This collection of African-American folktales highlights the unbroken chain of a rich oral tradition. The stories share the richness and variety of a cultural heritage that has crossed the Atlantic, survived slavery, and triumphed over the ignorance of racism and bigotry.
This unique collection of American stories from the frozen tundra of Alaska to the lush green hills of Virginia; from the sweltering bayous of Louisiana to the windswept prairies of South Dakota is told in DeSpain's signature gentle style. Every reader will find something of interest - the stories range from practical tales of wisdom such as Pulling the Rope to silly and scary ones such as The Haint that Roared and The Big, Smelly, Hairy Toe. The stories represent not only the geographic diversity of the United States but also offer a portrait of our nation's character, values, beliefs, and customs that differ from region to region yet retain a fundamental sense of shared community.
High John the Conqueror sometimes called simply High John or John was a slave trickster who always outwits Old Master. Much like Greek slave Aesop's animal characters, High John was the subject of a series of subversive narratives, whose mission was to outsmart his oppressors. Tall tales of High John's exploits flourished during slavery, but after emancipation they fell out of circulation and his antics were all but forgotten.
Sandpiper finds her daily stroll on the beach interrupted by Whale, who boasts that he is ruler of the sea. Sandpiper responds with equal bravado, asserting her rights to the sand and seawater. Soon the rivals are calling in their cousins, and the beach and sea are filled with shorebirds and sea mammals of every stripe. The standoff grows ominous as Whale leads his cousins in an assault on the beach, eating the sand from under the birds. Sandpiper retaliates by ordering her cousins to drink up the ocean. Soon the landscape is filled with fish, crabs, and sea creatures gasping for survival. How will this end? The outcome of this timely yet timeless nature tale suggests that we are all connected in the ecological chain.
5,000 years ago in ancient Mesopotamia during a terrible drought, Jomar and Zefa's father must send his children away to the city of Ur because he can no longer feed them. At fourteen, Jomar is old enough to apprentice with Sidah, a master goldsmith for the temple of the moongod, but there is no place for Zefa in Sidah's household. Zefa, a talented but untrained musician, is forced to play her music and sing for alms on the streets of Ur.
A collection of authentic stories from the years around 1492. These tales have been carefully crafted to sound as exciting and mysterious as they were when first told five hundred years ago by sailors around a lantern on a ship, shared by explorers reclining around a campfire, enjoyed by Native Americans in a grass hut, whispered inside a stone palace in the Totonac city of Zempoala, or fondly remembered by an adventurer back home in Europe.
This collection of fifty folktales and parables was selected from diverse story traditions such as Sufi, Zen, Taoist, Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, African, and Native American. Comprised of ancient plots both poignant and comical, this anthology contains simple truths, common sense, and the promise that we can benefit from past generations' experience. Wisdom tales offer useful insights into life's joys and sorrows that all of us experience.