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Little Dog Turpie & the Hobyahs

My grandmother (Marie Josephine Deardorff Brown) began telling me this story when I was very, very young & I begged her to tell it again every time I'd see her, even after I became an adult & then visited her with my own children. I've since learned that it is a very old English folktale with some different details, but I still like my grandmother's version the best. I hope you do too.

Once upon a time there was a little old man and a little old woman who had a little dog named Turpie. The little old man and the little old woman built a little straw house next to a deep dark forest and they made little dog Turpie a cozy little bed in the kitchen, right next to the stove.

Unbeknownst to them, deep in the forest lived the Hobyahs. The Hobyahs never came out of the forest during the day because they saw little dog Turpie in the yard and they were afraid of him. But one night the Hobyahs came out of the forest and surrounded the little straw house. They began running around the house, beating the walls with sticks and shouting, "Tear down the hempstalks, tear down the hempstalks, carry off the little old woman and the little old man." Now the little old man and the little old woman were sound asleep and didn't hear them, but little dog Turpie jumped out of his bed, his little tail began to wiggle-waggle, wiggle-waggle, and his little feet began to pitter-patter, pitter-patter all over the kitchen, and he began to bark-bark-bark. The Hobyahs heard him and ran back into the forest. Tthe little old man and the little old woman also heard him and woke up, but they didn't see the Hobyahs, so they were a little annoyed at little dog Turpie. The little old man said, "Little dog Turpie, we need to teach you a lesson," so he snipped off little dog Turpie's tail and set it on a shelf above the stove.

The next night, the Hobyahs again crept out of the forest, surrounded the little house and began beating on it with sticks and shouting, "Tear down the hempstalks, tear down the hempstalks, carry off the little old woman and the little old man." Little dog Turpie again heard them and he couldn't wiggle-waggle, wiggle-waggle his little tail, but his little feet could still pitter-patter, pitter-patter all over the kitchen and he could still bark-bark-bark and chase away the Hobyahs. Again the little old man and the little old woman woke up, but didn't see anything, so the little old man said, "Litte dog Turpie, we need to teach you another lesson," so he snipped off little dog Turpie's feet and set them on the shelf above the stove.

Once again the next night the Hobyahs crept out of the forest, surrounded the little house and began beating on it with sticks, shouting, "Tear down the hempstalks, tear down the hempstalks, carry off the little old woman and the little old man." Little dog Turpie again heard them and he couldn't wiggle-waggle, wiggle-waggle his little tail nor pitter-patter, pitter-patter all over the kitchen with his little feet, but he could still bark-bark-bark and he once again chased away the Hobyahs. The little old man and the little old woman again woke up, but didn't see anything. "Well," said the little old man to little dog Turpie, "we need to teach you another lesson," and he snipped off little dog Turpie's head and set it on the shelf above the stove.

Well, the next night the Hobyahs again crept out of the forest, surrounded the house and beat on it with sticks shouting, "Tear down the hempstalks, tear down the hempstalks, carry off the little old woman and the little old man." Little dog Turpie again heard them but he couldn't wiggle-waggle, wiggle-waggle his little tail, and his little feet couldn't pitter-patter, pitter-patter all over the kitchen, and he couldn't bark-bark-bark to chase away the Hobyahs. The Hobyahs began tearing down the walls of the house and woke up the little old man and the little old woman. The little old woman crawled under the bed to hide and the little old man jumped into the wardrobe. When the Hobyahs got inside the house, they couldn't open the door to the wardrobe, but they pulled the little old woman out from under the bed, put a big bag down over her head, and carried her off into the deep dark forest.

When the Hobyahs had gone, the little old man jumped out of the wardrobe and ran into the kitchen. "Oh, little dog Turpie," he said, "now I know why you were making so much noise!" He grabbed little dog Turpie's tail off the shelf above the stove and stuck it back on and it began to wiggle-waggle, wiggle-waggle, back and forth. He grabbed little dog Turpie's feet off the shelf above the stove and stuck them back on and they began to pitter-patter, pitter-patter all over the kitchen. He grabbed little dog Turpie's head off the shelf and stuck it back on, and little dog Turpie began to bark-bark-bark-bark-bark, ready to chase after the Hobyahs.

The little old man and little dog Turpie set off into the deep dark forest to find the Hobyahs and rescue the little old woman. When they came to a clearing, they saw the bag hanging from a tree with little old woman upside-down inside, and the Hobyahs were dancing around under it, poking it with their sticks, saying "Look-you, look-you, look-you." Well, little dog Turpie dashed into the clearing, bark-bark-barking, and chased away all the Hobyahs. The little old man ran to the bag and pulled down the little old woman, and they ran out of the forest, back to their little straw house with little dog Turpie.

Well, the little old man and the little old woman rebuilt their little straw house, with a very cozy bed for little dog Turpie right next to the stove in the kitchen. The little old man said, "LIttle dog Turpie, you can wiggle-waggle your little tail and pitter-patter your little feet, and bark-bark, bark whenever you want to," but the Hobyahs were too afraid of little dog Turpie and they never came out of the forest again, so the little old man and the little old woman and little dog Turpie lived happily ever after.


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