excerpted from Spooky Maryland retold by S.E. Schlosser
Once there was an old woman who went out in the woods to dig up some
roots to cook for dinner. She spotted something funny sticking out of the
leaves and dug around until she uncovered a great big hairy toe. There
was some good meat on that toe which would make a real tasty dinner, so
the old woman put it in her basket and took it home.
When she got back to her cottage, the old woman
boiled up a kettle-full of hairy toe soup, which she
ate for dinner that night. It was the best meal she'd
had in weeks! The old woman went to bed that night
with a full stomach and a big smile.
Along about midnight, a cold wind started blowing in
the tops of the trees around the old woman's house.
A large black cloud crept over the moon and from the woods a hollow voice
rumbled: "Hairy toe! Hairy toe! I want my hairy toe!" Inside the house, the
old woman stirred uneasily in her bed and nervously pulled the covers up
over her ears.
From the woods there came a stomp-stomp-stomping noise as the wind
whistled and jerked at the treetops. In the clearing at the edge of the
forest, a hollow voice said: "Hairy toe! Hairy toe! I want my hairy toe!"
Inside the house, the old woman shuddered and turned over in her sleep.
A stomp, stomp, stomping sound came from the garden path outside the
cottage. The night creatures shivered in their burrows as a hollow voice
howled: "Hairy toe! Hairy toe! I want my hairy toe!" Inside the house, the
old woman snapped awake. Her whole body shook with fright as she
listened to the angry howling in her garden. Jumping out of bed, she ran to
the door and barred it. Once the cottage was secure, she lay back down to
Suddenly, the front door of the
cottage burst open with a bang,
snapping the bar in two and sending it
flying into the corners of the room.
There came the stomp, stomp,
stomping noise of giant feet walking
up the stairs. Peeping out from under
the covers, the old woman saw a
massive figure filling her doorway. It
said: "Hairy toe! Hairy toe! I want my
The old woman sat bolt upright in terror and shouted: "I ATE your hairy
"Yes, you did," the giant figure said very gently as it
advanced into the room.
No one living in the region ever saw the old woman
again. The only clue to her disappearance was a giant
footprint a neighbor found pressed deep into the loose
soil of the meadow beside the house. The footprint
was missing the left big toe.
Answer the following 13 (unlucky for some) questions below.
1. What was the woman digging up to cook for dinner?
2. What did she uncover?
3. Why did she put ‘the hairy toe’ in her basket?
4. What did she cook with ‘the hairy toe’?
5. Later that night, what did the voice coming from the woods say?
6. Was the voice heard in the same place or was it getting closer?
7. Where was the voice coming from when the old lady woke up?
8. What did she do when she jumped out of bed?
9. Where was the old lady when she saw the massive figure in her doorway?
10. How did the old lady respond to the figure?
11. What finally happened to the old lady?
12. What was the only clue of her disappearance?
13. What was distinct about the footprint?