Friday, March 11, 2005

Young Kentuckians Don’t Know Jack About Jack Tales

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (Wireless Flash - FlashNews) – Lay down your head Tom Dooley, cause Jack Tales are gonna die.

The Appalachian folk stories known as Jack Tales are at risk of disappearing from American culture, according to Kay Hammond, a librarian at Pikeville College in Pikeville, Kentucky, who has become a living archive of the stories.

Jack Tales originated in the Appalachian mountains and follow the same character named Jack who lives by his wits and always comes out on top in the end. They were first told around the 19th century when there were no roads out of the mountains and folks needed to entertain themselves.

Hammond says hardly anyone seems to know the stories these days, which is why she strives to preserve them through acting them out at libraries. As she says, “You don’t read them, you tell them.”

She says most youngsters who see her perform have never heard the stories, but when she recites the tales, the kids go wild.

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