I’m Not Dead

I’m Not Dead is a funny ghost story for kids about an old man who refuses to believe he’s dead. It is based on an old African-American folktale called “The Man Who Wouldn’t Believe He Was Dead” from The Doctor to the Dead, a collection of Charleston folklore. A version of this story appeared in Whistle in the Graveyard under the title “Tain’t So”.

I'm Not Dead

Old Man Jenkins was very sick but he kept telling everyone there was nothing wrong with him. His wife was so worried that she sent for the doctor.

When the doctor arrived and tried to examine him, Old Man Jenkins protested, saying, “There’s nothing wrong with me!”

“But you’re dying!” the doctor said.

“It’s not true!” said Old Man Jenkins.

“You don’t have a heartbeat,” the doctor said.

“I’m not dead!” said Old Man Jenkins and he threw the doctor out of his house.

The next day, Old Man Jenkins was dead. His wife called the undertaker and when he arrived, he put the old man in a coffin and drive him down to the church. They had a funeral and then they carried him to the cemetery and buried him.

The next morning, the policeman was on his way to work. When he passed the cemetery, he saw Old Man Jenkins sitting on the wall.

“I thought you passed away,” the policeman said.

“I’m not dead!” Old Man Jenkins replied.

The policeman went straight to old Man Jenkins; house and told his wife, “Your husband is sitting on the cemetery wall and he claims he’s not dead!”

“Oh, pay no attention to him,” the old woman said. “He’s as dead as dead could be.”

The next day, the shopkeeper was on his way to work. When he passed the cemetery, he saw Old Man Jenkins sitting on the wall.

“Is that you?” asked the shopkeeper.

“It is,” Old Man Jenkins replied.

“I heard you were ill,” said the shopkeeper.

“I was,” Old Man Jenkins replied.

“And then I heard you died,” said the shopkeeper.

“I’m not dead!” Old Man Jenkins replied.

“Didn’t they bury you the other day?” asked the shopkeeper.

“Do I look like I’m buried?” Old Man Jenkins said.

“That much is true,” said the shopkeeper as he walked off, scratching his head.

The next day, the postman was cycling past the graveyard when he spotted Old Man Jenkins sitting on the wall.

“What’s the news?” asked Old Man Jenkins.

“Not much news,” said the postman, “except I heard that Old Man Jenkins died.”

“It’s not true!” said Old Man Jenkins.

“How do you know?” asked the postman.

“Because I’m Old Man Jenkins,” came the reply, “and I’m not dead!”

“Oh!” said the postman and he cycled away from the cemetery as fast as he could.

He didn’t stop cycling until he came to the nearest pub. He hopped off his bike, ran inside and said, “There’s an old man sitting on the cemetery wall and he claims he’s Old Man Jenkins!”

“That can’t be true,” said the barman.

“Why not?” asked the postman.

“Because Old Man Jenkins is dead,” said the barman.

“Well,” said the postman, “maybe someone should tell him!”

This kept going on week after week, month after month and the townsfolk were getting worried. Everyone knew that Old Man Jenkins was dead… Everyone, that is, except Old Man Jenkins himself. He just sat there on the cemetery wall, day after day, saying, “I’m not dead!” and he got very angry when anyone contradicted him.

The townsfolk eventually had a meeting and decided that they would hold another funeral. They dug another hole in the cemetery and put up another gravestone. The inscription on it read:

“Here lies the body of Old Man Jenkins. Born 1901 – Died 2001.”

When Old Man Jenkins read the inscription on the stone, he couldn’t believe his eyes. He read it over three or four times. After a long pause, he said, “Well, maybe it’s true… Maybe I am dead.”

With that, he hopped into the grave, covered himself up with dirt and he hasn’t been seen or heard from since.

Comments

  1. Jarin Sanzana says

    OMG MY SECOND THIRD COMMENT OF THE DAY! OMG MY BASKETBALL COACHES NAME’S MR.JENKINS!

  2. FAN OF SCARY FOR KIDS says

    Sorry but i did’nt get this! I mean how did old man agreed he is dead when they buried a new grave? Does that has something to do with the death and born dates…1901-2001 that means that he was 100 year old!

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