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Jack Tales / Strong Women in AppLit's Annotated Index of Folktales

Tina L. Hanlon

"Gallymanders" and "Jack and the Witch's Tale"


Gallymander and Jack & Witch Tales

Related Tales from Other Regions

"Old Gally Mander." In Isobel Gordon Carter. "Mountain White Folk-Lore: Tales from the Southern Blue Ridge." Journal of American Folklore 38 (1925): pp. 340-74 (this tale on pp. 368-70). Available online through library services such as JSTOR. A landmark article containing Jack tales told by Jane Hicks Gentry (1863-1925), recorded by Carter in 1923. Carter comments on the decline of storytelling among mountain families who used to know them better, although they had not been recorded as ballads had been. Old Gally Mander is a stingy old lady who lives on ash cakes and water. Her hired girls poke around to find her gold and silver so she sends her son across the ocean to find a girl who won't know about the money. That girl is told not to look up the chimney so she does, and runs off with the money. She won't help a cow, horse and peach tree that she passes, so they betray her when Old Gally Mander pursues her and then throws her in the ocean. Later her son gets another girl who does all the same things. His third girl stops to help the cow, horse, and peach tree, so they help her escape. Old Gally Mander then lives alone on ash cakes and water for being so stingy.

"Gallymanders! Gallymanders!" In Chase, Richard. Grandfather Tales; American-English Folk Tales. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1948. Reprinted in Smith, Jimmy Neil, ed. Why the Possum's Tail is Bare and Other Classic Southern Stories. New York: Avon, 1993, pp. 31-38.

"Gallymanders, Gallymanders." In Grandfather's Greatest Hits. Whitesburg, KY: June Appal, 1900-1979? LP sound recording. Tales from Chase's Grandfather Tales including "Soap, Soap, Soap," "Chunk of Meat," "Mutsmag," "Two Old Women's Bet." With voices of Don Baker, Jeff Kiser, Marcia McIntosh, Jane Moody, Jack Wright, Angie DeBord, Frank Taylor. Roadside Theater (WorldCat information).

"Gallymander." In Hicks, Orville, and Julia Taylor Ebel. Jack Tales and Mountain Yarns, As Told By Orville Hicks. Illus. Sherry Jenkins Jensen. Boone, NC: Parkway, 2009. pp. 129-37. Comments by Hicks and in Thomas McGowan's Afterword describe Orville learning old tales from his mother and from his cousins Ray and Rosa Hicks, but don't give other notes on particular tales. Hicks notes that "This was one of Mama's favorite tales. I remember her telling it many a time. She probably thought it suited the boys and the girls both" (p. 137). In this tale an old woman hires a lazy girl who tries to take her gold but the cow, horse and peach tree help the old woman catch her, so she is beaten and sent away. A good girl who is hired next tries to put the money back when she finds it and then she runs off and escapes because the things she stops to help don't betray her. No one knows whether the old woman found her money bag lying in the ashes. (See another tale from this book below.)

"The Gold in the Chimley" collected by Leonard Roberts. In South From Hell-fer-Sartin': Kentucky Mountain Folk Tales. U of KY Press, 1955. Rpt. Berea, KY: The Council of the Southern Mountains, 1964, pp. 65-68. This tale reprinted in Dorson, Richard M., ed. Buying the Wind: Regional Folklore in the United States. Chicago, 1964, in the third section devoted to "Southern Mountaineers," where cante fables are discussed. Also in Clarkson, Atelia, and Cross, Gilbert, B., eds. World Folktales: A Scribner Resource Collection. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1980.

"Gold in the Chimney." Recording from Grapevine Creek area of Pike County, KY, 1949/50, in Leonard Ward Roberts Collection, Berea College. Two girls spending the night in a witch's house are told not to look up the chimney. When they are asked in turn to help a neglected cow, sheep, horse, and mill, the girl who doesn't stop to help is caught by the witch and locked in the mill. The good girl does stop to help each animal and the mill, so they don't reveal that they've seen her, and the mill grinds up the witch after tricking her into getting into its hopper. The good girl rescues her sister and they live happily.

"The Old Witch's Gold" collected by Leonard Roberts. In Old Greasybeard. Illus. Leonard Epstein. Pikeville, KY: Pikeville College Press, 1980. pp. 90-94. Reprinted as "Gol' in the Chimley." In Cohn, Amy L., ed. From Sea to Shining Sea: A Treasury of American Folklore and Folk Songs. New York: Scholastic, 1993, in the section "Bridging the Gap," illustrated by Molly Bang. Two sisters who sought a place to stay in a witch's house are told not to look up the chimney while the witch is gone. When they are asked in turn to help a neglected cow, sheep, horse, and mill, the girl who doesn't stop to help is caught by the witch and turned into stone. The good girl who does stop to help is helped by the animals and mill, which grinds up the witch. The "little girl," who escapes with the witch's bag of gold, "turned the stone back into her sister and they lived happily ever after" (p. 94).

"Bag O' Gold." In Roberts, Leonard. I Bought Me a Dog: A Dozen Authentic Folktales from the Southern Mountains. Berea, KY: The Council of the Southern Mountains, 1954. The old woman's daughters find her gold after being told not to look in the chimney when she is napping, A fence, peartree, horse, cow, and mill won't keep the first girl's secret because she won't stop to help them. The old woman beats the gal to death when she finds her with the gold. The second girl flees with the gold and stops to help each thing along the way, so they each do some violent harm to the old woman. The end simply says, "The mill, hit ground her all to pieces." The verses recited by the fleeing girls and the old woman in pursuit all say, after a line with each inquiry in it, "With a wig wig wag and a great big bag / And all the gold and silver in it / That's been made since I've been born" (see "With a Wig, With a Wag" from Massachusetts below). Roberts' headnote discusses the cante fable form and how the blending or separation of verse and prose may have evolved in folk narratives.

"Jack and the Witch's Tale." Jack rescues his brothers and outsmarts a witch with the help of magical animals and objects in R. Rex Stephenson's story theatre script. He obtains help by first doing favors for the witch's cow, pig, and mill so they help hide him from the witch, while his brothers would not take time to help the things that asked them for favors. (See The Jack Tales in Stephenson bibliography.)

"Ol' Gally Mander." Van Laan, Nancy. With a Whoop and a Holler: A Bushel of Lore from Way Down South. Illus. Scott Cook. New York: Atheneum, 1998. Based on Isobel Gordon Carter's "Mountain White Folk-lore: Tales from the Southern Blue Ridge: (Journal of American Folklore, vol. 25, 1925). Notes also refer to the old English folktale "The Old Witch." Van Laan shortened the tale and added rhymed refrains. Other tales from the Mountains in this book are "Jack Runs Off" (similar to "Jack and the Robbers"), and "Three Foots." Also includes rhymes, riddles, and superstitions. A map shows where the tales originate in different Southern regions, including the mountains. The amusing illustrations depict quirky human and animal characters in earth tones. Van Laan's "Ol' Gally Mander" also reprinted in the high school textbook Classical and World Mythology. A Nextext anthology. Evanston, Ill: Nextext, 2000.

"Ash Cakes and Water." Told by Big Nelt. In Campbell, Marie, ed. Tales from the Cloud Walking Country. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1958. pp. 83-85. Gally Mandy is the old woman who is too stingy to eat anything besides ash cakes and water. Her son marries three women in a row from across the ocean and Gally Mandy tells each one not to look up the chimney, so she does. Each one attempts to take the old woman's money that is hidden up the chimney but the first and second women refuse to help a cow, a nag, and a peach tree that ask her for help. so they help Gally Mandy catch the thieves. The third one does help the critters so they discourage Gally Mandy from chasing the woman, who takes the money across the ocean and spends it.

"Two Gals." Told by Anndrena Belcher. Telling Tales. Program 2 in KY Educational TV series of 16 folktale programs, 1990. In Part One. See information on programs and videos. Teacher's Guide online contains Table of Contents in Part One, then summaries of each tale and discussion questions and activities. Also has background on the storytellers and Introduction to Storytelling by Belcher. This tale is attributed to Leonard Roberts' Old Greasybeard. The guide says that the lazy girl and "greedy woman" are eaten by snakes in the traditional tale, while this filmed telling softens the ending. (In the Leonard Roberts versions listed above, the witch is ground up by the mill at the end.)

"Old Gally Mander." In Rugoff, Milton, ed. A Harvest of World Folktales. New York: Viking, 1949. Other American tales include "Jack and the Varmints," "Jack's Hunting Trips,""The Tar Baby," "Dicey -- and Orpus,"  "The Man and his Boots," "Big John the Conqueror," "Why Women Always Take Advantage of Men," "Davy Crockett: Sunrise in his Pocket," "Paul Bunyan's Big Griddle," "Paul's Cornstalk," "John Henry and the Machine in West Virginia."

"Gally Mander." In American Folk and Fairy Tales. Ed. Rachel Field. Illus. Margaret Freeman. New York: Charles Scribners Sons, 1929, pp. 197-222. Reprinted from Journal of American Folklore. This book includes "Big Music" by Margaret Prescott Montague, on Tony Beaver, and two other Southern Mountain Stories from Percy MacKaye's Tall Tales of the Kentucky Mountains: "The Mule Humans" and "The Hick'ry Pick-Tooth."

Ken Oguss tells the North Carolina/Virginia tales "Gallymanders" and "Ash pet." In Parent, Michael, and Ken Oguss. Amelia. Gallymanders. Videocassette, 1979. WVPT-TV (Television station: Harrisonburg, Va.). Michael Parent tells his story "Amelia" and the Irish folk tale "Stone Soup" (from Worldcat).

quilt square Related Appalachian Tales

"The Man on the Moon." In Hicks, Orville, and Julia Taylor Ebel. Jack Tales and Mountain Yarns, As Told By Orville Hicks. Illus. Sherry Jenkins Jensen. Boone, NC: Parkway, 2009. pp. 92-99. Comments by Hicks and in Thomas McGowan's Afterword describe Orville learning old tales from his mother and from his cousins Ray and Rosa Hicks, but don't give other notes on particular tales. In this tale mean and kind neighbor men are like the bad and good girls. The kind man helps an injured bird, who brings him a seed that grows into an immense field of cucumbers and when he cuts one open, it's full of gold. The impatient mean man wants such a bird so he injures one with his slingshot. It brings him a seed that grows into a vine leading to the moon. After he climbs it, the vine withers so he is angry being stuck on the moon but we can see him there still. (See "Gallymander" from this book above.)

"Tim and the Magic Articles." In Roberts, Leonard (collector). Old Greasybeard: Tales From the Cumberland GapIllus. Leonard Epstein. Detroit: Folklore Associates, 1969. Rpt. Pikeville, KY: Pikeville College Press, 1980. pp. 105-9. Tim steals magic objects from an old woman, returning to her house twice in disguise to take things home to his poor grandmother, somewhat like Jack in the giant's house in "Jack and the Bean Tree." However, when Tim disobeys the old woman and lies to his grandmother, he gets a magic tablecloth, then money from a magic horse, and then a stick that beats him. His grandmother expresses disapproval also, so this trickster is punished for his tricks and lies, like the selfish girl in "Gallymanders" and related tales.

"Rawhead and Bloodybones." In McCarthy, William Bernard, ed. Cinderella in America: A Book of Folk and Fairy Tales. Jackson: U Press of Mississippi, 2007. pp. 295-99. This is a new transcription of the same tale told by Jane Muncy at age 11 in Leslie County, KY, published earlier in Roberts, Leonard, ed. South From Hell-fer-Sartin': Kentucky Mountain Folk Tales. U of KY Press, 1955. Rpt. Berea, KY: The Council of the Southern Mountains, 1964, pp. 54-58. This tale is more like "Diamonds and Toads" (see below) than the Gallymanders tales, with a good girl who is rewarded with beauty, a good smell, virtue, love, and gold that falls out of her hair, for her kindness to strangers on a quest. The Rawhead and Bloodybones is a bloody skull in a magic well, which asks to be washed and dried and laid down easy, like many other skulls after it, and they give the rewards and punishments to the good and bad girls. The good girl's stepmother, who had consulted a witch to get rid of her, sends her own daughter out and the selfish girl refuses to help others so she returns ugly, smelling terrible, exuding meanness, with snakes and frogs falling out of her hair. That runs off the bad girl and stepmother, so the good one lives happily with her money.

"Raw Head and Bloody Bones." Told by Patricia, May 1950. Recording in Leonard Ward Roberts Collection, Berea College. A mean stepmother sends a girl out to get special water, claiming her own girl is sick and needs the water. The girl is friendly to a series of animals, a hackle, and an old man. When she reaches a well, four different ugly old skeletons come up in the bucket, asking to be washed and dried. Then they grant her beauty, more kindness, a good smell, and gold falling out of her hair. When the stepmother sends her own daughter on the same trip, she is rude to all the same things, so the skeletons wish she'll be uglier, spit blood, smell bad, and have old things falling out of her hair when she combs it. Along with snails, snakes, and lizards, a big fish creature comes out of her hair and eats her and the stepmother. The good girl with plenty of money then lives well with her father. The label "raw head and bloody bones" is not mentioned in the tale.

"Toads and Diamonds." Recording from May 1950 in Leonard Ward Roberts Collection, Berea College. An old woman who has a good stepdaughter and a bad one treats the bad one well and not the good one. One kindly brings water to a fairy godmother, who makes diamonds and pearls come out of her mouth. The bad girl refuses to bring water to the fairy godmother, so she has toads and lizards coming out of her mouth. The stepmother starts to fight her and they both die in their fight, so the good girl can live happily.

"The Old Feather Goose." Recording from Grapevine Creek area of Pike County, KY, 1949/50, in Leonard Ward Roberts Collection, Berea College. A woman has a younger good girl who has to do all the work and a bad girl who is pampered. When the good girl hurts her fingers on a spindle and drops it in a creek, the mother makes her jump in. She is in a land where she helps a tree by gathering its apples, helps an oven by removing its loaves, and helps an ugly old woman by shaking her feather bed. As in the German "Mother Holle" (see below), the woman says people down below will see the feathers falling like snow and say "Old Feather Goose is making her bed." The girl gets tired after a week and is sent home with a shower of gold falling on her. The pretty older girl then jumps into the strange land in the creek, but won't help things along the way and gets more and more slack in her job of shaking the feather bed, sleeping late and growing homesick. She expects to get gold but is showered with pitch that she can never get off.

In Hardy Hardhead, Jack gets the King's girl away from a witch by beating the witch in a series of contests. For other tales with witches, see Cat 'n Mouse and Sop Doll.

"Jack and the Witches" is a quite different tale in which Jack follows his employer's wife and daughter as they fly to a witch's Sabbath. He breaks it up by yelling "Lord have mercy" and later helps rid the neighborhood of all the witches he had seen, who are burned in his employer's house, curing the man's infirmities. In Chase, Richard, ed. American Folk Tales and Songs. 1956. Rpt. New York: Dover, 1971. pp. 64-70. Old Witch illustration by John Batten

quilt square Related Tales from Other Regions

"The Old Witch." In Jacobs, Joseph, ed. More English Fairy Tales. New York: G. P Putnam's Sons, n.d. Reprinted  in Sur La Lune Fairy Tale Pages by Heidi Anne Heiner. This is one of many Tales Similar to Diamonds and Toads listed in this web site. Illustration by John Batten at right, with the witch asking the tree to help her find the girl who stole her money.

Witch and Tree by Arthur Rackham

"The Two Sisters." Illustration at left by Arthur Rackham for Flora Annie Steel's English Folk Tales, Macmillan, 1918. Reproduced in Project Gutenberg with illustrations. (Rackham's enchanted trees appear in a number of books he illustrated.)

"Frau Holle." In Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm. Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Children's and Household Tales -- Grimms' Fairy Tales), no. 24, 1857. Transl. D. L. Ashliman. 2000-2003. Folklore and Mythology Electronic Texts. Univ. of Pittsburgh. Ashliman compares the 1812 and 1857 editions on another Frau Holle page. Grimms' tale no. 13, "The Three Little Men in the Wood," has similar motifs, with a wicked stepmother's selfish daughter who is punished with toads coming out of her mouth.

"Mother Holle." Retold by Alison Lurie in her book Clever Gretchen and Other Forgotten Folktales. Illus. Margot Tomes. New York: Crowell, 1980.

This tale type about a good girl rewarded by the creatures or things she helps and a bad girl who is punished for not helping has many variants around the world. Several appear in Lechner, Judith V. Allyn & Bacon Anthology of Traditional Literature. New York: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon, 2004. They are "Kumba the Orphan Girl" from Gambia (in which the bad daughter and good orphan girl are both named Kumba), "Mother Holle" from Germany, "Diamonds and Toads" from France, "The Two Stepdaughters" from Turkey, and "The Twelve Months" from Czech and other Slavic traditions. Lechner also cites The Talking Eggs, a picture book by Robert San Souci and Jerry Pinkney (1989), which seems to blend African and French variants.

Roberts, Warren E. The Tale of the Kind and the Unkind Girls: AA-TH 480 and Related Titles. 1958. Classics in Folklore series. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1994. Contains extensive bibliography of variants.

"With a Wig, With a Wag." In Cothran, Jean, ed. With a Wig, With a Wag, and Other American Folk Tales. Illus. Clifford N. Grady. New York: David McKay, 1954. Recorded as "The Three Brothers and the Hag" about 1827 in Littleton, MA (retold from Journal of American Folklore, 1895). Three poor brothers seeking their fortune stay, in turn, with an old hag who has a bag of coins in a leather bag she keeps in her cupboard. When the boys run off with her bag, a meetinghouse wants to be swept, a field wants to be weeded, and a well wants to be cleaned. The old woman uses a rhyme asking for the lad who stole her money "With a wig, with a wag, / With a long leather bag," and she finishes off the two brothers who didn't help the things. The youngest brother takes the money, does as the things ask him during his escape, and goes home to share his treasure with his friends after the old woman is hit with shingles from the meetinghouse and stones from the field, and is pulled into the well. This book includes "Old Bluebeard" from the Southern Blue Ridge, collected by Isobel Gordon Carter. Tales from other regions also include "Rusty Jack" (see "Jack and the Bull"), "The Cat, the Cock, and the Lamb" (similar to "Jack and the Robbers"), and "Little Bear" (similar to "Mutsmag").

"The Good Girl and the Ornery Girl." In Randolph, Vance, ed. The Devil's Pretty Daughter and Other Ozark Folk Tales. New York: Columbia University Press, 1955.

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