Jack Tales and Mountain Yarns as Told by Orville Hicks

Julia Taylor Ebel, editor

Parkway Publishers
$19.95 hardcover
8 x 10      
208 pages
black-and-white sketches throughout
Sherry Jensen, illustrator
Thomas McGowan, afterword
Published in April 2009

When ancestors of Orville Hicks settled in the Appalachian Mountains, they brought stories that began in Europe but have since been told through more than 200 years and six generations. Folklore collectors have recognized this rich oral tradition since the 1920s. From these roots, storyteller Orville Hicks learned his craft.

Orville grew up in a hollow near Beech Mountain, North Carolina, where he learned tales from his mother. Her father had told tales learned from his father, Council Harmon, a central figure in the Beech Mountain Jack tales’ history. Orville also heard tales from his second cousin Ray Hicks, who received a National Heritage Award for his storytelling before his death in 2003.

For the past two decades, Orville Hicks has enthralled audiences with his storytelling performances. In 2007 Orville was honored with a North Carolina Heritage Award. As his reputation as a storyteller grew, audiences have clamored for a book of Orville’s tales. Jack Tales and Mountain Yarns includes more than 20 transcribed stories that capture his voice.