Tag Archives: appalachian folklore

The Devil and the Farmer’s Wife

This tale of the shrewish wife who terrifies even the demons is ancient and widespread. The Hindus have it in a sixth century fable collection, the Panchatantra. It seems to have travelled westward by Persia, and to have spread to almost every European country. In early versions, the farmer makes a pact with the Devil […]


The real Johnny Appleseed

No more important fruit tree graces the homesteads, farms, and backyards of Appalachia than the apple. When early settlers headed west from the eastern seaboard, they took apple seeds because they didn’t weigh too much or take up too much space. And no figure from American folklore personifies the spread of the apple into the […]


Sody Sallyratus

A long time ago there was an old woman and an old man and a little girl and a little boy and their pet squirrel sitting up on the fireplace. One day the old woman wanted to bake some biscuits but she needed some sody. So she sent the little boy to the store to […]


Gold is really good, only when wisely spent

A Kentucky folktale Back in the olden days, an old man lived alone in a big house on his farm. He never married or raised a family. To him, a wife would have been too expensive. Raising a family would have cost at least half of his farm profit. And money, he believed, was too […]


B’ar in the Syrup Bar’l

Back in the days when this was new ground you had to cotch a b’ar ef you wanted to keep warm. Yessuh, my pappy knew this country when she was somep’n. He come over the mountains from South Ca’liny with his pappy, my gran’pappy, and gran’maw, when he was jus’ a boy. When they decided […]

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