Dividing Up the Souls

There were once two young men down the valley that didn’t have regular jobs so to speak. They worked a little here and a little there to make ends sort of meet. Well one fall they had a job digging potatoes for a farmer who wasn’t known for overpaying his help. So they decided that while they dug and bagged his potatoes, they would leave a few for themselves and come back for them later. So as they worked their way down the rows, they would leave a few potatoes here and there. One row had some great big ones, about the size of pumpkins, so they left two of those near the end of the row. Just like they said, they came back to the field late that night when they were pretty sure the old farmer would be in bed asleep. But just to get out of there as quick as they could, they just threw the potatoes they had left into a couple of sacks, agreeing to divvy them up fair and square later on in a safer place. Well in no time at all, they had filled two big sacks. They each put one of those great big potatoes under their arms and hoisted the sacks as best they could and hightailed it out of the field and down the road.

About a mile down the road they came to a cemetery, and decided that would be a good safe place to divvy up their haul. One fellow climbed over the wall, and the other passed him the sacks. They left the two big potatoes along the wall beside the locked gate. Then the other fellow climbed over the wall and they dumped their potatoes out behind some tomb stones. They sorted them out by size and started in divvying them up. “This one’s for you, and this one’s for me,” said the first fellow, as they stuffed the selected potatoes into their own sack. “You can have this one, and I’ll take this one,” said the other. In this fashion they were dividing their haul up pretty evenly.

About this time another fellow happened to be passing the cemetery. He had been out late courting a young lady down the road. When he heard voices in the cemetery, late at night, he had to stop and listen. “This one’s for me, and this one’s for you,” was what he heard.

“My golly,” he exclaimed to himself. “It’s God and the devil and they’re in there dividing up the souls of the dead.” With this he hurried on down past the cemetery wall and ran up the lane to the house where the minister of the church lived. “Pastor,” he said excitedly, “God and the devil are out in the cemetery dividing up the souls. You’ve got to come.” Although he wasn’t sure he believed this, the pastor had to go and see. Hurriedly throwing on his cloak, the pastor and the man hastened back to the cemetery. They hid right by the gate so they could hear what was going on inside, never noticing those two big potatoes there in the dark. Sure enough – someone was in there divvying up something. What else could it be but souls?

Just about this time the two potato thieves finished dividing up the small potatoes. “Now,” said one. “What are we going to do with those two big ones outside the gate?”

When they heard this, the pastor and the other fellow outside the gate looked at each other in alarm! They didn’t wait around to find out, but hightailed it out of there lickety-split. In no time at all, the pastor was back home busily rewriting his sermon for the next Sunday morning. The other fellow was two miles down the road heading home, telling himself he would never go near a cemetery at night again.

“God and the devil” climbed back over the wall. They each picked up a big potato, and slinging their sacks over their shoulders, parted company, wishing each other a pleasant good night!