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The Dutch influence on American Folklore

New York folklore still retains much of its Dutch influence. Many common NY folktales have come to us from the time when New York was New Amsterdam. Below are just a few!

In the story of the Baker's Dozen from Albany (retold in Spooky New York), Saint Nicholas teaches a stingy Dutch baker to be generous with his goods.

When Captain Kidd pays a visit to the Dutch widow of one of his crewmen, she is pursuaded to hide him from his pursuers. In exchange for her kindness, the Captain turns her money and many of her possession to gold using the gold tooth given to him by the devil (The Gold Tooth -- Spooky New York.)

Spuyten Duyvil, at the tip of Manhattan, takes its name from an old folktale about a trumpeter named Anthony who was trying to warn of an attack on New Amsterdam.

Jan Sol bravely guards the main gate of New Amsterdam, until he encounters a "monster" that sends him running for help! (Read the full story in Spooky New York.)

Saint Nicholas visits a poor family in New Amsterdam on Christmas eve. When they offer him their hospitality in spite of a shortness of food and money, he rewards them with riches beyond their wildest dreams.

The ghost of Peter Stuyvesant (Peg-leg Pete) still haunts St. Mark's Church in the Bowery.

Roly-poly Nicholas Van Wemple of Flatbush has a close encounter with a haunted mill and some rascally pirates on his way to get a New Year's goose for his family dinner. (Spooky New York)

The Devil challenges a Dutch musician to a fiddling contest in what is now the borough of Brooklyn. Fortunately for the Dutchman, the Devil did not like Dutch hymns!!! (Spooky New York)


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