Epamynamous

Epamynamous

A Story of Oral Tradition
Told by Lubelle Eager
over the years

Pinned to the page by Nancy Payne, 1996

Once upon a time, there lived in the very old hills a young mother and her little boy Epamynamous. His mother tended to get rather excited sometimes, but Epamynamous was a very relaxed, laid-back sort of boy. He tried to do the right thing and obey his mother, but he was also a very literal boy.

One day, Epamynamous’s mother discovered she was out of butter, so she said, “E-pamynamous?”

Epamynamous said, “Yeeesss, Mammy?”

Mother said, “E-pamynamous, you run over the hill to your auntie’s house and get some butter, you hear?”

Epamynamous said, “Yeeesss, Mammy.” And he put on his hat and set out over the hill. When he got to his auntie’s house, she gave him a big hug, a drink of cool milk with a sugar cookie, and a half a pound of butter she had made fresh that day.

Epamynamous set out back over the hill, but he saw some pretty stones by the swiftly running brook, but he had the butter in his hands. So he set the butter on his head and put his hat on his head and put the pretty stones in his pocket and he went on along home.

Well, it was a hot day, and when he got home, the butter had melted and was running down the sides of his head.

His mother said, “E-pamynamous, what you got there, child?”

Epamynamous said, “Buuuttter, Mammy.”

Mother said, “E-pamynamous, you ain’t got the sense you was born with! Don’t you know when your auntie gives some butter, you supposed to wrap it in some fresh green leaves, and then you take it to the brook and you cool it in the water, and you cool it in the water, and you cool it in the water–then you come on along home.”

Epamynamous said, “Yeeesss, Mammy.” He was sad, but there was just enough butter for his mother’s recipe, so she was busy.

The next day, Epamynamous remembered the nice milk and cookie that his auntie had given him, and he said, “Maaaammy?”

His mother said, “Yes, Epamynamous?”

Epamynamous said, “Kin I go over the hill to visit auntie, Maaaammy?”

“Yes, Epamynamous, but don’t stay long.”

“Yeeesss, Mammy,” said Epamynamous, and he put on his hat and set out over the hill. When he got to his auntie’s house, she gave him a big hug, a drink of cool milk with a sugar cookie, and a little puppy dog that someone had left at her house that day.

Epamynamous set out back over the hill, and he remembered what his mother had said, so he wrapped the little puppy dog in some fresh green leaves when he got to the pretty little brook, and he cooled that little puppy dog in the water, and he cooled him in the water, and he cooled him in the water till he most drowned that poor little puppy dog. Then he went on along home.

When he got home, his mother said, “E-pamynamous, what you got there, child?”

Epamynamous said, “Puuuppy dog, Mammy.”

Mother said, “E-pamynamous, you ain’t got the sense you was born with! Don’t you know when your auntie gives you a puppy dog, you supposed to take a string and tie it around his neck–not too tight, mind–put the puppy dog on the ground behind you and come on along home?”

Epamynamous said, “Yeeesss, Mammy.” He was sad he might have hurt the little puppy dog, but his mother got an old towel and gave the poor little puppy dog a brisk drying off and fed him some left over stew from an old cracked saucer. Epamynamous played with the puppy dog the rest of the day.

The next day, Epamynamous’s mother said, “E-pamynamous?”

Epamynamous said, “Yeeesss, Mammy?”

His mother said, “E-pamynamous, you run over the hill to your auntie’s house and get a loaf of bread, you hear?”

Epamynamous said, “Yeeesss, Mammy.” And he put on his hat and set out over the hill. When he got to his auntie’s house, she gave him a big hug, a drink of cool milk with a sugar cookie, and a loaf of bread she had made fresh that day.

Epamynamous set out back over the hill, but he remembered what his mother had said, and he fished out of his pocket a piece of string that he always carried with him. He never knew when a piece of string might come in handy, you know, and he tied the string around the loaf of bread, and he put the loaf of bread on the ground and he went on along home.

When he got home, his mother said, “E-pamynamous, what you got there, child?”

Epamynamous said, “Brrread, Mammy.”

Mother said, “E-pamynamous, you ain’t got the sense you was born with! That bread ain’t fit to eat, child! I can’t make bread pudding–I’ll have to make some pies, instead!” Epamynamous was sad, because he liked bread pudding better than pies. But his mother was busy and made three nice pies and set them on the porch steps to cool.

Then she said, “E-pamynamous!”

Epamynamous said, “Yeeesss, Mammy?”

Mother said, “E-pamynamous, I got to go down the road to see Sister Susie for a piece. You mind how you step in those pies, you hear?”

Epamynamous said, “Yeeesss, Mammy.” And he sat and looked at the pies for a spell. Then he very carefully, very precisely stepped in the middle of each of the pies.

When his mother got home, she shrieked, “E-pamynamous!”

Epamynamous said, “Yeeesss, Mammy?”

“E-pamynamous! You ain’t got the sense you was born with! You weren’t supposed to step in them pies at all!” And she spanked Epamynamous.

Epamynamous was very sad. His mother saw two big tears running down his cheek, and she knelt down beside him and gave him a big hug. His puppy dog jumped up and licked his tears away and made him laugh. His mother laughed, too, and they lived happily ever after.

Footnote: A story, passed down to generations, from the hills of Kentucky.

1 Comment

One thought on “Epamynamous

  1. Anonymous

    I grew up hearing the story of Pandamyas from my parents, who heard it from their parents. I try my best to remember the story’s details for my children, who LOVE to hear the story of Pandamyas over and over. I’ve thought, “Surely that story is out there somewhere.” It brings much joy to see it here, just under a different name. Thank you so much!

    Like

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