What Are Some Good American Folktales?

Well-liked American folktales are the stories of the Headless Horseman, Babe the Blue Ox and the Jersey Devil. Each of these tales originates from a specific region of the United States, but are now widely known throughout the country.

The story of the Headless Horseman takes place in and around Tarrytown, New York. It tells of a Dutchman walking home one night from a local tavern and having to pass through Sleepy Hollow along the way. The man sees the Headless Horseman, wearing a Hessian commander's uniform and riding on a large horse, rise from the ground in Sleepy Hollow cemetery. This folktale is the inspiration for Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."

Babe the Blue Ox is a well-known part of the tales of Paul Bunyan and originates from Minnesota. The story tells how Paul Bunyan came to find the tiny ox, dyed blue by the frigid snow, and raise Blue in his logging camp. The ox grows to enormous proportions, eating a ton of grain for lunch and having horns so large that it takes a murder of crows an entire day to fly from one to the other.

The Jersey Devil legend tells the tale of Mother Leeds' cursed thirteenth child. Upon birth, the healthy baby transforms into a huge monster with the head of a horse, the body of a snake and wings like a bat. After terrorizing those present at his birth, the creature flies out of the chimney and disappears. Many believe the creature still lives in the pines of New Jersey.