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The Yankee Peddler

According to The Penguin Dictionary of American Folklore ( Axelrod and Osler, 2000, New York: Penguin Press, page 523), the Yankee Peddler (trader, trickster) has a reputation, since the 18th century, for sharp dealings. They indulged in "skunking" (deceiving someone) and playing practical jokes, often to the end of giving a deserving victim a comeuppance! Often the stories feature backwoodsmen being conned by the Yankee Peddler into buying something they didn't want, like a clock with no works inside or the fabled Gollywhopper's Eggs (see story link below).

Yankee Horse Traders pursuaded people to buy worthless nags. They pursuade the person to buy at a 'bargain" price by confessing that the creature has a small fault (such as "the horse is hard to catch"). This lulls the buyer into thinking he is getting a deal on a good horse that can be trained out of the small fault. It is only after the deal is closed and the Yankee peddler is about to leave town that the truth comes out: "The horse ain't good for nothing when you do catch him!"

Below are a few stories about Yankee Peddlers.

Connecticut Yankee
A Yankee Peddler outwits a Southern innkeeper.

Gollywhopper's Eggs
A Yankee Peddler comes to town with a most unusual product to sell.


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