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.
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.
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.