thorough researcher, he's found that noneof these playthings are peculiar to theAppalachian South. The whimmydiddle,for example, has been reported fromSweden and China. And a Czechoslova-kian book on early Central European toysdescribes many such items.The important thing is not who in-vented these toys, or what they're called.It's the fact that they are bringing em-ployment to one small Southern mountainsettlement. The profits of Folk Toys In-dustry, Beech Creek, N. C, go into thelocal work of the Council of the South-ern Mountains, an organization dedicatedto helping rural families.And now, just in case you don't knowwhat a whimmydiddle is—or a flipper-dinger, fly killer, bullroarer, or cornstalk fiddle—here's a rundown:
also called aziggerboo (Tenn.), geehaw (Ga.),hoodoostick (Cherokee Indians), and lie detec-tor (Ohio). In the Folk Toys' version,it's made of rhododendron twigs, strippedto the smooth inner bark. Its two partsare a notched stick with a spinner—orwhirligig—pivoted on one end, and asmaller rubbing stick.In operating the whimmydiddle, the
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object is to make the whirligig spinsmoothly to the right (gee), or to theleft (haw), seemingly at your spokencommand. To do this, you must holdboth parts lightly to produce maximumvibration. This vibration is set up whenyou stroke the rubbing stick rapidly back and forth across the notches. If, at thesame time, you let the tip of your indexfinger slide along the far side of thenotches, the whirligig will twirl unfail-ingly to the right. To reverse its direc-tion, you simply bring your thumb tobear on the near side of the notches. Witha little practice, you can switch contactsso inconspicuously that anyone whodoesn't know the trick will have a hardtime guessing why the whirligig responds.
This is a hollow-reedblower with a plug in one end, and anozzle, made of a smaller reed, project-ing from it just behind the plug. In onemodel, an acorn cup with its center boredout is cemented over the nozzle. In an-other, a little "basketball ring" bent fromcopper wire is aligned with the nozzleabout three inches above the tip. Bothmodels come with a featherweight ballformed from cornstalk pith.To work the first flipperdinger, you