European American Folklore
Posted on: 10/05/2018 02:45 PM

by John Young

As European Americans we are naturally heir to the folklore of Europe.

But having been on this continent for over 400 years, (not counting failed colonizations of earlier periods), we have also developed a rich folklore of our own.

This should not be neglected. We should remember these tales and re-tell them to our kids, nephews and nieces.

Storytelling has been an integral aspect of our identity for untold thousands of years. The ancient Bards would train for years to memorize their tales and pass them along as perfectly as they were received.

But it seems the era of movies has caused this practice to atrophy, and that is a problem because it not only separates us from our past, it removes that special intimacy of storytelling from our families.

Some European American folklore is nationwide, while some is purely regional. Within my own family, we have treasured stories of ancestors – such as my great uncle who died from pneumonia after outrunning his dogs while chasing a bear into a creek during the winter. He got the bear, and we still have the old rifle he used.

Here are some excellent folklore resources:

Flatlanders and Ridgerunners

The Jack Tales

New England Legends and Folklore

Folk Tales and Legends of the Middle West

And here is a link to European American folk tales!

So take some time, and familiarize (or re-familiarize) yourself with some great stories of the European American people, and retell them to our kids!

Image courtesy of S Carpenter at English Wikipedia [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC BY-SA 2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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