Monday, November 15, 2010

These Storied Mountains by John Parris

These Storied Mountains, John Parris (1972).

From the dust jacket:

Here is a rich, new collection of mountain folk tales and mountain folkways, traditions and legends mined from the hills of Western North Carolina by the mountains' special chronicler. This is John Parris, mountain born himself, writing with skill and sympathy and the ease of familiarity about a people of great dignity and simplicity of character, and a land of almost magical and intoxicating beauty.

These Storied Mountains, like his previous books -- Roaming The Mountains, My Mountains, My People, and Mountain Bred, is a book that has been fashioned into a rich storehouse of good reading for young and old, as welcome for reading aloud as for solitary browsing. In it you will meet Aunt Albie McCall, a mountain woman still hoeing her own patch of corn at the age of 102; Sarah Kirkland, the Midwife of the Hills; Danny Gillespie, the Thrush Doctor; Rachel Houston, Queen of the Coon Hunters; Ernest Hodges, the King of the Fiddle Makers.

You will tarry a while with Viola Rickman, the Master Rug-Hooker of Hickory Nut Gorge; Lena Pressley, the Broom-maker of the Hills; George Smathers, Dean of the Fasola Singers; Tom Patton, the Master Bee-Keeper of Crooked Creek; Aunt Tennie Cloer, who was born into a homespun world. You will relive a time of prophecy and strange happenings in the hills; travel a history-haunted road; know the Cherokee world of myth; learn how the village of Relief and Chunky Gal Mountain got their names; go to an infare wedding; listen to Uncle Fate Wiseman's tale about the mysterious Brown Mountain Lights.

You will roam the back country where oil lamps still burn; learn how to predict the coming winter by the signs; go with Sammy Beck to a hidden valley where you can catch a glimpse of Eden; hear George Owl tell of the secret, enchanted lake of miracles; ponder the mystery of the mountain balds. You will learn how to bleach apples with sulfur and ax-blade; go digging for the stinkingest vegetable known to man; learn about pumpkin butter and pumpkin molasses, poke sallet and branch lettuce; relive the days of the birch still, tooth-jumpin', and homemade candles.

You will meet Judge Cloud and the whistling geese; come to know the secret of the terrapin's shell; sip sassafras tea; celebrate Old Christmas; hunt wild turkeys with Granville Calhoun; visit with Bascom Lamar Lunsford, the Minstrel of the Appalachians. You will hear flavorsome talk around the potbellied stove; join the tellers of tall tales; know the seasons of the hills; walk rainbow trails; listen to the whippoorwills remind the farmer it's time to plant corn.

It's a book you will treasure.

We have added a signed copy to the Asheville and Buncombe County library. While out-of-print, copies are found from time to time on online book stores. Note that the dust jacket cover photograph is by Hugh Morton.


1 comment:

  1. I love this book. I happened upon a copy at my local library and wound up buying a copy online and quickly purchased all the other books that accompany it.