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Tall Tales

A tall tale depicts the wild adventures of extravagantly exaggerated folk heroes. Often told around the campfire, these stories are meant to entertain their audiences, who appreciate the wildly outsized claims of the storyteller.

Round River Drive

    Well now Paul Bunyan scouted around the north woods of Wisconsin for quite a while afore he found the perfect spot for his winter lumber camp. It was right next to a fast river, and Paul figured they could pile the logs up right next to it and come spring time it would be mighty easy to tumble the logs into the river and float ‘em down to the mill.

    Bigfoot Wallace Runs the Mail

      Bigfoot Wallace – that wild and wacky Texas Ranger — returned to the wilds of frontier life once the United States won the war with Mexico, and it suited him as nothing else could do. Soon he was freighting mail six hundred miles from San Antonio to El Paso, and it was the wildest stretch in the Wild West! Wallace was the only man who could do it. Anyone else who tried was scared off by attacking Comanche and Apache warriors or killed outright…

      Bigfoot Wallace and the Hickory Nuts

        Bigfoot Wallace was as crazy an individual as they come. He could spin a yarn better than anyone, and while he was a dangerous foe to his enemies, he was also a jovial giant, who was always on the lookout for a good laugh. What with hunting and fishing and fighting Comanches and avoiding rattlesnakes, Wallace had the time of his life in Texas. Said he wouldn’t swap Texas for the whole shooting match that was the rest of the United States.

        Cowboys in Heaven

          After cow punching for nigh on fifty years, a Texas cowboy went on to his reward. There was considerable excitement in heaven when he reached the pearly gates…

          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…

            Old Stormalong and the Octopus

              One day Old Stormalong, the ultimate sailor, was sailing the Courser through the deepest part of the Atlantic Ocean when a particularly large wave knocked the anchor loose. The anchor plunged right down to the bottom before the sailors could reel her in, and it got caught on something.

              Adventure On the Rogue

                We were up-river with a tour group looking at all the natural beauties here on the Rogue River when I spied a young sasquatch hiding in the shadow of a tree near a gravel bank. I swung the tour-boat around so we could get a better look, and all the tourists exclaimed and took pictures. It’s not too unusual to see a sasquatch in the spring. That’s the time they migrate through here to their summer stomping grounds up North…

                Paul Bunyan’s Kitchen

                  One winter, Paul Bunyan came to log along the Little Gimlet in Oregon. Ask any old timer who was logging that winter, and they’ll tell you I ain’t lying when I say his kitchen covered about ten miles of territory.

                  Oklahoma Weather

                    To say that the weather in Oklahoma is subject to extremes is an understatement. Instead of rain storms, we get dust storms. On the same day, one man can die of sunstroke at noon while his neighbor freezes to death that night.

                    Moll DeGrow

                      Moll DeGrow was a wicked witch who once lived on Gully Road in what is now Newark, New Jersey. She took delight in the misery of others, and made things miserable for the folks living near her. If a neighbor slighted her, she would sour their milk. If anyone called her a witch, she made their dogs turn vicious. People were very cautious around Moll De Grow…

                      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…

                        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…

                          Drought Buster

                            Back in the early days, the Plains folk were often in need of a good drought buster during the hot summer months. The sun would shine and shine, and the clouds would scuttle right quick over the Plains without dropping rain. One year, it got so bad that Febold Feboldson, that legendary Swede who could bust the driest drought in a day, got annoyed.

                            Sheep Herder’s Lawsuit

                              A sheep herder from Montana fell afoul of the law and hired a lawyer to get him off if he could. The lawyer realized that it was an open and shut case, and advised the sheep herder to pretend that he had a bit of Sheep Herder’s Complaint.

                              Callin’ the Dog

                                Tall talkin’ in Mississippi has been termed “Callin’ the dog” ever since that famous tall-tale session when one man offered a hound dog pup to the person who could tell the biggest lie.

                                Paul Bunyan Tames the Whistling River

                                  The Whistling River – so named because twice a day, it reared up to a height of two hundred feet and let loose a whistle that could be heard for over six hundred miles – was the most ornery river in the U.S. of A. It took a fiendish delight in plaguing the life out of the loggers who worked it.

                                  Echoes

                                    Following the Homestead Act of 1862, many Scandinavians pioneered the lands of the mid-West. These frontier settlers worked hard, and were justly proud of their new home in America. They were not above boasting about their new country, especially to settlers who came from the old…

                                    Paul Bunyan and the Frozen Flames

                                      One winter, shortly after Paul Bunyan dug Lake Michigan as a drinking hole for his blue ox, Babe, he decided to camp out in the Upper Peninsula. It was so cold in that there logging camp, that…

                                      Michigan Winds

                                        Michigan winds are fiercest in the spring. Why, just last year, the wind knocked one of our mountains over into a valley. Folks woke up the next day to find themselves living on a plain.

                                        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 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…

                                            Birth of Paul Bunyan

                                              Now I hear tell that Paul Bunyan was born in Bangor, Maine. It took five giant storks to deliver Paul to his parents. His first bed was a lumber wagon pulled by a team of horses. His father had to drive the wagon up to the top of Maine and back whenever he wanted to rock the baby to sleep…

                                              Fog

                                                You can talk ’til you’re blue in the face about the thickest of fogs in ye merry olde England, but I’m tellin’ you now, sure as I’m standing here, that England’s fogs don’t hold nothing over them thick fogs which roll in over the Bay of Fundy here in Maine.

                                                The Fisherman and the Bear

                                                  One fine day an old Maine man was fishing and fishing on his favorite lake and catching nary a thing. Finally, he gave up and walked back along the shore to his fishing shack. When he got close to the front door, he saw it was open. Being of a suspicious nature, he walked to the door quietly and looked inside. There was a big black bear. It was just pulling the cork out of his molasses jug with its teeth. The molasses spilled all over the floor and the bear rubbed his paw in it, smearing it all over.

                                                  Jean Sot Guards the Door

                                                    One day, Jean Sot’s mother wanted to go to town.
                                                    “Now Jean,” she said, “I want you to guard the door.
                                                    “Yes, Mama,” Jean Sot agreed.

                                                    The Greenhorn and the Mule Egg

                                                      Well now, there was a chap that got real sick of working in the big city. One day, he quit his job, packed up his wife and kiddies, and hi-tailed it out to Kansas to become a farmer. Bought a big parcel of land with a grand old barn and some fields just ready to plow and plant…

                                                      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…

                                                        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…

                                                          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…

                                                            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…