Tall tale

Tall tale

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A tall tale is a story with unbelievable elements, related as if it was true and factual. Some such stories are exaggerations of actual events, such as, "that fish was so big, why I tell ya', it nearly sank the boat when I pulled it in!" Other tall tales are completely fictional tales in a familiar setting, such as the American Old West or the beginning of the Industrial Age. Tall tales are often told so as to make the narrator seem to have been a part of the story. They are usually humorous or witty.

The tall tale is a fundamental element of American folk literature. The tall tale's origins are seen in the bragging contests that often occurred when the rough men of the American frontier gathered. The tales of legendary figures of the Old West, such as Pecos Bill and the lumberjack Paul Bunyan, owe much to the style of tall tales.

The bi-annual speech contests optionally held by Toastmasters International public speaking clubs may include a Tall Tales contest. Each participating speaker is given three to five minutes to give a short speech of a tall tale nature, and is then judged according to several factors. The winner and runner-up proceed to the next level of competition. The contest does not proceed beyond any participating district in the organization to the International level.

The comic strip Non Sequitur sometimes features tall tales told by the character Captain Eddie; it is left up to the reader to decide if he is telling the truth, exaggerating a real event, or just telling a whopper.

Other subjects of American tall tales include:

*Aylett C. (Strap) Buckner - A Native American-fighter of colonial Texas
*Davy Crockett - A pioneer and U.S. Congressman from Tennessee who later died at the Battle of the Alamo.
*Calamity Jane - A tough Wild West woman
*Febold Feboldson - A Nebraska farmer who could fight a drought
*Joe Magarac - A Pittsburgh steelworker made of steel
*Paul Bunyan - huge lumberjack who eats 50 pancakes in one minute
*Pecos Bill - legendary cowboy who "tamed the wild west"
*John Henry - A mighty steel-driving African American
*Johnny Appleseed - A friendly folk-hero who traveled the West planting apple trees because he felt his guardian angel told him to.
*Mike Fink - The toughest boatman of the Mississippi and is rival of Davy Crockett. Also known as the King of the Mississippi River Keelboatmen
*Molly Pitcher - A heroine of the American Revolutionary War
*Alfred Bulltop Stormalong - An immense sailor whose ship was so big it scraped the moon
*Tony Beaver - A West Virginia lumberjack and cousin of Paul Bunyan

Australian tall tales

The Australian frontier similarly inspired the types of tall tales that are found in American folklore. The Australian versions typically centre around a mythical station called The Speewah.

The heroes of the Speewah include:
*Big Bill - The dumbest man on the Speewah who made his living cutting up mining shafts and selling them for post holes
*Crooked Mick - A champion shearer who had colossal strength and quick wit.

Another folk hero in Australian folklore is The Man from Snowy River - A hero (created by author Banjo Patterson) whose bravery, adaptability, and risk-taking could epitomise the new Australian spirit.

imilar traditions in other cultures

Similar storytelling traditions are present elsewhere. The [http://www.grizedale.org/lying/history/index.htm Cumbrian Liars] in the United Kingdom provide one example. The film "Laughter and Grief by the White Sea" shows an illustration from the Pomors Russians by the White Sea.

ee also

*Baron Münchausen
*Chuck Norris Facts

External links

* [http://www.americanfolklore.net/tt.html American Tall Tales]
* [http://cdbaby.com/cd/markbinder2 Tall Tales, Whoppers and Lies - Audio Recording]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Tall Tale — also known as Tall Tale: The Unbelievable Adventures of Pecos Bill is a 1995 family Western movie starring Patrick Swayze, Nick Stahl, Oliver Platt, Roger Aaron Brown, Scott Glenn, Catherine O Hara, and Jared Harris.Filming locations include Bar …   Wikipedia

  • Tall tale — Un grand conte (tall tale) est une histoire avec des éléments incroyables, décrits comme étant vrais et factuels. Certaines histoires sont les exagérations d événements réels, tels ces histoires de pêche fabuleuse. D autres grands contes sont des …   Wikipédia en Français

  • tall tale — tall tales N COUNT A tall tale is a long and complicated story that is difficult to believe because most of the events it describes seem unlikely or impossible. ...the imaginative tall tales of sailors …   English dictionary

  • tall tale — noun count AMERICAN INFORMAL something that someone tells you that sounds so exciting, dangerous, unpleasant, etc. that you do not believe it is true. British tall story …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • tall\ tale — • tall story • tall tale See: fish story …   Словарь американских идиом

  • tall tale — ▪ folk tale       narrative that depicts the wild adventures of extravagantly exaggerated folk heroes. The tall tale is essentially an oral form of entertainment; the audience appreciates the imaginative invention rather than the literal meaning… …   Universalium

  • Tall Tale — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel: Pecos Bill – Ein unglaubliches Abenteuer im Wilden Westen Originaltitel: Tall Tale Produktionsland: USA Erscheinungsjahr: 1995 Länge: 91 Minuten Originalsprache: Englisch …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • tall tale — noun an improbable (unusual or incredible or fanciful) story (Freq. 2) • Hypernyms: ↑narrative, ↑narration, ↑story, ↑tale * * * noun, pl ⋯ tales [count] : a story that is very difficult to believe : a greatly exaggerated story They sat around the …   Useful english dictionary

  • tall tale — noun A greatly exaggerated, fantastic story. He returned on Monday with a tall tale about a 100 pound fish he had caught. , Cantonese: 吹水 , Dutch: sterk verhaal Syn: whopper …   Wiktionary

  • tall tale — (Roget s Thesaurus II) noun 1. Informal. An entertaining and often oral account of a real or fictitious occurrence: anecdote, fable, story, tale. Informal: yarn. See WORDS. 2. Informal. An untrue declaration: canard, cock and bull story,… …   English dictionary for students