Tobit: Third Movement, 1840 – Tobit Meets the Hoodoo Man

Tobit and the Hoodoo Man, A Mystical Tale from the Civil War South.  A film treatment in eight movements with prologue and epilogue.

cherokeeThird Movement – Tobit Meets the HOODOO MAN.  Masters Ashur and CHARLES (50) depart Due West with Tobit and Davie in tow.  A storm delays their progress and they camp at night to wait out the heavy rain.  As they sit by their fire, a large, imposing man seems to materialize in thin air as he jumps from the trees startling the travelers with his Hoodoo cries.  He is a highwayman, a Cherokee Indian who has mastered the art of thievery.  He introduces himself as CHEROKEE JACK (30), and ‘I be a hoodoo  man and I be here fo’ just one thing … yo’ money!’’  Despite advice and caution from Master Charles, Tobit and Davie, Ashur foolishly decides to take matters into his own hands and grapples with Cherokee Jack.  With the sound of Jack’s pistol, Charles and Davie flee into the darkness.  Master Ashur is dead.  Jack offers to split the Master Ashur’s purse with Tobit, but Tobit will not take the ‘blood money.’  Jack departs but tells Tobit if he ever needs the money, he can find him in Savannah.

Tobit: Second Movement, 1840

Tobit and the Hoodoo Man, A Mystical Tale from the Civil War South.  A film treatment in eight movements with prologue and epilogue.

TobitSecond Movement – Games and the Runaway.  Five years have passed and Tobit (15) has matured into a strong, athletic young man.  Talk of abolition is everywhere and the men of the South consider succession and civil war a real possibility.  Concerned that southern young men are mentally strong but physically weak, Master ASHUR (45) and friends from the southern states stage games of fitness at the Erskine Academy in South Carolina where white students will match their physical prowess against plantation slaves.  Tobit meets DAVIE (16) as they run tied behind Master Ashur’s carriage from Nineveh to Due West, some 125 miles.  There are three events:  stone put; caber toss; and ‘run the hill’ based on the ancient games of Malcolm Canmore of Scotland.  The slaves easily win the initial events, but a bond is formed between Tobit and the French student ETIENNE BROUSSARD (15) while they toss the caber.  During the final event – the hill running – Master Robert’s slave CATO (14) makes his break for freedom and succeeds.

Tobit: Prologue

Tobit and the Hoodoo Man, A Mystical Tale from the Civil War South.  A film treatment in eight movements with prologue and epilogue.

Prologue – 1925 …

The story opens as four young people in an automobile stop at an old compound of weathered shacks on the side of a nameless dirt road somewhere in Georgia.  The slaves of Nineveh, a once thriving plantation in the 19th century lived here.  An old man greets the travelers and offers them water from his well.  When they tell him it is 1925, he realizes he is 100-years old.  The old man is TOBIT.  The automobile and its passengers move on.  Tobit returns to the ancient rocking chair on the porch and contemplates the last time anyone ever called him ‘sir.’

E.S. Kraay
Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1938

Where Ideas Come From: Tobit and the Hoodoo Man, A Mystical Tale from the Civil War South

During the two years I worked on The Hamsa, I became very interested in Celtic spirituality.  I obtained a Celtic Prayer book authored by William John Fitzgerald.  I still use it daily.  One scripture reading from the Book of Tobit captured my attention.

 “Raphael answered, “I will go with him; so do not fear.  We shall leave in good health and return to you in good health, because the way is safe.”

Tobit 5:16

Tobias saying goodbye to his father

I had never read the Book of Tobit.  Frankly, I had not even heard of the Book of Tobit.  Fortunately, I live not far from the Redemptorist Renewal Center in Picture Rocks at the edge of the Saguaro National Park in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona.  The Center has a wonderful library and I spent many early mornings reading the Book of Tobit.  You will note that on the title page of The Hamsa, I include the aforementioned quotation.

While The Book of Tobit is perceived in different ways by different people of different religious persuasions, I believe The Book of Tobit tells us about doing the right thing under any and all circumstances, and that is the core concept of my novel Tobit and the Hoodoo Man.

Trained as a warrior, I respect all men and women who serve and who have served their countries in uniform though today, I am an avid supporter of non-violence.  In deference to popular American culture, I believe ‘the greatest generation’ of American servicemen and women were those who fought and died in the Civil War, the War Between the States.  Their efforts preserved the United States of America.  If Americans love their country, they must acknowledge that it remains intact due in no small part to the more than 600,000 men and women who died to preserve the nation some 150 Tobityears ago.

After reading the Book of Tobit several times, I decided I would write a manuscript and tell the story of Tobit with the Civil War South as its backdrop.  I tried diligently to include all of the major events in the biblical Book of Tobit.  That objective led to many twists and turns that made writing this manuscript an enjoyable process.

Unfortunately, from my perspective, I had already used ‘Raphael’ in The Hamsa, so I elected to use another archangel, Gabriel in his stead as I wrote Tobit and the Hoodoo Man.  Hoping to stay true to form and in context with the Apocrypha, I introduced another ‘mystical’ dog and named him Caesar after my own best friend.

Story ideas come from many sources.  I have a lengthy list  of concepts and ideas that continually grows, ideas I intend to develop into manuscripts.  I encourage you to develop and keep you own ‘list’ so that you never run out of ideas worthy of your talent.