Note: This list contains links to tales that are also indexed in other sections of AppLit's Annotated Index of Folktales, links to texts reprinted in AppLit's Fiction and Poetry section, and some references to other items in AppLit's folktale bibliographies (but there are innumerable tales in which animals appear in large or small roles). Variants of the same tale may differ in whether animals appear in the same roles. Many animal folktales, especially Native American tales and tall tales, contain pourquoi or "why" plot lines—explaining the origins of animals' characteristics and other phenomena in nature and the universe. Many more animal tales are found in African American traditions. Some African American tales are indexed in AppLit, but AppLit does not do justice to the overlap of regional Appalachian literature or folklore and African American traditions in the Southern U. S.


Tales with Animals as Main Characters

See also Transformation Tales with enchanted people as main characters.

The Animal Ball Game - or - How the Bat and the Flying Squirrel Got Their Wings

Animal Tales (10 tales) in Old Greasybeard by Leonard Roberts - see Appalachian Folktale Collections

Awi Usdi, The Little Deer

Brer Rabbit Tales

Cherokee Animal Tales by Scheer - see Appalachian Folktale Collections

The Crow Song (folk song)

Deer Antlers and Peach Trees

The First Fire - or - How the Water Spider Captured Fire

Froggy Went A-Courtin'

How the Cricket Got its Churp - full text of tale by elementary student Drew Echols

How the Porcupine Got His Quills - full text of tale by Jessica Faught in 7th grade

How Rabbit Lost His Tail - or - How Rabbit Stole Otter's Coat

How Rabbit Tricked Otter and Other Cherokee Animal Stories by Ross & Jacobs - see Appalachian Folktale Collections.

Jack and the Robbers - or - Jack and the Animals - or - Jack Goes to Seek his Fortune

Kanahena - or - Why the Turtle's Shell is Cracked

Mountain Marbles: An Appalachian Tale - full text of tale by Tracy L. Roberts

The Old Woman and her Pig by MacDonald - see Picture Book Bibliography

The Pig Who Went Home on Sunday - see The Three Little Pigs and the Fox

Puppet Plays by Fifth-Grade Students - full text of four plays about animals and Easter bunny

The Rabbit and Old Flint - see The Cherokee Little People

Rabbit Goes to Kansas - see The Animal Ball Game

The Rabbit, the Otter, and Duck Hunting

Runaway Cornbread - see Runaway Cakes and Gingerbread Boys

Some Dog - see Mary Hamilton CD in Storytelling Films and Recordings

The Traveling Animals - see Jack and the Robbers

The Three Bears

The Three Foolish Bears - see Jack and the Three Sillies

The Three Little Pigs and the Fox

The Three Mice - see Runaway Cakes and Gingerbread Boys

The Walking Catfish and Other Fish Tales

Why the (O)Possum's Tale is Bare - or - How the Possum Lost His Tail

See also Appalachian Picture Book Bibliography: Cherokee Tales

See also two picture books by Lisa Horstman, on a black bear cub and salamanders, in Nature and the Environment in Appalachian Literature

See also Paul Brett Johnson's trilogy of picture books about wayward animals, in Picture Book Bibliography.


Tales with Animal-Human Transformations

The Bear People - see Selu and Kana'Ti

Cat 'n Mouse

Dancing Drum - or- The Daughter of the Sun

The Enchanted Tree - see The Frog King

The Frog King

The Girl That Married a Flop-Eared Hound-Dog - see Whitebear Whittington

Jack and the Frogs - or - The Three Feathers

Jack and King Marock

Jack and the Sop Doll

Mutsmag (Angelyn DeBord version has bewitched cat)

Polly Vaughn

Rabbit and the Bears by Duvall - see Appalachian Picture Book Bibliography: Cherokee Tales

The Snake Princess

The Three Gold Nuts - full text of folktale told by Dicy Adams

The Two Lost Babes (witch transforms into black cat)

The Two Old Women's Bet (some variants have third husband pretending to be a dog)

Whitebear Whittington - or - The Three Gold Nuts - or - The Man that Turned Himself into a Bear

See also Campbell's Tales from the Cloud Walking Country in Appalachian Folktale Collections, for many transformation tales, including "Gilly and His Goatskin Clothes," "The Snake Princess," "Folks That Growed Fur to Keep Warm," "The Jay Bird That Had a Fight with a Rattlesnake," "The Cabbage Heads That Worked Magic," "The Donkey That Was a Boy," "The Boy That Had a Bear for a Daddy," "The Bird Liver," "The June Apple Tree," "My Favoritest Olden Tale," "The Changeable Man."

See also Musick's Green Hills of Magic in Appalachian Folktale Collections for tales such as "The Bewitched Princess" (similar to "The Snake Princess")


Tales with Animals as Magic or Comical Helpers

Note: Many of the tales with animal main characters (above) also have animal antagonists and/or helpers.

Ashpet and Other Cinderella Variants (hog as magic helper in Smoky Mountain Rose)

Bearhide and Crow - see Foolish Jack - or - Jack and His Lump of Silver, and The Swapping Song

Big Jim McCool - see Hardy Hardhead

Cheese and Crackers - see Sody Sallyraytus

Death and the Old Woman

The Enchanted Tree - see The Frog King

Fool Jack and the Talking Crow (crow and cows used satirically in tricks)

The Green Gourd

How Jack Got a New Shirt

I Bought Me a Dog - see The Walking Catfish and Other Fish Tales

Jack and the Animals

Jack and the Bean Tree (Jack steals or recovers hen that lays golden eggs)

Jack and the Christmas Beans - see Whitebear Whittington

Jack and the Fox - see Cat 'n Mouse

Jack and the Frogs - or - The Three Feathers

Jack and the Bull - and - Jack and the Heifer Hide

Jack and the Witch's Tale - see Jack and the Sop Doll

Mutsmag (in some versions a fox or cat helps Mutsmag)

Nine Cat Tails - see Cat 'n Mouse and Sop Doll

The Old Woman and the Talking Catfish - see The Walking Catfish and Other Fish Tales

The Orphan Boy and the Elk Dog, Cherokee tale in Yolen, Favorite Folktales see Appalachian Folktales in General Collections

Pretty Polly - or - Mister Fox (animal helper or antagonist in some variants)

The Princess that Wore a Rabbit-Skin Dress - see  Catskins

Sody Sallyratus - and - The Bad Bear

The Three Yarn Balls - see Pretty Polly - or - Mister Fox (bird helper)

The Tinderbox (magic dogs help the hero)

See also Campbell's Tales from the Cloud Walking Country in Appalachian Folktale Collections, for "The Three Girls with the Journey-Cakes," "The Snake Doctor," "The Witch from the Ocean Waters."


Tales with Animals (Real or Mythical) as Antagonists or Villains

Note: Many of the tales with animal main characters (above) also have animal antagonists and/or helpers.

Big Jim McCool - see Hardy Hardhead (buzzard eats dogs)

"The Black Cat" - see Frank de Caro, The Folktale Cat, in Appalachian Folktales in General Collection

Brer Rabbit Tales

Dakwa Ka-Plunk  - see The Uktena

Deer Antlers and Peach Trees - deer as hunters' prey or Rabbit cheats in race with Deer

The Fiddling Monkey - see Big Fraid and Little Fraid

The Gypsy and the Bear - see Jack and the Giants

How Rabbit Lost His Tail - or - How Rabbit Stole Otter's Coat

Jack and His Dogs - see Picture Book Bibliography: Jack Tales

Jack and the Fire Dragon

Jack and Mossyfoot

Jack and the Sop Doll - and - Other Tales with Cats and Witches

Jack and the Three Spiders - full text in Students Write Jack Tales

Jack and the Varmints - or - The Lion and the Unicorn

Musick's Green Hills of Magic has sections on Werewolves, Vampires, Dragons and Other Monsters - see Appalachian Folktale Collections

Runaway Cakes and Gingerbread Boys

Sody Sallyratus - and - The Bad Bear

Tailypo (undefined scary creature gets revenge for loss of its tail)

The Story of the Milky Way

Swamp Angel

The Two Lost Babes (witch transforms into black cat)

The Uktena

See also Appalachian Picture Book Bibliography: Tall Tales

See also Campbell's Tales from the Cloud Walking Country in Appalachian Folktale Collections, for tales such as "The King of Spain's Magic Cow," and "The Contrarious Pig."


Other Tales with Some Emphasis on Animals

Dick and Dock - see Jack and the Three Sillies

The Endless Tale - and - The Tale Without an End - a mouse, rat, or locust removes one grain at a time in the endless tale

Ferradiddledumday - full text of Appalachian adaptation of "Rumpelstiltskin" (characters are associated with Blue Ridge animals)

Foolish Jack - or - Jack and His Lump of Silver, and The Swapping Song

Jack and the Giants and Jack and the Varmints - or - The Lion and the Unicorn have braggart heroes who begin by killing flies.

Jack and the King's Girl

Jack and the Three Sillies

The Peach Tree and the Deer

The Poor Boy and Rich Girl (people so poor they cook a bald eagle)

Selu (the Corn Mother) and Kana'Ti (the Hunter) - or -The Origin of Corn and Game

The Snake-Bit Hoe Handle - includes two books by May Justus, who wrote many realistic books about dogs besides the two that use this tall tale


Last update: 06/30/2008
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