The Devil’s Wagon by Bernice Sills Britt

of Castalia, Nash County, NC

Submitted by:  Margaret Strickland

Posted:  2 July 2010

There’s a place on Highway 56 between Castalia and Louisburg called Flat Rock and there’re plenty of flat rocks there.  My father, ERNEST SILLS, said as a teenager he would go by Flat Rock to get to his friend’s house.  They played cards at his friend’s house.  My daddy had promised his folks that he was going to stop playing cards, but he went to play again after he said he’d stop.

After they finished playing cards he had to walk home by Flat Rock.  Before he got to the flat rocks he heard this mule and wagon in the air over his head.  He lived on rocky land, and it sounded just like a wagon going through Grandfather’s farm, bumping and knocking and hitting on rocks.  He stopped.  When he stopped, the noise stopped.  He’d walk on, trying to get home, past that noise.  The nearer he got to Flat Rock, the more bumpy and rugged that wagon would go, mules and all.  He stopped again.  The noise would stop.  He looked up, and didn’t see anything.  He listened.  He didn’t hear anything while he was standing still.  He’d take off and the noise would take off over his head.  Rough and rocky, the mules would run; and it sounded like the wagon was hitting every rock.  He ran fast as he could through the flat rocks.  As he got on the other side, down the road past the flat rocks, the noise stopped.

He figured it was the devil after him for playing cards.  He never did go back to play cards anymore.

[from NCAC Oral History Project, Nash County Arts Council]  Also, published in in THE CONNECTOR, (Summer 2001)]