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Stories

How the Jinkum Found Me
By: James K. Nelson-Lucas

Modern storytellers get a great many stories from books or personal experience. Sometimes even we hear another teller do a great story and we take it upon ourselves to adapt that story for ourselves. Recently, I had the good fortune to have a story bequeathed to me. A most amazing experience indeed!

My partner and I had been invited to tell at a Norwegian festival. The theme of the day: Troll Stories. We had an audience of about a hundred or so, mostly youngsters in attendance. We really enjoyed doing the show and afterwards set our minds to our next gig. Until a few days later when I received a call from a Mrs. Ruth Deffenbaugh. She told me she had she had seen the show and that she had a story to share. Ruth it seems had spent the better part of her long life as a pre-school teacher and one of the things she enjoyed the most was telling her kids stories. She had one story in particular that was her very favorite, The Jinkum.

Ruth invited us to her home. She insisted that she need tell us the story for the full effect. She welcomed us warmly and told us how glad she was to find storytellers to entrust her treasure, The Jinkum. We were quite moved ans she explained to us that she had been given this story the first week as a teacher. That was over fifty years ago. The woman who told her the story had been given The Jinkum some forty years before that. Ruth told us that she was making peace with the world. She does not expect to be here much longer She said that one of the last items on her agenda has to find someone to keep The Jinkum alive to entertain future generations of children. I had never felt so honored as a storyteller, what a gift, what a responsibility!

I recount the story here as Ruth told it
to me. As far as she knows the author remains anonymous. As this story has been passed from teller to teller for so many decades we may never know the true source. Enjoy...


The Jinkum


Once upon a time there was a Jinkum. Do you know what a Jimkum is? You don’t know, and I don’t know, and nobody else knows. But we know one thing about him. His front legs are longer than his back legs. One of his long legs is longer than the other long leg, and one of his short legs is shorter than the other short leg, so he can only walk in a circle.


One day the Jinkum was out walking in a circle when along came a Bampoodle. Do you know what a Bampoodle is? You don’t know, and I don’t know, and nobody else knows, but we know one thing about him. He’s very mean! He took Jinkum by one of his long legs and swung him around and around and threw him far, far away from home. Now since Jinkum could only walk in a circle, he didn’t know how he was going to get home. So what do you think Jinkum did? He sat down and started to cry.
“Boo hoo, boo hoo”.
If the Jinkum knew how funny he looked, he never would cried.


Then along came a Goodligefump. Do you know what a Goodligefump is? You don’t know, and I don’t know, and nobody else knows, but we know one thing about him. He is very kind.
He said, “Jinkum, Why are you crying?”
Jinkum said “Well, the Banpoodle threw me far, far away from home, and since I can only walk in a circle, I do not know how I shall ever get home”
The Goodligfump sat down an thought and thought. Then he said “Jinkum, stop your crying. I know what to do. I will teach you how to walk in a straight line!”
Jinkum thought it couldn’t be done. Jinkums had always walked in a circle and he thought they always would. But the Goodligefump showed Jinkum how to put one long leg forward and bring the other short leg up, put one long leg forward and bring the other short leg up, until he was walking in a straight line.


Jinkum walked and walked until he came to a river. Now the Goodligfump had taught Jinkum to walk in a straight line, but he had not taught him to swim in a straight line. He didn’t know how he could get across the river. Do you know what Jinkum did? He sat down and started to cry.
“Boo hoo, boo hoo”.
If the Jinkum knew how funny he looked, he never would cried.


Then along came Rokoko. Do you know what a Rokoko is? You don’t know, and I don’t know, and nobody else knows, but we know one thin about him. He is a big fish.
He Said, “Jinkum, why are you crying?”.
Jinkum said, “Well, the Bampoodle threw me far away form home, and the Gooligefump showed me how to walk in a straight line, but now that I have come to this river, I don’t know how I shall ever get across”.
The Rokoko said, “Jinkum you are just a big cry baby. Hop on my back and I will carry you across the river.”


When he came to the far bank do you know what happened? He had forgotten how to walk in a straight line! Do you know what the Jinkum did? He sat down and started to cry.
“Boo hoo, boo hoo”.
If the Jinkum knew how funny he looked, he never would cried.
Then along came the Goodligfump again. He said “Why are you crying now?”
Jinkum said, “Well, the Rokoko carried me across the river but now that I am on the bank, I have forgotten how to walk in a straight line.”
The Goodligfump said, “Jinkum, you are a just big cry baby. I will show you how to walk in a straight line again.”
So the Goodligefump showed Jinkum how to put one long leg forward and bring the other short leg up, put one long leg forward and bring the other short leg up, until he was walking in a straight line.


He walked and walked until he came to the hollow tree that was his home. All the baby Jinkums came running out to meet him. They said, “Daddy Jinkum, Daddy Jinkum, where have you been?”
Jinkum said, “Well, baby Jinkums, it’s a long story.”
Then he told them how the Bampoodle had thrown him far from him far away from home, how the Goodligefump had taught him to walk in a straight line.
“Now, baby Jinkums, I am going to show you how to walk in a straight line!”
All th Grandma Jinkums shook their heads. They said, “Jinkums have always walked in a circle, and the always will”
But the Daddy Jinkum took all the baby Jinkums out and taught them to put one long leg forward and bring the other short leg up, put one long leg forward and bring the other short leg up, until they were walking in a straight line.


And do you know what? To this very day, Jinkums can walk in a straight line!

Author Information:
Name: James K. Nelson-Lucas
Website: http://www.storyteller.net/tellers/jnelson-lucas
All stories are under the copyright of the author. Do not use without written permission.

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