A BLACK BARE FOOT
￼￼￼D: Burl? B: What?
D: What’s ‘at, what about that guy that went barefooted all the time, what was that, what uz his name?
B: Ol’ George Davis
B: Ol’ George Davis . . .
D: An’ that little feist he had with him. . . B: He’d tell what all hit’d do?
B: And the snow was about there, now I started did you ever see the snow about that . . . and we seen somebody comin’, his britches rolled up ya know, and I said ta Clyde, I looked down, we started up, up the railroad . . . no, we uz going up through the bottom instead of the railroad, and I said “Tell me”, I didn’ know him ya know, and I said, “Tell me who that is. Can you tell me?” And I said “It looks like he ain’t got no socks on.” An’ I said, “hmm. . .” and Clyde said, “that’s ol’ George Davis ain’t it?” And I said, “I don’ know him.” Clyde said, “That’s ol’ George Davis, he’s got the dog with him.”
B: Yeah he said, “He’s got that dog with him.” And me and Clyde walked on an’ after while he just stopped and I looked down boys an’ I seen he didn’ have no shoes on, and I said “Aint your feet sore?” An’ he said “No, hell, no” he said. “That’s the way I go all the time . . . ”
￼D: Said what?
B: “No,” he said. “Hell, that’s the way I go all the time,” he said. “I can’t wear shoes,” he said. An’ his feet was as black, they was just like a bear’s foot now boys. I tell you the truth, they looked just like a bear’s foot, an just right on up through there, an’ it plumb cold too.
The setting for this story is the headwaters of the Williams River, in the Yew Pine Mountains; that is, the western part of Pocahontas County, West Virginia. The story is set during the 1920s. Burl (b1908) would have been a teenager at that time.