Mutsmag, Appalachian Folk Heroine, and her European Ancestors

Presented at the 22nd Biennial Congress of the International Research Society for Children’s Literature
Conference Theme: The Child in Myth and Folklore
Aug. 11, 2015, University of Worcester, UK

Tina L. Hanlon, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of English
Ferrum College

For more details on “Mutsmag” and related tales, see “Mutsmag” in AppLit’s Annotated Index of Appalachian Folktales.

“If you ever need anything, or you’re having trouble with a giant
or witcher woman, just come on down. My name’s Mutzmag.”

Robby Sams playing Mutzmag in Tom Davenport’s film

“Mutsmag” is my favorite folktale because it depicts a young girl who takes a humble object or two she inherits from her poor dying mother (usually a knife), saves her undeserving sisters and herself from a giant and overcomes other obstacles, and earns a reward of money so that she is free at the end to go anywhere and do anything. Like other tales from the Appalachian region’s rich history of oral traditions, this tale has been retold in the Appalachian Mountains for at least two hundred years, with variations on plot details and the heroine’s name. “Mutsmag” appears to be most closely related to the more widely known fairy tale “Molly Whuppie” and parallel tales from the British Isles, although it seems only recent retellers in Appalachia have preferred to use the name Molly. Exploring Mutsmag’s origins and links with European variants as well as the tale’s depiction of the girl child as heroine reveals the cultural significance of her accomplishments as they parallel and surpass those of other child folk heroes.

From Richard Chase’s Jack Tales, published in 1943, through the storytelling revival of the late twentieth century and beyond, Appalachian tales originating in European, African, and Native American traditions have appeared in printed collections, Grandfather Tales old coverpicture books, films, drama, and audio and video recordings by storytellers. European settlers brought very well known tales such as “Jack and the Beanstalk” (or “Bean Tree”), “Jack and the Robbers” (which is similar to the German “Bremen Town Musicians”), and “Ashpet” (the Appalachian “Cinderella”), while other wonderful tales are not so widely known. Chase’s books The Jack Tales and Grandfather Tales: American-English Folk Tales were some of the first major published collections of American folktales in the 1940s and remain among the most popular folktale collections in North America still in print for many decades. His tales are so often reprinted and cited as an influence that they serve as pre-texts for many later retellings. The Jack Tales are more famous than others because there are hundreds of wonder tales about a lucky boy named Jack in Appalachia as well as the British Isles, Newfoundland, and elsewhere, and Chase’s Jack Tale book was named a Touchstone work by the Children’s Literature Association in the 1980s (Mikkelsen). However, his Grandfather Tales is actually a more interesting book because it contains a variety of tale types, with about half of the collection devoted to female characters and storytellers. In the frame story about a holiday gathering of mountain neighbors, when it’s time for someone to tell “Mutsmag,” Granny London says, “Deely here knows it better’n me now” (37), showing that the storytelling tradition passes on to the next generation of women. Chase actually collected this tale from a number of male and female informants in western Virginia, as Leonard Roberts did in Kentucky. An archive copy of one of those Virginia variants from the James Taylor Adams collection of western Virginia folklore, labeled “Munsmeg,” is reprinted in AppLit’s Fiction and Poems section.

Since Chase and Cratis Williams, a prominent twentieth-century scholar of Appalachian studies, were friends who swapped stories at home, they weren’t sure how much their own versions of this tale were influenced by the other’s. Williams’ inheritance of the tale from his grandmother and her mother before her traces “Mutts Mag” back to the beginning of the nineteenth century in western Virginia. His account of the difficult lives of these women makes us imagine how satisfying Mutsmag’s triumph would have seemed to them. Williams’ version, published posthumously in a collection edited by his son and colleague, ends Mutts Mag’s story by asserting, “Folks tole me that she’s a-livin mighty fine” (83). Muncimeg in Haley's "Mountain Jack Tales'

“Mutsmag” or “Muncimeg” also appeared in Appalachian collections from the 1950s to 2010 by Leonard Roberts, Gail Haley (illustration by Haley at left), and Loyal Jones. Chase’s “Mutsmag,” especially, has been reprinted in a number of publications, retold by a variety of oral storytellers, and discussed by some feminist scholars who admire Mutsmag’s “gender bending” qualities as she leaves the domestic sphere and takes on traditionally male challenges. Marilou Awiakta, while discussing the strong role of women in Cherokee culture and the balance of “Womanly” and “Manly” identities in both the individual and society, with “nurturing and assertiveness…instilled in both genders,” notes that some of these Euro-American mountain tales about Jack and Mutsmeg convey “a similar value…. Those two are survivors!” (225). In 2009 Frank de Caro reprinted Chase’s “Mutsmag” in a section of his American folktale collection labeled “Brave, Resourceful, and Kindly Women.” Other audio and video recordings of different versions of the tale by well-known oral storytellers are available in archives, web sites, and commercial videos as well.

Since 1992, interesting adaptations of “Mutsmag” have appeared in Anne Shelby’s published collection, Tom Davenport’s live action film, and Rex Stephenson’s story theatre adaptation, which is also retold as a storybook in AppLit with illustrations by school children. Morgan Stewart also created an intriguing fourteen-minute shadow puppet video with a plot very similar to Chase’s “Mutsmag” (posted in YouTube in 2010). All these tell basically the same story with many differences in the details. Mutsmag tags after her older sisters or stepsisters when they leave home, usually after their mother’s death. Ending up in the woods at night, they find shelter in a rather dangerous house, as Jack does at the top of the beanstalk or bean tree. Folklorist Carl Lindahl calls this a “horizontal” journey in comparison to Jack’s vertical journey (684). In spite of being denigrated as the younger nuisance, Mutsmag saves her self-centered sisters and herself from a cannibalistic giant and/or witch, usually both in the same household. She discovers the need to exchange lockets or nightcaps with the girls who live there while the others are sleeping, and get her sisters out of the house. Later they meet the king—a fairly humble Appalachian type of “king,” who sends Mutsmag back to the giant’s house with other challenges that she accomplishes until she does in the giant and gets a reward.

Mutzmag spelled with a “z” (1992) is one of eleven live-action folktale films that Tom Davenport, a Virginia filmmaker and farmer, produced from the 1970s to the 1990s. Each film has a particular historical setting in the Appalachian mountains with various period details and appropriate music. When Mutzmag’s foolish sisters find themselves motherless and poor during the Great Depression in a mountain cabin, they think they might get jobs that are listed in old newspapers and set off to seek their fortune, Mutzmagallowing Muzmag to follow them only when she acts as their servant. Attempting to appeal in his later films to an underserved preteen audience, especially girls, Davenport emphasized the gothic horror of the dangers the sisters face, without as much humor as in Shelby’s and Stephenson’s retellings. As Sappho Charney observed in an article on this film, Davenport skillfully incorporated grisly details into this story of the brave girl who obviously will survive these horrors to tell the tale, since Mutzmag narrates the film about her triumph over the witch and giant with quiet heroism from beginning to end. [View 1-minute Mutzmag trailer here.]

I love Mutzmag’s escape from the giant in this film because it contains the motif of Mutzmag retrieving the king’s horse from the giant, so she rides off through the woods as a traditional male hero would do on a white horse. It is also humorous in that scene when Molly tricks the dim-witted giant into tying a rope around his neck to thrust himself across the river to chase her. As he falls in and drowns instead, she says in her calm and understated but satisfied way, “There ya go, there ya go.” Then, with her reward of money from the nice friendly king and queen, she buys her own house, as Mutsmag does in several older variants, confidently offering her services if anyone needs to get rid of more witches or giants. Thus she’s independent at the end but settles down near a couple who look like comfortable surrogate parents in a neighborhood that is now safe from thieves and cannibals. While Chase’s Grandfather Tales version ends simply with Mutsmag’s payment for services rendered to the king, Loyal Jones (who published in 2010 a print version of “Mutsmeg” he had told for years) adds that Mutsmeg uses her reward of two thousand dollars to fix up her old home; her cowardly sisters, who abandon the quest before the final confrontation with the giant in most versions, “never did come back” (Jones 78, 86).

Rex Stephenson wrote and directed his story theatre adaptation of “Mutsmag” in 2000 after dramatizing Jack Tales for twenty-five years at Ferrum College and adapting “Ashpet” in 1998 (his first Appalachian folktale with a female hero). Mutsmag child drawing In addition to outsmarting the sisters as well as a giant and his wife, Stephenson’s Mutsmag shows her development of self-assertion when she outwits a gang of robbers and makes her sisters beg for her help after the robbers tie them to a tree. [View 2009 video clip of Mutsmag and robbers in Facebook here, with Rex Stephenson playing one of the robbers, and video clip of Mutsmag talking back to her tied-up sisters.] Although Stephenson did not consciously recall which tales he might have known earlier with motifs he used in these confrontations, the robbers’ death threat is reminiscent of a scene in Chase’s “Jack and the Doctor’s Girl” when some robbers tell Jack, “We got to kill ye. That’s our business here” (The Jack Tales 117). When Mutsmag tricks the dumb robbers into tying her sisters to a tree, Stephenson’s adaptation is similar to parts of older British tales: in “Maol a Chliobain” (Scottish) and “Hairy Rouchy” (Irish), the selfish older sisters tie the heroine to a tree as they try to prevent her from following them. Also, in a Greek tale retold by Andrew Lang, “How the Dragon was Tricked,” a jealous older brother ties the trickster hero to a tree. After the Jack Tale Players’ spring tour in 2000, drawings and comments sent in by local school children in Franklin County, Virginia show that they were most fascinated by this scene of sibling rivalry in which two-headed giant by John LeechStephenson’s Mutsmag talks back to the mean sisters while they are helpless. These drawings were used to illustrate the storybook adaptation Stephenson wrote for AppLit in 2002.

Stephenson retains the focus on good triumphing over evil without explicit violence that would be inappropriate for live performances and school or family audiences, but also without watering down the stories too much as some folktale adaptations for children and parents have done. He offsets the terror and suspense of the night-time scene in the giant’s home with humor, as Mutsmag wakes up the other girls in deliberately annoying ways (counting sheep out loud with sheep sound effects and singing “Froggy Went A Courtin’” loudly). [View 2009 video clip of Mutsmag keeping sisters awake, in Facebook videos.] Stephenson Two-headed giant, 2000created a giant from his usual primary resource—the actors’ bodies, using two actors speaking in unison, one on the shoulders of the other. Two-headed giant drawn by a childIllustrated stories in which Jack encounters giants with multiple heads usually show the heads side by side, but drawings by John Leech, fFallen giant broken apart in "Mutsmag"rom an edition of Jack the Giant Killer (c. 1843), depict a giant with one head on top of another (Percival 23 and frontispiece, shown at right). When Mutsmag tricks Stephenson’s giant into sniffing a magic powder that is really pepper, he sneezes and breaks apart. This fatal fall to the ground reminds me of another famous giant falling to his death, in “Jack and the Beanstalk.” 

[View 2009 video clip of Mutsmag tricking the giant at the end of the tale, in Facebook videos. Photos here from 2000 performance, Ferrum College.]

Anne Shelby’s The Adventures of Molly Whuppie and Other Appalachian Folktales, published in 2007, is the first anthology devoted primarily to Appalachian tales with female protagonists. Shelby wrote a play about Molly years earlier and told these tales orally for years. Calling Molly a “clever, brave, and strong” girl from “way back in time” and “w-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-y back…in the mountains” (book jacket, 1), Shelby makes Molly the protagonist of nine tales with plots borrowed from Jack tales and elsewhere so that she Anne Shelby's Molly Whuppie book covertriumphs over several giants, selfish older sisters, “unwanted boyfriends,” and other hardships (86). In her title story, Shelby, who reverted to the British name because she “liked the old name better,” combined several sources, and gave Molly Whuppie two parents who don’t die or abandon their children. While readers familiar with the older tales might be tempted to argue that the heroine appears braver and more resourceful when her deprivations and conflicts are harsher, it’s hard to argue with Shelby’s humorous comments on sparing her readers from having to walk over corpses and seeing people “unnecessarily beating one another to bloody pulps with clubs and things” (86). Molly and the narrator share their down-to-earth wisdom with comments such as, “That’s another thing about a giant. First little thing that goes wrong, they’re talking about killing somebody” (12). Also, in Shelby’s tales the emphasis on monetary rewards is minimal and no one becomes a prince or princess. In just one tale Molly ends up in a kingdom where a Queen puts her in charge of Giant Control and Other Giant-Related Matters, but Molly’s family quietly returns to Hoot Owl Holler after they tire of living in luxury with everything so “proper and just so” (13-14). Thus Shelby strives to preserve a rich cultural heritage without passing on the outdated prejudices built into old tales. She says “it just doesn’t feel right anymore to be telling children tales in which boys slay giants and wield magical objects, while girls stand around looking nice and waiting to get married off. It doesn’t reflect our values anymore” or “our reality” (“A Conversation”).

“Mutsmag,” like some lesser-known variations on the Cinderella story and other tales about girls fending for themselves, puts a strong emphasis on positive mother-daughter bonds; in many versions, when Mutsmag’s mother dies in the beginning, she leaves Mutsmag an old knife, possibly realizing that resourceful Mutsmag would use her humble knife repeatedly to her own advantage, as more flamboyant male heroes use gleaming swords to fight their enemies. Her mean sisters sometimes squander or abandon or sell the resources they inherit, their poor house and cabbage patch, and they disappear when Mutsmag agrees to undertake dangerous quests. But they are present at the end of “Munsmeg,” which says, “Poll and Betz got so mad about Munsmeg gettin’ all that money they went on back home and raised ‘em some more cabbage, and died old maids.” Stewart’s video uses captions between frames of the shadow puppet show to tell that Mutsmag uses her bag of gold to build her own house and grow her own cabbage patch; it ends with the line “And kept her awesome knife.” Mutsmag also relies less on magic than Molly Whuppie and other famous giant killers. She gets some assistance from magical helpers in the early parts of Chase’s “Mutsmag,” as Shelby’s Molly does, but in Stephenson’s and Davenport’s adaptations it is always Mutsmag’s watchfulness and ingenious actions and tricks that enable her to triumph, saving her sisters’ skins without letting them put her down, and finally ridding the country of the giant and his wife.

Kentucky storyteller Andrenna Belcher says that Mutsmag is the “least little one” although we don’t know how she got that old name. William Bernard McCarthy observes that “Muncimeg’s name seems Scottish. The Scots word munsie means ‘a person deserving contempt or ridicule; an odd-looking or ridiculously-dressed person’.... Just the sort of thing a mean older sister might call her little sister” (Cinderella in America 317). Others think the name Muts-mag comes from German words for courage and maiden, so that storyteller Charlotte Ross believes there is “ethnic blending” in the tale. Folklorist Carl Lindahl, who has studied these tales in depth, notes that these unusual names or nicknames seem to be unique to Appalachia. There are similar Appalachian tales about boys named Nippy and Merrywise (Lindahl 684). Folklorists classify it with tale types Type 328, labeled The Boy Steals the Giant’s Treasure, and 327B: The Small Boy Defeats the Ogre (“Aarne-Thompson-Uther”). So of course it is significant that Mutsmag is a girl accomplishing these feats.

However Mutsmag-Muncimeg got her name, her tale is obviously similar to British “Molly Whuppie,” which has been reprinted in many picture books and feminist collections in recent decades. For example, Errol LeCain created beautiful illustrations for a 1983 edition of Walter de la Mare’s retelling of the tale (such as the scene here of little Molly and her sisters approaching a breathtaking fairy-tale castle). Illustration by Errol LeCain from "Molly Whuppie"Joseph Jacobs noted in the 1890s that he changed the name Mally to Molly and the Celtic “Maol á Chliobain” appeared to be an earlier source. These Scottish tales were collected and translated by J. F. Campbell in the late nineteenth century. Some other related tales, such as “Hairy Rouchy” from Ireland and “Peg Bearskin” from Newfoundland, feature a hairy protagonist who is disliked for her ugliness and transforms at the end into a beautiful wife after saving her pretty sisters. In an article called “Things Walt Disney Never Told Us,” Kay Stone observed,

“We see . . . what we have lost by taking our heroines from Grimm and Disney rather than from the tales of our own heritage” (49), because tales such as “Mally Whuppee” and “Muncimeg” do not contain “the stereotyped conflict between the passive, beautiful woman and the aggressive, ugly one,… [and] most of the active heroines are not even described in terms of their natural attributes. . . . Like heroes, they are judged by their actions. Though most do marry, their weddings are no more central to the tale than is the concluding marriage of most heroes. Some husbands are even won as passive prizes, in the same way that princesses are won by heroes in many tales. Most important, active heroines are not victims of hostile forces beyond their control but are, instead, challengers who confront the world rather than waiting for success to fall at their pretty feet. Unfortunately, heroines of this sort are not numerous in oral tales, and do not exist at all in any of the Grimm tales or the [pre-1975] Disney films.” (Stone 46)

In some variants of these tales (although not usually in Appalachia), her escape across a “bridge of one hair” emphasizes that the heroine is a small girl outsmarting a giant.

The Appalachian Mutsmag tales and British Molly tales are often grouped with “Hansel and Gretel,” as the sisters who wander in the woods and find shelter in dangerous places are abandoned by their impoverished parents in some of the British variants. As the tale-type classifications mentioned above indicate, they are also linked to tales with diminutive boy heroes such as “Hop o’ My Thumb.” Little Red Riding Hood is another European child who finds danger in the woods and in some variants saves herself from a predator. However, beyond saving herself and her two undeserving sisters from a cannibalistic giant and old woman or witch, Mutsmag receives a reward of gold from a king for ridding the neighborhood of these dangers, much like many male heroes. This ending is one of the main reasons I believe that “Mutsmag” is even more deserving of fame than “Molly Whuppie” and these other tales. Some of the Appalachian “Muncimeg“ variants end with a reward of marriage as the Scottish tales do, and I agree with Kay Stone that marriage doesn’t necessarily detract from the heroine’s clever triumphs, but it is refreshing to have traditional tales that end with a more independent heroine. When Angela Carter published a version of “Maol a Chliobain” in The Old Wives’ Fairy Tale Book in 1990, she mentioned one of the notes about the ending recorded by Campbell a century earlier. A nursemaid at Inverary who was one of the informants for the four variants Campbell compared, when asked if Maol married the son of the farmer who commissioned her later campaigns against the giant, replied, “‘Oh, no; she did not marry at all. There was … a great deal more which I cannot remember. My father did not like my mother to be telling us such stories, but she knows plenty more,’–and the lassie departed in great perturbation from the parlour” (Campbell 268).Mutsmag with the king and prince, 2000

The new ending Stephenson created after Mutsmag defeats the giant is a wonderful compromise between variants of this tale that marry the heroine off to a prince, and those that show Mutsmag going off alone to seek her fortune, or settling down with her reward of gold. In Stephenson’s adaptation, the king offers Mutsmag a choice between a box of gold and marriage to his son the prince. She decides to seek adventures with her gold reward before settling down, although the lovestruck prince “had a soft spot in his heart for Mutsmag” and hopes she will come back “to become his queen” (performance photo at left from Ferrum College 2000, with Stephenson as the king). As in other contemporary adaptations of traditional tales, Stephenson draws attention to the heroine’s ability to make choices in both dangerous and happy situations, to reflect on whether she’s ready for love and domestic life, while readers who might like a romantic ending can imagine Mutsmag returning later to settle down with the prince (Grandmother Tales 20).

In Maternal Body and Voice in Toni Morrison, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Lee Smith, Paula Gallant Eckard analyzes Lee Smith’s wonderful Appalachian novel Fair and Tender Ladies with some ideas that apply to the enduring value of folktales like “Mutsmag.” In Smith’s epistolary novel, Ivy Rowe tells the story of her life, which spans most of the twentieth century in rural Southwestern Virginia. As a child she is influenced by listening avidly to reclusive old mountain sisters tell “Mutsmag” and other traditional tales of adventure and romance. (Ivy thinks about “Whitebear Whittington” until the hour of her death.) Eckard praises the novel for capturing the orality of Ivy’s culture, the connection between narrative and bodily human existence as she realizes that stories, like food, sustain life for both teller and listener. Eckard writes, “Smith challenges the notion of woman as silent Other and elevates the subjectivity of female experience” by giving Ivy voice and multiple modes of language throughout the novel (155). Ivy develops an integrated self and defines her place in the world on her own terms through listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Although the brief version of “Mutsmag” retold within this novel for adults is different from others I’ve seen (and Smith didn’t remember exactly where it came from when I asked her about it), Smith’s storytelling episode and Eckard’s analysis do capture the multidimensional significance of our experience with the folktales in the many forms we encounter them today. Mutsmag survives, saves others, and prospers through listening, watching, speaking, and acting.

When I talked to Rex Stephenson about this tale in 2012, he said that of all his many folktale dramatizations, he’d most love to direct “Mutsmag” again because because it has more depth of character than his other tales, with the girl hero who stands up for herself and makes “right decisions.” With three daughters himself, he had said in 2001, “A father of girls is always interested in strong female characters. You hope all your kids would turn out like Mutsmag, would stand up to people and make right decisions based on what they want out of life rather than what is expected of them.”

See also in AppLit:

“Mutsmag” bibliography

Bibliography of Works by and about Richard Chase

From the Brothers Grimm: Tom Davenport’s Fairy Tale Films

Strong Women in Appalachian Folktale Dramatizations by R. Rex Stephenson


Aarne-Thompson-Uther Classification of Folk Tales.” Multilingual Folk Tale Database. N.d. Accessed 19 Aug. 2016.

Awiakta, Marilou. Interview by Thomas Rain Crowe. Interviewing Appalachia: The Appalachian Journal Interviews, 1978-1992, edited by Jerry Wayne Williamson and Edwin T. Arnold. Knoxville: Univ. of Tennessee Press, 1994, pp. 215-35.

Belcher, Anndrena. “Mutsmag.” Telling Tales Teacher’s Guide. Lexington: KET Foundation, 1989, pp. 72-74. KET. Kentucky Educational Television. Accessed 18 Aug. 2016.

Campbell, J. F. Popular Tales of the Western Highlands, vol. 1 [1890]. Internet Sacred Text Archive. Evinity Publishing, 2011. Accessed 15 March 2016.

Carter, Angela, editor. “Maol a Chliobain.” The Old Wives’ Fairy Tale Book. New York: Pantheon, 1990, pp. 24-27, 232.

Charney, Sappho. “‘No Chalkmark on the Mantel’: Power and Violence in Mutzmag.The Antic Art: Enhancing Children’s Literature Experiences through Film and Video, edited by Lucy Rollin. Fort Atkinson, WI: Highsmith, 1993, pp. 39-46.

Chase, Richard. Grandfather Tales. Illustrated by Berkeley Williams, Jr. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1948.

Chase, Richard. The Jack Tales. Illustrated by Berkeley Williams, Jr. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1943.

Davenport, Tom. Mutzmag. From the Brothers Grimm. 53-minute film. Accessed 18 Aug. 2016.

de Caro, Frank A., editor. An Anthology of American Folktales and Legends. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 2009.

de la Mare, Walter. Molly Whuppie. Illustrated by Errol LeCain. New York: Farrar, 1983.

Eckard, Paula Gallant. Maternal Body and Voice in Toni Morrison, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Lee Smith. Columbia: Univ. of Missouri Press, 2002.

Hairy Rouchy.” The Fireside Stories of Ireland, edited by Patrick Kennedy. Dublin: McGlashan & Gill, 1875, pp. 3-8.

Haley, Gail. Mountain Jack Tales. New York: Dutton, 1992.

Hanlon, Tina L. “It’s Not All About Jack: Old and New Tales from Anne Shelby.” Appalachian Journal, vol. 35, Summer 2008, pp. 366-70. NOTE: Some of the same ideas above in this essay, about Shelby’s depiction of Molly, were previously published in this 2008 review essay.

Hanlon, Tina L. “Mutsmag.” Annotated Index of Appalachian Folktales. AppLit: Resources for Readers and Teachers of Appalachian Literature for Children and Young Adults. Ferrum College, 2016.

Hanlon, Tina L. “Strong Women in Appalachian Folktales.” The Lion & the Unicorn, vol. 24, 2000, pp. 225-46.

Jacobs, Joseph. “Molly Whuppie.” English Fairy Tales. 3rd ed., 1898. Rpt. New York: Dover, 1967, pp. 125-30.

Jones, Loyal. “Mutsmeg.” Appalachian Folk Tales, edited by Loyal Jones. Illustrated by Jim Marsh. Ashland, KY: Jesse Stuart Foundation, 2010, pp. 78-86.

Lang, Andrew, editor. “How the Dragon was Tricked (A Grecian Tale).” The Pink Fairy Book. 1897. New York: Dover, 1967., edited by Heidi Anne Heiner, 6 July 2007. Accessed 18 Aug. 2016.

Lindahl, Carl, editor. American Folktales: From the Collections of the Library of Congress, vol. 1. Armonk NY: M. E. Sharpe, 2004.

McCarthy, William Bernard, editor. Cinderella in America: A Book of Folk and Fairy Tales. Jackson: Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2007.

Mikkelsen, Nina. “Richard Chase’s Jack Tales: A Trickster in the New World.” Touchstones: Reflections on the Best in Children’s Literature. Vol. 2: Fairy Tales, Fables, Myths, Legends and Poetry, edited by Perry Nodelman. West Lafayette, IN: Children’s Literature Association, 1987, pp. 40-55.

“Munsmeg.” Collected by Richard Chase. James Taylor Adams Collection, JTA-3068. N.d. Rpt. AppLit: Resources for Readers and Teachers of Appalachian Literature for Children and Young Adults. Ferrum College, 2016.

Peg Bearskin.” Folktales of Newfoundland: The Resilience of the Oral Tradition, edited by Herbert Halpert, J. D. A. Widdowson, and Martin J. Lovelace. New York: Garland Pub, 1996, pp. 215-28. Told by Elizabeth Brewer to collector Harold Healey. Freshwater, Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, 1976.

Percival, Leigh. Jack the Giant-Killer. Illustrated by John Leech. London: Wm. S. Orr, [1843]. Open Library. Internet Archive, 2009. Accessed 18 Aug. 2016.

Roberts, Leonard, editor. “Polly, Nancy, and Muncimeg.” Up Cutshin and Down Greasy. Lexington: Univ. of KY Press, 1959, pp. 119-23.

Ross, Charlotte. “History of Storytelling.” Encyclopedia of Appalachia, edited by Rudy Abramson and Jean Haskell. Knoxville: Univ. of Tennessee Press, 2006, pp. 1267-68.

Shelby, Anne. The Adventures of Molly Whuppie and Other Appalachian Folktales. Illustrated by Paula McArdle. Chapel Hill: Univ. of NC Press, 2007.Grandmother Tales cover

Shelby, Anne. “A Conversation with Anne Shelby.” Interview. Book News From North Carolina. Univ. of NC Press, 2007.

Smith, Lee. Fair and Tender Ladies. NY: Ballantine, 1988.

Stephenson, R. Rex. Grandmother Tales: Mutsmag and Ashpet. Woodstock, IL: Dramatic Publishing, 2004.

Stephenson, R. Rex. “Mutsmag.” Illustrated by Franklin County, VA school children. Introduction by Tina L. Hanlon. AppLit: Resources for Readers and Teachers of Appalachian Literature for Children and Young Adults. Ferrum College, 2002.

Stewart, Morgan. “Mutsmag: The Movie.”, 2010. Accessed 14 March 2016. Shadow puppet video.

Stone, Kay F. “Feminist Approaches to the Interpretation of Fairy Tales.” Fairy Tales and Society, edited by Ruth B. Bottigheimer. Philadelphia: Univ. of PA Press, 1986, pp. 229-36.

Stone, Kay F. “Things Walt Disney Never Told Us.” The Journal of American Folklore, vol. 88, Jan.-Mar. 1975, pp. 42-50.

Williams, Cratis. “Mutts Mag.” Tales From Sacred Wind: Coming of Age in Appalachia, edited by David Cratis Williams and Patricia D. Beaver. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2003, pp. 72-83.

“When they find the old songs and the tales, they’ll delight in them.”
  Granny in Grandfather Tales

This page created 3/15/16   |   Site Index   |   Top of Page   |   Last update 11/13/20

Complete List of AppLit Pages on