The Drinking Gourd

F.N. Monjo

Young Tommy Fuller is caught misbehaving in church and is sent home by his Father.  When Tommy gets home, he stops by the family barn and discovers a family of runaway slaves – two parents, their boy (about Tommy’s age) and a baby – who have been hidden there by Tommy's father. The slaves have escaped from South Carolina and are following the drinking gourd (which Tommy knows as the Big Dipper) north to Canada, where they can be free. Tommy and his father go on a journey to help the slaves escape to freedom, but run into some trouble on the way. When Tommy's father is out getting a boat to row the slaves across the river, U.S. Marshals run into Tommy and the wagon. The men are looking for runaway slaves and Tommy quickly tells them that he is running away himself. The marshals laugh and advise him to go home and take his licking for misbehaving. Tommy’s Father returns after the U.S. Marshals leave and rows the slaves across the river. That night, Tommy and his father discuss the morality of disobeying unjust laws.

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