tall tale


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tall tale,

extravagantly and humorously exaggerated story of the backwoods exploits of an American frontiersman. Originating in the 1820s, the genre remained popular well into the 20th cent. One of the earliest heroes of this type of folklore, Colonel Davy Crockett of Tennessee, boasted:
I'm that same David Crockett, fresh from the backwoods, half-horse, half-alligator, a little touched with the snapping turtle; can wade the Mississippi, leap the Ohio, ride a streak of lightning, slip without a scratch down a honey locust, can whip my weight in wildcats … .
These bold deeds were made famous throughout the West by Crockett's Autobiography (1834) and by his Almanacs (1835–56). Crockett also popularized the deeds of the gigantic Mike Fink, "King of the Mississippi Keelboatmen," who was said to have once slain with a single shot both a deer and a Native American who was pursuing it. From Canada came the tales of the hero of the lumberjacks, Paul Bunyan, whose Blue Ox "Babe" was "forty-two ax handles and a plug of chewing tobacco between the eyes." The cowboys' hero was Pecos Bill, who "taught the bronco how to buck," and Southern blacks told tales of John Henry, the railroader and steamboat roustabout who once won a contest against a steam drill.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Great Texas hamster drive: An original tall tale. Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish.
Another tall tale: Betsy Ross' involvement in sewing the first American flag.
Tall Tale, who was ridden by another of Guest's riders, Larry McGrath, was getting off the mark at his 41st attempt and not surprisingly failed to attract a bid.
A COUNCILLOR in Gower says stories about a spooky road on the peninsula could be just a tall tale. Llangennith Community Council member Eric Gibbs says he has never seen a ghost in the 75 years he has lived in the village.
When word got out about this newly acquired land, fortune hunters, trailblazers, and storytellers ventured into the new territory and the tall tale was born.
But these days you are just as likely to see these lavish natural settings playing host to weddings as to all-night poker games and "tall tale" sessions--and every man we talked to admitted that the new family-oriented way of running a hunting club is definitely an improvement for everyone.
He arms himself with the full arsenal of the storyteller's tricks--drama, irony, action, traces of tall tale, and humor--especially humor.
She reads this textual opacity in quite interesting and convincing terms, positing the desire for escape and for genuine alterity as the more or less natural outcome of a tall tale intentionally structured around the literal rise of a small man of slender means and still less luck.
TALL TALE: This one-time math teacher has packed De Niro's suitcase, escorted Spielberg to a 600-person Deauville dinner in the helmer's honor and showed up late to a Cannes Official Selection screening after swarming hordes blocked Cruise's convertible Rolls on the Croisette.
That may be a tall tale. But some paleontologists (dino scientists) think their lashing tails may have sped faster than modem-day jet planes.
The Faust legend, gentle satire of New England eccentricities, patriotism, and faith in humanity's higher aspirations are all elements of this tall tale; Benet's prose style, colloquial yet flexible, is important to the story's success.
Davy Crockett 's Narrative of the Life of David Crockett (1834) is rich in tall tales, boasting not only of his own bold feats but also those of the " king of the flatboatmen, " Mike Fink, and Daniel Boone.