1563. It took Otis three days to formulate the skit and late at night when the three comedians were asleep he presented it to the rooster in outline form. Over the years the smallpox skit has undergone many alterations. Every generation of wandering performers has its version of the skit. There are performances that use fewer characters, but a dog and a rooster are indispensable.
1564. The skit begins with the eldest of the comedians, invariably known as The General, entering the kitchen and telling his wife that he intends to make grape jelly with the wild grapes he has just picked that morning. She is engrossed in reading something and pays no attention to him.
1565. The General takes a huge pot and proceeds to fill it up from his bushel of grapes. He puts it on the imaginary stove and begins to boil it, stirring it off and on with what looks like a canoe paddle. The grapes begin to boil as he stirs furiously at the pot. The harder it boils the harder he plies his oar, but the entire time his wife never looks up from her book.
1566. The general becomes covered with sweat, and strips down to his underpants. In the skit, it is very important that his formerly white underpants are ancient and are an uneven dark gray color and covered with stains and blotches. The wife is in the foreground with her back to the spectators, and The General is at the back of the stage with his back to his wife and the audience.