CAHSS Faculty Articles

Title

Jack Tales and Mountain Yarns: As Told By Orville Hicks

Department

Department of Literature and Modern Languages

Publication Date

11-10-2009

Publication Title

Journal of Folklore Research

ISSN

0737-7037

Volume

46

Issue/No.

3

Abstract

Excerpt

Jack Tales and Mountain Yarns includes more than twenty tales collected from Beech Mountain, North Carolina, storyteller Orville Hicks, transcribed by Julia Ebel, and charmingly illustrated by Sherry Jensen. As Ebel points out in her introduction, Hicks learned many of these tales, as well as songs and riddles, from his mother, Sarah Harmon Hicks, often while collecting galax and other plants in the mountains. Sarah herself was the granddaughter of nineteenth-century master yarnspinner and Beech Mountain patriarch, Council (Counce) Harmon (1807–96), and both she and her father, McKeller (Kell) Harmon, were among the storytellers from whom Richard Chase collected in the 1930s and 1940s, which helped launch the tremendous interest in Jack tales. Numerous volumes of Jack tales, Grandfather tales, and other mountain yarns stem from Harmon’s progeny, including Jane Hicks Gentry, Maud Long, R. M. and Marshall Ward, Hattie Presnell, Frank Proffitt, Jr., and probably most famously, Leonard “Ray” Hicks (1922–2003), who was actually Orville’s second cousin. Orville learned many of his tales at Ray’s homestead on Beech Mountain, and he considers himself to be carrying on the tradition Ray did much to promote.

Comments

Unverified citation.

ORCID ID

0000-0002-4966-1251

Peer Reviewed

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