American Folklore: short stories

November 10, 2020

these stories come from the book American Folklore and Legend by Reader’s Digest
these are not my words…

American Folklore and Legend

The New World was a delight and a puzzle for explorers, strange flora and fauna everywhere. Explorers were eager to tell there stories, while artists illustrated the stories…the explorers were clever, so accounts like these often contain tongue-in-check descriptions. Also told in “Old English”
Hope you enjoy!

Playing Possum


“The first marsupial ever seen by whites was the opossum. As described by one explorer, it “hath a head like a swine, a tail like a rat, and is of the bigness of a cat; under her belly she hath a bag, wherein she lodgeth her young.” Such a strange creature was bound to give rise to folklore. From the observation that mother opossums often sniff inside the pouch while giving birth, the notion arose that opossums copulate through the nose and then blow their young into the pouch.”

The Gougou Monster

Gougou - Also known as Kuku, these semi-aquatic North American giants are  described as feminine human… | Mythological creatures, Mythical creatures,  Monster legends

“A French boat sailed past an isle where dwells a frightful monster which the savages call Gougou. They say it is the shape of a woman but of exceedingly horrible aspect and of such size the savages declared that a ship’s mast would not reach as high as the she-monster’s girdle. Often she put savages in her pocket when she succeeds in catching them, and the she devours them. Those who have escaped from the parlous toils of this wretched beast maintain that her pouch is so huge she could put a whole ship inside. The Christians sailed so close by the den of this dreadful monster that all hands plainly heard hissing noises she made at their approach. We can only conclude the place must be the den of a devil appointed to torment them.”


Maine Native American History - By Sandra Sylvester - Rockland - Camden -  Knox - Courier-Gazette - Camden Herald
Maine Indians Before European Settlement

“The savages were in terror of meeting their enemies the Armouchiquois, who are savages of an altogether monstrous shape: for their heads are very small and their bodies very stubby and their arms and hams as lean as any skeleton’s, yet with legs long and strong and all of a size; and when they sit on their heels, their knees pass more than half a foot over their heads, which is passing strange. Yet they are of a powerful, strong temper and determined and therefor have the best lands around.”

Raretes des Indes, in which these animals appear (above)
descibes the beaver-like mammal as a
“mountain rat as big as a spaniel”

and the others as a sea horse found near the St. Lawrence
a unicorn
and a tiger

These strange creatures decorate The Unknown World, published in 1673
The airborne beast in the photo below is identified as a
“dreadful dragon with fiery eyes and a brown-blue back”
His companions are a two-tailed lizard and a cuttlefish.
Two “baboons” (shown above), which were probably
inspired by the uakari monkey, stroll among several strange serpents

hope you have a great day!
thanks for stopping by!!


take care
stay safe
much love

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