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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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MILLIONAIRE

THERE IS SOME FAMOUS PERSON (THE INFORMANT CAN'T REMEMBER HIS HAME)
WHO GOES HOME EVERY DAY AT 3:00 P.M. TO WAIT FOR SOMEONE TO COME
AND GIVE HIM ONE MILLION DOLLARS. HE'S DONE THIS FOR OVER 8 YEARS
NOW.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Secular hero

Date learned: 09-20-1968

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LYNDON'S GRAVE

LYNDON AND LADY BIRD WERE OUT LOOKING AT GRAVESIGHTS. FINALLY,
LYNDON FOUND ONE HE LIKED: IT WAS THE ONLY ONE IN A WIDE FIELD
WITHOUT FENCES. WHEN HE ASKED WHAT THE PRICE WAS, THE PRESIDENT
WAS TOLD, "25,000 DOLLARS." "TWENTY-FIVE GRAND!" HE EXCLAIMED.
"BUT I'M ONLY GOING TO BE THERE THREE DAYS!"

Where learned: NOT GIVEN

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Secular hero

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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THE TRAFFIC COP

A TRAFFIC COP STOPPED A SPEEDING CAR CONTAINING LYNDON JOHNSON AND
MCGEORGE BUNDY. WHEN HE CAME UP TO THE WINDOW, MCGEORGE SAID TO
HIM, "OFFICER, DO YOU KNOW WHO THIS MAN IS? HE'S THE PRESIDENT OF
THE UNITED STATES."
ASTONISHED, THE COP SAID, "OH, MY GOD!"
"THAT'S RIGHT," SAID LYNDON, "AND YOU'D BETTER NOT FORGET IT,
EITHER!"

Where learned: NOT GIVEN

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Secular hero

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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ANECDOTE

A STATUE WAS MADE OF THE EX-PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA, JOHN
DIEFENBAKER, AND WHEN THE QUESTION AROSE AS TO WHERE TO PLACE THE
STATUE, THE SOLUTION WAS IMMEDIATE. THE STATUE WAS PLACED NEXT TO
THE STATUE OF THE ONLY MAN IN HISTORY DIEFENBAKER COULD BE COMPARED
TO: COLUMBUS. DIEFENBAKER WAS JUST LIKE COLUMBUS: HE HEADED FOR
SOMEWHERE BUT NEVER GOT THERE; GOT SOMEWHERE BUT DIDN'T KNOW WHERE;
NEVER KNEW HOW HE GOT THERE; AND DID THIS ALL ON BORROWED MONEY!

Submitter comment: I REMEMBER HEARING OR READING THIS A FEW MONTHS AFTER A NON-
CONFIDENCE VOTE PUSHED THE CONSERVATIVES AND JOHN DIEFENBAKER OUT
OF THE RULING POSITION.

Where learned: ONTARIO ; WINDSOR

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Secular hero

Date learned: 00-00-1965

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STORY ABOUT CASEY JONES

ONE VERSION OF THE BALLAD OF CASEY JONES (G IN VIKING) INCLUDES A
LINE WHERE MRS. CASEY SAYS, "SHE LOVED MR. KASSIE (CASEY) 'CAUSE
SHE TOLD ME SO." THIS PARTICULAR VERSION WAS WRITTEN WHEN THE
REAL MRS. CASEY DECIDED TO SUE THE OTHER BALLADEERS WHO HAD HER
SINGING, "CHILLUN, CHILLUN, KEEP FROM CRYIN', YOU GOT ANOTHER PAPA
ON THE NORTHERN LINE" JUST TO PROVE THAT MR. AND MRS. CASEY REALLY
DID LOVE EACH OTHER. OF COURSE WHEN THE SUIT WAS FILED AND MRS.
CASEY WON, THERE WAS ONE MRS. CASEY WHO CAME TO COLLECT, AND THEN
A SECOND MRS. CASEY, AND EVEN A THIRD AND FOURTH . . . WHICH MIGHT
PROVE SOMETHING ABOUT MR. CASEY.

Submitter comment: I HEARD THIS FROM TOM RUSH, A FOLK SINGER, IN CONCERT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Secular hero

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STAGE FRIGHT

TO ALLEVIATE HER STAGE FRIGHT, HELEN HAYES WOULD LOOK OUT AT THE
AUDIENCE FROM BEHIND THE CURTAIN AND CALL THE AUDIENCE ALL SORTS OF
CRUEL AND VULGAR NAMES.

Submitter comment: MRS. FRANCES WAS AN ENGLISH AND DRAMA TEACHER AT MERCY HIGH SCHOOL
IN DETROIT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Secular hero

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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DANIEL BOONE

WHEN DANIEL BOONE WAS A FRONTIERSMAN IN KENTUCKY, HE WAS, OF
COURSE, JUST ABOUT THE ONLY ONE OUT THERE. SOMEONE ASKED HIM
ONCE IF HE EVER GOT LOST TRAMPING AROUND IN THE WOODS, AND DANIEL
SAID, "NOPE, I WAS NEVER LOST, BUT ONE TIME I WAS MIGHTY BEWILDERED
FOR ABOUT THREE MONTHS."

Submitter comment: INFORMANT WAS CHAIRMAN OF THE HISTORY DEPARTMENT AT THE UNIVERSITY
OF DETROIT AT THE TIME.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Secular hero

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SECULAR HERO LEGEND (PROFESSOR)

A VERY FAMOUS AND RESPECTED PROFESSOR AT HARVARD HAD A REPUTATION
FOR BEING A FANTASTIC LECTURER, AND ALL HIS LECTURES WERE ALWAYS
FILLED TO THE BRIM WITH LISTENERS. BY CHANCE, AFTER ONE OF HIS
BEST SPEECHES, A STUDENT HAD LEFT HIS NOTEBOOK IN THE LECTURE HALL
AND THE PROFESSOR OPENED IT UP OUT OF CURIOSITY TO SEE EXACTLY WHAT
THE STUDENT HAD WRITTEN. WHEN HE READ WHAT THE STUDENT HAD COPIED
FROM HIS LECTURE, HE SILENTLY WALKED OUT OF THE LECTURE HALL AND
VOWED NEVER TO GIVE ANOTHER LECTURE AGAIN. WHEN QUESTIONED, HE
ONLY SAID, "IF THAT IS WHAT THEY GET OUT OF MY LECTURES, I HAVE NO
RIGHT TO BE A LECTURER." AND TO THIS DAY HE HAS NEVER GIVEN
ANOTHER LECTURE AT ANY COLLEGE.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT HEARD THIS FROM FR. MCKENDRICK IN AN ENGLISH CLASS AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Secular hero

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STAGE FRIGHT

SARAH BERNHARDT MANAGED TO GET OVER HER STAGE FRIGHT BY PEEKING
THROUGH A TINY HOLE IN THE CURTAIN SHORTLY BEFORE THE PLAY WAS TO
BEGIN AND IMAGINING, SO STRONGLY THAT SHE COULD REALLY PICTURE IT,
THAT EVERYONE IN THE AUDIENCE WAS NAKED. SHE, HOWEVER, WOULD BE
IN COSTUME. IT WORKED EVERY TIME.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT WAS AN ENGLISH AND DRAMA TEACHER AT MERCY HIGH SCHOOL.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Secular hero

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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ALSATIAN LEGEND

THERE WAS A SMALL TOWN THAT HAD A CRIME PROBLEM. THE PEOPLE BECAME
VERY CONCERNED ABOUT IT AND HIRED A NEW MAGISTRATE. THE FIRST
THING THE MAGISTRATE DID WAS TO BUILD A ONE-CELLED JAILHOUSE. THE
PEOPLE WANTED HIM TO BUILD A LARGER ONE, BUT THE MAGISTRATE
INSISTED THAT ONE CELL WAS ENOUGH.
THE FIRST CRIMINAL HE CAUGHT WAS PUT IN THE JAIL. A FEW DAYS
LATER, ANOTHER ONE WAS CAUGHT AND, IN ORDER TO MAKE ROOM IN THE
JAIL, THE MAGISTRATE HANGED THE FIRST ONE. THE TOWN'S CRIME
DROPPED.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Secular hero

Date learned: 11-00-1968

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NOT GIVEN

A COLORED FARMER NEAR ALBANY, GEORGIA, WAS THE LARGEST LANDOWNER
IN THAT AREA FROM 1890 TO 1910. DURING THAT TWENTY YEARS, HE
PRODUCED THE FIRST BALE OF COTTON IN THE UNITED STATES, SO HE
WAS CALLED THE "FIRST BALE" MAN. HIS RECORD HAS NOT BEEN EQUALLED
SINCE, AND NO ONE KNOWS THE METHOD BY WHICH HE DID IT. HIS NAME
WAS DEAL JACKSON.

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Secular hero

Date learned: 11-00-1967

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LEGEND

DAVY CROCKETT'S EXPLOITS AS A FRONTIERSMAN WERE SATIRIZED IN HIS
OWN EPIC BOASTING. HE ASSUMED THE CHARACTER OF THE RING-TAILED,
ROARING BRAGGART--"HALF HORSE AND HALF ALLIGATOR"--WHO COULD OUT-
BOAST THE LOUDEST. ONCE WHEN HE AND A FELLOW HUNTER NAMED BEN
HARDIN WERE IN THE NORTHWEST, THEY WERE SURROUNDED BY INDIANS.
DAVY RUBBED HIS BACK AGAINST A GREAT ROCK, STRUCK HIS LEFT EYE A
FEW TIMES AND WITH ONE WINK, SENT OUT A BOLT OF HOT LIGHTNING THAT
SHATTERED THE ROCK AND KILLED THE INDIANS. DAVY SAID IT WAS NO
TRICK AT ALL FOR A MAN WHO COULD "WALK LIKE AN OX, RUN LIKE A FOX,
SWIM LIKE AND EEL, AND SPOUT LIKE AN EARTHQUAKE."

Where learned: NOT GIVEN

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Secular hero

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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HAMPTON BEACH, HAMPTON NEW HAMPSHIRE

ON HAMPTON BEACH, NEAR THE BOAR'S HEAD, IS SUPPOSED TO BE THE SITE
OF THE GRAVE OF LIEF ERICKSON'S FATHER, ERIC THE RED, WHO DIED ON
THE NEW HAMPSHIRE COAST A FEW HUNDRED YEARS BEFORE COLUMBUS.

Submitter comment: I LEARNED THIS THROUGH GOING TO HAMPTON BEACH EVERY SUMMER SINCE
I WAS SIX.

Where learned: NEW HAMPSHIRE ; MILFORD

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Secular hero

Date learned: 11-01-1967

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HEROES

TWO GREAT HEROES IN MACEDONIA DURING THE TURKISH RULE WERE MAUSSA
KESIGIN, WHO REPRESENTED THE TURKS, AND KROULO MORKKO, OF THE
MACEDONIANS.
MAUSSA CHALLENGED KROULO TO A DUEL WHICH WOULD DECIDE THE FUTURE
OF MACEDONIA. THEY BATTLED WITH SPIKED CLUBS. AS THEY HIT EACH
OTHER, THEY DROVE EACH OTHER FURTHER INTO THE GROUND. DEEPER AND
DEEPER THEY WENT, UNTIL THE TURK WAS UP TO HIS NECK. KROULO THEN
CUT OFF HIS HEAD AND LED MACEDONIA TO VICTORY.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT LEARNED THIS FROM HIS FATHER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Secular hero

Date learned: 12-05-1967

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FRITHIOF

FRITHIOF OF THE SAGA IS A WELL KNOWN LEGENDARY HERO OF MEDIEVAL
TIMES TO MANY SWEDISH PEOPLE. HE IS DESCRIBED AS A BRAVE AND
HANDSOME MAN; MANY LEGENDS AND VERSES ARE ATTRIBUTED TO HIM.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT REMEMBERS HER FATHER MENTIONING THE EXPLOITS OF THE
SWEDISH NATIONAL HERO.

Where learned: MINNESOTA ; ROUTE 1 ; STURGEON LAKE

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Secular hero

Date learned: 03-28-1970

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LEGEND OF GEORGE KATSOPAULOS

IN 1895, WHEN THE GREEKS WERE INVADING THE MACEDONIAN VILLAGES FOR
DRAFTEES, GEORGE WAS FOURTEEN. A GREEK OFFICER CAME TO GET
GEORGE'S FATHER FOR THE DRAFT, AND SINCE GEORGE'S FATHER REFUSED TO
GO, HE WAS KILLED ON THE SPOT BY THE OFFICER, IN FRONT OF GEORGE'S
EYES. GEORGE THEN STOLE A PISTOL AND SHOT THE GREEK OFFICER'S
FATHER. HE WAS HIDDEN BY FRIENDLY PEASANTS AND FINALLY SMUGGLED
INTO CANADA, WHERE HE STILL LIVES TODAY.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT'S FATHER TOLD HIM ABOUT GEORGE'S LIFE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Secular hero

Date learned: 12-05-1967

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MOONCAKE MESSAGES

MANY YEARS AGO, THE MONGOLS OCCUPIED CHINA. AFTER YEARS OF
SUPPRESSION, THE CHINESE ROSE UP AND DROVE THE MONGOLS OUT.
THIS WAS MADE POSSIBLE BY THE INFORMATION PASSED ON IN MOONCAKES
BY THE CHINESE WOMEN. EACH OF THE MOONCAKES DISTRIBUTED ON
MOONCAKE DAY CONTAINED A MESSAGE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Secular hero

Date learned: 11-00-1968

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AN EVEN BETTER WHITE HOUSE

WHEN PAT NIXON WENT ON HER TOUR OF THE WHITE HOUSE WITH MRS.
JOHNSON AND THEY CAME TO THE BATHROOM OF THE PRESIDENTIAL
SUITE, PAT DECIDED THAT THE BIRD BATH HAD TO GO.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT HEARD THIS FROM FANNIE FLAGG.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HUNTINGTON WOODS

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Secular hero

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POLISH LEGEND

THE DAUGHTER OF PRINCE CRACOW, WANDA, THREW HERSELF INTO THE
VISTULA, PREFERRING TO DROWN RATHER THAN MARRY THE GERMAN PRINCE
RUDIGER. AS THE PEOPLE MOURNED THEIR PRINCESS, RUDIGER, DEPRIVED
OF HIS COVETED PRIZE, TURNED HIS ARMY FROM THE CITY. THUS CRACOW
WAS SAVED FROM THE GERMANS BY WANDA'S SACRIFICE, AND THE STORY OF
HER HEROISM HAS LIVED THROUGH THE AGES. THERE IS STILL A FOLK
SONG SUNG ABOUT HER:
WANDA IN POLISH EARTH LIES DEAD,
WHO WOULD NOT A GERMAN WED.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GROSSE POINTE FARMS

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Secular hero

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A BETTER WHITE HOUSE

WHEN MRS. JOHNSON INVITED PAT NIXON IN TO HELP BEAUTIFY WASHINGTON,
LADY BIRD DIDN'T REALIZE THAT SHE HERSELF WOULD BE THE FIRST ITEM
TO GO.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT HEARD THIS FROM FANNIE FLAGG.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HUNTINGTON WOODS

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Secular hero

Date learned: 11-10-1968

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