The Legend of the Tailypo
Have you ever heard the story of Tailypo?
This is an Appalachian folktale, and a good one. Once upon a time, there was an old man who lived alone in a small cabin way back in the woods (because no self-respecting cabin-builder would think of constructing one anywhere else), his only companions three hulking, nasty hounds. One night the Tailypo got into his cabin. This is a common problem, I hear, when one chooses to live in a cabin in the deep woods. Some say the creature looked more panther-like and some say it more resembled a wolf, but all those repeating the story agreed that it had a long tail. The beast attacked the man, but he, with some help from his hounds, chased it away. In the melee, the man even managed to use an axe to sever the creature’s tail. This he then boiled and ate (because that is what one does with the tails of unidentified creatures in them there parts).
Later that night, suffering no gastrointestinal disturbances from eating the tail (unless this whole story is meant as a metaphor for eating something that disagrees with you and having it come back to haunt you), the old man is trying to sleep when the creature returns. “Where is my tailypo?” it demands. (Who knew the beast could talk? Maybe the old man would have, if he’d attempted to engage it in conversation before cutting off its tail.) The creature attacks, but the man and his dogs drive it away. His three dogs chase the Tailypo into the woods, but only two of the dogs return. The next time Tailypo comes demanding the return of its tail, the same thing happens. The two remaining dogs chase after it, but only one dog returns.
You can figure out the rest, right? The last remaining dog chases after the Tailypo, fails to return, and when the creature returns to the cabin, the old man has no one to protect him. “Give me back my Tailypo!” the beast demands, as it attacks the man and gobbles him up.
The moral of the story should be obvious. If an unknown creature breaks into your home, and you somehow manage to chop off its tail, don’t eat it.
You’d think that one would be a no-brainer.
WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS (www.evilcheezproductions.blogspot.com, www.facebook.com/evilcheezproductions), specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced and directed (and occasionally acted in) over a dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and Crime genres. His first novel, THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT CHRISTOPHER: WEREWOLF, is available for purchase at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/734763
MORTUI VELOCES SUNT!