Mary Calhoun's folksy version of an old tale features mountaineer Whickutt, his boy and his donkey on their way to the mill with an ""edgy"" sack of corn. As the corn sack slips the old man keeps repositioning it on the donkey and, in keeping with contradictory advice picked up along the way, before they've reached the mill man, boy and donkey have all had turns being carried by the others. (""Derned if I do, derned if I don't,"" the old man replies to roadside critics.) The journey ends with Old Man Whickutt throwing the corn, boy, donkey and finally himself across a creek to the mill -- ""derned if he didn't!"" Mary Calhoun's calculated vernacular gets a pleasant assist from Tomie de Paola's pictures, which are handsomely set off by softly colored quilting patterns that match his gently indulgent view of mountain life.