Folklore Thursday: The Man with the Chicken Feet.

The definition of Folklore is traditional beliefs, customs and stories of a community; passed through the generations by word of mouth. I grew up in the American Southwest where American and Mexican folklore intersect. One of my favorite stories is the man with chicken feet. If you haven’t heard the story before sit back and enjoy.

Many many years ago there were community dances. Young people would dress up in their finest clothes and dance the night away. On the night of one of these dances. Against her parent’s wishes a girl dressed up in a beautiful red sparkly dress snuck out of the house to attend one of these dances.

When the girl arrived the dance was in full swing; people were dancing and having a great time. From across the room the girl spied the most handsome man. She watched as every woman in the community center danced with the handsome stranger. The women were enthralled by the man and stood in small clumps talking about how handsome he was.

After a couple of hours the stranger made his way to the girl and asked her to dance. The young girl and the stranger twirled and whirled faster and faster. The dancing couple were a blur to those around them. Something must have startled the girl because she looked down at her dance partners feet. The handsome stranger no longer had the legs and feet of a man but the feet of a large chicken. The girl screamed and fainted. When the girl finally came around the man was gone.

The girl returned home and told her parents about the stranger with the chicken feet. Her mother crossed herself and explained the handsome stranger was the devil and if she hadn’t screamed and fainted he would have taken the girl’s soul.

There are many different variations of this story throughout the American Southwest and Texas. This was the version of the story that I was told when I was growing up.