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1 Tailypo on Mon Aug 02, 2010 7:58 pm



There is a place in the mountains where few humans live. The woods around it are deep and dark. A thick fog often settles along the ridges and in the valleys. And weird creatures are said to prowl the land through the long, lonely nights.

There is one old cabin built in a hollow in the farthest part of the deep, dark woods. A man named Jake had lived there all his life. He seldom saw other people, and his only friends were his three hunting dogs. They lived under the porch of his log cabin.

One winter night toward spring, Jake sat by his fireplace staring at the pot of beans simmering on the fire. It had been a hard winter, and Jake's food supply was almost gone. He felt as though his stomach had shrunk to the size of one of those hard beans in the pot. Even his dogs had grown thin and scrawny from hunger.

As Jake reached his spoon toward the pot of beans, he felt a cold draft creep around his neck. It sent a shiver through his body. He wondered where the draft was coming from, for he had sealed up the cabin tight for the winter. But he was too hungry to worry about it. He dipped his spoon into the pot of beans.

Before he could eat any, he felt another cold draft blowing across the cabin. This time, it felt like icy claws around his neck. Jake turned away from the fire to look around. His eyes widened in terror, and he dropped the spoon with a clatter on the floor. Sitting across the cabin from him was the weirdest creature he had ever seen. Its eyes were a bright yellow that seemed to burn from some strange heat. Its head looked like a wolf's except for the ears that stuck up in high points above the leering face. Its body, which was about the size of one of Jake's dogs, was covered with a thick, reddish-brown fur.

Then Jake noticed the strangest thing of all. The creature had a long, thick tail that wrapped all the way around its body. For a minute Jake sat frozen in his chair, and the creature crouched still on the floor. They stared at each other from across the room.

Then, in a lightning fast move, Jake lunged for his hunting knife on the table. The creature sprang up and jumped for the hole it had clawed into the cabin wall. The animal was fast, but so was Jake. It was just jumping through the hole as Jake's knife came down at it. With a clean slice, the knife cut off the creature's long, thick tail. There was a horrible screech that cut through the night air. Then the animal ran off into the deep, dark woods.

Jake stared at the thick tail lying on the floor of his cabin. His stomach rumbled with hunger. It was meat, like any other part of an animal, and he hadn't had meat for weeks. Jake put a big kettle of water onto the fire to boil. Then he cooked the long, thick tail and ate it for his supper. It tasted a bit strange, but there was a lot of it. Jake even fed the scraps that were left to his three dogs. As he watched them eat, he thought of the weird creature again. He decided to keep his dogs with him in the cabin for the night.

Before he went to bed, Jake plugged up the hole in the cabin wall with a piece of wood and rags. Then he settled down to sleep, with his three dogs under his bed.

Even though he was exhausted, Jake couldn't go to sleep. His stomach was rumbling from the strange meal. And the wind had picked up outside and was whistling around the cabin.

Then Jake heard a scratching noise outside his door. It was the sound of claws scraping against the wood. And over the whistling of the wind, he heard a weird voice calling, "Tailypo, Tailypo, give me back my Tailypo."

Jake bolted upright in bed. The claws were scratching on the door even louder. And again he heard the weird call, "Tailypo, Tailypo, give me back my Tailypo."

The dogs under his bed began to growl, and Jake whistled them out. He rushed to the cabin door, threw it open, and sent the dogs out after the creature. There were terrible screeches and howls as the dogs chased the creature into the dark woods. Jake waited and listened. After ten minutes, two of the dogs came panting back to the cabin. But no matter how hard Jake called, the third dog never returned from the woods.

Jake bolted the door and went back to bed with the two dogs lying underneath him. Again his stomach rumbled from his strange meal, and the wind whistled around the cabin.

Then Jake heard a scratching noise outside his door. It was the sound of claws scraping against the wood. And the weird voice started up again,
"Tailypo, Tailypo, give me back my Tailypo."

Jake shrunk back into the bed and covered his head with a blanket. But the weird voice came even louder. "Tailypo, Tailypo, give me back my Tailypo. You have got it; that I know. Give me back my Tailypo."

The two dogs under the bed were growling, and Jake whistled them out. Again he threw open the door, and the dogs went bounding out after the creature. With loud screeching and howling, the dogs chased the animal into the woods.

Jake waited and listened. Soon he saw just one dog running back to the cabin in the moonlight. The dog whimpered as Jake let it in the door; then it ran under the bed and hid. Jake bolted the door and crawled in bed. But he hadn't even shut his eyes before he heard the scratching of claws on the door. And the weird voice said, "Tailypo, Tailypo, give me back my Tailypo."

Jake jumped out of bed and whistled for his last dog. It growled from under the bed and wouldn't come out. Finally Jake dragged it out and pulled it to the door. He opened the door and forced the dog out after the creature. There was a short howl and then a long screech. Jake waited and listened. After ten minutes, he opened the door and called for the dog. But nothing came back out of the dark woods around the cabin. Jake slammed the door shut quickly, bolted it, and jumped into his bed. He was shivering hard, but the blankets didn't seem to make him warmer.

He waited and waited. The wind whistled louder around the cabin. Jake strained his ears to hear the sound of claws scratching on the door. He waited for the weird voice. He heard nothing but the sound of the wind. Jake waited and listened. Then finally he fell asleep.

With a start, Jake woke up. He heard the sound of claws scratching against wood. But this time, the sound was closer and louder. Jake's eyes flew open and met the burning yellow eyes staring at him from the end of his bed. The creature sat there, scratching its claws against the bedpost. "Tailypo, Tailypo, give me back my Tailypo," it said in its weird voice.

"I . . . I . . . don't have it," Jake stammered. The creature crawled forward on the bed. Its face was only a foot from Jake's. "TAILYPO, TAILYPO, GIVE ME BACK MY TAILYPO. YOU HAVE GOT IT; THAT I KNOW. GIVE ME BACK MY TAILYPO!"

Jake was never seen in the hills again, until a neighbor farmer found him in his room, with his stomach clawed open. And the mountain folk say that if you are all alone at night and listen carefully, you can hear a weird voice calling on the wind:

"Tailypo, tailypo, now I gots my tailypo...."

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