This is mundane enough that I don’t want to post it in GQ. Besides, it was engendered by the “Favorite Childhood Books” thread.
As I’ve mentioned, I read a lot to my kids. And I’m always buying up out-of-print books for them as I fuzzily recall the best from my own childhood.
One short-ish novel is driving me crazy. I remember the plot, I remember how much I LOVED it,and CANNOT remember author or title.
Here’s the story…please, librarians, fellow readers…help me recall the title:
Two young boys live in the woods with their Pappy. They are CONSTANTLY fighting; chawing each other’s ears, bloodying noses, punching and wrassling. Pap is sick and tired of it, and one day sends them both off into the village (several hours’ walk) to have the cow butchered.
On the way home it’s gotten dark, pitch dark, they’re still squabbling…and SOMETHING, something in the trees, something never quite seen for the duration of the book, something BIG, announces it’s hungry.
They throw him the meat. It eats it. They throw it the hide and bones. It eats it. It is STILL hungry. The two light out, running pell-mell through the dark forest. The THING comes after them, crashing through the branches.
Its battle-cry (pay attention, now, this will hopefully spark some memory):
“Bum, Bum, Sally Lumm,
Tearin’ up trees and throwin’ 'em as I come.”
The brothers manage to put some distance between themselves and the THING (I recall it’s always referred to as the THING, in caps), and stop at lighted backwoods cabins along the way. In each one, the inhabitant tells the boys a story (spook stories, I think). As each hillbilly storyteller finishes his tale, the boys hear the THING approaching, repeating the Sally Lumm jingle, and tear out the door to run some more.
Between cabins, as they run, each kid is scheming to sacrifice his brother to save his own worthless hide.
And…I think their lives are eventually saved by an anthropomorphic jackrabbit, who tricks the THING into bashing its own head in.
Of course, at the end, the brothers realize that they each never would have survived without the other, and they learn to stop fighting. (This moral is less important than the pleasure the reader gets from the nose-bloodyings and ear-chawings.)
I THINK the book may have been illustrated by MAD magazine artist Paul Coker, Jr.
Anybody able to help?