The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Grandpa and The Devil

By Joel H. Puckett © 1985

Issue: January, 1985

When reading the October issue of The Mountain Laurel (about the ghosts) it started me to reminisce the past.

I was born down in the Bent and lived there for 13 years at the end of the road overlooking the Dan River Gorge. I recall when I was 9 years old, I was in a school play one night at 7:00 pm. This was in the old Bent School house in the late fall of 1930. We lived one mile from the school house.

My 60 year old grandpa went with me that night. The moon was to be shining bright so we did not need to carry a lantern. After the play was over, my grandpa, George W. Puckett and I headed home down the narrow road. On our left was what was known as the "dark woods." About half way home, to the right, was Jim Puckett's draw bars. Just before arriving at that point, there was about 15 feet of undergrowth between the road and a rail fence. Beyond the fence was a cow pasture.

My grandpa heard what he thought was a sow and a gang of pigs in the underbrush. He said to me, "I am going to jump in there and we will see a big race.” So, he thrashed all around with his cane. Then, everything was quiet. Nothing ran out. The moon was bright and you could see all around. A nearby tree shook as if it was going to fall. The wind was still and I could not see anything in that old chestnut oak tree. My grandpa took his hat in one hand and his cane in the other hand, holding it in the middle and off we went down the road. He said to me, "Come on - Come on. It's the devil after us." That nine year old boy ran to keep up with Grandpa. If Pa's cane ever touched the ground on the way home, I didn't see it.