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Sparkle Weekly Wonderings

Ancient Greece has its demi-gods, India has the Pandava, Scandanavia has the Niblungs, and America … has tall tales.

Tall Tales are our mythology — our heroes and demi-gods and bigger-than-life symbols of the American “folk soul.” Like the mythologies of old, tall tales were created over time, collecting extraordinary and super-powerful qualities from several generations of historical figures and compressing them into one character, one narrative. Pecos Bill and Sluefoot Sue are tall tales from the American West. Paul Bunyan is a tall tale of the American North. Old Stormalong and Jack Tar from the sea, Johnny Appleseed and John Henry from the heartland. They are all attached to difficult chapters in our history and the great efforts that were required for survival.

Though there are few classic “tall tales” in our library of Sparkle Stories, their themes can be found throughout. There are stories of resilience, stories of facing fears, stories of transformation, and certainly stories of “larger than life” characters going the extra mile to help someone in need.

The world is looking at America with deep curiosity, wondering who we are and what are our intentions. And though I cannot speak for all our identities or motivations, I can say that the tall tales of our land are true. We are powerful. We are big, bold, and often brash. But like Pecos Bill’s enduring love, like John Henry’s loyalty, like Johnny Appleseed’s wish to spread abundance, we are also a tender, loyal, and generous people. May the stories continue to inspire us — and help us see our potential.

About the Author

David Sewell McCann
Story Spinner

David Sewell McCann fell in love with spinning stories in first grade – the day a storyteller came to his class and captured his mind and imagination. He has been engaged in storytelling all of his adult life through painting, film-making, teaching and performing. Out of his experience as a Waldorf elementary class teacher and parent, he has developed a four step method of intuitive storytelling, which he now shares through workshops and through this website.