Catherine Peek, editor,
A Treasury of North American Folktales
(Philip Leif Group, 1998)

A Treasury of North American Folktales is a collection of the classic tales from all across the country. You will find the old favorites, such as "Davy Crockett Meets A Bear," plus many that you have not heard. These 110 stories come from the widest possible diversity of cultures and provide a cross section of American beliefs throughout history.

The stories are divided into nine sections: "How the World Was Made," "Tall Tales, Brags, and Other Lies," "Legendary Heroes and Heroines," "Larger Than Life," "Life Lessons," "Tricks and Tricksters," "The Fool," "Love Stories" and "Of Ghosts, Witches, and the Devil."

A quick glance at the titles will remind you of the diversity within the stories. Under "Tricks and Tricksters," there are stories with titles that indicate they are from Arkansas, New England, Native America and the Southwest.

Each story has an introduction that tells the region where the story is found and the source from which it was taken for this book. These entries provide a lot of information about folklore in general and within specific communities or groups of people. You will learn that in Canada, the most common fool is "Pat." There is a comical story about how he mistook a grave robber for the devil. This story is compared to one from Nova Scotia in which he tricks a government man into giving him a job.

My favorite section was the last one, the one about the ghosts, witches and the devil. I loved every one of these stories and could read this section every day and never tire of it. But I enjoy reading the entire book whenever I have time. These are the stories that have been passed down from our ancestors, with slight modifications made by each generation or according to the individual storyteller's whims. They are timeless and will continue to thrill future generations for eons.

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 31 May 2003