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"The Reverend Gets the Possum," #120 Swapping Stories
Sarah Albritton, Ruston, Lincoln Parish, Louisiana

This story was recorded September 16, 1993, by Pat Mire and Maida Owens.


We have a story about two guys--wanted to go possum hunting. They sit down, and they discussed it, and in each family, they needed more than one possum. So, they went to hunting, and they hunted all night, and they killed one possum between the two of them. And they couldn't decide which one would take the possum.

So they decided to have a lying contest: the one told the biggest lie would get the possum. So they lied and lied, and every time, they would have a draw. And they lied till daylight. And they were sitting there, and the pastor came riding up -- he was a Baptist minister on his mule. And he says, "Hello, brethren. What are you all doing?"

And they said, "Rev, we just having a lying contest. We killed one possum last night--and there's two of us--and the one tells the biggest lie gets the possum."

So Rev says, "Ha-ha. That's funny. Never told a lie in my life."

They said, "Here, Rev, you take the possum."

This is a popular jest in the American South, particularly among African Americans. This story is usually much longer and considered a schwänke, or long, narrative joke. The teller shortened the story for the video documentary.

For more information on this and related tales, refer to the book Swapping Stories: Folktales from Louisiana, published by University Press of Mississippi.

About the Transcriptions


National Endowment for the Arts.

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