Tobit: Epilogue, 1925

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

Tobit and the Hoodoo ManEpilogue – Tobit (100) concludes the narration as he began it.  All of his friends are gone.  He is alone and prepares his own grave among the others he has buried beneath the ancient hangin’ tree.  He carves in deep letters,


I lived here and I died here.

I was blind and I can see.

Etienne was lame and he can walk.

Ben was deaf and he can hear.



As the sun sets, Tobit glimpses a man in the fading light waving to him.  A dog barks.  The man calls out, “It is time to come home to the peace of heaven.”  It is Gabriel.  Tobit lies down on the burial plot and closes his eyes.

I hope you have enjoyed this presentation of Tobit and the Hoodoo Man in Eight Movements with Prologue and Epilogue.  If you’ve read the book, perhaps you will read it again.  If you’ve not read the book, perhaps this presentation will encourage you to.


Tobit: Eighth and Final Movement, 1865

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


Mississippi_ku_kluxEighth Movement – Return to Nineveh.  Tobias and Father Gabriel accept nearly $10,000 of Federal issue from Jack.  Sara agrees to a wedding that day if Tobias allows Jack to return to Nineveh as well.  All is agreed.  Father Gabriel performs the ceremony that afternoon to a packed and festive house.  Tobias, Sara, Gabriel and Ben depart the following day for Nineveh.  Jack promises to follow as soon as he has taken care of his business.  Dr. Graydon and Andrew have decided to purchase the Palace of Pleasure with Jack’s maître d’ FLO (40).  On the return journey, Gabriel tells Tobias to apply a touch of the remaining gall powder to his father’s eyes.  The reunion of son and parents is beautiful.  Tobias does as Gabriel instructs and Tobit can miraculously see.  They present Etienne with an artificial leg from Dr. Graydon.  The lame shall walk.  Tobit invests money to paint the plantation.  Three days later, on the sixth day of the New Year, Wolfenbüttel arrives, certain that he will assume control of the plantation.  The sheriff is with him and both are taken aback to learn that Tobit has the $2,000 to purchase the plantation as Ashur’s wife had offered.  That night, the Circle of Brothers (KKK) comes to Nineveh led by Wolfenbüttel and the sheriff, hooded like their accomplices to kill the slaves and steal back Nineveh.  As they prepare to hang Ben, old Mother Rachel fires her ancient gun and cuts the rope.  The jar of the rope opens Ben’s ears – the deaf shall hear.  As the thugs disarm Mother Rachel, the Wolf instructs his men to “string up the priest.”  As they do, the Wolf prepares to execute Ben, but before he can pull the trigger, “a devilish howl rolls like heavy syrup from the hangin’ tree.”  It is the old and long silent cry of the Hoodoo Man that Tobit heard the night he met Cherokee Jack, “Hoo … doo … few doo … you gits what fo’ yoo.”   The Wolf and the Circle of Brothers fire into the tree, but there rapports are met with laughter and another howl from the Hoodoo Man.  The Hoodoo Man descends dramatically from the tree and opens fire killing all but the Wolf and the sheriff.  A final confrontation between the Wolf and the Hoodoo Man leaves Wolfenbüttel dead with a bullet between his eyes.  They release the sheriff with the threat of the Hodoo Man’s certain vengeance if any harm comes to the people of Nineveh.  The Hoodoo Man disappears as quickly as he came.  Three days later, Gabriel celebrates his final Mass at the plantation and as he concludes, Cherokee Jack approaches driving a wagon with his worldly possessions.

Look for the Epilogue next week.

Tobit: Seventh Movement, 1865

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


Belle Watling's Place from "Gone with the Wind"
Belle Watling’s Place from “Gone with the Wind”

Seventh Movement – Jack’s Palace of Pleasure.  Tobias is anxious to meet Cherokee Jack.  Christmas morning, Andrew directs him to Jack’s Palace of Pleasure where Tobias meets and spends the afternoon on the front porch with Jack’s beautiful daughter SARA (17).  As light fades, Jack (55) makes his appearance and tells Tobias to be on his way.  Tobias says he has business with Jack and will return the next day to complete it.  He tells Jack he is lodging with Andrew.  That evening, Jack and Sara call on Andrew and dine with Tobias and his friends.  Tobias is clearly infatuated with Sara, and she is attracted to him as well.  During dinner, Jack relates his encounter with Tobit long ago and confesses his crime, and announces that he still retains the purse he promised to keep for Tobit.  Jack explains that he will give him the purse on one condition that Sara returns to Nineveh with Tobias.  Tobias adds one condition, that she return as his wife.  They agree, but as Jack and Sara prepare to leave, Father Gabriel mysteriously tells them Jack and his ladies will have need of Tobias this very night because guests “with evil intentions” will visit.  Gabriel explains what must be done.  Tobias returns to the Palace of Pleasure with Sara and Jack.  That night, four highwaymen enter Jack’s place intent on destruction.  Following Father Gabriel’s instructions, Tobias and Jack drug the brigands’ drinks with the gall and liver of the catfish.  The four men go insane and kill each other.

Tobit: Sixth Movement, 1865

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

santa clausSixth Movement – The Journey to Savannah.  The first night, they camp next to the Ogeechee River.  Father Gabriel instructs Tobias in the Indian way of catching fish and Tobias ‘noodles’ a giant catfish.  Gabriel preserves the heart, the liver and the gall claiming they have magical powers.  At Miller’s Junction, they encounter DR. GRAYDON (65) and BEN (65), a former slave whose ears have been disfigured.  He is deaf.  Rebel soldiers try to cause trouble, but Caesar comes to the rescue in a magical way.  Graydon and Ben accompany them to Savannah and bring them to the home of a shipper, ANDREW LOWE (60).  It is Christmas Eve, and Andrew graciously invites them all in to stay and celebrate Christmas with him.  Andrew is quite familiar with Cherokee Jack who runs a brothel in Savannah.

Tobit: Fifth Movement, 1865

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

plantationFifth Movement – The War is over.  TOBIAS (20) assumes the narrator’s role.  The former slaves of Nineveh operate the plantation as if it was always theirs.  Etienne (40) and Davie (41) remain with Tobit (40).  In December 1865, a priest wanders into the plantation on a blind mule led by a large dog, Caesar.  It is FATHER GABRIEL (23), and he officially marries Tobit and Anna.  After Gabriel celebrates Mass on a December Sunday morning, the slaves are startled when Wolfenbüttel (55) returns to the plantation.  He explains that Master Charles is dead and that his widow – whose first husband was Master Ashur – is now Wolfenbüttel’s wife.  Wolfenbüttel has returned to claim the plantation but reluctantly says that his wife will agree to sell the plantation to the slaves for $2,000, an impossible sum of money to expect newly freed slaves to have.  Wolfenbüttel will return the first week of January.  If the slaves are still there, it is because they agree to work the land for the Wolfenbüttels.  When the slaves meet the following morning to cast their lots, Tobit announces that he has money.  He explains his encounter with Cherokee Jack, the Hoodoo Man 25 years earlier.  Against his mother’s wishes, Tobias says he will go to Savannah and find Cherokee Jack.  The next morning, Tobias and Father Gabriel are gone.

Tobit: Fourth Movement, 1840 – 1865

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

Fourth Movement – the Runaway is Captured, Tobit is Blinded and Marries Anna.  Tobit returns Master Ashur’s body to Nineveh.  Weeks later, a group of riders comes to Nineveh.  It is Masters Charles and Robert.  They have captured Cato, the runaway slave.  Tobit is accused of abetting Cato in his flight.  As penance, he must act as the executioner when they hang Cato from ‘the hangin’ tree.’  Reluctantly and remorsefully, Tobit slaps the horse from beneath Cato.  The deed is done.  Wolfenbüttel tells the slaves to leave the body to rot as an example.  Two nights later, Tobit removes the body and buries it.  When Wolfenbüttel learns that the body is gone, he demands that the perpetrator come forward.  When no one does, Wolfenbüttel threatens to execute a slave.  Tobit steps forward and announces that he buried the body.  When he refuses to tell the taskmaster where, Wolfenbüttel blinds him with a red-hot iron.  Anna tends to his wounds for weeks and he takes her for his wife.  Six years after the blinding, she bears him a son, Tobias.  Master Ashur’s

Etienne Broussard

widow marries Master Charles, he moves to Nineveh, and Davie and Tobit are reunited.  … Twenty Five years pass … Etienne visits as a Colonel in the Confederate Army.  Master Charles, his wife and Wolfenbüttel abandon the plantation in the wake of the approaching Union army.  A Union officer comes to Nineveh and tells the slaves President Lincoln has freed them.  Tobit and the slaves assume control of the plantation.  Etienne returns injured and the slaves amputate his leg.

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: First Movement, 1835

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

TobitThe young TOBIT (10) meets ANNA (10).  The twang of overseer WOLFENBÜTTEL’s (25) Jew’s harp announces the approach of a slow procession of new slaves to the compound that houses the blacks who work on Master Ashur’s Nineveh Plantation.    Tobit climbs a tree that hangs above the road and watches through the deep green foliage.  As he drops acorns to gain a young girl’s attention, he muses, “She is as plain as a loaf of bread, but in her melancholy, I glimpse a heart that longs for companionship … I determine that I will provide it for her.”  Tobit’s mother MINERVY (35) and the other slaves prepare a feast to welcome the new families.  Wolfenbüttel ends the festivities in the early evening with a gunshot.  “Master says it’s time for you nigga’s to quiet down.”  The slaves obediently return to their hovels and end the evening with a gospel prayer, “I Know Moonrise.”