CHRISTIAN CO. (Mamie Hanbery)


A snake head an’ er lizard tail, Hoo-doo; Not close den a mile o’ jail, Hoo-doo; De snake mus’ be er rattlin’ one, Mus’ be killed at set uv sun, But never while he’s on de run, Hoo-doo.

Before you get de lizard cot, Hoo-doo; You mus’ kill it on de spot, Hoo-doo; Take de tail an’ hang it up, Ketch de blood in a copper cup, An’ be sure it’s uv a pup, Hoo-doo.

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Wait until sum stormy weather, Hoo-doo; Put de head an’ feet together, Hoo-doo; In a dry ol’ terrapin shell, Let ’em stay fer a good long spell, But don’t you ever try to sell, Hoo-doo.

De rattlers mus’ be jus’ seben, Hoo-doo; But mus’ not be ober leben, Hoo-doo; He mus’ be curl’d up fix’d to fight, But see dat you don’ let him bite, Den you hit w’en de time is right, Hoo-doo.

Ef you do, it’s power is dead, Hoo-doo; ‘Cause it is all right in de head, Hoo-doo; Save de head and de buttons, too, Fer de work you’ll have ter do, You will need ’em till you’re thru, Hoo-doo.

Ketch a live scorpen wid you han’, Hoo-doo; Drown in mare’s milk in a pan, Hoo-doo; Den dry it on a pure lime rock, Ninety-nine minutes by de clock, Hoo-doo.

Den git a hand which is a bag, Hoo-doo; Made uv any sort uv rag, Hoo-doo; An’ let de top be color’d blue, Den git de hair frum out de shoe, Hoo-doo.

Now we’n you find de folks ain’t well, Hoo-doo; An’ dey wants you to move de spell, Hoo-doo; Git your gredients together, Ster dem up wid a goose feather, In sum dark an’ cloudy weather, Hoo-doo.

Den put ’em in de hoo-doo bag, Hoo-doo; In dat little blue top rag, Hoo-doo; Den slip ’em in between de ticks, Ef you want de conjure fixed, Is de way you do de tricks, Hoo-doo.

Ef dey wants you to git ’em well, Hoo-doo; Dat is de han’ dat moves de spell, Hoo-doo; Take it out before der eyes, An’ you mus’ be awful s’prised, And dey will think dat you is wise, Hoo-doo.

Den lay right down on your back, Hoo-doo; Ef you hear de timbers crack, Hoo-doo; Den yer kno’s yer trick has won, Den you’ll ast er-bout de mon, For you kno’s yer work is done, Hoo-doo.

Now ef you wants de conjure fixt, Hoo-doo; All you do is to turn de tricks, Hoo-doo; Jes git dat bottle what you had, An’ to make your patient glad, Is but to make de conjurer mad, Hoo-doo.


Federal Writers' Project. WPA Slave Narratives. Web. 2007.

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