The Hog’s Foot

We asked Susan Abel Sullivan, author of Cursed: Wickedly Fun Stories and The Haunted Housewives of Allister, Alabama, to tell us a scary story for our Haunted October celebration — and boy did she tell us a whopper!

“The Hog’s Foot” is an Abel family oral tradition as I remember it being told to me by my aunt Juanita, or Nee Nee as the family called her, when I was a little girl in the 1960s. To my knowledge it was never written down.  My dad, born in 1932, was not only the youngest of seven children, he was fifteen years younger than his sister Juanita.   Their father had married late in life and sired my dad at the age of sixty-four.   What is amazing to me is that my dad’s dad was born in 1868 — ninety-five years before I was born!

My dad’s family lived out in the wilds of Northeast Alabama up near Ft. Payne in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.  By today’s standards they would have been dirt poor.  They lived in a rustic three-room house that consisted of two bedrooms and one long combination kitchen and living room.  No running water.  No indoor plumbing.  No central heat and air.  In fact, the house was heated via fireplace.  They grew their own food and my granddad hunted small game to supplement what their garden produced.

Now, bear in mind this story is about my paternal grandfather before he ever married, which would put the time somewhere in the 1890s — a time of ghosts and spook stories if ever there was one — and a time before electric lights had become prevalent and country folk lit their homes with kerosene lamps.  When sunset came, it was darker than pitch even if you had a lantern.  And the roads were not paved.  An owl hooting in the night was as scary as Freddy Krueger or Frankenstein or a zombie would be today.

In trying to recapture the story, I’m struck by the similarities to Little Red Riding Hood and suspect my aunt invented this tale.  As a child, her dramatic delivery was captivating and questions concerning character motivation or authentic historic detail never even occurred to us kids.  And the idea of eating a hog’s foot always grossed me out, especially one that hadn’t been refrigerated.  It wasn’t until much later that I even knew that country folk ate pickled hogs’ feet. Eww!


“The Hog’s Foot”

(as told to Susan Abel Sullivan by Juanita Abel Street)

Daddy had to walk along a lonesome stretch of road to go to work when he was a young man.  When the day was over and it was time to go home, he had to walk that same stretch of lonesome road all by his self.  He didn’t have a horse or a mule.  And when it got dark, it was DARK.  It took a brave man to walk home in the dark, but it’s what daddy had to do, so he did it.  There was owls hootin’ and coyotes howling and all manner of strange and frightening sounds in the woods after sunset. 

So one night he was walking home after dark and his lunch had done left him hours ago.  Boy, was he ever hungry.  He came upon an old house and decided to go in and see if there was any food he could rustle up.  And sure enough, there was.  On the middle of a table in a big empty room sat a hog’s foot.  Daddy couldn’t believe his luck.  He rushed to that table and went to pick up that hog’s foot when a scary voice wailed, “That’s my hooooog’s foot.”

And then his lantern went out.

Daddy looked around in the dark, the hair on his arms standing up.  “Who said that?”

No one answered.  He shrugged and relit his lantern.  Then he reached for the hog’s foot.

The strange voice again said, “That’s my hooooog’s foot.”  And his lantern blew out again.

“Okay, now,” Daddy said.  “I know you’re tryin’ to play a trick on me.”

No one said anything.

Daddy was sooooo hungry by this point.  His mouth was watering something fierce.  So he relit his lantern and then reached for that hog’s foot and this time he picked it up.

“That’s my hooooog’s foot!” the voice wailed.

Daddy’s lantern stayed lit, but now a big shaggy monster rose up from underneath that table from a trap door in the floor.

But Daddy wasn’t about to give his dinner to no monster.  “My, what big eyes you have.”

“The better to see you into your grave,” the creature said.

“My and what long hair you have.”

“The better to sweep you into your grave.”

“Goodness, your claws are awful long.”

“The better to dig you a nice, deep grave.”

“And your teeth sure are long and pointed.”

“The better to EAT YOU UP!”

[At this point my aunt would lunge forward and grab our shoulders and scare the bejeezus out of us.  We’d shriek, of course.  And then we’d say, “Tell it again, Aunt Nee Nee.”]

Susan Abel Sullivan lives in a Victorian house in northeastern Alabama with two dogs, way too many cats, and a couple of snakes. When not writing she likes to get her groove on by teaching Zumba Fitness classes. She is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop for speculative fiction. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous online and print publications, including Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, ASIM Best of Horror: Vol II, Beyond Centauri, New Myths, AlienSkin, and Writers’ Journal. She is the author of Cursed: Wickedly Fun Stories and Fried Zombie Dee-light! Ghoulish, Ghostly Tales and the Cleo Tidwell Paranormal Mystery Series – book one releases on Tuesday! 

About World Weaver Press Guest Blogger

World Weaver Press invites many guest bloggers to join us in our discussion of fantasy and science fiction. Opinions expressed by guest bloggers are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of World Weaver Press, its staff, or authors.

Posted on October 12, 2012, in from the authors of WWP, ghosts, Haunted October, horror, World Weaver Press and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. What’s your favorite tale-that-scared-you from when you were a kid? Susan Abel Sullivan shared hers, now World Weaver Press wants to hear what yours is!

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