This is a collection of three lavishly illustrated traditional tales of an everyman hero and trickster named Jack from one of America’s greatest living storytellers.

In these tales, wicked giants and enchanted animals pursue and entice Jack, a poor mountain boy who, with a combination of innocence, ingenuity, and luck, always manages to come out on top. Brought to this country by early English, Scottish, and Irish settlers in the late eighteenth century, the stories have been handed down orally, from generation to generation of mountain folk, and reflect the often-curious blending of local culture and British vernacular from the 1700s.

The Blue Ridge Mountains have been home to the Hicks family for eight generations, and Ray Hicks has been telling the stories he learned at his grandfather’s knee for most of his seventy-seven years. He imbues the tales with the unmistakable grit and spirit of independence that defines Appalachian culture. An audio CD of Hicks in his inimitable dialect, accompanied by traditional local music makes this a delightful read-along.


Ray Hicks is regarded by folklorists as one of the last living, authentic storytellers in the United States. He has received an achievement award from the National Endowment for the Arts and has been an honored storyteller for many years at the National Storytelling Festival. Articles about him have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Smithsonian, and National Geographic. He lives in his ancestral home on Beech Mountain, North Carolina. 

Owen Smith’s illustrations have appeared in Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, and Time. The past seven New Yorker special fiction issues have featured Smith’s cover paintings. This is his first book. He lives in Alameda, California.

9 3⁄₄ x 13, 40 pages

audio cd packaged in case

8 color and 18 black-and-white illustrations