Fangirl Moment: The Tailypo: A Ghost Story

TGIF! Here we are again with another Fangirl Friday! Halloween is on Monday, so I decided to choose something that scared the crap out of me… As a kid this book was the cause of many sleepless nights, *ahem* so this week I’m covering the children’s book, The Tailypo: A Ghost Story retold by Joanna C. Galdone and illustrated by Paul Galdone.


Yeah…yeah, laugh it up! Ya’ll don’t understand how horrifying this story was to little elementary school me… I had to sleep with the lights on for weeks after I first read this book, because I started having nightmares about the Tailypo coming to get me. But, instead of just returning the book to the library like any sane person would do, I decided to keep checking the damn thing out like a dummy. Yes, you read that right, I kept checking the book out year after year, even though the story terrified me! I was a glutton for punishment… So, I want to share with you all the story that haunted my childhood nightmares!

A strange varmint haunts the woodsman who lopped off his tail and had it for dinner.


So for those of you that don’t know, the Tailypo story is based on an old Appalachian folk tale about a small cat-like creature that roams the mountain forests. The story follows an old hermit who lives alone in an isolated cabin in the woods. While out hunting for his supper the man comes across a strange creature and mistaking it for a bobcat, he attempts to kill it for his meal. The creature manages to get away, but not before the old man cuts off it’s tail, which he takes home and cooks. What follows is a night of terror, when the creature tracks town the man and demands that he return its tailypo… Let’s just say the story doesn’t end well for the old man.

This story is the reason that to this day, I make sure that my entire body is covered by a comforter when I go to sleep. Because that creature, after killing the old man’s dogs, turns its ire on the old man, killing him. He rips the man to shreds and even destroys the guy’s cabin in the process all because the man crossed the wrong critter. Dude just wanted something to eat, and what does he get for his trouble….a painful death! Then there’s the creepy chant that the creature whispers throughout the book, ‘Tailypo, tailypo give me back my tailypo!’ *shudders* That part really made my skin crawl, even now I’m starting to get the creeps and I’m a grown adult!

There are several versions of the story, each with various endings (some more tame than others), but for me this version is by far the scariest! I actually found a copy of the book at my local library a little while ago, so I read it for old times sake… that was the stupidest idea I’d had in a long time… I slept with the light on that night!

So there you have it, a scary story from my childhood! Have any of you read the Tailypo story? Did it scare you as much as it scared me? What are some stories that scared you as a kid? Do they still scare you now? Feel free to share your stories in the comments section. If you like what you see, like this post or follow Nice Job Breaking It, Hero! As always THANK YOU FOR READING!!

6 thoughts on “Fangirl Moment: The Tailypo: A Ghost Story

  1. When I saw your heading and read the word “Tailypo,” my heart jumped. This story terrified me as a child! My teacher had a recording of an elderly African American man reading the story. I still remember his voice… “Tailyyyy po… give me back my Tailyyyyy po” no thank you!

    1. Yes! Its a shame that some people dont know about this story! I feel like every elementary school had a copy of this book!

      Lol yup! The librarian that read this to us used a creepy voice too… *shudders*

  2. Sorry for the very very late reply. When I was young I got this Aesop book that scared the bejesus outta me with the creepy illustrations and it had a recording with an odd narrator and creepy piano. And yep, I was a glutton for punishment too. I still can’t read it. Nope. Just nope!

    It’s funny how half the folks I know, know about the Tailypo then the other half has no clue. But for the ones that do, I retold the story with an alternate ending but it still retains that creepiness. And we find out what actually happens when the creature “gets” its tailypo. If ya wanna listen it’s on YouTube under A New Tailypo.

Gush about cute otome boys~