Women in American Folklore
Read folktales about strong women, witches, legendary heroines, female ghosts and spooks, and some curious girls who get themselves in trouble! These are the women of American Folklore.
Legendary (and infamous) Heroines
- Brer Rabbit Meets a Tar Baby
She just sat there saying nothing, but the Tar Baby is still a famous lady!
- Jesse James and the Widow
A Missouri widow sees the softer side of Jesse James.
- Kate Shelley Saves the Train
A brave girl rescues a train when the bridge washes out. Based on a true story. (Iowa)
- The Maid of the Mist
The myth of the maiden who lived behind the falls of Niagara and the origin of the famous horseshoe falls.
- Mother Leeds and the Birth of the Jersey Devil
The origins of the Jersey Devil.
- Yeller Cow (and Babe the Blue Ox)
Paul Bunyan finds a little blue ox the Winter of the Blue Snow.
- Calamity Jane
She was a fighter and frontierswoman most well known for her association with Wild Bill Hickok.
- Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind Crockett
Mike Fink tries to scare Miz Crockett and gets a scare of his own!
- Slue-foot Sue
Pecos Bill meets the woman of his dreams!
- Sal Fink, The Mississippi Screamer
She was best known for her holler. Whenever people heard that sound, they shook their heads with wonder at the thought of all the amazing stunts of little Sal Fink.
- Annie Oakley
She could shoot the head off a running quail when she was twelve years old!
- Aunty Greenleaf
A witch roams the woods near Brookhaven, New York, disguised as a white deer.
- The Black Cats' Message
Mysterious black cats send a message to Aunt Kan in this excerpt from Spooky Southwest.
- Bloody Mary
The spirit of Bloody Mary returns to claim the lives of those saying her name in front of a darkened mirror.
- The Cursing of Colonel Buck
A witch's curse haunts the colonel long after death.
- Moll DeGrow
A wicked witch plagues the good people living on Gully Road.
- The Ghost on the Tracks
Engineers, beware! There is a flirtatious female ghost abroad on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad.
- The Grave
A woman haunts her burial ground.
- La Llorona
The ghost of a woman searches the river banks for her sons.
- La Mala Hora
A woman meets a spectre on her way to a friend's house.
- The Lady in Lace
A beautiful ghost walks the shores near Pebble Beach, California.
- The Lady in Red
A murdered woman haunts a Nevada hotel.
- The Llorona, Omen of Death
Two young men see the ghost of the Llorona as they drive home one evening.
A prospector lost in the mire is lead to safety by a beautiful ghost.
- Milk bottles
Day after day, a woman comes to the store for milk and leaves without paying.
- Ocean-Born Mary
The ghost of a beautiful woman haunts the house where her pirate-husband was murdered.
- The Screaming Tunnel
The ghost of a young girl trapped in a burning house haunts a tunnel near Niagara Falls.
- The White Lady
A ghost rises out of Durand Lake to hunt down her daughter's killer. (New York)
- The Army of the Dead
The ghosts of the Confederate Army still march through Charleston, South Carolina.
- The Dance
Don't ever dance with the devil. (Texas)
- The Death Coach
A woman tending her dying husband sees the Death Coach approaching.
- The Devil On Washington Rock
The Devil appears in a dream...and other places.
Folktales featuring Women
- Daniel's Dear
How Daniel Boone met his wife. (North Carolina)
- Ethan Allen
She's got a toothache, and so does he!
- Gollywhopper's Eggs
A Yankee woman outwits an unscrupulous traveling salesman.
- How Selfishness was Rewarded
A young girl refuses to share food with her starving family in this Tlingit myth from Alaska.
- Riverboat Racing
An old woman is afraid of racing, until her riverboat is challenged by a rival. (Kentucky)
- Teething Toy
What would you give your baby to teeth on if you lived in Deadwood, South Dakota?
- Why Dogs Chase Cats
Mrs. Cat pulls a fast one on Mr. Dog!