O is for Old Dry Fry

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Virginia Frances Sterrett illustrated Penn Publishing Company's 1928 edition of Arabian Nights.

Virginia Frances Sterrett illustrated Penn Publishing Company’s 1928 edition of Arabian Nights.

 

 

 

Ever’body knows Old Dry Fry! He’s the preacher who choked on a piece of fried chicken and died. Each character who encountered his body tried to hide it to avoid being accused of murder. It’s an hilarious, rollicking tale told in the American south by black and white storytellers alike, and it fits the culture and environment perfectly!

But the tale’s roots outstretch America’s short history, digging back at least a millennium  to Scheherazade’s “Tale of the Hunchback,” and the storyline likely arose centuries before that legendary storyteller’s rendition.

Matter is not created from nothingness, and neither are stories that matter.

Here are some sources that might matter to your readers and listeners:

Johnson, Paul Brett, Old Dry Frye. Scholastic, 2001.

Yolen, Jane, Favorite Folktales from Around the World. Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folktale Library, 1988.

Scheherazade’s Children, edited by Philip F.Kennedy and Marina Warner. New York University Press, 2013.

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“Old Dry Fry” is also on my Storytelling World Honor CD, 1001 Years of 1001 Nights. If your Texas library does not have a copy, send me their address and I will get one to them.

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3 responses

  1. Love the info about the history/provenance/”genealogy” of this story! Also, one of my formative experiences: When I was getting going with storytelling in the late ’80s, Jackie Torrence came to Colorado, and Ol’ Dry Fry is one of the stories I heard her tell! I have a fantastic Jackie Torrence story (too long for here; will share at some point in my blog, probably) – and I thank you for bringing that to mind with your post today, too. Cheers!