My Hillbilly Heritage

My forefathers were of a small, little-known tribe of white Africans called the Yulaffinatmee (Yuls). They inhabited a very isolated mountain area near the west coast of the continent up until about the early thirteenth century. Legend holds that among the neighboring tribes, the site was considered a forbidden region. Over the years, a few of their scouts had ventured into the region and never returned. Finally, a Medicine Man from the neighboring Fliboix tribe, who went by the name of Dre, assembled a group of warriors and made an exploratory expedition into the Yuls’ village. Dre was sure that these people were the Great White Spirits that his late grandfather had spoken of. He began leading his people on weekly pilgrimages to the village to bestow offerings of their powerful fermented malt beverages and the herbs of the kronique upon the Shaman of the Yuls, in the hope that the Shaman would impart the blessings and great wisdom that he must surely possess upon the Fliboix people.

“Face 2”

Every week the Fliboix would bring their tithes and gather in a circle around the Shaman while he would begin a ritual of ingesting the malt, and burning the kronique as a sacrament. The Shaman would often go into a trancelike state in which he would begin emitting a high-pitched, through-the-nose delivery of a chant that warned of the consequences of death without salvation. On occasion, usually well into the third or fourth hour of the ceremony, he would rise and go into a clumsy stomping dance that would often result in the anointing-by-malt of many of the circle. Sometimes the Shaman would become so overcome with the spirits that he would project the ingested sacraments from within himself back upon the Fliboix circle. The Fliboix were mesmerized by the behavior, and would spend hours discussing the message and trying to interpret the wisdom that he must surely be imparting. They took the hide of their game, and fashioned Marten boots in the style of the Shaman in hope of aiding them in learning the ritual dance.

“Face 3”

In time, the other Yul tribesmen became annoyed that their leader was not elevating them to the same level of enlightenment that he was enjoying. In his efforts to keep his tribesmen happy, he began asking the Fliboix to double and re-double their tithes, and to teach the Yuls their methods of making the malt and cultivating the herb. The Yuls soon mastered the methods, and soon stopped allowing the Fliboix into their village. The Yuls became very spiritual and began expanding the once a week ritual into two, then three, then four times a week. Some Yuls were so spiritual that they practiced the ritual daily, and even gave up their hunting and gathering to become more enlightened. All of the Yuls practiced the chants and dances, each adding his own unique hoots and hollers to the mix. The all-night celebrations became more boisterous, and soon could be heard clearly from the neighboring village.

“Face 4”

The Fliboix found themselves unable to sleep many nights. This began to take a toll on the tribe. This, coupled with the rejection that the Yuls had dealt them, made the Fliboix believe that these were not in fact the Great White Spirits, but White Devils sent to torture them into a total state of madness. They devised a plan whereby they could remove this curse from their lives. They would wait until the early morning, after a particularly boisterous night, and when the celebration had subsided, they would raid the village when the Yuls would be most vulnerable. Sure enough, the Fliboix entered the village to find the Yuls scattered about, some unconscious, and all oblivious to the fate that was about to befall them.

“Face 5”

The Fliboix methodically rounded up every member of the tribe, and dragged them to the shore, where they had earlier placed several primitive vessels that they had crafted. The Fliboix had marked the hulls of the vessels with the letters “WhiteD” (for White Devils ) as a warning to any other tribe that might possibly encounter these scalawags. The Fliboix had prepared and loaded some basic provisions for their captives, including a month’s supply of legumes, several containers of water, some yeast starter, a bag of seeds, two bloodhounds, a banjo, and makeup for the women. They loaded the Yuls into the vessels, towed them several miles out to sea, and set them adrift.

“Face 6”

Miraculously, the vessels withstood the ocean’s fury and remained intact. The Yuls awoke one morning weeks later to find themselves run aground off the coast of what we now call the Carolinas. They had no idea where they were, and knew only that the sun was rising from the ocean instead of setting. They were soon found by a tribe of American Indians known as the Notax. The Indians, who also thought that they may have encountered the “Great White Spirits,” misinterpreted the lettering on the vessel, and referred to the Spirits as “WhiteD.” The Notax welcomed them, shared their maize, apples, and other bounty with them. They taught them to kill the buffalo, and built them shelters in which to stay.

The Yuls thought that this might be heaven, and the Notax were the angels. The Yuls hunted buffalo, often taking one meal from the animal and leaving the carcass to rot, sure that the bounty was never-ending. They emptied their bowels into the water supply rather than bury it. As time went on, the Yuls demanded more and more space, as they would rather pull up stakes and move their shelter rather than clean up after themselves. The Notax kept trying to accommodate them, and made do with less and less space as the Yuls required more and more.

The Notax had developed a taste for the fermented maize that had been created after the Yuls had thrown their yeast starter into the Indians maize crib. They soon became dependent upon the Yuls for their yeast mix. They grew tired of hunting and gathering, and the Yuls convinced the Notax Chief, who was called Bingo, that they could have a livelihood by rolling up their tobako and selling it to the neighboring tribes, and by getting the other tribes to give them clams to play a game that was played with beans on a piece of bark. The enterprise made many clams, but the Yuls demanded that the Notax surrender to them the majority of the profits for creating the game.

The Notax were beginning to realize that the influences that the Yuls had brought to the tribe were not good ones, and held a council to decide what could be done about it. The tribe was a peaceful sort, and all Chief Bingo would allow them to do to discourage the Yuls, was to warn the other tribes of them, and to practice a mild, ages-old protest whenever a Yul came into an Indian’s presence. Whenever a Yul passed an Indian, the Indian would mutter “apple-at-ya” and throw a rotten apple in his path. The Yul would often step in it and have to stop to clean his Martens, or else be faced with a swarm of yellow jackets buzzing around his legs all of the time.

The Yuls soon got the message, packed up their banjos, seeds, and yeast. and led their hounds further inland toward the Mountains. Along the way, they would occasionally encounter other Indian tribes who would invariably ask them the same two questions. “Where do you think you are going?” or, “Why don’t you go back where you came from?” to which the Yuls would only mutter “Apple-at-ya,” “Apple-at-ya.” ◼

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