United States Folklore

Fur-Bearing Trout

Now it happened that there was a mining camp in Colorado where more than an average number of the miners were bald. An enterprising hair tonic salesman from Kentucky decided to take advantage of this golden opportunity, so he made the trip north. It was a rainy summer evening. The salesman was headed towards the mining camp with four bottles of hair tonic under his arm. As he was crossing one of the trout streams which lead to the Arkansas River, the salesman slipped and dropped two bottles of hair tonic into the water. The bottles broke, and the hair tonic spilled into the stream…

Johnny Appleseed

Johnny Appleseed was a hermit and a wanderer who was welcomed wherever he went in the Ohio territory. Everyone loved him, in spite of his unkempt appearance. He always carried a sack full of apple seeds to plant, and walked barefoot all year round. He knew the frontier woods better than anyone. Even the Indians respected Johnny Appleseed for his courage.

Pecos Bill finds a Hard Outfit

Well now, Texas jest became too tame for Pecos Bill once he killed off all the bad men, so he struck out for New Mexico, looking for a hard outfit. He asked an old trapper he met on the way where he could find a hard outfit, and the trapper directed Bill to a place where the fellers bit nails in half for fun. It sounded like a promisin’ place to Bill, so he set off. But his durned fool hoss got its neck broke on the way, and Bill found himself afoot…

The Birth of Pecos Bill

Well now Pecos Bill was born in the usual way to a real nice cowpoke and his wife who were journeying west with their eighteen children. Bill’s Ma knew right from the start that he was something else. He started talkin’ before he was a month old, did his teething on his Pa’s bowie knife and rode his first horse jest as soon as he learned to sit up on his own. When he started to crawl, Pecos Bill would slither out of the wagon while his Mama was cookin’ supper and wrestle with the bear cubs and other wild animals that roamed the prairies….

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…

The Wampus Cat

They say that the Wampus cat used to be a beautiful Indian woman. The men of her tribe were always going on hunting trips, but the women had to stay home. The Indian woman secretly followed her husband one day when he went hunting with the other men. She hid herself behind a rock, clutching the hide of a mountain cat around her, and spied on the men as they sat around their campfires telling sacred stories and doing magic…

Christmas Gift

Away down South, an old custom dictates that if someone comes up to you on Christmas Day and says “Christmas gift” before y’all do, why y’all are obliged to give that person a present. Mind you, the custom does not say what sort of present y’all should give! But those of us who hail from the South consider ourselves to be gentlefolk. The gifts given and received in this manner are good enough to keep the custom alive and well…

Aunty Greenleaf and the White Deer

Aunty Greenleaf was a scrawny old woman with a wild thatch of gray hair and a crooked nose. She lived in a hut surrounded by pines just outside Brookhaven, and she sold herbal remedies to the folks in town. Mostly, people avoided her, except when someone got sick because it was said that Aunty Greenleaf was a witch. Her home remedies worked too well to be natural. Folks figured she had to have help from the devil or one of his familiars…

Bear Lake Monster

If you travel to Bear Lake in Utah on a quiet day, you just might catch a glimpse of the Bear Lake Monster. The monster looks like a huge brown snake and is nearly 90 feet long. It has ears that stick out from the side of its skinny head and a mouth big enough to eat a man. According to some, it has small legs and it kind of scurries when it ventures out on land. But in the water – watch out!…

Tommy Knockers

Tommy Knockers are the spirits of departed miners that help miners find ore. They also knock on the walls of the mines right before a cave-in. When you hear a Tommy Knocker knocking, it’s best to depart the area right quick. They have saved the life of many a miner who has been in a danger. Some folks say that the very first man to hear the sound is jinxed, but that is not always the case…