Tone the Bell Easy Page: 59
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returning spirit. The experience retold in the story below
was given to me as a fact.
THE HALF-CLAD GHOST
"I knew a' ole man once that alluz wo' two paiah o' draw's.
But when he died his wife didn' lay out but one paiah foh
'im. Well, after de fune'l, he kep' a-comin' back an' a-comin'
back. Evah night he'd come right in dat front do' o' her
house. So she moved from dat place, but he jes' kep' a-comin'
jes' de same. She moved fo' o' five times, an' he jes' kep'
on a-comin' back evah night o' de worl'. Finely she talked
to some o' her frien's. They asked 'er why she don' talk to
'im. She say 'cause she scared to. But they say foh 'er to
say, 'What in de name o' de Lawd do you want?' So dat
night he come ag'in.
"This time she walk' right up an' met 'im an' say, 'What
in de name o' de Lawd do you want?'
"He looked at 'er right study foh a long time, but she
nevah move, an' she jes' stan' theah; an' finely he say,
'Honey, gimme 'nother paiah o' draw's, please.'
"She say, 'Aw right, I'll give 'em to you'; an' from dat
day to this he nevah has come back no mo', she say. An'
dat's de way it is: When you ask 'em what in de name o'
de Lawd they want, an' then tell 'em you'll give it to 'em,
they'll go 'way an' leave you alone." 1
From these examples it may be seen that dying "hard"
often causes unrest among the living, as well as in the spirit-
world. Furthermore, such an unhappy state of affairs is,
more often than not, preventable in one way or another. The
best and surest preventive is the promise to the believing
Christian as expressed in the following song, which, so far
as I can learn, has not hitherto been published.
9 Elmira Johnson, of Waco, Texas, who gave the story to me, is a
bright, vivacious Negro woman of some fifty or sixty years. She has
a slight tendency to lisp, and a pronounced tendency to see the humor
of things-even in ghost tales. Though very active and fairly supple,
Elmira scorns dancing because "it's sinful." But she admits that some-
times "de Lawd jes' gits in my feet." Such must have been the case
the morning she sang for us the song which is at the close of this paper.
For she danced and skipped as she sang of being "done crossed over."
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Tone the Bell Easy (Book)
Volume of Texas and Mexican folklore, including folktales about witches, superstitions, slavery, folk cures, folk songs and other legends. The index begins on page 190.
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Dobie, J. Frank (James Frank), 1888-1964. Tone the Bell Easy, book, 1932; Dallas, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc38876/m1/59/: accessed December 4, 2023), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Press.