch up with him, and soon they had to sit down by the roadside to rest.

On ran Johnny-cake, and soon he came to two ditch-diggers who were digging a ditch. "Where are you going, Johnny-cake?" said they. He said, "I have outrun an old man, and an old woman, and a little boy and two well-diggers, and I can outrun you too-o-o!"

"You can, can you? We'll see about that!" they said, and threw down their spades and ran after him too. But Johnny-cake soon outstripped them also, and when they saw they could never catch him, they gave up the chase and sat down to rest.

On went Johnny-cake, and soon he came to a bear. The bear said, "Where are you going, Johnny-cake?"

He said, "I've outrun an old man, and an old woman and a little boy, two well-diggers and two ditch-diggers, and I can outrun you too-o-o!"

"You can, can you?" growled the bear. "We'll see about that!" and trotted as fast as his legs could carry him after Johnny-cake, who never stopped to look behind him. Before long the bear was left so far behind that he saw he might as well give up the hunt first as last, so he stretched himself out by the roadside to rest.

On went Johnny-cake, and by-and-by he came to a wolf. The wolf said, "Where are you going, Johnny-cake?"

He said, "I've outrun an old man, an old woman, a little boy, two well-diggers, two ditch-diggers and a bear, and I can outrun you too-o-o!"

"You can, can you?" snarled the wolf. "We'll see about that!" And he set into a gallop after Johnny-cake, who went on and on so fast that the wolf too saw there was no hope of overtaking him, and he too lay down to rest.

On went Johnny-cake, and soon he came to a fox that lay quietly in a corner of the fence. The fox called out in a sharp voice without getting up: "Where are you going Johnny-cake?"

He said, "I've outrun an old man, an old woman, a little boy, two well-diggers, two ditch-diggers, a bear and a wolf, and I can outrun you too-o-o!"

The fox said, "I can't quite hear you, Johnny-cake, won't you come a little closer?" turning his head a little to one side.

Johnny-cake stopped his race for the first time, and went a little closer, and called out in a very loud voice, "I've outrun an old man, an old woman, a little boy, two well-diggers, two ditch-diggers, a bear and a wolf, and I can outrun you too-o- o."

"Can't quite hear you; won't you come a little closer?" said the fox in a feeble voice, as he stretched out his neck towards Johnny-cake, and put one paw behind his ear.

Johnny-cake came up close, and leaning towards the fox screamed out, "I'VE OUTRUN AN OLD MAN, AN OLD WOMAN, A LITTLE BOY, TWO WELL-DIGGERS, TWO DITCH-DIGGERS, A BEAR AND A WOLF, AND I CAN OUTRUN YOU TOO-O-O!"

"You can, can you?" yelped the fox, and he snapped up the Johnny-cake in his sharp teeth in the twinkling of an eye.

[Johnson 1905:1-8. Compare also The Wee Bannoch" from Scotland and a Norwegian Pancake tale]

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The Irishman and the Bull

One day as an Irishman was going through a field he suddenly met a bull that first stamped and snorted and then ran at him.

Just as the Irishman was about to mount a wall, the bull helped him over with his horns. The man was very angry when he got down on the other side, and he shook his fist in the bull's face and snorted, "I'll remember you!"

[Abridged from Addy 1895, p. 35]

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