Appalachian Folktales in General Collections, Journals, and Web Sites

Compiled by Tina L. Hanlon

Appalachian Folktale Collections     Appalachian Folktales in General Collections, Journals, and Web Sites
Folktales Reprinted in AppLit Back to Folktale Bibliography Index

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By Author/Editor:  A | B | C | D | E  | F | G | H | I  | J | K | LM | N | O | P -QR | S | T | U-V | W | X Y Z
Indicates books & sites that are readily available and more accessible to children than others on this page.

Notes:  Many individual tales from some of these collections are described in the Annotated Index of Folktales.
Links on tale titles below are to annotated bibliographies in this index or to tales in other web sites.
Some Cherokee tales listed in AppLit are from Cherokees outside southern Appalachia.


Abrahams, Roger D., ed. Afro-American Folktales: Stories from the Black Traditions in the New World. Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library. New York: Pantheon, 1985. Contains 107 tales arranged thematically. Tales are identified by region (such as American South), or state or city, with source notes. Includes Little Eight John from North Carolina.

Adler, Bill, Jr. Tell Me a Fairy Tale: A Parent's Guide to Telling Magical and Mythical Stories. New York; 1995. 188 pp. Contains John Henry and other tales from America and other parts of the world.

Allen, Paula Gunn, ed. Spider Woman's Granddaughters: Traditional Tales and Contemporary Writing by Native American Women. Boston: Beacon Press, 1989.

American Folk and Fairy Tales. Ed. Rachel Field. Illus. Margaret Freeman. New York: Charles Scribner's, 1929. Includes "Big Music" by Margaret Prescott Montague, on Tony Beaver, and Southern Mountain Stories: "Gally Mander" (from Journal of American Folklore) and two from Percy MacKaye's Tall Tales of the Kentucky Mountains: "The Mule Humans" and "The Hick'ry Pick-Tooth." Sections from other regions include Indian Legends, Negro Stories (by Joel Chandler Harris, including "Jacky-My-Lantern"—similar to "Wicked Jack"), Louisiana Folk Tales, Paul Bunyan, "Rip Van Winkle" by Washington Irving, and "The Great Stone Face" by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

American Folklore web site contains print and audio retellings by S. E. Schlosser of folktales from every state. Examples: Frozen Dawn - Tenn. tale on Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone's Dear - NC tale on Daniel Boone and his wife, John Henry from WV. The web site also contains other American folklore (North America and Latin America) and teacher resources. See Schlosser, below, for her book of spooky tales.

Animal Myths and Legends is a web site that encourages contributors to send their own retellings of tales and drawings. Some Cherokee tales are included, such as Why Opossum's Tail is Bare.

Anderson, Glen Muncy and Jane Muncy Fugate, narrators. "Two Versions of 'Rawhead and Bloodybones' from the Farmer-Muncy Family." In Journal of Folklore Research, 2001. See journal title, below, for details on this special issue. Carl Lindahl discusses the many differences in two versions from cousins who learned it from their grandmother, and the version Jane Muncy had provided as a child for Leonard Roberts's South from Hell-fer-Sartin (1955). This tale is similar to the African American Little Eight John.

Appalachia: A History of Mountains and People. DVD. Shown on PBS in April 2009. A four-part series by Jamie Ross and Ross Spears. Narrated by Sissy Spacek. In Part One: Time and Terrain, a Cherokee teacher tells a story about the creation of the earth, speaking in Cherokee with a voice-over in English. Later speakers tell the Cherokee account of animals trying to get revenge on humans for killing them by spreading disease, but the plants liked humans and provided cures. These myths are connected with the natural history of the region, as the series "explores the intersection of natural history and human history in one of America’s grandest treasures." Author Wilma Dykeman helps tell about Cherokee history and myths. Clips by Dykeman and other participating authors can be seen on the web site.

Aswell, James R., et al. God Bless the Devil! Liars' Bench Tales. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1940. Facsimile edition with a new introduction by Charles K. Wolfe. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1985. Twenty-five regional, African American, and Melungeon tales compiled from storytelling sessions across the state by the Tennessee Writer's Project in the 1930s. Includes "Little Eight John."

Austin, Sherry. Mariah of the Spirits and Other Southern Ghost Stories. Johnson City, TN: Overmountain Press, 1996. See cover and description at Overmountain Press.


"The Baby and the Witch." See James Taylor Adams web site, below. Tale with audio reading and transcript, from the James Taylor Adams Collection, Wise County, VA. A man overhears witches talking, prompting him to protect his baby. After he cuts a foot off a hog that threatens them, he finds his mother, who had opposed his marriage, with a hand cut off.

Barden, Thomas E., ed. Virginia Folk Legends. Charlottesville:  U Press of VA, 1991. A selection of 150 legends from the previously unpublished materials collected by the Virginia Writers' Project of the WPA from 1937 to 1942, including Molly Mullholun.

Battle, Kemp P. Great American Folklore: Legends, Tales, Ballads, and Superstitions from All Across America. Illus. John M. Battle. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1986. Includes tales about Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone, John Henry, and nearly 300 other tales.

Best-Loved Stories Told at the National Storytelling Festival. Jonesborough, TN: National Storytelling Press and Little Rock: August House, 1991 (20th anniversary edition). 223 pp. Contains 37 tales, including "The Bee, the Harp, The Mouse, and the Bumclock by Gwenda LedBetter (an Appalachian storyteller retelling an Irish Jack tale); "The Day the Cow Ate my Britches" by Ray Hicks; Wicked John and the Devil by Jackie Torrence; "C-R-A-Z-Y" by Donald Davis; "The Walkin' Catfish" by Doc McConnell; "Possum, Turtle and the Wolves," a Cherokee tale retold by Doug Elliott; "The First Motorcycle in Black Mountain" by David Holt"; "Flowers and Freckle Cream" by Elizabeth Ellis; "Cap o' Rushes" by Ellin Greene; "Cindy Ellie" by Mary Carter Smith; "Jack and the Silver Keys" by Scottish storyteller Duncan Williamson. Some of these tales were also produced on two audio cassettes. This book received an Anne Izard Storytellers' Choice Award. (See also More Best-Loved Stories, below).

children's book Bierhorst, John. The Deetkatoo: Native American Stories About Little People. Illus. Ron Hilbert Coy. New York: William Morrow, 1998. "Twenty-two stories retold from fourteen Native-American groups from Alaska to mid-South America. Little people predate the Europeans in the Western Hemisphere. They live in forests, in water, underground, and on mountains. Though each tale is different, the little people themselves are recognizable from one story to the next. They are capable of playing tricks, yet offer help when someone is in trouble. They run and hide, yet want to make friends, even propose marriage. Complementing the tales are perceptive illustrations of Native American artist Ron Hilbert Coy, demonstrating that the helpful (and sometimes not so helpful) little people are everywhere—at least for those who have eyes to see them." Cherokee stories are "Little Ones and their Mouse Helpers," "Little House in the Deep Water," "How the Dead Came Back," and "Thunder's Two Sisters."

Bini, Renata. A World Treasury of Myths, Legends, and Folktales: Stories from Six Continents. Illus. Michael Fiodorov. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2000. Includes the Cherokee "How Grandmother Spider Stole the Sun."

Blair, Walter. Tall Tale America A Legendary History of Our Humorous Heroes. Illus. Glen Rounds. New York: Coward-McCann, 1944. Chicago: U of Chicago Press, 1987. "This is a folksy history of the United States, told as if the characters were all real." Includes Daniel Boone, John Henry, Davy Crockett, and others.

Blair, Walter, and Raven I. McDavid, Jr., eds. The Mirth of a Nation: America's Great Dialect Humor. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1983. Includes Davy Crockett stories and "Larkin Snow, the Miller" (1859) by Harden E. Taliaferro, whose novel Fisher's River contains this character and other storytellers from western NC.

Botkin, B. A., ed. A Treasury of Southern Folklore: Stories, Ballads, Traditions, and Folkways of the People of the South. New York: Crown, 1944. 776 pp. Foreward by Carl Sandburg. Arranged thematically, with an index that includes place names. Includes "Little Eight John" from Tennessee and various materials on Davy Crockett, and "John Henry", among many others.

Brown, Frank C. The Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Ed. Newman Ivey White. 7 vols. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press, 1952. Cheryl Oxford's 1987 dissertation notes that this collection contains no mention of Jack Tales, showing how neglected the Jack Tale tradition in western NC was between Richard Chase's collections and her research in the 1980s.

quilt square marks books accessible to children Bruchac, James, and Joseph Bruchac. The Girl Who Helped Thunder and Other Native American Folktales. Illus. Stefano Vitale. New York: Sterling, 2007. Tales in the Southeast section are "Ball Game Between the Birds and Animals" (Cherokee), "Turtle's Race with Wolf" (Seminole), "How Rabbit Got Wisdom" (Creek), "Coming of Corn" (Choctaw).

Bruchac, Joseph. "How the Game Animals Were Set Free." Flying with the Eagle, Racing the Great Bear: Stories from Native North America. Illus. Murv Jacob. BridgeWater Books/Troll Associates, 1993. pp. 32-36. See AppLit page on Selu and Kanati for details on this Cherokee tale retold by an Abenaki storyteller. The book's introduction to tales from the Southeast explains how severely the European settlers disrupted traditional life in this region, and the importance of ecological balance in Native American traditions. Jacob, a descendant of Kentucky Cherokees, created black and white border designs for each region and a detailed white-on-black collage for each section of the book.

Bruchac, Joseph, ed. Native American Stories. Illus. John Hakionhes Fadden. Golden, CO: Fulcrum, 1991. Includes "The Coming of Corn" and "Awi Usdi, The Little Deer," Cherokee tales from North Carolina. See also Caduto, below.

Caduto, Michael J. and Joseph Bruchac, ed. Keepers of Life: Discovering Plants through Native American Stories and Earth Activities for Children. Golden, CO: Fulcrum, 1994. Contains Cherokee story "Why Some Trees Are Always Green." Foreword: "A Bridge Is a Gift to the People" by Marilou Awiakta.

Bruchac, Joseph, and Michael J. Caduto, ed. Native Plant Stories. Golden, Colo: Fulcrum Pub, 1995. Contains Cherokee story "Why Some Trees Are Always Green." Foreword by Marilou Awiakta.

Bruchac, Joseph and Gayle Ross. The Girl Who Married the Moon: Tales from Native North America. Illus. S. S. Burrus. Troll Medallion, 1994. Each of four regional sections in the book contains four tales about Native American female characters, with introductions to their tribal origins and themes. Ross's Introduction and Afterword stress the strong positions held by women in Native American societies and the reverence for traditional stories in Native American culture. She was taught "that stories are living spirits and that the role of the storyteller is to care for the tales in our keeping" (p. 134). Information on origins also given in Afterword, Source notes and bibliography. The Southeastern section contains the Cherokee tale "Stonecoat," which was sent to Ross by an elderly Cherokee woman living in Canada. Stonecoat is a giant cannibal monster covered with solid rock. When he threatens a settlement, the adda wehi, the medicine man, knows that only the seven women who are in their monthly "moontime" have the power to stop the monster (because women showing signs of the ability to give life were considered to have the greatest power, greater than the power to kill). As Stonecoat passes the seven women, he collapses, the people build a fire to burn him, and he teaches them his secrets as an adda wehi about medicines for all kinds of sickness.

Burrison, John A., ed. Storytellers: Folktales and Legends from the South. Athens, GA: U of GA Pr, 1989. Most of the tales collected by Burrison and his students are from Georgia, but the book includes tales from elsewhere to give a full picture of narrative traditions in the Lower Southeast. The first chapter, Four Storytellers of Cedartown, West Georgia, contains tales from Polk County, in the Appalachian foothills. One chapter focuses on Lloyd Arneach: Cherokee Indian Myths and Legends (with a number of pourquoi tales and a version of "The Milky Way"). Several Jack tales, "Nippy and the Giants," "Bluebeard," and many other types of tales and jests are included, as well as detailed notes, indexes, and a bibliography. "The Unlucky Hunt" (pp. 256-58) is similar to The Rabbit, the Otter, and Duck Hunting.


Caduto, Michael J. and Joseph Bruchac. Keepers of the Earth: Native American Stories and Environmental Activities for Children. Golden, CO: Fulcrum, 1988. "The Coming of Corn" and "Awi Usdi, The Little Deer" are Cherokee tales from North Carolina. Similar books in this series focus on particular areas of the natural world. Keepers of the Animals: Native American Stories and Wildlife Activities for Children (1991) contains the Cherokee tale "Why Possum Has a Naked Tail," and Keepers of Life: Discovering Plants through Native American Stories and Earth Activities for Children (1994, Foreword by Appalachian writer Marilou Awiakta) contains a Cherokee story, "Why Some Trees Are Always Green"). See also AppLit's Nature and the Environment in Appalachian Literature.

children's book Caldwell, E. K. Animal Lore and Legend: Bear. Illus. Diana Magnuson. American Indian Legends Series. New York: Scholastic, 1995. Three native American tales illustrated in earth tones are interspersed with photographs and information on the three main types of real bears in North America. "The Mother Bear's Song" is from Cherokee and Creek stories (pp. 24-29). It tells how a man hears a mother bear singing to two cubs to teach them how to avoid danger by listening to the sounds of men approaching. Includes U.S. map and glossary, minimal background on tribes and legends. The author is a woman from Oregon of Tsalagi/Shawnee/Celtic/German descent. Other books in this series focus on Owl, Buffalo, and Rabbit. See Vic Warren, below.

Carmer, Carl Lamson. The Hurricane's Children. Illus. Elizabeth Black Carmer. New York: D. McKay, 1937. American tall tales, including "How Tony Beaver Built the Candy Dam," "How John Henry Beat the Steam Drill Down," and "How Davy Crockett Fiddled His Daughter Out of A Husband."

Carter, Angela, ed. Strange Things Sometimes Still Happen: Fairy Tales from Around the World. Boston: Faber and Faber, 1993. With introduction by Marina Warner. Appalachian tales labeled "Hillbilly, USA" include "Old Foster" (a tale collected from Isabel Gordon Carter, similar to Mr. Fox), "The Telltale Lilac Bush" (the title tale in R. Musick's WV book; see Appalachian Folktale Collections), "The Witchball" ("an old-fashioned farting story" from Clay County, KY), "Father and Mother Both 'Fast'" (a "joke, which challenges the incest taboo, . . .[with] "bawdy references to adultery and illegitimacy"), "The Beans in the Quart Jar" ("another cuckolded husband joke"). "The Untrue Wife's Son" is a short tale about a woman teaching her husband a lesson, collected in NC.

Carter, Isabel Gordon. "Mountain White Folk-Lore: Tales from the Southern Blue Ridge." Journal of American Folklore, vol. 38 (1925), pp. 340-74. A landmark article containing Jack tales told by Jane Hicks Gentry (1863-1925), recorded by Carter in 1923. Carter also published riddles, many of which were from Jane Hicks Gentry in 1923, in "Mountain White Riddles" in vol. 47, No. 183 (Jan. - Mar. 1934), pp. 76-80. For details, see Folktale Collections Indexed in AppLit. Full text of this and other issues available online through library services such as JSTOR.

Chase, Richard. American Folk Tales and Songs, and Other Examples of English-American Tradition as Preserved in the Appalachian Mountains and Elsewhere in the United States. Illus. Joshua Tolford. 1956. New York: Dover, 1971. Contents: Ancient Tales, Five Jack Tales, Fool Irishman Tales, Tall Tales, Ballads, Songs, Hymns, Songs to Sing your Children, Songs as Sung by Ora Canter, Games and Country Dances, Fiddle Tunes, Odds and Ends. See AppLit's Bibliography of Works by and about Richard Chase for more details on all his tales, many of which have been reprinted and adapted numerous times in different media. See books edited by Cohn Coles, and deCaro, below, for examples of reprinted tales told by Chase.

Chase, Richard. "The Jack Tales." The Junior Great Books. Series Two. Chicago: Great Books Foundation, 1967. Included with fables, folk and fairy tales from other countries, and "The Way of the Storyteller" by Ruth Sawyer.

Chase, Richard. "Wicked John and the Devil." In Favorite Stories. Compiled by Tasha Tudor. New York: Lippincott, 1965. With a selection of literary fairy tales and folktales such as "The Bremen Town-Musicians," by the Brothers Grimm.

The Cherokee Nation. Traditional Stories. Provided by Cherokee Nation Cultural Resource Center, in official web site of the [western] Cherokee Nation, Tahlequah, OK. 1998-2002. Stories retold online (some with a picture) are "Origin of Disease and Medicine," "The Ballgame Between the Birds and the Animals," "The Legend of the Cherokee Rose" (about white roses growing along the Trail of Tears to give the mothers strength to survive), "Legend of the Wren," "Legend of the First Woman," "The Ice Man," "The Legend of the Corn Bead," "Why the Owl Has a Spotted Coat," "The Beginning/Legend of the Strawberries" and "How the Strawberries Came to Be," "Spirit of Little Deer," "River Cane Flute," "Anitsutsa—The Boys" (Origin of the Pleiades and the Pine).

Cherokees. Now and Then, vol. 3 (Autumn 1986). Issue on Cherokee Indians in Appalachia, with poetry, articles, fiction, book reviews, and photos. Edited by Pat Arnow, and Mary Chiltoskey. East Tennessee State Univ: Center for Appalachian Studies and Services. Articles: "The Story of My Life as Far Back as I Remember" by Aggie Ross Lossiah and edited by Joan Greene; "Goingback Chiltoskey, Master Carver," by Joan Greene; "Daughter of Tahlequah," a profile of storyteller Gayle Ross by Jill Oxendine; "Maggie Axe Wachacha: Beloved Woman of the Cherokees," by Patricia A. Swan; "Saving the Then for Now," by Pat Arnow; "Cherokee Eden (with Asides): An Alternative to the Apple," by Marilou Awiakta; "Marilou Awiakta: Eye of the Deer," by Parks Lanier; and "Fears and Challenges," by Robert Youngdeer. Short stories include "Brownies: A Cherokee Legend," by Ruth Ledford; and "The Tsali Legend," by John Parris.

Clark, Joseph D. "Two Daniel Boone Legends." North Carolina Folklore Journal, vol. 29 (1981): pp. 108-9. Brief summary of two legends told in Clark's childhood in eastern Tennessee, about Boone hiding from Indians in a stream near Johnson City, and after killing a bear, writing on a beech tree in Maupin Hollow, "On this tree D. Boone cilled a bar in 1760." The inscribed tree stood until the middle of the 20th century.

Clarkson, Atelia, and Gilbert B. Cross, ed. World Folktales: A Scribner Resource Collection. New York: Scribner, 1980. "A collection of more than sixty folktales from various parts of the world with an analysis of each tale and suggestions for folklore study." Includes discussion of folktale traditions including Jack Tales, and a copy of Richard Chase's version of "Jack and the Varmints," as well as "Lazy Jack" from England.

Cohn, Amy L., ed. From Sea to Shining Sea: A Treasury of American Folklore and Folk Songs. New York: Scholastic, 1993. Wonderful art by awarding-winning illustrators of children's books. "In the Beginning," illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon, includes the Cherokee tale "Grandmother Spider Steals the Sun," retold by James Mooney. The section "Bridging the Gap," illustrated by Molly Bang, contains a selection on "The Wilderness Road" into Appalachia; the songs "Cumberland Gap," "Ol' Dan Tucker" (by Daniel Emmett), "Groundhog" (an Irish-Appalachian clogging tune) and "Hush, Little Baby"; a short traditional piece about Daniel Boone claiming he was "bewildered," but not lost in the KY forest; "Strong but Quirky: The Birth of Davy Crockett" by Irwin Shapiro; "Jack and the Two-Bullet Hunt" (tall tale about Jack as lazy but incredibly lucky, retold by Amy L. Cohn and Suzy Schmidt); and "Gol' in the Chimley" (from Leonard Roberts' Greasybeard, "The Old Witch's Gold"). "John Henry" (with music) appears in "I've Been Working on the Railroad," illustrated by David Wiesner. The section "Tricksters," illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman, contains "The Devil's Questions," an Appalachian ballad with riddles from the devil. "No-Sense Nonsense," illustrated by Donald Crews, contains an Appalachian nonsense song "Keemo Kyemo," the tall tale "The Split Dog" from Richard Chase's American Folk Tales and Songs, and an Indiana version of a pet catfish tall tale"Scary, Creepy, Spooky Ghost Stories," illustrated by Ed Young, contains "The Ghost of Tom," a Kentucky song collected by Jean Ritchie, and a tale similar to "Tailypo," Virginia Hamilton's "The Peculiar Such Thing." Notes, glossary and bibliography in back of the book.

Coles, Joanna, ed. Best-Loved Folktales of the World. New York: Anchor Doubleday, 1982. Includes Chase's "The Two Old Women's Bet" and "Jack in the Giants' Newground."

Come Closer around the Fire. Using Tribal Legends, Myths, and Stories in Preventing Drug Abuse. Arlington, VA: Center for Multicultural Awareness, 1978. 39 pp. "Intended for people working in drug abuse prevention or trying to help American Indian youth feel pride in themselves and their culture, the booklet provides specific guidelines on how to use tribal stories in preventing drug abuse. Following a brief introduction to drug abuse problems and prevention strategies, the booklet explains three kinds of American Indian stories: the "How It Came to Be" stories, which explain almost everything; the Hero stories, which tell how young people overcome great obstacles to achieve their goals; and the Trickster stories, which are humorous reminders not to take life too seriously....the stories are good drug prevention tools because they touch the heart, spirit, and mind; give examples of how to deal with problems; help develop self-awareness and self-esteem; and can be the basis of many activities. The booklet includes specific guidelines for telling, dramatizing, collecting, and illustrating the stories. It includes four sample stories to use in drug abuse prevention: the Cherokee story "How the Raccoon Got Rings on His Tail," the Nez Perce story "Coyote Breaks the Fish Dam at Celilo," the Blackfeet story "Scarface," and the Micmac story "The Invisible Hunter" (ERIC item ED241192).

Compton, Joanne. "Ashpet: An Appalachian Folktale." Literature Lures: Using Picture Books and Novels to Motivate Middle School Readers. Ed. Nancy Polette and Joan Ebbesmeyer. Greenwood Village, CO: Teacher Ideas Press, 2002. In the section on Parody along with other "fractured fairy tales" in this thematically organized textbook.

Connolly, James E. (compiler). Why the Possum's Tale is Bare and Other North American Indian Nature Tales. Illus. Andrea Adams. Owings Mills, Maryland: Stemmer House, 1985. Contents (from Worldcat): Tales of Eastern Woodland Tribes: How the bear lost its tail (Iroquois) -- The hermit thrush (Iroquois) -- Why the possum's tail is bare (Cherokee) -- How the rabbit stole the otter's coat (Cherokee) -- The race between the crane and the hummingbird (Cherokee) -- How the turtle beat the rabbit (Cherokee) -- The broken wing (Ojibway/Chippewa) -- Rabbit searches for his dinner (Micmac). Tales of Western Plains and Coastal Tribes: How the rabbit lost its tail (Sioux) -- Old Man and the bobcat (Blackfoot) -- The origin of the chickadee (Cree) -- The mallard's tail (Cree) -- Coyote in the cedar tree (Chinook).

Cothran, Jean, ed. The Whang Doodle: Folk Tales from the Carolinas. Illus. Nance Studio. Columbia, SC: Sandlapper Press, 1972. "Twenty-one fables, legends, tall tales, and stories gathered from a wide ethnic background including Indians, mountain people, and European settlers in the Carolinas." The sources given in the back are mostly folklore journals, university presses, and the Smithsonian Institution. Cherokee stories (from the collection by James Mooney) are "How Rabbit Stole Otter's Coat," "Why the Possum's Tale is Bare," "How the Deer Got His Horns," and "The Ball Game of the Birds and Animals." Mountain tales include "Seven Blue Butterflies" (see "Jack and the Varmints"). For "The Whang Doodle," an African American tale from Polk County, NC, see "Tailypo." "'Pappy's Tater Patch' was told by E. R. Hawkins, a potato farmer of McDowell County, in the shadow of Mount Mitchell, where there are many knobs, usually of no value for crops" (p. 87). In this tall tale, Pappy devises outlandish ways to grow so many taters on a tall knob that he can buy a farm. For notes on "Betsey Long-Tooth" (from Wilson County, NC, not the mountains), see "Sop Doll" and "Mutsmag."

Cothran, Jean, ed. With a Wig, With a Wag, and Other American Folk Tales. Illus. Clifford N. Grady. New York: David McKay, 1954. Includes "Old Bluebeard" from the Southern Blue Ridge, collected by Isabel Gordon Carter (Journal of American Folklore, 1925). Tales from other regions include "Rusty Jack" (see "Jack and the Bull"), "With a Wig, With a Wag" (similar to "Gallymanders"), "The Cat, the Cock, and the Lamb" (similar to "Jack and the Robbers"), and "Little Bear" (similar to "Mutsmag").

Courlander,  Harold. A Treasury of Afro-American Folklore: The Oral Literature, Traditions, Recollections, Legends, Tales, Songs, Religious Beliefs, Customs, Sayings, and Humor of People of African Descent in America. 2nd ed. New York:  Marlowe, 1996. A large collection with background on how tales about Jack, John Henry, Anansi, and others are derived from African cultural traditions.

Cox, John Harrington. "Negro Tales from West Virginia." Journal of American Folklore, vol. 47 (1934).

Crockett, Davy and Sally Ann Thunder Ann appear in many collections of American tall tales and ballads. Follow this link for other sources not listed on this page.

Crossley-Holland, Kevin, ed. The Young Oxford Book of Folk Tales. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1998. This international collection includes "The Two Old Women's Bet."

Crow, Peter. Old Joe Grady Tales. Ferrum College, VA. Texts of twelve original tales told by an English professor on WVTF public radio. They tell legends of Old Joe Grady, who grew up in the Smoky Mountains during the Great Depression. He had "a lifelong habit of quitting whatever job he was working as soon as he got his pockets full of money. Then he would travel about until he had run out of cash before looking for work again, always hiring on at something he had never done before. Southwestern Virginia became one of his favorite haunts."

Culp, Martha S. "Cousin Wash Garner: an Appalachian Folktale." The Georgia Historical Quarterly, vol. 91.2 (2007): pp. 206-216. "The Appalachian South was a region where oral accounts numbered far greater than written records. This is a view of Rabun County in rural northeast Georgia where families passed stories down to succeeding generations through folktales."

Curry, Jane Louise, reteller. The Wonderful Sky Boat and Other Native American Tales of the Southeast. Illus. James Watts. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001. Most of the tales are illustrated by a black and white drawing. Cherokee tales include "Stonecoat" (Yamassee/Cherokee), "How Rabbit Stole Otter's Coat," "Bigfoot Bird" (about the meadowlark learning to appreciate its own feet when it helps a little bird hide eggs from men), "The Ice Man" (about going to an icy place for help putting out a huge fire that men had lost control of), and "Keeper of the Animals" (about Kanati and his two boys). The title story is an Alabama tale.


Davis, Arthur Kyle, ed. More Traditional Ballads of Virginia. Chapel Hill: Univ. of NC Press, 1960.

Davis, Arthur Kyle, ed. Traditional Ballads of Virginia. Chapel Hill: Univ. of NC Press, 1929.

Davis, Donald. "The First Time Jack Came to America" is reprinted (from Southern Jack Tales) at

de Caro, Frank A. An Anthology of American Folktales and Legends. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 2009. The Introduction has an overview of the history of Appalachian folktale collections and interpretations of Jack tales, crediting Isabel Gordon Carter (1925), with publishing the first significant American collection. Index of Tale Types and Motifs included. This varied anthology of 266 tales and legends includes Appalachian tales such as "Old Stiff Dick," Richard Chase's "Mutsmag," "John Henry," "Molly Mulhollun," and many others. "Jack and the Fox" and "Old Foster" are included from Isabel Gordon Carter's 1925 article. "The Girl That Weren't Ashamed to Own Her Kin" is reprinted from Marie Campbell. "The King's Well" is reprinted from Leonard Roberts' South from Hell-fer-Sartin, and the teller Jane Muncy is discussed in the Introduction. "Daniel Boone's Tricks on Indians" is in the Native American Legends section. "Frankie Silver" is in the Legends section on Outlaws, Crime, and Criminals. "For folklorists, students, as well as general readers, this is the most comprehensive survey of American folktales and legends currently available. It offers an amazing variety of American legend and lore–everything from Appalachian Jack tales, African American folklore, riddles, trickster tales, tall tales, tales of the supernatural, legends of crime and criminals, tales of women, and even urban legends." The three main sections are I. Native American and Hawaiian Narratives, II. Folktales (Jack and His Fellows: Classic Hero Tales; Brave, Resourceful, and Kindly Women; The Grateful Dead and Other Magic Helpers; Magical Powers and Magical Objects; Lucky Accidents; Riddles and Clever Words; Tricks and Tricksters; Husbands and Wives; Priests, Preachers, and Other Professions; Fools and Mishaps; "Trick" Tales and Parodies; Some Other Humorous Tales; Religious Tales), and III. Legends (Witchcraft, Magic, and Healing; Omens and Other Strange Events; The Devil; Divine Retribution and Other Miracles; Native Americans; Folk Heroes, Local Characters, and Wild People; Panthers, Snakes, and Other Beasts; Hidden Treasure and Lost Mines; Slavery and the Civil War; Outlaws, Crime, and Criminals; Horrors; Place Names and Other Origins; Occupational Legends; "Urban" Legends").

de Caro, Frank, ed. The Folktale Cat. Illus. Kitty Harvill. Little Rock: August House, 1992. This international collection includes "The Black Cat," a short tale about a murderous cat, from Wise County, VA (also in Barden's Virginia Folk Legends). "The Witch Cat in the Mill" is from The Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore, and the notes also refer to Barden's VA collection but the place of origin in NC or VA is not given. Notes on types of folklore, sources, tales types, and motifs are included.

children's book Dembicki, Matt, ed. Trickster: Native American Tales, A Graphic Collection. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Books, 2010. 231 pp. Includes Cherokee and Choctaw stories. Winner of the 2011 Aesop Prize Accolade awarded by the American Folklore Society. The description at the Aesop Prize web page includes this background: "When comic artist Matt Dembicki discovered that the world had never seen a graphic novel collection of Native American trickster tales, he set off on a complicated but rewarding road to make one.... In this collection, well-known tricksters like Coyote, Rabbit, Raven, and Raccoon make their appearances in various guises along with less well-known figures like Moshup, Puapualenalena, and the Yehasuri. A wide variety of comic art styles meld with compelling text to tell these tales in a fresh way: there is something here for a reader learning of Native American trickster tales for the first time, as well as a reader that is well-acquainted with many of the stories already.... All the tales in the book come from Native storytellers deeply invested in their cultural heritage and its preservation." Book description: "over twenty trickster stories, in graphic novel format, from various Native American traditions, including tales about coyotes, rabbits, ravens, and other crafty creatures and their mischievous activities. All cultures have tales of the trickster, a crafty creature or being who uses cunning to get food, steal precious possessions, or simply cause mischief. He disrupts the order of things, often humiliating others and sometimes himself.... This graphic anthology of Native American trickster tales brings together Native American folklore and the world of comics. More than twenty Native American tales are adapted into comic form. Each story is written by a different Native American storyteller who worked closely with a selected illustrator, a combination that gives each tale a unique and powerful voice and look. Ranging from serious and dramatic to funny and sometimes downright fiendish, these tales bring tricksters back into popular culture in a very vivid form."

De Spain, Pleasant. Sweet Land of Story: Thirty-Six American Tales to Tell. Illus. Don Bell. Little Rock, AR: August House, 2000. 176 pp. I'm not sure which ones are from the mountains, but the tales from Appalachian states are "Ghost Dog" (Virginia), "Poor Tail-eee-poe" (Kentucky), "Caleb's Wild Ride" (Virginia), "Old Joe and the Carpenter" (North Carolina), "Sam Davis and the Hangman's Noose" (Tennessee), "Big, Smelly, Hairy Toe" (North Carolina), "Salting the Pudding" (Alabama), "Haint that Roared" (Alabama). "Jack and the Bogey Man" is from Texas. Also includes Johnny Appleseed, Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, Calamity Jane, and some Native American tales. Most are from the 19th century or earlier, with extensive notes and tips for storytellers.

Digital Library of Appalachia. Appalachian College Association. A collection of digital reproductions of print, visual, audio and video items from archives in colleges affiliated with ACA. Includes audio of storytellers such as Ray Hicks and Loyal Jones telling Jack Tales, audio versions of tales collected in 1949 and published by Leonard Roberts.

Dorson, Richard M. Buying the Wind: Regional Folklore in the United States. Chicago, 1964. The third section is devoted to "Southern Mountaineers," with Jack Tales ("Jack the Giant Killer" from Jane Hick Gentry's storytelling and Isabel Gordon Carter's 1925 article, and "Quare Jack collected by Leonard Roberts"), 3 Jocular Tales (including "The King and Old George Buchanan" from Jane Hick Gentry's storytelling and Isabel Gordon Carter's 1925 article), 5 Murder Legends and Ballads (including "Old Foster"), Cante Fables, Riddles, Folk Drama, and Carols. The introduction to this section summarizes the collection of ballads and tales in southern Appalachia. Part of this section can be read in Google Books (as of July 2010). Section V, "Illinois Egyptians," contains a Jack tale from Ireland, "Jack and the Sheep's Head," and a Davy Crockett story under the heading "Lies." Southwest Mexicans, Utah Mormons, and varied other regional groups are included.

Durell, Ann, compiler. The Diane Goode Book of American Folk Tales and Songs. Illus. Diane Goode. New York:  Dutton, 1989. The illustrations in soft tones are charming and humorous. Several of these nine stories and seven songs for children are Appalachian, especially "Davy Crockett Meets his Match " and "The Three Girls with Journey-Cakes." Not all are identified by place of origin. "The Talking Mule" is labeled Black American from NC. Other tales are "The Knee-High Man," "The Coyote and the Bear," "Wait Till Martin Comes," "Good or Bad?," "The Greedy Wife," and "The Twist-Mouth Family" (New England). The songs with music are "Billy Boy," "On Top of Old Smokey," "I've Been Working on the Railroad," "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," "Buffalo Gal," "Yankee Doodle," and "Clementine."

Duvall, Deborah LRabbit and the Well, Rabbit Goes to Kansas and Rabbit and the Fingerbone Necklace. Illus. Murv Jacob. 2002-2007. Cyber Storybooks with audio by Duvall and beautiful color paintings by Jacob (by the author and illustrator of the Grandmother Stories Series and Cherokee World Series of picture books). In Rabbit and the Well, a drought is drying up the Long Man, or river by Ji-Stu's home. The other animals try to make pots to save water and hold councils led by Terrapin to find better solutions. Ji-Stu (Rabbit) knows of water underground. Terrapin calls on the forces of nature and digging animals to help dig a well, but Ji-Stu angers everyone by not helping to dig, just taking credit for the idea. He finds it easy to steal water from the well but the other animals trick him with a tar wolf when they catch him. It begins to rain after Otter uses his oil to help Ji-Stu get free of the tar wolf and he promises not to steal again. In Rabbit and the Fingerbone Necklace, Ji-Stu "tries to retrieve a magic human finger bone necklace from Little Raven's relatives." These stories also published by Univ. of New Mexico Press in 2007, 2008, and 2009.


Erdoes, Richard and Alfonso Ortiz, ed. American Indian Trickster Tales. New York: Viking, 1998. Part Nine, Magical Master Rabbit, contains 2 Cherokee tales (both from Mooney's Myths of the Cherokee): "Why the Possum's Tail is Bare" and "Rabbit and Possum on the Prowl," and a Creek tale, "Rabbit Escapes from the Box." The other four Rabbit tales are Ute, Omaha, Biloxi ("Tar Baby"), and San Ildefonso and San Juan. Background on tribes and sources of tale at the end of the book.

Emrich, Duncan. Folklore on the American Land. Boston: Little, Brown, 1972. Reprints Jack tales such as "Jack and the Giants' New Ground" as told by Maud Long. The book contains tales and ballads, with music and a bibliography. Cheryl Oxford's 1987 dissertation observes that Emrich includes no notes on performance style.


Fine, Elizabeth C. "‘Lazy Jack’: Coding and Contextualizing Resistance in Appalachian Women’s Narratives." NWSA Journal: A Publication of the National Women’s Studies Association vol. 11 (Fall 1999): 112-137. Available online through library services such as Academic Index ASAP. Transcribes and analyzes storyteller Beverly Olivia Carter-Sexton's feminist retelling of "Lazy Jack," in which she "recasts a Jack tale involving cannibalism and self-cannibalism into a tale that challenges traditional gender and economic relationships that the storyteller has observed in her native Rockcastle County, Kentucky." See this web site for films that contain some examples of Appalachian storytelling, such as Appalachian Journey, The Ballad of Frankie Silver, Being a Joines.The Regions page lists Appalachian films.

Francisco, Edward, Robert Vaughan, and Linda Francisco, eds. The South in Perspective: An Anthology of Southern Literature. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 2001. In this anthology for adults, the section "Appalachia Recognized" contains 4 Cherokee tales ("How the World was Made," "Kana'ti and Selu: The Origin of Game and Corn," "How the Terrapin Beat the Rabbit," and "The Rabbit and the Tar Wolf"), as well as an introduction on Appalachian literature and other literary selections.

Fredericks, Anthony D. American Folklore, Legends, and Tall Tales for Readers Theatre. Westport, Conn: Teachers Idea Press, 2008. "This collection has 20 tales in the popular theatre format," including "John Henry," Brer Rabbit, and, under Magic and Myths, "Grandmother Spider Steals the Sun." The WorldCat entry does not say whether the latter tale is Cherokee.

Fugate, Jane Muncy, narrator. "Two Tellings of Merrywise: 1949 and 2000"; "Rawhead and Bloodybones." In Journal of Folklore Research, vol. 38. See journal title, below, for details on this special issue. Fugate, who had been a child informant for Leonard Roberts in Kentucky, told "Merrywise" to Carl Lindahl in 2000, when she gave him background on the stories from her grandmother and aunt that she was still telling in Florida.

Gates, Carmaletta Harris. "The Painter and the Spinnin' Wheel." From Granny Stories: North Carolina Mountain Tales: A Collection of Stories. Sylva, NC: Carmaletta Gates, 2005. This tale, about Grandma keeping a panther at bay during the night by making a strange noise with her spinning wheel, is printed in Harris' web site.


Gentry, Jane Hicks. See entries by Betty Smith and Isabel Gorden Carter on this page.

Graham, Jack. Pennsylvania Jack. No date. A storyteller's web site gives his version of several Appalachian tales, with no specific details on sources. "Jack Gets a Herd of Cattle" is identified as an Appalachian tale. "The Longest Story" is identified as a Jack Tale brought to America (see AppLit's "The Endless Tale"). "The Snakebit Hoe Handle" is identified as a classic American tall tale. Other "Old Time Stories" include "Davy Crockett's Grin," "Old One Eye," "The Trained Trout," and "Two Old Women Make a Bet."

Green, Thomas A., ed. The Greenwood Library of American Folktales. 4 vols. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 2006. Vols. 1 and 2 cover the Eastern and Southern U. S., including a number of Jack Tales and Cherokee tales, among others. The Northeastern section includes "Rusty Jack" and three versions of "How Jack Went to Seek His Fortune."

Green, Thomas A., ed. The Greenwood Library of World Folktales: Stories from the Great Collections. 4 vols. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 2008. Vol. 4 covers North and South America, including several Jack tales such as "Jack and the Fire Dragaman."

Green, Thomas A., ed. Native American Folktales. Stories from the American Mosaic series. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 2009. Available as Ebook.

"The Greenbrier Ghost." Read by Dewitt Wyatt in Ghosts section of teaching unit West Virginia's Appalachian Music and Literature (1997), with background and student activities. (These pages formerly in West Virginia's World School web site, now reprinted in AppLit.)


children's books Hamilton, Virginia. See AppLit's Folklore in Books by Virginia Hamilton, which identifies some of the tales from Appalachia in Hamilton's folktale collections, as well as Appalachian folklore themes in her novels.

Harmon, Jerry. "Jack and the King's Daughters" and "Jack in the Giant's New Ground." Jerry Harmon, Smoky Mountain Rambler. A couple songs are available on Harmon's web site as well as audio files of Harmon telling these two tales, and reviews of his performances. Harmon is a musician and storyteller from Taylorsville, NC. He is a great-great-grandson of Council Harmon (1803 -1896), patriarch of the Jack Tale tellers of western NC. See 2006 review by James M. Manheim in Arbor Web: Ann Arbor's Home on the Web.

Harmon, Samuel. "Stiff Dick." In Lindahl, Carl. "A Tale of Verbal Economy: 'Stiff Dick.'" Journal of Folklore Research, vol 38 (Jan.-August 2001): pp. 1+. See more on this special issue under journal title, below. Critical essay with text of the tale "Stiff Dick," told by Harmon near Maryville, Tennessee, April 27, 1939. "The tale was recorded by Herbert Halpert for the Archive of American Folk Song and is currently housed in the Archive of Folk Culture, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress (recordings AFS 2924B, 2925A)." Lindahl observes that "these tales represent the earliest sound recordings of America's most celebrated Märchen-telling family: the Hicks-Harmon family, whose members include Jane Gentry, Maud Long, and Ray Hicks. . . . the same extended family that provided Richard Chase with many of the stories that appear in Chase's The Jack Tales (1943)." Lindahl compares Harmon's "efficient" performance with Chase's longer published tale, "Jack and the Varmints," which was based on four versions collected from the Hicks-Harmon family. Full text accessed 1/14/04 through library database Expanded Academic Index ASAP.

Haviland, Virginia, ed. North American Legends. Illus. Ann Strugnell. New York: Collins, 1979. Includes a version of "The Tar Baby" from West Virginia in the Black American section, a Jack tale from New England—"How Jack Went to Seek his Fortune," and 4 Southern Appalachian Tales: "Twist Mouth Family," "A Stepchild that Was Treated Mighty Bad" (Snow White), "Nippy and the Yankee Doodle," "Old Fire Dragaman" from Chase's Jack Tales. The Tall Tales section includes "Strong but Quirky," from Irwin Shapiro's life of Davy Crockett. The book emphasizes the blending of cultures and folklore traditions in America, and includes notes on the sources. Interesting black and white illustrations.

Hazen-Hammond, Susan. Spider Woman's Web: Traditional Native American Tales About Women's Power. New York: Berkley Pub. Group, 1999. Includes the Southeastern Cheroke tale "The Worm that Devoured Women."

Hearne, Betsy G., ed. Beauties and Beasts. Illus. Joanne Caroselli. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press, 1993. This book "presents several versions of 'Beauty and the Beast' and 'Cupid and Psyche,' and provides several tales that reverse traditional gender roles. Includes commentary on each tale, activities, bibliographies, and a list of sources." Appalachian tales in this book are "Whitebear Whittington" (pp. 76 ff., from Richard Chase's Grandfather Tales, 1948), "A Bunch of Laurel Blooms for a Present" (pp. 22ff., from Marie Campbell's Tales from the Cloud Walking Country, 1958) and "The Dough Prince" from WV (pp. 151ff., reprinted from Ruth Ann Musick's Green Hills of Magic, 1970).

Henson, Michael Paul. More Kentucky Ghost Stories. Johnson City, TN: Overmountain Press, 1996. Includes 75 stories "of the sixth dimension," some featuring coal mines and Daniel Boone. See cover and description at Overmountain Press.

Henson, Michael Paul. Tragedy at Devil's Hollow And Other Kentucky Ghost Stories. Johnson City, TN: Overmountain Press. See cover and description at Overmountain Press.

Hicks, Orville. "Jack and the Robbers." Full text in Orville Hicks Official Website. See also AppLit's Ray and Orville Hicks, Storytellers of North Carolina and Jack and the Robbers (Items focusing on the Hicks cousins are longer added to this page.)

Hicks, Ray. "Jack and the Three Steers." Full transcript from recording Ray Hicks Telling Four Traditional "Jack Tales." In Stadter, Philip (Univ. of NC, Chapel Hill). "Herodotus and the North Carolina Oral Narrative Tradition." Histos, vol. 1 (1997).  (Detailed scholarly article with extensive footnotes, in an electronic journal of ancient historiography, comparing oral storytelling of Herodotus and Beech Mountain Hicks-Harmon family and Donald Davis.)

Hicks, Ray. "Whickety-Whack, Death in a Sack." In Higgs, et al. vol. 2 (see above), with two essays on Ray Hicks, language, and Appalachian storytelling traditions. See picture book bibliography for Hicks's 2001 book with 3 Jack tales. See also AppLit's bibliography Ray and Orville Hicks, Storytellers of North Carolina, and tales edited by McGowan, below.

Hillchild: A Folklore Chapbook about, for, and by West Virginia Children. Edited by Dr. Judy Byers and Noel W. Tenney, West Virginia Folklife Center, Fairmont State College. Vol. 1, 2002, contains stories, background, and related activities on tall tales and WV hero Tony Beaver, with cover drawing of Tony Beaver by Noel W. Tenney, and map of Eel River and other illustrations by John H. Randolph. "Man of West Virginia" and "A Problem Solved" are short Tony Beaver tales collected by Ruth Ann Musick, from the WV Folklife Center archives. Also contains letters by Cheryl Ware and her fictional character Venola Mae, and a version with illustration of rhyme "The Marriage of the Frog and the Mouse." See also AppLit's Review of Hillchild.

Hillchild. A Folklore Chapbook about, for, and by West Virginia Children. Edited by Dr. Judy Byers and Noel W. Tenney, West Virginia Folklife Center, Fairmont State College. Vol. 2, 2003. 31 pp. The theme of this volume is Nature. The beautiful cover has a colorful watercolor nature scene by Noel W. Tenney. Inside are many poems and pictures by children. "Tall Tales and Other Intrigues" includes "A Fish Story," "Caswell's Seng Dog," and "Snake Story" (about a man becoming sick after killing a snake), all from the unpublished tales in the Ruth Ann Musick Archives. There are information, folklore, and word games relating to the seasons, animals, plants, and state symbols. A "Toys to Make" section explains corn husk dolls and a whimmydiddle. Anna Egan Smucker provides a letter to students and a humorous story about the origins of rainbows, "Gonna Bake Me a Rainbow." Some nature poems are reprinted, as well as the folk song "Groundhog" with a cartoon illustration.

Hillchild. A Folklore Chapbook about, for, and by West Virginia Children. Edited by Dr. Judy Byers and Noel W. Tenney, and Student Editor Michael J. Hayes. West Virginia Folklife Center, Fairmont State College. Vol. 3, 2005-06. 34 pp. The theme of this volume is Local History. The cover by Noel W. Tenney is a sepia toned watercolor collage of images from West Virginia history, inviting children to find stories within the cover. Articles discuss subjects such as the Great Wolf Kill of 1796, the 18th-century Knights of the Golden Horseshoe (explorers of the colony of Virginia), Matewan and the Hatfield and McCoy Mountains, John Brown in the Eastern Panhandle, and short historical stories and poems from each section of the state. Author Marc Harshman contributed three poems and a letter about living in West Virginia. A page on reading historical photographs is included, and a version of "John Henry" collected by Patrick W. Gainer.  Also pictures by school children of John Henry and other subjects.

"Hold Your Breath," a brief family story about bees told by Ernest Caynor, in Humor section of teaching unit West Virginia's Appalachian Music and Literature (1997), with audio, written text, and student activity. (These pages formerly in West Virginia's World School web site, now reprinted in AppLit.)

Holt, David and Bill Mooney, eds. More Ready-to-Tell Tales from Around the World. Little Rock: August House, 2000. 256 pp. Gives photos and background on the storytellers, notes on each story, age recommendations, and tips from the storytellers. The tales are organized by themes, with a geographical index. The Appalachian (or partially Appalachian) tales are "The Talking Dog" by Doc McConnell and "Grandmother Spider Brings the Light," A Cherokee/Creek/Kiowa pourquoi tale adapted by Sherry Norfolk (AL). James "Sparky" Rucker of eastern Tenn. tells "Against the Law–or–Br'er Wolf Still in Trouble." "The Cherry Buck Tree" by Robin Moore is from the PA mountains and David Holt (resident of W. NC) tells "The Nixie of the Pond" from Germany and "Taen-awa" from Scotland. This book received an Anne Izard Storytellers' Choice Award in 2002.

Holt, David and Bill Mooney, eds. Ready-to-Tell Tales: Surefire Stories from America's Favorite Storytellers. Little Rock: August House, 1994. 224 pp. Gives photos and background on over forty storytellers, notes on each story, and telling tips from each storyteller. The Appalachian (or partially Appalachian) tales are "Trouble! (or, How the Alligator Got Its Cracking Hide)," an African-American tale retold by David Holt (resident of western NC) and Bill Mooney; "Jack and the Haunted House" by Elizabeth Ellis (from TN and KY mountains); "The Storekeeper" by Doc McConnell (from Rogersville, TN—a tall tale his brother loved); "Rabbit and Possum Hunt for a Wife" by Gayle Ross (Cherokee, tale recorded by Mooney); "How the Turtle Cracked his Shell," a Cherokee tale retold by Robin Moore (from PA, whose non-Cherokee father got it from an author who used Mooney's records); "The Electricity Elixir," a tall tale from eastern TN by Chuck Larkin; "The Time Jack Got the Silver Sword" by Donald Davis; "Santa Visits the Moes" (a variation on "The Twist Mouth Family") by the Appalachian Folktellers Connie Regan-Blake and Barbara Freeman; "Sweet Harmony Chapel" (adaptation of a story by C. Hodge Mathes set in Galax Cove, a TN mountain town), by Gwenda Ledbetter (from eastern shore of VA and W. NC). Some other entries related to people and tales in AppLit are "Lazy Jack" from England by Calif. storyteller Gay Ducey; "The Old Giant" (a modern Jack tale) by Jon Spelman; "The Golden Arm," an English story by Jackie Torrence (NC); "Is It Deep Enough?" an African American Texas tale about Rabbit, Possum and frogs by Holt and Mooney; "Honey Bunny" a variation on the African American tar baby tale by Ed Stivender; "Jack and the Magic Beans," English tale by Bobby Norfolk from MO. David Holt also retells "The Freedom Bird" from Thailand, with a musical bird chorus.

Hudson, Arthur Palmer and Pete Kyle McCarter. "The Bell Witch of Tennessee and Mississippi: A Folk Legend." The Journal of American Folklore, vol. 47, No. 183 (Jan. - Mar. 1934), pp. 45-63.


"Jack and the Christmas Beans." See Shelby, Anne, below.

Jack in the City, 1997. Archival material. Western Kentucky University and Kentucky Historical Society. "This project is a multi-media production funded by the Kentucky Folklife Program via the Kentucky Arts Council to help tell the story of the many Appalachian families who settled in urban West Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky. The textile pieces, murals, poetry and story telling stage productions of this project center on the importance of the Jack Tale as it has migrated with Eastern Kentuckians to urban settings along the Ohio River. The goal of this educational/art program was to foster growing pride and heritage awareness in under-served neighborhoods. The Covington Community Center surveyed local folklore and presented the findings in elementary school classrooms. Jack in the City also participated in the Kentucky Folklife Festival in 1999 and 2000. Collection materials include documents, two books and video." (WorldCat)

Jagendorf, Moritz Adolph, and Michael Parks. Folk Stories of the South. New York: Vanguard Press, 1972. "A collection of ninety-five folktales from North and South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama."

James Taylor Adams web site. These pages have many proofreading errors and do not identify the first-person writer or a date. "This page was made possible by the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges and the University of Virginia’s College at Wise." The page called "The Life of JTA" reprints "A Wish," a poem by Adams about life from The Journal of Education, 1924. An audio reading is on the page called "Performance Pieces," along with a folktale ("The Baby and the Witch"), a murder tale in verse ("A Peddler and His Wife"), and a folk song ("Shady Grove") from the James Taylor Adams Collection of Southwestern Virginia folklore. "The Baby and the Witch" is about a man who overhears witches talking, prompting him to protect his baby. After he cuts a foot off a hog that threatens them, he finds his mother, who had opposed his marriage, with a hand cut off. "The Importance of Folklore" contains an interview with Dr. Amy Clark, with important insights about language and storytelling of the past, including some discussion of ghost stories in her own and Adams' heritage.

John Henry appears in many collections of ballads, folk songs, and tall tales. Follow this link for other versions not listed on this page.

"John Henry" sung by folklorist Noel Tenney in traditional ballad style, in Folk Heroes section of teaching unit Appalachian Music and Literature (1997), with lyrics, music, and student activities. (These pages formerly in West Virginia's World School web site, now reprinted in AppLit.)

Johnson, F. Roy, ed. How and Why Stories in Carolina Folklore. Murfreesboro, NC, Johnson Pub., 1971. 120 pp. Many short tales about plants and animals. Sources from late nineteenth and twentieth centuries are given, including some Native American tales. Tales recorded by Mary Hicks Hamilton tell of how several plants got their shapes and names, such as the sunflower, pussy willow, jack-in-the-pulpit, and goat's rue (from "Carolina Folklore," Raleigh News and Observer, 1948-1952, but this book does not tell which part of North Carolina these tales come from). Tales from western NC include "How the Cherokee Indians Got Fire" and "How Come the Pig Can See the Wind."

Johnson, F. Roy. "Two John Stories." North Carolina Folklore, vol. 20 (1972): pp. 120-22.

Johnson, Polly. Two Transcriptions of "Jack and the Bull, by Polly Johnson." James Taylor Adams and Richard Chase, transcribers. In Journal of Folklore Research, vol. 38. See journal title, below, for details on this special issue.

Joines, Jerry D. "Twelve Tall Tales from Wilkes County." Commentary on Being A Joines: A Life in the Brushy Mountains. Study Guides for the Film. Reprinted from North Carolina Folklore Journal, vol. 20, no. 1 (Feb. 1972): 3-10. The son of NC storyteller John E. Joines (b. 1914) records twelve tales his father told in 1971. In tale no. 3, a hunting dog points to a catfish because, the tale-teller discovers, there are seven partridges inside that the catfish has eaten. Variants of the tale from an 1852 Northern newspaper and from Indiana are mentioned. The film is available at

Jones, Raymond E. and John C. Stott, eds. A World of Stories: Traditional Tales for Children. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2006.A thematic anthology. Appalachian tales include John Henry, Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind Crockett, "Jack and the Giants" from Isabel Gordon Carter.

Journal of Folklore Research. Special Double Issue: Perspectives on the Jack Tales and Other North American Märchen. Vol. 38, Nos. 1-2 (January-August 2001). Edited by Carl Lindahl (see Lindahl below). Abstracts of the articles are at this link. Full texts of the articles are available through library databases. Includes critical articles and "The Ship that Sailed on Land and Water" by Alice Lannon of Newfoundland, with essay by Martin Lovelace on that tradition. See names of storytellers on this page for more on Appalachian tales transcribed in the articles:

Judson, Katharine Berry, ed. Native American Legends of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi Valley. DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press, 2000. Includes Cherokee tales "The Corn Woman," "Origin of the Bear," "The Death Trail," "Rabbit Goes Duck Hunting," "Rabbit and Tar Wolf," "How Rabbit Stole Otter's Coat," "Welcome to a Baby," "Baby Song," "Song of the Mother Bears," "The Man in the Stump," "When the Owl Married," "How Partridge Got His Whistle," "How Kingfisher Got His Bill," "Ball Game of the Birds and Animals," "The Groundhog Dance,""Why the 'Possum's Tail is Bare," "The Wolf and the Dog," "The Star Creatures," "The Thunders," "The Man of Ice," "The Nunnehi," "The Little People," "The War Medicine." Originally published Myths and Legends of the Mississippi Valley and the Great Lakes. Chicago: A.C. McClurg, 1914.


Keding, Dan, ed. The United States of Storytelling: Folktales and True Stories from the Eastern States. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited, 2010. 290 pp. Table of Contents at this link. "Collects true stories and legends from eastern states, ranging from the African-American folktale 'Wiley and the Hairy Man' to the true story of Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman doctor in America." This book received an Anne Izard Storytellers' Choice Award and a Storytelling World Award, 2011. The Virginia section includes Rex Stephenson's retelling of "Jack and his Lump of Silver" and 3 other tales.

Keeper, Berry. The old ones told me: American Indian stories for children. Portland, OR: Binford & Mort, 1989. Contents (from Worldcat): Where the dog ran (Cherokee) -- Raven steals the sun (intertribal) -- Story of Mother Bear (Haida) -- Raven and the fisherman (intertribal) -- The mermaid (Coos) -- Raven helps (Siuslaw) -- The opossum's tail (Cherokee) -- The catfish (Menomini) -- Thunderbird (Quillayute) -- The arrival of maple sugar (Chippewa) -- The love of Feather Cloud (Paiute).

Kinsella, Marilyn A. Taleypo the Storyteller. Web site contains drama choir adaptations (also adaptable as reader's theater) of "Little Eight John" (1981, based on Treasury of American Folklore by B. A. Botkin and Carl Sandburg, 1944) and "Wicked John and the Devil" (1980s, based on Richard Chase). The Illinois storyteller who calls herself Taleypo also includes retellings of a number of stories, including "Tailypo" and "The Hairy Toe," and the Cherokee tales "Grandmother Spider Brings the Light" and "The Legend of the Red Cedar" (the latter about the creation of the seasons and the sun calendar at Cahokia Mounds, Illinois).


Lankford, George E., ed. Native American Legends. Southeastern Legends: Tales from the Natchez, Caddo, Biloxi, Chickasaw, and Other Nations. 2nd ed. Little Rock: August House, 1998. Also includes Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole tales. See cover and description at August House web site.

Lechner, Judith V. Allyn & Bacon Anthology of Traditional Literature. New York: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon, 2004. This textbook on all types of traditional literature for children includes "Jack and the Varmints" from Chase's Jack Tales and "The Little Old Rusty Cook Stove in the Woods" from Marie Campbell's Tales from the Cloud Walking Country. Also these Cherokee tales (all but Ross's from Duncan's Living Stories of the Cherokee): the pourquoi tales "The Birds and Animals Stickball Game." "How the Possum Lost his Tail," and "The Origin of Strawberries"; "The Legend of the Corn Beads," told by Edna Chekelelee, is a brief legend about the corn crying during the Trail of Tears, making corn stalks shorter. The corn was then called teardrops and women made necklaces of corn beads. "Spearfinger" is another popular scary legend told by Kathi Smith Littlejohn. It is about a tall monster woman covered with "rock-like skin." A bird tells a young boy how to defeat the bloodthirsty giant so the boy becomes a hero. "Rabbit Escapes from the Wolves" is from How Rabbit Tricked Otter and Other Cherokee Trickster Stories by Gayle Ross. Other Appalachian tales are mentioned in introductions to trickster tales and other types of stories from different cultures. See also Folktale Collections Indexed in AppLit.

Leeming, David A, and Jake Page, eds. Myths, Legends, and Folktales of America: An Anthology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. 

Lindahl, Carl, ed. American Folktales: From the Collections of the Library of Congress. 2 vols. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 2004. E-book rpt. Routledge, 2015. Includes Jack tales, magic tales, legends, jokes, tall tales, "stories for children," and personal narratives transcribed from recordings, such as Maud Long's "When My Mother Told Jack Tales." Appalachian storytellers include Samuel Harmon, Maud Long, Ray Hicks, Jane Muncy Fugate, Aunt Molly Jackson (KY), and others. See Table of Contents at this link to publisher's page. In vol. 2, section 11 is "Passing it on: Stories for Children." Most of these tales "were intended exclusively for children and were passed on as special communications between a mature storyteller and a very young auditor," with emphasis in some on the theme of obedience (p. 439). Some focus on entertainment or providing a good scare. Appalachian tales in this section are "The Crooked Old Man" by Bascom Lamar Lunsford, western NC; the related tale "Grown Toe" by Glen Muncy Anderson, Hyden and Danville, KY; and "Little Nippy" by Lee Wallin. Reviewed by Cristina Bacchilega in Marvels and Tales: Journal of Fairy-Tale Studies, vol. 20 (2006): pp. 106-7.

Lindahl, Carl, ed. Perspectives on the Jack Tales and other North American Märchen. Bloomington, IN: Folklore Institute/Indiana University, Bloomington, 2001. 179 pp. Series: Special Publications of the Folklore Institute, no. 6. Note: "Originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Folklore Research, vol. 38, nos. 1 and 2 (January-August 2001)" (WorldCat). See details on tales included under journal title, above. "This volume is about...a vernacular art form that has been strangely ignored or misconstructed by many. At the same time, the genre's vitality and appeal are evidenced by its persistent presentation as written literature. The essays in this volume re-examine common assumptions about 'magic' tales and their tellers, reconsidering the performance, collection, transcription, publication, and interpretation of narratives that continue to live orally - especially in the private realm - as one mechanism of intergenerational communication or as symbolic articulation of worldview." This book "grew out of research presented at 'American Magic: The Fates of Oral Fiction in the New World,' a conference held at the University of Houston in October 1997. In addition to four interpretive essays, six segments feature narrators and their transcribed narratives, accompanied by contextualizing introductions. Some segments compare editing practices or narrative styles; others represent the first publication of contemporary narratives to tales that have long lain in archives, unheard and unavailable. All attest to the skill of the tellers and the artistry of their creations" (book jacket).

Lomax, John A. and Allen. American Ballads and Folk Songs. Norwood, MA: Norwood Press, 1934. "Songs from the Mountains" section includes "Down in the Valley" from Harlan, KY; "Every Night When the Sun Goes In," "Sugar Babe," and "When I Was Single," collected in Appalachia by Cecil Sharp; "I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground" sung by Bascom Lamar Lunsford; and "Little Mohee." "John Henry" is in "Working on the Railroad."

Long, Maud. See entries on this page by Emrich, Samuel Harmon, Lindahl, Peck, Betty Smith. See also page on storytelling recordings.


McCarthy, William Bernard, ed. Cinderella in America: A Book of Folk and Fairy Tales. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2007. 514 pp. Chapters 12 and 13 focus on tales from the Southern mountains. The book demonstrates that American folktales, from Revolutionary times to the present, should not be viewed as watered-down versions of tales from older cultures. "To capture this richness, tales are grouped in chapters that represent regional and ethnic groups, including Iberian, French, German, British, Irish, other European, African American, and Native American. These tales are drawn from published collections, journals, and archives, and from fieldwork by McCarthy and his colleagues." See tales listed at Folktale Collections Indexed in AppLit. Review by Carl Lindahl in Marvels & Tales 23. 1 (2009): 178.

McConnell, John Ed. A Compendium of Kentucky Humor. Lexington, KY: Host Communications Printing, 1987. Collection of humorous sayings, tales, and anecdotes.

MacDonald, Margaret Read. Peace Tales: World Folktales to Talk About. Illus. Zobra Anasazi. Hamden, Conn: Linnet Books, 1992. Includes "Agreeing to Get Along: Two Foxes, a Tale from Appalachia." It is "an Appalachian story of two foxes and their search for the foundation of friendship that does away with fussing, fighting and quarreling" (Worldcat). This tale and an Iriquois and West African tale are also in MacDonald's Folktales of Peace. Oral Traditions, V. 1. Videotape. Seattle: JRB Motion Graphics, 1996.

MacDonald, Margaret Read. Three-Minute Tales: Stories from Around the World to Tell or Read When Time Is Short. Little Rock, Ark: August House, 2004. Includes "Lazy John U.S. Appalachian folksong" in Participation Tales chapter (from contents listed in Worldcat).

MacDonald, Margaret Read. Twenty Tellable Tales: Audience Participation Folktales for the Beginning Storyteller. New York: H. W. Wilson, 1986. Rpt. Chicago: American Library Association, 2005. Includes versions of "Jack and the Robbers," "Sody Salyratus," "Old One-Eye," and "Groundhog Dance" (Cherokee).

MacDonald, Margaret Read. When the Lights Go Out: Twenty Scary Tales to Tell. Illus. Roxane Murphy. New York: H. W. Wilson, 1988. Includes "Wicked John and the Devil" and "Sop Doll."

McGowan, Thomas, ed. "Four Beech Mountain Jack Tales." North Carolina Folklore Journal 49.2 (Fall/Winter 2002): 69-115. Reprinted in honor of Thomas McGowan from vol. 26.2 (1978). The tales are Marshall Ward's "Jack and the Heifer Hide," with a long introduction by Ward about his family's storytelling traditions (both collected 1977) and "Cat 'n Mouse" (1944); Ray Hicks' "Jack and the Three Steers" (1963) and "Whickity Whack" (composite of tellings from 1973 and 1974). Ward comments on his preference for telling stories to groups of children. McGowan notes that Marshall's "curious attributing of Jack Tales to the Indians" is probably an exaggeration, although H. Glassie (see Background Resources) discusses Cherokee trickster cycles and Jack tales. See also Ward, below.

MacKaye, Percy. See American Folk Tales and Fairy Tales, above.

McKissack, Patricia C. The Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural. Illus. Brian Pinkney. New York: Yearling Book, 1992. McKissack writes that the stories in The Dark Thirty comprise a "collection of original stories rooted in African American history and the oral storytelling tradition" (Author's Note). The tales are designed to be told during the Dark Thirty—the half hour before sunset. Some of the tales are set in the Appalachian region.

McNeil, Nellie, and Joyce Squibb, ed. A Southern Appalachian Reader. Boone, NC: Appalachian Consortium Press, 1989. In this textbook with teaching aids, Chapter 1, Oral Tradition, includes the ballad of Claude Allen, the legend of Tsali of the Cherokees, Richard Chase's "Cat 'n Mouse" (with illustration by Sharon Squibb), the ballad of John Henry, "Old Skissim's Middle Boy" by George Washington Harris, an essay by Cratis Williams on dialect, a section on the singing family of Jean Ritche, and a song by the Carter family.

McNeil, W. K., ed. Ghost Stories of the American South. New York: Dell, 1985.

Mann, Louise Fontaine, narrator. "Jack and the Green Man." In Journal of Folklore Research, vol. 38. See journal title, above, for details on this special issue.

"Molly Vaunder," collected by Juanita Dawson, with illustration by Corey Knoll, lyrics, audio singing, and student activities, in Ghosts section of teaching unit West Virginia's Appalachian Music and Literature (1997), with background and writing activity. This song is similar to Polly Vaughn, except that Jimmie is hunting in the dark and rain when he shoots his love by mistake, and her ghost says he took her for a swan in her white apron. She is also called Molly Vaughn in the same song. (These pages formerly in West Virginia's World School web site, now reprinted in AppLit.)

Montague, Margaret P. See American Folk Tales and Fairy Tales, above, for Tony Beaver selection.

Montell, William Lynwood. Ghosts across Kentucky. Lexington: U Press of Kentucky, 2000. "With over 250 stories set in specific places and times, Ghosts across Kentucky includes tales of graveyards, haunted dormitories, animal ghosts, and vanishing hitchhikers. Montell describes weird lights, unexplained sounds, felt presences, and disappearing apparitions.  Phantom workmen, fallen soldiers, young lovers, and executed criminals appear in these pages, along with the living who chance upon them" (back cover). By a professor of folklore. Page on Ghosts Across Kentucky at U Press of KY.

Montell, William Lynwood. Haunted Houses and Family Ghosts of Kentucky. Lexington: U Press of Kentucky, 2001. Page on this book at U Press of KY.

Montell, William Lynwood. Kentucky Ghosts. Lexington: U Press of Kentucky, 1993. This is a volume in the series New Books for New Readers. Page on Kentucky Ghosts at U Press of KY.

The Moonlit Road. "Ghost stories and strange folktales of the American South, told by the region's most celebrated storytellers." Free membership available for access to online archives back to Oct. 1997. Extensive background and pictures given with some stories, and story credits. Includes versions of Sop Doll (with background on Jack Tales) and Taily Po (with background on southern Appalachia). Message board and links provided. Produced and directed by Craig Dominey with volunteers interested in storytelling.

More Best-Loved Stories Told at the National Storytelling Festival. Jonesborough, TN: National Storytelling Press, 1992. Contents listed at Story-Lovers web site. (See also Best-Loved Stories, above). Includes "Daughter of the Sun" by Gayle Ross. "Granny's Gifts" by Anndrena Belcher begins as a personal narrative; while the narrator tells about combing her grandmother's long, fine hair, she tells the grandmother's magic story about being offered glimpses of life as a beauty, an eloquent talker, and a rich woman. As a girl she visited cousins with these benefits and discovers their disadvantages: lack of imagination and work, talking too fast, and lack of generosity. Different colored balls of yarn magically transport Molly, the girl in the grandmother's story,  to the homes of the three cousins she observes. Molly says she needs more understanding so the magic Granny sends her to another old woman who tells all kinds of life stories. The narrator offers this same "Granny's Gift" to her audience. These notes are based on a recording of Belcher's performance at the 1991 National Storytelling Festival, archived in the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Mushko, Becky. "Ferradiddledumday" (A Blue Ridge version of "Rumpelstiltskin"). First published in Blue Ridge Traditions, 1998. Full text in AppLit with study guide. (Published in 2010 in a revised book edition with drawings by Bruce Rae, some photographs, and study guide, Cedar Creek Publishing, Blumo Bluff, VA.)


Norman, Gurney, reteller. "Mutsmag." In Jack Tales: A Project of the Media Working Group. (No longer online 11/24/18. See more on this web site in Appalachian Folktale Collections, more on this tale at Mutsmag.)

Norman, Gurney. "The Three Feathers." Wind, No. 88 (2002): pp. 154-61. The story occurs after Jack's parents die, when he is young and his brothers threaten to put him in an orphanage. He follows Will and Tom, even though they try to get rid of him (as Mutsmag's sisters do). After Jack rescues a dog from some thorns, it leads them to its home with the old king. The king sets up a contest to choose an heir from among the brothers. He blows three feathers in the air to determine each boy's direction and gives them journey cakes. Jack's feather doesn't blow anywhere but he finds a ring on the ground that opens a door leading him far underground, where Mama Frog and her children make him a pretty quilt. Will and Tom come back with ugly old blankets for the quilt contest but when Jack wins, they whine until the king agrees to have another contest, sending them for a necklace fit for a queen. Jack gets beautiful jewels from the frogs while his brothers bring back junk. They insist on another contest because Jack is "too young and dumb and puney." They must "find a woman that would make the best Queen to help rule this sorry kingdom." Mama Frog has Jack wash and put on his wedding clothes. Then she has Jack choose and kiss a young frog that gives him a warm feeling. There appears "the most good-hearted, independent-minded, intellectually gifted, artistically inclined, and physically strong young woman with a knack for gardening." Mama Frog names her Marie Louise von Franz (the name of a contemporary fairy tale critic). Will and Tom, who get wives from a jail and a beer joint, get nearby tracks of land, while the king retires to a cabin in the woods. After Jack and Marie-Louise take the throne, it rains and the "dried-up country" becomes fertile again.


"Old Man and His Seven Sons: An Appalachian Folktale." Houghton Mifflin Social Studies: Teacher's Edition: Neighborhoods. Herman J. Viola and Sarah Bednarz. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2009.

"O Soldier, Soldier," song telling story of soldier with excuses for not marrying a maid, the final excuse being that he has a wife, in Humor section of teaching unit West Virginia's Appalachian Music and Literature (1997), with lyrics and music, audio, and student activity. (These pages formerly in West Virginia's World School web site, now reprinted in AppLit.)

Osborne, Mary Pope. American Tall Tales. Illus. Michael McCurdy.  New York:  Knopf,  1991. Includes John Henry, Davy Crockett, historical background and a bibliography, with energetic tinted wood engravings.

Owle, Freeman. "How the Possum Lost His Tail." Lesson for K-1st grade, on Cherokee tale told by Freeman Owle, with text of tale from Living Stories of the Cherokee, ed. Barbara R. Duncan (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1998, pp. 212-215). Museum of the Cherokee Indian web site, Cherokee, NC.

Oxford, Cheryl. "The Storyteller as Shaman: Ray Hicks Telling his Jack Tales." NC Folklore Journal, vol. 38 (1991): 75-186. Includes photos, quotations, and transcriptions of "Jack and Ray's Hunting Trip," "Hardyhardhead," "The Heifer Hide," and  "Jack and the Varmints," with analysis. This is chapter V of Oxford's dissertation (see more under Oxford in Background Resources on Appalachian Folktales and Storytelling).


children's book Palazzo, Tony. Animal Folk Tales of America: Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, the Jumping Frog, Davy Crockett, Johnny Appleseed, Sweet Betsy, and Many Others. New York: Sterling, 2010. Adapted and illustrated by Tony Palazzo. "Retells fourteen American folktales focusing on the role animals played in American pioneer heritage," including "Davy Crockett Trees a Wolf." Limited source information given.

Parker, Jeff. "Old Fire Dragaman: From an Appalachian Jack Tale." Illus. Tom Fowler. Jim Henson's the Storyteller. Vol. 1. Los Angeles: Archaia, 2011. Graphic novel format. Detailed review of this book by Harley J. Sims at Mythopoeic Society web site: "Perhaps the most enchanting visuals of the collection are the work of Tom Fowler, who renders Parker’s 'Old Fire Dragaman' (an Appalachian Jack tale) subtly in pencils, with fitting predominance of black, red, and gold." Brad Hawley, Ph.D., writes in Fantasy Literature web site, "It has some of my favorite images, aided by the artist’s willingness to break out of the regular use of panels. For example, a page might have one or two panels layered on top of larger images that make up most of the page. The result is extremely interesting layouts and compositional designs, perhaps the most creative in the book."

Peck, Catherine, ed. QPB Treasury of North American Folktales. Illus. Charles Blake. Introduction by Charles Johnson. New York: Quality Paperback Book Club, 1998.  Reprints a number of Appalachian folktales and tall tales, including "The Girl That Married a Flop-Eared Hound-Dog," John Henry, Maud Long's "Jack and the Giants' Newground," "The Three Sillies," "Strawberries" by Gayle Ross, "David Crockett Meets a Bear," and other tales from Leonard Roberts, Marie Campbell, and Ray Hicks. (Also published as A Treasury of North American Folktales, Norton, 1999.)

Petro, Pamela. Sitting Up with the Dead: A Storied Journey Through the American South. New York: Arcade, 2001. Petro, a Massachusetts author, describes her four trips through the South and visits with storytellers, recording conversations and tales from each one. Appalachian storytellers include Orville Hicks, telling "Jack and the Varmints," Ray Hicks and David Holt. In Walhalla, SC (the westernmost, Appalachian corner of the state), Petro discusses family history with Dan and Hattie Hicky, the sixth-generation owners of a house known as Rosehill. She discusses kudzu and Cherokee storytelling with Nancy Basket, descendant of a Virginia Cherokee basket weaver and Cherokees who had been forced West (she was born in Washington state). In nearby Cherokee, NC, Nancy studied crafts and learned stories. She tells a tale about the creation of snakes. Petro learns about the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN, where David Joe Miller tells "The Peddlar's Tale," about a peddlar who gives too much away, but in hard times listening to dreams helps him find treasure in his own back yard. Karen Vuranch, in Fayetteville, WV, shows Petro the New River gorge and bridge, and tells her about Mother Jones and other heroic women whom she depicts in costumed storytelling.

"The Piggy Song," with two versions of lyrics, one sung by Bonnie Collins, and a story by WV storyteller Collins, in Humor section of teaching unit West Virginia's Appalachian Music and Literature (1997). (These pages formerly in West Virginia's World School web site, now reprinted in AppLit.)

Plotz, Helen, ed. As I Walked Out One Evening: A Book of Ballads. New York: Greenwillow Books, 1976. 265 pp. "A collection of old and modern ballads arranged under six headings: magic and miracles, narratives, broadsides and satires, war, work, and love" (Worldcat).

Price, Charles Edwin. Haunted Tennessee: Twenty One Tellable Stories of Ghost Lore and Hobgoblins. Overmountain Press, 1995. Tales collected from all across the state of Tennessee by a folklorist.

Price, Charles Edwin. More Haunted Tennessee. Overmountain Press, 1999. Thirty more tales, including more contemporary ghost tales.


Reneux, J. J. How Animals Saved the People: Animal Tales from the South. Illus. James Ransome. New York: HarperCollins, 2001. With colorful full-page and smaller watercolors. The 8 tales include "The GollyWhumper," based on Chase's The Green Gourd. The Native American tales are "How the Bear People Lost Fire" (from Alabama, about how people got Fire because they fed it and the Bears neglected it) and "How Animals Saved the People" (Choctaw bayou country). Glossary, source notes, and bibliography included. Also includes Creole, Cajun, and African American tales. "Bouki and Lapin Divide the Crops" is a Creole "tops and bottoms" trickster tale about Lapin the Rabbit and Bouki the Wolf.

Roberts, Leonard. "The Devil's Big Toe" and "Jack and the Bean Stalk." Reprinted in A is for Appalachia! The Alphabet Book of Appalachian Heritage. By Linda Hager Pack. Illus. Pat Banks. Prospect, KY: Harmony House Publishers, 2002. These tales are reprinted on the pages "G is for ghost stories" (p. 16) and "J is for the clever boy in the Jack Tales" (pp. 20-22). Pack stresses that "Jack was a country boy just like the children who loved hearing about him." The tales are from Sang Branch Settlers and Old Greasybeard (see Roberts in Appalachian Folktale Collections).

Ross, Gayle. See AppLit's bibliography Gayle Ross, Cherokee Storyteller.

Rugoff, Milton, ed. A Harvest of World Folktales. New York: Viking, 1949. American tales include "Jack and the Varmints," "Jack's Hunting Trips," "Old Gally Mander," "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."


Saltman, Judith, ed. The Riverside Anthology of Children's Literature, 6th ed. Boston: Houghton, 1985. Includes Chase's "Old Fire Dragaman" and good introductions on oral traditions.Spooky South cover

Schlosser, S. E., reteller. Spooky South: Tales of Hauntings, Strange Happenings, and Other Local Lore. Illus. Paul G. Hoffman. Globe Pequot Press, 2005. Schlosser's web site American Folklore gives print and audio excerpts of some of the tales such as "Wait Until Emmett Comes" from WV; "The Wampus Cat" from Knoxville; "Jack-O'-Lantern" from Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge in northern Alabama; "Chicky-licky-chow-chow-chow" from Maryville, TN. Other Appalachian tales include "The Death Watch" from Raleigh County, WV; "The Headless Haunt" from Madison, NC; "The Witch Bridle " from Albright, WV; "The Red Rag Under the Churn" from The Kentucky Mountains; "A Fish Story" from Farmville, VA; "Old Hickory and the Bell Witch" from Adams, Tennessee. The web site also contains folktales from every state, other American folklore (North America and Latin America), and teacher resources.

Schwartz, Alvin. Whoppers, Tall Tales and Other Lies Collected from American Folklore. Illus. Glen Rounds. New York: Harper Trophy, 1975. Includes extensive notes on types of folktales, sources of short tales and jokes in this collection, and bibliography of books and articles. One of the items in this book with an Appalachian source is the following: "The pond also froze into a solid chunk of ice. It happened so fast that hundreds of ducks that were resting there were trapped. But late that night they flapped their wings so vigorously they flew off with the pond and left nothing behind but a big hole" (p. 92). One of many sources of this tale is from the Library of Congress WPA Folklore Archives, told by Rosa Toung, Chattanooga, TN, 1937.

Shelby, Anne. "Jack and the Christmas Beans." In A Kentucky Christmas. Ed. George Ella Lyon. Lexington: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 2003. Also in Shelby's The Adventures of Molly Whuppie and Other Appalachian Folktales. Illus. Paula McArdle. Chapel Hill: Univ. of NC Press, 2007. Shelby, a storyteller and author from southeastern KY, made up this new Jack tale using traditional folktale motifs. Since Jack's family is "poor as Job's turkey" and the boys are warned to expect nothing for Christmas, the boys decide to go fetch Christmas for themselves. As in other folktales, Will and Tom don't want their little brother to go along, but they bungle the quest through their unwillingness to share their food and coats with others in need. They run home scared when they see a big white shape approaching. Jack has better luck because he shares his food and coat, receiving magic gifts from the hungry old man and cold old woman on the road: a basket that produces limitless feasts when told to "Fill, basket, fill" and magic beans. The beans that produce a Christmas tree and presents provide a clever holiday twist on the traditional giant beanstalk beans. Instead of cannibalistic giants, Jack meets a huge white bear that gives him a star out of the sky and a flying ride home. As at the end of James Still's Jack and the Wonder Beans, Jack is happy with his family and fairly humble comforts at the end of the tale.

quilt square=appropriate for children Sherman, Josepha. Trickster Tales: Forty Folk Stories from Around the World. Illus. David Boston. Little Rock: August House, 1996. The North American section includes "Jack the Varmint Killer: A Tale from the Appalachian Mountains" and "John and his Freedom: A Tale from the African-American People of the Southern United States."

Sherman, Josepha. World Folklore for Storytellers: Tales of Wonder, Wisdom, Fools, and Heroes. Armonk, NY: Sharpe Reference, 2009. Includes "Daniel Boone: A Folktale from Kentucky," "John Henry: A Folktale from West Virginia," "The Hunter and the Monster Bird: A Folktale from the Cherokee of Tennessee" (and a folktale from Donegal, Ireland is "Jack the Fool").

Sierra, Judy. Cinderella. The Oryx Multicultural Folktale Series. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press, 1992. Includes Richard Chase's "Ashpet" from Appalachia and 23 other tales related to "Cinderella."

Simon, Tony. Far Out Tales. 1975 (Original title: Ripsnorters and Ribticklers: Famous American Folk Tales. Scholastic, 1958). Includes "Tony Beaver. . . Axe-Swinger of Old Virginny" as well as Paul Bunyan and other tall tale heroes.

Smith, Jimmy Neil, ed. Homespun: Tales from America's Favorite Storytellers. New York: Avon, 1988. 390 pp. Contents (from Worldcat): Whickety-whack, into my sack / Ray Hicks -- The peddler's dream / Elizabeth Ellis -- Like meat loves salt / Elizabeth Ellis -- No news / The folktellers -- Old dry Frye / The folktellers -- Two white horses / The folktellers -- Brer possum's dilemma / Jackie Torrence -- How Brer rabbit outsmarted the frogs / Jackie Torrence -- Jack and the robbers / Ed Stivender -- The snake-bit hoe handle / Doc McConnell -- The mule egg / Doc McConnell -- The seal maiden / Laura Simms -- Savitri / Laura Simms -- The unwilling magician / Gioia Timpanelli -- The nightingale / Diane Wolkstein. Owl / Diane Wolkstein --White wave / Diane Wolkstein -- The locket / Kathryn Windham -- Tailbone / David Holt -- The Calico coffin / Lee Pennington -- Moseatunya / Mary Carter Smith -- Tying the knots in the devil's tail / Waddie Mitchell -- Christmas at the cross / Waddie Mitchell -- The mail-order bride / Waddie Mitchell -- Strawberries / Gayle Ross -- The crack of dawn / Donald Davis -- Miss Daisy / Donald Davis -- Miss Winderlich / Brother Blue -- The large stuffed rabbit / Maggi Peirce -- Cousin Norman / Maggi Peirce -- The lucky package / Maggi Peirce -- The herring shed / Jay O'Callahan. Edna Robinson / Jay O'Callahan -- Terrors of pleasure: the house / Spalding Gray.

Smith, Jimmy Neil, ed. Why the Possum's Tail is Bare and Other Classic Southern Stories. New York: Avon, 1993. Many of the tales included are Appalachian and some are described in AppLit's annotated folktale index. Categories include "Tales of Wonder and Magic," "Ghosts, Haints, and Chillin' Things," "How Things Got to Be the Way They Are," and the last, "Tricksters and Fools," includes four Jack tales. The editor is a founder of the Jonesborough National Storytelling Festival.

Smith, Philip, ed. Favorite North American Indian Legends. Dover Children's Thrift Classics. Illus. Thea Kliros. New York: Dover, 1994. Includes the Cherokee "The Daughter of the Sun" from James Mooney's Myths of the Cherokee (pp. 49-55), and twelve other Native American tales. With one full-page black and white drawing of the Sun's daughter dancing in the Darkening land.

Snowbird and Sabbeleu. Secret Indian Legends. Oklahoma City, OK: Whispering Willow's Pub., 1995. 122 pp. Award-winning illustrations by Sabbelu. Cherokee and Delaware folklore adapted by Snowbird and Sabbeleu.

"Spider, the Fire Bringer: A Cherokee Legend." Told by Shan Goshorn. Illus. Robert Annesley In Max, Jill, ed. Spider Spins a Story: Fourteen Legends from Native America. Flagstaff, AZ: Rising Moon, 1997. "Presents tales from various native people, including the Kiowa, Zuni, Cherokee, Hopi, Lakota, and the Muskogee, all featuring a spider character."

Stephenson, R. Rex. "The Hainted House" and "Jack and the King's Girl." In Nellie McCaslin. Creative Drama in the Classroom, editions 4–7. New York: Longman. In story form for dramatization. The 7th ed., 2000, contains only "The Hainted House."

Stephenson, R. Rex. "Jack and the Giants." Retold by Stephenson in 2010, several decades after he developed "Jack Fear-No-Man" as a story theatre dramatization. Full text reprinted in AppLit.

Stephenson, R. Rex. "Jack and his Lump of Silver." In ALCA-Lines: Journal of the Assembly on the Literature and Culture of Appalachia, vol. VI (Fall 1999):  6-7. A prose retelling of the tale from Franklin County, VA, as told to Stephenson by Raymond Sloan in the 1980s. Full text reprinted in AppLit. Also reprinted in the Virginia section of The United States of Storytelling: Folktales and True Stories from the Eastern States. Ed. Dan Keding. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited, 2010.

Stephenson, R. Rex. "Jack and the King's Girl." In ALCA-Lines: Journal of the Assembly on the Literature and Culture of Appalachia , vol. IX (2001): 14-15. Collected in 1979 from a patient in a VA hospital in Louisville, KY. Also published with guidelines for dramatizing with children, in Nellie McCaslin’s Creative Drama in the Classroom, 5th ed. New York:  Longman, 1990. Full text reprinted in AppLit.

Stephenson, R. Rex. Mutsmag - an online picture book adaptation in AppLit, partially animated, with illustrations by children in grades K-3, Franklin County, VA. The original drawings were made in 2000 after children saw the Jack Tale Players' dramatization of the tale.

Stephenson, R. Rex. "Mutsmag." In Crosscurrents of Children's Literature: An Anthology of Texts and Criticism. Ed. J. D. Stahl, Tina L. Hanlon, and Elizabeth Lennox Keyser. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2006. 401-09. The script of "Mutsmag" appears in Part 3, Oral and Written Literary Traditions, with a reprint of "Munsmeg," an oral tale collected by Richard Chase, from the James Taylor Adams Collection.

Stonees Web Lodge is a private web site that reprints Native American tales and "lores," with art by different artists. Many of the tales are Cherokee, including How Turtle's Back was Cracked, as told by Gayle Ross with art by Arnold Aron Jacobs, and The Origin of Strawberries. Very little source information given.

Storytelling of the North Carolina Native Americans. The Cherokee section of this site has background on the Eastern Band of Cherokee and their storytelling traditions, and a Real Video Version of Eagle Woman telling The Rattlesnake Story.

Stoutenburg, Adrien. American Tall Tales. Illus. Richard M. Powers. New York: Puffin, 1966. A small collection of prose retellings on eight folk heroes, including Davy Crockett and John Henry, with black and white prints.  No background information. Also produced as Caedmon/Harper audiocassette, 1969, 42 min., read by Ed Begley. Short review at

Street, Julia Montgomery. Judaculla's Handprint: And Other Mysterious Tales from North Carolina. Illus. Harold Rydberg. Chapel Hill: Briarpatch Press, 1975.

brown quilt square Suter, Joanne. Native American. World Myths and Legends. Belmont, CA: Fearon/Janus, 1992. Includes Cherokee tales "Why the Possum's Tail is Bare," and "The Pleiades and the Pine," and "The Animals Get Angry."


"Tall Tales from West Virginia's Top 'Liars'." All Things Considered. National Public Radio. Saturday, May 27, 2006. Story on WV Liars Contest features storytellers and judges Bill Lepp and Bonnie Collins (at age 90). Audio and photos available on web page, including tales told by Lepp and Collins.

Taylor, L. B. The Ghosts of Virginia. Williamsburg, VA: L. B. Taylor, 1993. Organized by regions of Virginia. Includes the ghost of Mad Ann Bailey.

Torrence, Jackie. Jackie Tales: The Magic of Creating Stories and the Art of Telling Them. Introduction by Ossie Davis. Photographs by Michael Pateman. New York: Avon, 1998. This unusual book contains background on African American storyteller Jackie Torrence and details on her style of storytelling. Each tale is accompanied by details on voice and gestures throughout the text, many photographs of Torrence as she tells it, and marginal notes about sources, themes, details in the tale, and audience reactions. She was from east of the NC mountains, but as a child she heard Richard Chase's Jack tales read at school, not realizing that the reader was giving them an African American flavor.  She often told mountain tales as a very popular storyteller herself. Sections of tales include Jump Tales, Jack Tales ("Soldier Jack: Long Journeys and Quests," "Jack and Hardy Hardhead: Visualizing Stories," and "Jack's Trip to Hell": The Messages in Stories"—the latter from a Scottish Tinker), Br'er Tales, Family Tales, Scary Tales.

Tsalagi, a Cherokee Village. By The Warrior (Edward Reynolds). Snellville, GA. Includes several sections on Cherokee history and culture, including Cherokee Stories, Myths, and Legends: The Sacred Numbers; The Circle And Corn; Kana'ti, Selu, Wild Boy and Little Boy; The Wedding; Origins of the Pine Tree and the Pleiades; The Rabbit Goes Duck Hunting; The Origin of Disease and Medicine; The Underground Panthers; The Milky Way (links not functioning 4/28/09).


Van Laan, Nancy. With a Whoop and a Holler: A Bushel of Lore from Way Down South. Illus. Scott Cook. New York: Atheneum, 1998. Tales from the Mountains are "Ol' Gally Mander," "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. Tales from the "deep, deep South" include Brer Rabbit in "The Big Dinin'" (Brer Frog outsmarts Brer Rabbit) and "The Watermillion Patch" (Brer Rabbit scares away Brer Tiger from the watermillions he and Brer Coon raised by bragging about burying his enemies in holes filled with melons). The Cajun tale "Fool John" from the Bayou is similar to The Three Sillies. In "Mister Grumpy Rides the Clouds," the birds cure Brer Terrapin from grumbling about wanting to fly. Source notes and bibliography included.


Walker, Paul Robert. Big Men, Big Country: A Collection of American Tall Tales. Illus. James Bernardin. New York:  Harcourt Brace, 1993.  Includes John Henry and Davy Crockett. Contains dramatic realistic paintings and small drawings.

Ward, Marshall - see essay by Thomas McGowan, above and dissertation by Cheryl Oxford. 

Ward, Marshall. "Cat 'n' Mouse." Coll. W. Amos Abrams. Ed. Thomas McGowan. North Carolina Folklore Journal, vol. 26 (1978): pp. 67-74. "An Introduction to a Jack Tale." Ed. Thomas McGowan, in same issue, pp. 51-53. "Jack and the Heifer Hide." Coll. Judy Cornett. Ed. Thomas McGowan, in same issue, pp. 53-67.

Warren, Vic. Animal Lore and Legend: Rabbit. Illus. Diana Magnuson. American Indian Legends Series. New York: Scholastic, 1996. 32 pp. "A collection of Cherokee and Taos legends follows the adventures of Rabbit and his outwitting of fellow creatures Possum, Duck, and Wolf, and the stories are complemented by interesting rabbit facts." Other books in this series focus on Owl, Buffalo, and Bear. See E. K. Caldwell, above.

White, Newman Ivey, ed. See Brown, Frank C. Collection above.

Whitener, Rogers. Selections from "Folk-Ways and Folk-Speech." North Carolina Folklore Journal, vol. 29 (Spring-Summer 1981): pp. 1-86. Special issue. Foreword by Thomas McGowan on authentic folklore in Whitener's newspaper columns reprinted here. Tales retold and discussed include "The Farmer and the Chicken-Hawk," "The Tale of Sugar Mountain" (said to be named for a sugar mine), "The Ghost Bull of Roan Mountain," "Just a Little Cold" (another ghost bull), "A Coon-Dog Tale" (about eating the dog when coon were scarce), "A Bobcat Tale." Also columns on witches and snakes, Bloodybones, marbles games, "The Mountaineer and the Media," Appalachian place names, mountain speech, chicken lore, "Visions of the Veil-Born" (people born with a caul able to see the dead), "Weather Tales at Boone Drug," "Academic Lore and 'Ferry Dittles.'" "Mountain Superstitions," Baby Marking superstitions (getting birthmarks in utero through the mother's hunger or fright), "Mountain Wedding Customs," other ghost stories discussed and recounted, etc. See AppLit's Chase bibliography for column on Marshall Ward. "John Joines of Wilkes County" (Apr. 1, 1981) discusses the increasing popularity of amateur oral storytellers, their public performances and recordings. Joines tells mainly dog stories (one summarized here), tall tales (calling them outright lies), and unclassified anecdotes.

Why Opossum's Tail is Bare is a Cherokee legend retold by a contributor to Animal Myths and Legends.

Witthoft, John, and Wendell S. Hadlock. Cherokee-Iroquois Little People. 1946? "Reprinted from Journal of American Folklore, October-December, 1946." pp. 413-22. (WorldCat).


Yolen, Jane, ed. Favorite Folktales from Around the World. New York: Pantheon, 1986. Includes Chase's "The Two Old Women's Bet," "The Split Dog," "Old Dry Frye," and "Wicked John and the Devil." In the Cherokee tale
"The Orphan Boy and the Elk Dog," Long Arrow is a deaf orphan, loved only by his sister, who is adopted by another tribe. He is abandoned in the woods for a time but earns respect by bringing people the mythical elk dogs (horses) from the gods (pp. 220-27). Source notes included for each tale. Another Jack tale in the book is the English Lazy Jack.

Quilt square indicates children's book Yolen, Jane and Heidi E. Y. Stemple. Mirror, Mirror: Forty Folktales for Mothers and Daughters to Share. New York: Penguin, 2000. A collection compiled by a mother and daughter, arranged by theme, with conversation sections by Jane and Heidi. The section labeled "Persephone" includes the Cherokee tale "The Sun's Daughter," pp. 96-98. See more at AppLit pages on The Little People and Dancing Drum - or -The Daughter of the Sun.

Orange quilt square indicates children's books Young, Richard, and Judy Dockrey Young, eds. Race with Buffalo and Other Native American Stories for Young Readers. Little Rock: August House, 1994. Includes Cherokee tales "Possum's Beautiful Tail," "Ball Game Between the Animals and the Birds," "Kanati the Hunter and the Cave of Animals," and "Where the Dog Ran across the Sky."

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