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By Vance Randolph
Columbia University Press 1947
“No hillman would think of giving a steel blade to a friend – such a gift is sure to severe their friendship. Whenever a knife changes hands, it must been paid for, even if the sum is merely nominal. I have seen a salesman, a graduate of the University of Missouri, present his son with a valuable hunting knife – but he never let it out of his hand till the boy had given him a penny.
The accidental crossing of two case knives at the table must be avoided, as it is likely to cause a desperate fight between members of the family; if knives are crossed inadvertently, they must be touched only by the same person who crossed them. If an Ozark woman finds a pair of scissors open, she closes them instantly – if she fails to do this she will quarrel with her dearest friend before the moon changes. If one finds an open clasp knife he snaps the blade shut immediately; if it is a sheath knife of the rigid kind, he thrusts the blade into the ground at once.”