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Stories

Blackberry Jam
By: Leslie Slape

Once upon a time there was a woman who needed a new pair of shoes.

She looked everywhere, but all the shoes cost at least five coppers – and she only had two coppers. Then she passed a store window and saw a pair in her size, and they were only two coppers!

She tried them on and they were perfect, so she bought them and went home.
When she went to bed, she placed her shoes side-by-side at the foot of her bed, lay down, and was just drifting off to sleep when she heard:

“My dear, would you care to dance?”

“I don’t mind if I do.”

And the shoes began to dance. They clickety-clacked and tappity-tapped all over the house! When the sun rose, they set themselves down side-by-side at the foot of her bed.

The woman marched back to the store. She had such a headache!

“I want my money back,” she said.

The storekeeper pointed to a sign that said, “No refunds or exchanges.”

He said, “This store sells used merchandise. Now if you wanted to donate the shoes, we could take them, but we can’t give you your money back.”
The woman didn’t like that. She wouldn’t have shoes or money then. So she went to a friend and told her the story.

“It sounds as if your shoes are bewitched,” her friend said. “You should go to the wizard on the mountain. He’ll take that spell away.”

“Oh no, I don’t want to go to a wizard!” the woman said.

“All right, then how about you put a brick in the shoes? It might hold them down, and they won’t dance!” her friend said.

The woman went home. She was so tired she went straight to bed. She placed her shoes side-by-side at the foot of her bed, lay down, and was just drifting off to sleep when she heard:

“My dear, would you care to dance?”

“I don’t mind if I do.”

And the shoes began to dance. And if you thought they were noisy the first night, you should have heard them with a brick in them! Stompety-stomp, thoomety-thoom, they tap-danced, they clog-danced, they danced all over the house all night long.

When the sun rose, they set themselves down side-by-side at the foot of her bed.
The woman went to her friend’s house. She had such a headache!
“The bricks didn’t work,” she said. “I’ll have to go to the wizard. But I don’t have any money!”
“Oh, that’s all right,” her friend said. “He doesn’t take money for removing spells – he just takes something real special. And I happen to know he likes blackberry jam – and you make the best blackberry jam I’ve ever tasted.”

The woman took her prettiest pot of blackberry jam, dressed it up with a ribbon and put it in a basket, and went to see the wizard on the mountain.
The wizard came shuffling out of his cave. His hair was long and matted, he had warts all over his nose, and he smelled as if he hadn’t taken a bath in three years. He had about an inch of dirt under his long fingernails.

“What do you want?” he said.

“My shoes have a spell on them. Could you take it off? I brought you some blackberry jam,” the woman said.

“Blackberry jam! I love blackberry jam,” said the wizard. “But it has to be real special. Let’s have a taste.”

Now, the wizard didn’t eat jam the same way as you or I do, spread on bread or maybe eaten with a spoon. No, he dipped his old hairy hand into the jar and sucked the jam off his fingers.

“Sluuuuurp! Hmmm, nice. But I don’t know if it’s special. Let’s have another taste.”

He dipped his hand in again.

“Sluuuuurp! Good blackberry flavor. But I don’t know if it’s special. I’d better have another taste.”

He scraped out the last of the jam.

“Sluuuurp! No, it’s not special. It’s just ordinary blackberry jam. I can’t take a spell off for jam that isn’t special. But I’ll give you some advice: Keep your shoes on when you go to bed tonight. If they can’t touch the floor, they can’t dance.”

The woman wasn’t happy, but she went home. She was so tired she went straight to bed.

She placed her shoes side-by-side at the foot of her bed, lay down, and was just drifting off to sleep when she heard:

“My dear, would you care to dance?”

“I don’t mind if I do.”

And the shoes began to dance – with her in them! They danced the waltz, they danced the polka, they danced the hora, they danced the frug, they danced the twist, they danced the tango, they danced the bunny hop. She fell on the floor and they danced the gator! She grabbed the doorknob to try and stop dancing, but the shoes danced the door open and the woman danced all night among the blackberry bushes until the sun rose in the morning. She had such a headache – and she was mad!

“Leave the shoes on, he says! My jam isn’t special, he says! Well, I’m going to make him some real special blackberry jam!
She threw blackberries into her pot and began looking around for something to throw in there with them.

“Aha!”

She grabbed a bottle of cough syrup. Not the cherry-flavored kind, but the thick, black, icky kind. She dumped the whole bottle into the blackberry jam and stirred and stirred.

“Hmmm, what next? Aha!”
She grabbed a bottle of vinegar and dumped the whole bottle into the blackberry jam.

“Hmmm, what next? Aha!”

She grabbed a bottle of Tabasco sauce. One drop will set your tongue on fire. She dumped the whole bottle into the blackberry jam.
But the jam wasn’t special enough.

She stuck her finger into her nose, pulled out a booger, and threw it into the
blackberry jam. Then she put the jam into a jar, put the jar in a basket, and went to see the wizard on the mountain.

“You’re back!” the wizard said. “Did it work?”

“No,” the woman said. “The shoes danced all night. But I brought you some real special blackberry jam.”

“Let’s see!” the wizard said. He took off the lid, stuck in his old hairy hand, and sucked off the jam.

“Sluuuuuurp!”

He paused, a funny look on his face.

“You put something besides blackberries in this jam, didn’t you?”

“Yes, I did. I wanted it to be real special.”

“Well, let’s see if I can guess what it is!”

He stuck his old hairy hand in again.

“Sluuuuuuurp!”

He made a face.

“Did you put … cough syrup in this blackberry jam?”

“Yes, I did. I wanted it to be real special.”

“That’s what my grandma always puts in her blackberry jam! She says cough syrup makes it slide down real nice. But you put something else in here, didn’t you?”

“Yes, I did. I wanted it to be real special.”

“Well, let’s see if I can guess what it is!”
He stuck his old hairy hand in again.

“Sluuuuuuurp!”

He made another face.

“Did you put … vinegar in this blackberry jam?”

“Yes, I did. I wanted it to be real special.”

“That’s what my aunty always puts in her blackberry jam! She says vinegar gives it a nice tang. But you put something else in here, didn’t you?”

“Yes, I did. I wanted it to be real special.”

“Well, let’s see if I can guess what it is!”

He stuck his old hairy hand in again.

“Sluuuuuuurp!”

He made another face.

“Did you put … Tabasco sauce in this blackberry jam?”

“Yes, I did. I wanted it to be real special.”

“That’s what my Mama always puts in her blackberry jam! She says Tabasco sauce warms the tummy! But you put … something else in here, didn’t you?”

“Yes, I did. I wanted it to be real special.”

“Well, let’s see if I can guess what it is!”

He stuck his old hairy hand in again. And this time he took out the last bit of blackberry jam.

“Sluuuuuuuuuuuuuurp!”

He had some trouble getting a bit of jam off his teeth. Then a shocked look came over his face.

“Did … you … put … a … booger in this blackberry jam?”

“Yes, I did. And you deserved it!”

“But that’s what I always put in my blackberry jam! I say jam just isn’t special unless you put a booger in it!”

He waved his hands toward the shoes.

“I’m gonna take that spell off right now!”

The woman went home, placed her shoes side-by-side at the foot of her bed, lay
down, and was just drifting off to sleep when she heard:

“My dear, would you care to … go to sleep?”

“I don’t mind if I do.”

And they all slept that night.

Author Information:
Name: Leslie Slape
Website: http://www.storyteller.net/tellers/lslape
All stories are under the copyright of the author. Do not use without written permission.

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