Dan Gibson, Storyteller/Banjoplayer
Sample Stories and Verse
Frozen Pipes
Folk Tales
Ghost Stories
Outrageous Verse
Copyright 2001 by Dan Gibson

Every winter, all the water pipes in town froze.

They would freeze a little at a time – first, some here; then, some there – until they were all frozen. All, that is, except old Hattie Smith's. Her water pipes never froze, even in the coldest weather.

The townspeople were extremely jealous of her. Some believed she had made a pact with the devil. How else could anyone explain the simple fact that her water pipes never froze.

They complained to the mayor. They complained to the courts. They complained to the churches. They complained to their Congressmen. They complained to God. Some even complained to the devil.

They made life miserable for Hattie. But she never complained. She never said a cross word to anyone.

But, still, every winter it was always the same. All the water pipes in town would freeze up, little by little, except for Hattie’s.

As the water pipes in each household froze, neighbors would visit neighbors whose pipes had yet to freeze. They’d ask for just enough water to last until the weather warmed up and the pipes would thaw and flow freely once again. But the neighbors always refused. They had to save their water. They couldn’t let any of it go. They had to take care of themselves. A few people got a little water. Some got what they needed. And, little by little, all the pipes in town would freeze up, every time – except for Hattie’s.

When Hattie died, she had no living relatives. Most of the townspeople hated her. Just a few old friends attended her funeral.

All of her property went to the state and was sold. There was a huge clamor among the townspeople, though. They all wanted to buy her house – the house with the water pipes that would never freeze. It sold for ten times what it was actually worth. The family who bought it was extremely proud of their new possession, and thrilled to have a house whose pipes would never freeze.

That next winter was the worst on record. And for the first time, the pipes in Hattie’s house froze -- just like all the others in town.

The people who bought the house couldn't understand why. They were upset. They were mad. They complained to the mayor. They complained to the courts. They complained to the churches. They complained to their Congressmen. They complained to God. They complained to the devil. But most of all, they complained to the real
estate agent. "Why did the pipes never freeze when Hattie lived here? Was the old lady a witch? Is this old house haunted?"

Someone suggested that Hattie's ghost was getting revenge for the way people treated her when she was alive.

But, no one had seen a ghost. No one had heard chains rattling in the attic, or unearthly sounds coming from the basement. Nothing in the house had ever moved by itself without the help of a mortal.

But, as a matter of fact, the answers came from Hattie’s ghost.

They found a letter hidden under a kitchen drawer. It was addresse
d to, “The New Owners.”

Dear Friends,
There's something you should know about water pipes.
When a freeze hits, be sure to give water to anyone who needs it.
If you keep the water flowing, the pipes will never freeze.

With love,
Hattie Smith