This is the complete text of a post to Fiddle-L at the end of September 1999. Enjoy!

A Fiddle Fairy Tale

Date: Mon, 20 Sep 1999 14:17:52 -0500
From: Drew Beisswenger
Subject: Fiddle fairy tale (long)


Mac McKeever, a leader in the old-time and contra dance scene in St. Louis, wrote a clever fairy tale for a wedding shower last Saturday (for Lisa Langston and me). It's probably much funnier when read out loud by Mac's wife Marsha, and it's rather long, but I thought some of you might enjoy reading it. He said he has no plans to print it up anywhere, and that distributing it on the web would be fine. The principal feature of the story is that it contains over 85 fiddle tune titles. At least he didn't use, "Growling old man and the grumbling old woman." Enjoy it! Drew Beisswenger
A True Story

Only the facts are changed to make it more interesting.

Once upon a time in far away rural Missouri, near where Bitter Creek runs into Big Sandy River, lived a sweet, lovely young lady with her mean Twin Sisters, Back Step Cindy and Ragtime Annie. Lisa Gay (she prefers Lisa) dreamt of Castles in the Air and watched the Grey Eagle take Liberty with the wind. She had two dreams - to meet her true love and become a dance model. Her sisters kept tight control of her activities and provided her only the Bare Necessities. They ordered her to do every little chore: "Boil that Cabbage Down!", "Shoot that Turkey Buzzard", "Nail that Catfish to a Tree," and "Saddle the Pony".

Lisa had made a New Year's Resolution to break free, but by the Last Day of August things looked grim. She did everything she could to please her sisters. She worked like a Devil in the Kitchen making their favorite Maple Sugar, but received no freedom in return.

One morning while sitting Behind the Haystack watching the Birdie in the Tree and the Morning Dew in the grass, she noticed a small man hiding In the Pines. "Hi, Lisa," he said. "Who are you? How do you know my name?" she asked.

"I am King of the Fairies, but you can call me Jack of Diamonds" he answered. "I just got back from Sugar Hill and was Going to Town when I heard you thinking. I think I have the Perfect Cure for what ails you."

The Farmer's Jamboree will be held on the Eighth of January in Dubuque. It will be the biggest thing since the Seneca Square Dance. Your dreams can come true there. Now I'm Off to California, but I'll be back in time to get you to the dance.

Lisa waited, and just as they were Breaking up Christmas, the man returned. "I can help you," he said, "but just for that night. It is an all night dance - so you can stay past Midnight, but you must be home before sunrise. Now you make a list of everything I have to work with and I will return the day of the dance."

He returned on the eighth. "Well, what do we have to work with?" he asked. "I found this Little Brown Jug in the barn - can you do anything with it?" she responded.

"Easy as Falling Off a Log." He did a little jig and turned it into a luxury coach. "Now, how about some horses?"

"All I have is this Drunken Billy Goat, Flop Eared Mule, Forked Deer and the Old Black Nag." He danced again and produced four magnificent white stallions. Her One Eyed Cat became the coachman.

"But what can I wear?" she asked, "All I could find is this old piece of blue Four Cent Cotton and my old Nikes." A few jig steps later she became the Girl with the Blue Dress On including Golden Slippers designed for dancing.

"Better get going - it's Five Miles to Town". So, Off She Goes to seek her dreams.

Upon her arrival it was obvious it would be a Hot Time In the Old Town Tonight. Everyone was there. She walked in right behind The Weaver and His Wife and noticed Sally Ann and Bill Cheatum were back together. Tom and Jerry came stag, but were both all over Jenny Lynn all evening. Cotton Eyed Joe danced with all the Buffalo Gals, but the big surprise was to see Liza Jane with Gary Owen. Old Joe Clark had started on Whiskey Before Breakfast and thought he was the Lord of the Dance.

The Left Handed Fiddler was Draggin the Bow playing some great tunes. The music and dancing were hot, but Lisa's eye was on the handsome guitar player in Leather Britches and Cowhide Boots. She asked The Maid Behind the Bar about him.

"That's Drew. He's way out of your league. Not only is he handsome and talented, he's also an ethnomusicologist. He probably has Money in Both Pockets.

Lisa danced and had a good time, but couldn't find a way to meet that guitar player. Late in the evening, the caller had to demonstrate a move and asked Drew to help. Lisa was about as happy as a Rabbit in a Pea Patch when he chose her as his dance model partner. Drew asked her to finish the dance with him. Then they waltzed. It was as smooth as Swinging on a Gate. They visited briefly during the break. Drew checked his watch. "It's Half Past Four - I have to play the next set. Will you wait for me?"

Lisa had forgotten the time. She dashed out, slipping on the Rye Straw and injuring her foot. Drew couldn't follow. "She's Done Gone." He thought "How will I ever find her?"

On the way home, Lisa thought about her previous men friends - the Arkansas Traveler, The Red Haired Boy and Honest John. None made her feel the way the handsome ethnomusicologist did.

Now finding a dancer with an injured foot is not all that difficult. But finding the right one is. Once the word got out that Drew was looking, all the eligible young ladies practiced their limps. Drew needed a test. He asked each lady "What tune was playing while we danced." He got all kinds of answers from Cherokee Shuffle to Turkey in the Straw, but none were right.

By the Twenty Eighth of January he was about ready to give up when he discovered the little cottage marked Home Sweet Home. He asked the first sister. She responded Soldier's Joy. The second sister guessed Devil's Dream. Both were wrong.

Anyone else live here? "Just our Kitchen Girl - don't mind her". But Drew was out of options so he asked Lisa "What song was playing when we danced?" She replied "I don't know - they all sound the same to me." This was the first dancer to answer truthfully - he had found his true love.

He gave her a Gold Ring on their Wedding Day. They Turned Down the Sheets and vowed to Laugh and Grow Fat together.

Mac McKeever 9/18/99