Birdseye, Tom. Soap! Soap! Donít Forget the Soap! An Appalachian Folktale. New York: Holiday House, Inc. 1993.

Ethnic Origin: American

Running Time: approximately 3-4 minutes

Power Center(s): Plug finally gets the soap (he is so proud)

Characters: Plug Honeycut, Plugís mama, an old woman, a boy on a bicycle, a farmer, a bald man, the Mayorís wife


Plug is asked by his mama to go buy some soap at the general store. He repeats to himself aloud so he wonít forget "soap, soap, donít forget the soap!"

Plug meets an old woman at a muddy creek, he startles her and she falls in, gets mad at him and dunks him in and says to him "Iím a mess, now youíre one, too."

Plug meets a boy on a bicycle whose bike hits a stone and sends him tumbling end over end, Plug is repeating (to himself aloud) "Iím a mess, now youíre one, too", the boy thinks Plug is making fun of him so he cracks an egg on Plugís head and throws him in the bushes saying to him "look whoís in a fix now"

Plug meets up with a farmer who has had a tree fall on his truck as he is repeating to himself aloud "look whoís in a fix now." The farmer takes it personally and makes Plug saw the branches of the tree off his truck and says to Plug "nothing on top and better off for i.t"

Plug meets up with a bald man, all the while saying to himself aloud "nothing on top and better off for it." The bald man thinks Plug is making fun of him and grabs him by the collar and says "you could at least have said, Ďyou look nice with hair on your face.í"

Plug meets the Mayorís wife who is fixing her makeup in a mirror all the while he is repeating "you look nice with hair on your face." The Mayorís wife gets upset, thinking he is speaking to her and says "Boy, somebody ought to wash your mouth out with soap for saying such a thing." "Soap, soap! Donít forget the soap!" he says and rushes off to the general store to get some soap.

Plug rushes home saying "soap, soap! Donít forget the soap!" proud of the fact that he finally remembered.

His mother looks him up and down and says "soap is just what we need"

Synopsis: a forgetful boy gets himself into trouble when he repeats what each person he meets on the road says to him

Rhymes/Special Phrases/"Flavor":

repetitive phrases: "Soap! Soap! Donít forget the soap!," "Iím a mess, now youíre one, too," "Look whoís in a fix now," "Nothiní on top and better off for it," "You look nice with hair on your face."

Audience (why is this story appropriate for the audience? developmental characteristics?

satisfies some of Arbuthnotís basic needs characteristics

competency - the need to achieve (Plug achieves his goal of getting soap for his mother)

emotional security - the need to love and to be loved (Plugís mother loves him and has the utmost faith in his ability to remember the soap, at the end you see that Plug loves his mother and will not forget what she tells him ever again)

Piagetís Preoperational Stage (2-7 years) stresses importance of repetition.

This story deals a little bit with the physiological needs of cleaning and comfort on Maslowís heirarchy of needs, also some with love and affection and especially with esteem

Source(s) recommending this story/collection as good for storytelling?

MacDonald, Margaret R. The Storytellerís Sourcebook. Neal-Schuman Publishers, 1982.

Talley, Doris. Librarian at Randolph County Schools told this story at NCASL conference in Winston-Salem on September 18, 1998. As a preface to her telling, she said she had heard Jackie Torrence tell it. I guess you would classify this as word of mouth.

Bibliographic information on other versions/variants (at least two)?

Walker, Barbara. Just Say Hic! A Turkish Silly Tale. Follett Publishing Company, 1965.

Jacobs, Joseph. "Stupidís Cries" from More English Fairy Tales. New York/London: G. Putnamís Sons, 1922.,pp. 211-214.

Brief comparison of all versions/variants in terms of language, rhythm, "tellability," "flavor," content, etc. Stress the differences in style rather than those of content.

"Stupidís Cries" uses phrases like "Sheepís head and pluck!" then the boy falls down and forgets what he was after and for no reason begins saying "Liver and lights and gall and all!" I have no idea what either of these phrases means and, even if I did know, Iím not sure I would be able to convey their meaning to the audience. In the end the boy is sent to prison for setting a house on fire (he is wrongfully accused because he repeats the wrong phrase). I prefer a happy ending as in the Appalachian version.

Just Say Hic! is a Turkish tale and I found it confusing at the beginning when the author explains that in the little boy, Hasanís, village the word hic means "salt" while in other parts of Turkey the word hic means "nothing." (Could be confused with the word has no meaning and therefore confusing to the listener). I am not sure how I would distinguish between his part of Turkey (village) and the other parts of Turkey when telling the story.

By Janice Webb