Tall tales are stories filled with unbelievable elements that are presented as facts. Examples of tall tales include stories about the legendary feats of Paul Bunyan, Davy Crockett, Johnny Appleseed, Casey Jones and Annie Oakley. Tall tales are an important part of American folk literature, but there are similar types of stories in many other cultures. Ancient Greek mythology is one example.
Many of the main characters in American tall tales are based on real people, but some are simply fictitious. For example, Johnny Appleseed, who is immortalized in American folklore as having traveled the country planting apple tree seeds, is based on a real person. Davy Crockett, Calamity Jane and Daniel Boone were also real people whose lives have been exaggerated over the course of time. However, the tall tale of Paul Bunyan, a lumberjack who eats stacks of pancakes and travels with a blue ox, is fictitious.
Tall tales have been used as a literary convention by American writers such as Mark Twain and Washington Irving. This style is also used in personal storytelling methods, such as classic fishing tales about "the one that got away."
One living person who has become the protagonist of many tall tales exaggerating his strength and bravery is Chuck Norris.