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layer cakes, bullfrogs, folktales, Lesher's Mill, Sinking Spring, Naftzingertown, Pennsylvania Dutch dialect


A handwritten letter from George E. Bagenstose addressed to Alfred L. Shoemaker, dated January 10, 1956. Within, Bagenstose recounts a folktale involving a stopped waterwheel and a talking bullfrog.


George E. Bagenstose


Alfred L. Shoemaker

Corresponds to:

Packet 44-6


Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania


Jan 10 1956

Dr. Shoemaker:

On Sat. evening Jan. 8th you asked for Dutch names for layer cakes, in the section around Centerport, where I was raised they were known as (“Schtuk Kucka”). (SCHTUCK KUCKA).

On a separate sheet I am sending in dialect (the best I can in spelling) the following:

Up near Naftzingertown was Lesher’s Mill, one day the mill stopped running for no apparent reason in the middle of a batch of meal. The men started to look for the trouble and everything seemed to be in order until the miller went down to the lower level to check the water wheel. When he reached the bottom step he heard a bull frog saying “the wheel stopped rotating, the wheel stopped rotating. There he was, his back against the wheel and his four feet propped against the wall holding the wheel.

Respectfully yours

George E. Bagenstose

Druvva in Naftzinger schtettel war Leshers Mael. Mol a dawg hot die mael schtoppa shpringa midtes im schroeda. Sie hen alles unnersucht for der druvel und hen nix finna canna. No is der miller amol nunner in der kellar. Uno hot mol ga googt noch em wasser rawd. Saina eb ebess lets waer dart. No hot er en bullfrog g'hairt. Er hot g’sawdt “Es rawd geht nimme ruum - es rawd geht nimme ruum“ Dart hot er g’hort. Mit em bukel wedder em rawd. Und die fier fees wedder da mawer und hots rawd g’hovva.


English and Pennsylvania German

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Letter From George E. Bagenstose to Alfred L. Shoemaker, January 10, 1956



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