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James Callow Folklore Archive

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REGIONAL STORY

THERE'S A RIVER, WELL, CANAL, I GUESS YOU'D CALL IT,
THAT CONNECTS THE HUDSON AND HARLEM RIVERS IN UPPER
MANHATTAN, AND EVEN THOUGH IT'S WIDER THAN THE
CUMBERLAND (RIVER), IT'S CALLED A CREEK, SPUYTENDYVIL
(SPITE-IN-DIE-VAL) CREEK. THE STORY GOES THAT WHEN
THE DUTCH SETTLED NEW YORK, THERE WAS A SUPERSTITION
THAT THE DEVIL LIVED IN THAT CREEK IN THE FORM OF A
GIANT SEA TURTLE, AND ALTHOUGH A STORM HAD WASHED THE
BRIDGE AWAY, THE LEADER OF THE DUTCH SAID THAT HE WOULD
SWIM THE CREEK "SPUYTENDYVIL," (IN SPITE OF THE DEVIL).
HE DID AND SUPPOSEDLY WAS TAKEN BY THIS TURTLE AND WAS
NEVER SEEN AGAIN. EVEN TODAY, THAT RIVER IS CALLED OLD
SPUYTENDYVIL CREEK.

Where learned: NASHVILLE ; TENNESSEE, ASSUMED

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Devil Demon
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Animal
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Explanation of a name
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Still water Small body. Lake, pond....

Date learned: 08-13-1968

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