Women of the Early Harlem Renaissance: African American Women Writers 1900-1922

Johnny's Pet Superstition

Teacher, Jimmie's toe is bleedin';
Stumped it, comin' down the road;
I jest knowed that he would do it,
'Cause he went an' killed a toad.

Teacher, you jest ought to see it;
Oh, the blood's jest spurtin' out!
You won't ketch me killin' toad-frogs,
When I see them hoppin' bout.

"Oh, now, Johnny, that's all nonsense!
I told you sometime ago,
That the killing of a hop-toad
Wouldn't make you hurt your toe;

"Who told you that silly story?"
Grandma said that it is so;
She's much older than you, teacher,
An' I guess she ought to know.

"Come, now, Johnny, don't be saucy;"
Teacher, grandma did say so,
An' she says:'You No'thern cullud,
Don't b'lieve nothin' any mo'.

'Cause you say there ain't no speerits,
'Tain't bad luck to kill a cat,
Dog a-howlin' ain't no death-sign,
An' you've made me b'lieve all that.

But I jest can't b'lieve this, teacher,
'Cause I'm 'fraid to -- Don't you see?
Bet you wouldn't b'lieve it either,
Ef you went barefoot, like me.

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