The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Growing Up On Tuggles Creek - Devil Came to Mt. View

By YKW © 1984

Issue: January, 1984

When the Devil Came to Mt. View

One time my uncle Abe walked up the Old River Road to Mountain View to meet my Dad on some kind of business. He waited at the Mountain View Methodist Church for Dad to come along on his mail route.

Waiting got a little boring so Uncle Abe looked about for something to do for amusement. The land in the church yard was soft after a rain, so somehow Uncle Abe started making huge tracks leading out of the church door, the tracks were presumably barefoot, perhaps about 15 inches long. The toes were missing and in there place deep holes punched with a sharp stick. The tracks showed a giant stride and led out of the church yard across the road and to a fence. Here a little mud was spread on the top rail as if the giant had stood on the fence. His mischief done, Uncle Abe waited till Dad came along to admire his handiwork.

When the tracks were discovered by the local residents, there was a great deal of excitement. Rumors were flying thick and fast. Some said the Devil had come to collect a few wayward souls. Others thought it was a warning to sinners to mend their ways. There was no doubt it was the Devil himself for there was the print of his clawed feet and he had climbed the fence to fly away to the Infernal Regions.

I don’t know how long it took for the people of Mountain View to discover the whole thing was a hoax, but I don’t believe they ever knew who did it.

More About The Man Who Fell Out Of His Corn Field

In an early issue of The Mountain Laurel, the old legend about the man who fell out of his corn field and broke his leg was published.

This has always been a very popular story and very widely circulated. Perhaps the real reason it was so popular is based on its incredibility.

I recently heard some more details of the story. It happened so long ago that I doubt if anyone is still alive that actually remembers it first hand so I can’t vouch for the authenticity of these details; judge for yourself. Here they are.

Some say the man’s name was Rakes. At any rate, Mr. Rakes (we’ll call him) once planted corn on his high field on the lower side of what is now US 58 about 500 yards from Lover’s Leap. As was then the custom, he pulled the fodder and cut the tops from the corn and left the corn ears on the stalk until they could properly cure.

In the meantime, there came a big snow and sleet which formed a big hard crust over the snow.

Now, Mr. Rakes decided, would be the best time to harvest his corn. He lived at the bottom of the mountains and a deep ravine ran down the hill from his corn field, right to his house. Mr. Rakes supposedly built a barrier to catch the corn, then struggled up the mountain to his high field, where breaking the crust in front of him with an old ax or hoe, he steeped cautiously along the rows and pulled off the ears of corn and threw them on the icy crust where they slid rapidly down the ravine about half a mile and wound up against the barrier he had constructed. But just as he was about through, Mr. Rakes made a misstep, fell on the ice and went sliding down the ravine after his corn crop.

On the way down I suppose he collided with a sapling and broke his leg.

The story ends abruptly there. I wonder if he ever planted corn in that high field again. I also wonder how his family reacted and how a doctor was called. Anyone else out there that knows the ending to this story?