marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

The Jack Tales

The Jack Tales by Richard Chase

A collection of folktales from North Carolina and Virginia, all featuring a hero named Jack.

Not all of them are consistent with each other, one narrator even commenting on the marriage problem, but they are also not independent of each other -- Jack, for instance, often has two brother named Will and Tom.

But Jack doesn't just climb the beanstalk.  He also deals with robbers -- is oppressed by his employer and helped by a magical bull -- stays all night in a mill and sternly forbids a cat to sop its doll in his meal, ending up chopping off its paw and finding it turning into a hand -- marries a king's daughter by making her laugh -- helps a girl turned into a cat by a wicked witch -- wins a match with King Marock and sets out to find him, not knowing he's a wizard, and has daughters who turn, not into birds, but into greyhounds -- and the last tale where he trapped Death, but finally freed him on hearing that people wanted to die, they were growing so old, and he was the first one to die himself.

Many different takes on many old tales known across Europe.  Including notes about types and parallels.
Tags: fairy tale reviews

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