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"Jean Sot, la vache, les chiens et sa petite soeur" (Jean Sot, the Cow, the Dogs, and Little Sister), #53 Swapping Stories
Enola Matthews, Jennings, Jefferson Davis Parish, Louisiana

Collected by Annette Huval on April 2, 1993. The following tale relies on the double meanings of words. Foolish John is asked to "rock" [cogner] the baby and "milk" [tirer] the cow, but he takes these orders as commands to "hit" [cogner] the baby and "shoot" [tirer] the cow. An English translation of this story follows.


Jean Sot, la vache, les chiens et sa petite soeur

Ça fait, la maman a dit à Jean Sot, elle dit, "Je suis gone travailler dans le clos." Et elle avait un petit, un petit bébé. Elle dit, "Tu vas faire dormir ta petite soeur."

Il dit, "Comment?" Ils aviont pas jamais de berceuse.

Elle dit, "Tu cognes la chaise."

Là, elle dit, "Tu vas tirer la vache et," elle dit, "Mets du persil et des onions dans le gombo."

Ça fait, il a été, il a attrapé le fusil. Elle a dit, "Tire la vache." Ça fait, il a attrapé le fusil, il a tiré la vache. (Elle a mean tirer [milk] la vache.) Mais lui, il l'a tiré au fusil. Il a tiré la vache.

Et il a attrapé les deux petits chiens qui s'appelaient Persil et Onions, et il les a mis dans la chaudière. Et puis il s'a assis dessus pour les tenir.

Là il a pris sa petite soeur et il l'a cognée après la chaise. Et puis il l'a jetée dans le lit. Elle s'a plus réveillée.

Ça fait, quand sa maman est venu, elle dit, "T'as tiré la vache?"

"O, oui," il dit, "Elle est par terre."

Et elle dit, "T'as fait dormir ta petite soeur?"

"Oui," il dit, "Un coup-là, elle a dormi." Il dit, "Je l'ai mis dans le lit, elle s'a jamais réveillée."

"Et," elle dit, "T'as mis du persil et des onions dans la chaudière?"

Il dit, "Oui." Puis il dit, "Fallait je m'assis dessus. Parce que," il dit, "Ça voulait pas rester." Quand elle a ouvert sa chaudière, ses deux chiens étaient bouillis dans le gombo.

Jean Sot, the Cow, the Dogs, and Little Sister

So the mother said to Jean Sot, she says, "I'm going to work in the field." And she had a little one, a little baby. She says, "You're going to put your little sister to bed."

He says, "How?" (They didn't have a crib.)

She says, "You rock [hit] the chair." Then, she says, "You're going to milk [shoot] the cow, and," she says, "put parsley and onions in the gumbo."

So he went, he got the gun. (She said, "milk [shoot] the cow.") so he got the gun, he shot the cow. (She meant "milk" the cow.) But he shot it with a gun. He shot the cow.

And he got the two little dogs that were named Parsley and Onions, and he put them in the pot. And then he sat down on it to keep them in.

Then he took his little sister and hit her on the chair. And then he threw her in the bed. And she didn't wake up.

So when his mother came, she said, "Did you milk [shoot] the cow?"

"Oh, yes," he said, "she's on the ground."

And she says, "Did you get your little sister to sleep?"

"Yes," he says, "One blow, then she slept." He said, "I put her in the bed, and she never woke up."

"And," she says, "Did you put parsley and onions in the gumbo?"

He says, "Yes." Then he says, "I had to sit on the pot. Because," he says, "they didn't want to stay in there." When she opened the pot, the two dogs were boiled in the gumbo.

For more information about 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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