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Folk Tales

Resurrection Mary

There was a dance that night at the Oh Henry Ballroom, so he slicked back his hair, jumped into his red convertible and cruised down Archer Street, hoping he’d meet a pretty girl. He was a shy fellow who found it hard to talk to girls. Bolder men always danced away with the prettiest girls before he got up enough nerve to say hello. But tonight, would be different. Tonight, he would sweep one of… Read More »Resurrection Mary

The House Accursed

The House Accursed

The house was called the Isle of Pines, after a buccaneers’ rendezvous in the West Indies, and the owner made no attempt to conceal the strange plunder and curious weapons that he had brought home with him.

The Heart of a Monster

The Heart of the Monster

There was during the time of the Watetash a monster living in the country of Kamiah in Central Idaho. This monster had the peculiar property of an irresistible breath, so that when it inhaled, the winds and grass and trees and even different animals would be sucked into its devouring maw.

Old Woman Who Never Dies

Old-Woman-Who-Never-Dies

In the sun lives the Lord of Life. In the moon lives Old-Woman-Who-Never-Dies. She has six children, three sons and three daughters. These live in the sky. The eldest son is the Day; another is the Sun; another is Night.

the Phantom Dragoon

The Phantom Soldier

The height that rises a mile or so to the south of Newark, Delaware, is called Iron Hill, because it is rich in hematite ore, but about the time of General Howe’s advance to the Brandywine it might well have won its name because of the panoply of war—the sullen guns, the flashing swords, and glistening bayonets—that appeared among the British tents pitched on it. After the red coats had established camp here the American… Read More »The Phantom Soldier

Storm ship of the Hudson

Storm Ship of the Hudson

It was noised about New Amsterdam, two hundred years ago, that a round and bulky ghost ship flying Dutch colors from her lofty quarter was careering up the harbor in the teeth of a north wind, through the swift waters of an ebbing tide, and making for the Hudson.

Origin of the Wind

Origin of the Wind

Napioa, the Old Man who made the earth, is determined to have the bags that hold the summer and winter, so he asks prairie chicken to take them from the lodge where they are kept by man and woman.

The Salt Witch

The Salt Witch

A pillar of snowy salt once stood on the Nebraska plain, about forty miles above the point where the Saline flows into the Platte, and people used to call it the Salt Witch.

The Little Red Hen

The Little Red Hen

Little Red Hen found a Wheat Seed that, if planted, would grow up and when ripe it could be made into flour and then into bread. But what should she do with it?

Eavesdropper

There is an old tale which claims that at midnight, on Christmas Eve, the cattle will kneel in the barn and speak with one another. Once an old Maryland man decided to test the tale by hiding in the barn at midnight to listen. So he climbed a rope to the window in the hayloft. He lay down on the rough gray boards, covered himself with hay and waited…

A Gift from Saint Nicholas

Claas Schlaschenschlinger was a wealthy cobbler living on New Street in New Amsterdam. He was a contented bachelor who could afford eight – eight mind you! – pairs of breeches and he had a little side business selling geese. He cut quite a figure in New Amsterdam society, and was happy being single, until he met the fair Anitje! She was as pretty as a picture, and Claas fell head over heels for her. He was not her only suitor, by any means. The local burgomaster was also courting the fair Anitje. But the burgomaster was a stingy, hard man, and in the end, Anitje gave her heart and hand to Claas…

Yellowhammer

Once long ago, Sam, a young slave from Alabama, was sent to the market in Georgia with his master’s cattle. After delivering the cattle to market, Sam was given some free time as a reward for good service. Sam decided to explore the city…

Sinks

Nevada rivers empty into a series of small lakes which have no visible outlets. These lakes are called sinks because the water just sinks away…

The King of Sharks

One day, the King of Sharks saw a beautiful girl swimming near the shore. He immediately fell in love with the girl. Transforming himself into a handsome man, he dressed himself in the feathered cape of a chief and followed her to her village…

Hoosiers

There’s an ongoing debate here in the great state of Indiana over the origins of the word “Hoosiers”. My Granddad, he falls into the first camp, and me, I fall into the second…

The Crows are in the Corn

It happened in Georgia not long ago, that a farmer and his wife decided to sleep late, like the rich folk do. It was a beautiful Sunday morning, the kind that brings all God’s creatures out to play. But not these farm folk. No, they just slept and slept and slept…

Blue Hen’s Chicks

A Delaware man went to war during the American Revolution. For entertainment, he brought with him two fighting cocks. When asked about these chickens, the soldier said slyly: “They are the chick’s of a blue hen I have at home.” …

The Twist-Mouth Family

A while back there was a family I know of – a mother, a father, and several children. Four of them had mouths that were twisted into strange shapes. The mother’s mouth twisted up while the father’s mouth twisted down. The sister’s mouth twisted left while the younger brother’s mouth twisted right. The eldest son John’s mouth was perfectly normal…

The Talking Mule

A farmer owned a mule which he used for work all week. But being a Church-going man, he let the mule rest on Sunday.
One Sunday, the farmer had to go to a funeral. So he sent his son to saddle the mule.
“Since when do I have to work on Sunday?” asked the mule…

Slide-Rock Bolters

Way up in the mountains of Colorado lurks the slide-rock bolter. This creature has a huge head, slits where its eyes should be and a wide mouth with long, sharp teeth…

The Shaggy Dog

There once was a woman traveling home from England who lost her pooch somewhere between Salem and Springfield. He was just about the shaggiest dog in the entire world; so shaggy you couldn’t tell which end was which until his tail started wagging…

Idaho Potatoes

We here in Idaho are right proud of our potatoes. Our fields are so chock full of potatoes that you can hear them grumbling when you stick your ear on the ground. “Roll over, yer crowding me,” they say…

Old Man Moses

It’s not hard to catch a meal in New Hampshire, no sir. Take my neighbor, Old Man Moses, who lives down a piece from me. One morning, Old Man Moses went out his kitchen door and found twelve turkeys on his fence…

Mississippi Mosquitoes

A visitor to Mississippi decided to take a walk along the river in the cool of the evening. His host warned him that the mosquitoes in the area had been acting up lately, tormenting the alligators until they moved down the river. But the visitor just laughed and told his host he wasn’t to be put off from his evening constitutional by a few mosquitoes…

Jack and the Corn Stalk

Once, a Kansas farmer sent his son Jack to check on the growth of the corn in the field. Now Jack was not a tall lad, so he decided to take a ladder with him. When he found a nice big stalk of corn, he leaned the ladder against it and climbed up until he could reach the first joint. From there, he proceeded to the top of the cornstalk, and looked out over the field. There was enough corn there for a rich harvest…

Hoop Snakes

Now the Pennsylvania hoop snake is something to be reckoned with. It is long, and its colors vary with the type of whisky you’ve been drinking. But everyone agrees that you can tell a hoop snake from a regular snake by the way it moves. When a hoop snake travels around, it grabs its tail (with the poison stinger at the end) in its mouth and rolls along until it sees something it wants to sting. Then it whips the stinger out of its mouth quick enough and lashes out with its tail…