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5/06/2005  

Tall Tales

Tall Tale: An extravagant, fanciful or greatly exaggerated story. Usually focuses on the achievements of the ultimate hero.


I love tall tales. The taller the better! There's nothing like an evening spent around a campfire trying to one-up everyone else with your outrageous stories! In Mississippi, this tradition of telling whoppers is known as "Callin' the Dog". How did that that saying get started? Well, it seems that one night, a group of Mississippi men gathered in their favorite tavern and started swapping tall tales. One rich landowner offered a hound dog pup to the person who could tell the biggest lie. His offer began a contest that lasted all evening. The crazy stories started rollin' in, each one bigger and harder to believe than the one before. Now, the last man to talk knew he didn't have a chance of winnin' that there pup on account of all them tall-tales the others told was so good. So when his turn came, he jest said: "I never told a lie in my life." There was a stunned silence in the room for a moment. Then the owner of the hound dog said: "You get the pup!" And everyone else agreed with him.



A topic that gets even the most straight-laced people telling tall tales is the weather. Michigan has some pretty good stories about their wind, which gets so fierce that it knocks mountains right over! California boasts of its sunny climate, where some folks find it just too darn hard to die! (A longer version of this story appears in Spooky California.) But Arizona weather beats them all in my book. It's so dry in Arizona, they have to take their frogs to the pool to teach 'em how to swim. However, there is good news. Not only does Arizona have great air, but ever since they started shippin' in ice from California, their hens don't lay hard boiled eggs no more!


So I state again -- I love tall tales. The taller the better! Got one to swap? Email me at: webmaster@americanfolklore.net


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