Folk Tales, Tall Tales, Trickster Tales and Legends of the Supernatural From the Pinelands of New Jersey: Recorded and Annotated by Herbert Halpert Between 1936 and 1951

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Winner of the 2010 Adele Mellen Prize
for Outstanding Contribution to Scholarship in Folk Studies

Winner of the Katherine Briggs Book Award
This annotated collection presents a unique corpus of over 400 traditional tales, collected by North America’s most distinguished scholar of Folk Studies. It includes anecdotes, historical and aetiological tales, legends (including the tales of the Jersey Devil), and tall tales. This book contains thirteen black and white photographs.


"This collection constitutes a major contribution to knowledge of traditional stories and storytelling in the New World, and enables readers to trace the roots of these traditions. The tales themselves will fascinate the general reader, and the annotation will set the standard for future work in this field. The publication of this unique collection has my unreserved support."
Paul Smith, Memorial University

"This collection is perhaps the most extensive and significant corpus of traditional tales to be gathered during fieldwork from a specific region of the USA. In revealing the richness and diversity of oral storytelling in this particular area, it suggests not only that similar tales were to be found in other parts of the country, but also that many of the stories had been brought to the New World by the early settlers, and have their parallels in Britain, Ireland, Continental Europe and indeed worldwide."
- Dr. Carl Lindahl, University of Houston

"... this works represents one of the most serious contributions to the study of traditional anglophone narrative yet produced and is one of the worthiest ever winners of the Katherine Briggs Award." -- Dr. Jonathan Roper, University of Tartu, Estonia

"This posthumous completion of Halpert's work shows the richness of a small stable community's stories can be enough to sustain the interest of more than one lifetime, and can bring much insight to others. Halpert's groundbreaking achievement shows the way for such surveys elsewhere. In both its preservation of material of material and in its presentation, it is a sustained and profound work," -- Prof. Robert James Smith

Table of Contents

Preface by Carl Lindahl, PhD

Part I
Section 1. Tricksters (Nos. 1-17)
A. “Devil Bill” Reed
B. “Big Bill” Estel
C. “Cracky” Wainwright
D. Other Tricksters

Section 2. Rhyming Taunts and Insults, Unexpected Remarks, Surprising Answers and Retorts (Nos. 18-43)
A. Rhyming Taunts and Insults
B. Unexpected Remarks
C. Surprising Answers and Retorts

Section 3. Fools and Simpletons (Nos. 44-74)
A. Ignorance of the Natural World
B. Linguistic Misunderstanding
C. Foolish Disregard for Own Safety
D. Ignorance of Real Life

Section 4. Human Behavior (Nos. 75-115)
A. Men and Women, Husbands and Wives
B. Cante Fables
C. Religion, Preachers and Lawyers

Section 5. Strong Men, Great Eaters, and Tall Tale Heroes (Nos. 116-133)
A. Jesse Johnson, the Elder
B. Jesse Johnson, the Nephew
C. Other Strong Men
D. “Cracky” Wainwright Stories
E. “Old Joe” Britton Stories
F. Ed Leek Stories

Section 6. Other Tall Tales (Nos. 134-164)
A. Cold Weather
B. Remarkable Creatures
C. Remarkable Events
D. Lying Contests and Remarkable Explanations

Section 7. Humorous Tales about Fear of the Supernatural (Nos. 165-171)

Section 8. Riddle Tales, Miscellaneous Stories and Dites (Nos. 172-178)
Notes to Part I

Part II
Section 1. Fiddler Sammy Giberson (Nos. 1-36)
A. Giberson, the Remarkable Fiddler and Step-Dancer
B. Fiddler Giberson and the Devil

Section 2. Devils, Witches, Fortunetelling, the Otherworld, and Buried Treasure (Nos. 37-66)
A. Devil Child Stories
B. Other Devil Stories
C. Witch Stories: Peggy Clevenger
D. Other Witch Stories
E. Fortunetelling, the Otherworld, and Buried Treasure

Section 3. Jerry Munyhun, the Wizard of the Pines (Nos. 67-141)
A. Jerry’s Arrival
B. Jerry, the Trickster-Ventriloquist
C. Jerry, the Trickster-Magician
D. Jerry, the Trickster-Illusionist
E. Jerry and the Devil
F. “Munyhun and His Tricks”: A Cycle
G. “Other Things He Done”
Notes to Part II

Index of Titles
Index of Types
Index of Motifs
Index of Storytellers

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