Family Curse

Okay so here’s an old family story from before my time, when the family lived in Appalachia and made moonshine as a side business. Their house was old and simple and they had an outhouse instead of indoor plumbing. They had quite a few chickens, who had figured out how to get under the outhouse door and would peck at someone trying to take a poo, so people had to bring along a magazine to swat away the chickens.

One day a county tax collector was out to their house. My great-great-grandma was none too happy about the man poking around and asking questions about a still. Toward the end of his look-see, the man said he needed to use the facilities. Great-great-gran pointed him toward the outhouse. One of her kids asked after he left the room, “Won’t he need a magazine?” And she said “No, leave him to the chickens.”

“Leave him to the chickens” has lived on in family legend since as a curse for someone you’re going to let befall their own peril.