tall stories


tall stories
   These are anecdotes about astonishing exploits and adventures, for example in hunting, or about animals or objects of astounding size - such as a sailing ship with masts so tall that any lad sent up as a midshipman will have grey in his beard by the time he comes back down. Tall stories are usually told by men; the teller knows them to be inventions, but presents them as truth, and sometimes as an alleged personal experience or boast, to test the credulity of the hearers as the realistic opening gradually leads to an impossible (though not supernatural) climax. A fine example of the genre is a story told, according to the Surrey Gazette of 7 November 1865, by 'a boy who was begging in the streets of Plymouth the other day':
   He said he was a cabin boy on board an American liner, and for some of his mischievous pranks was headed up in a water cask, with only the bung-hole to breathe through. On the following night a squall came up, and the ship went down with all on board, except himself, the cask containing him having rolled over into the sea on a sudden lurch of the vessel. Fortunately, it kept bung up, and after thirty hours floating he was cast on the coast, where after he had made desperate eforts to release himself he gave himself up to die. Some cows strolling along the beach were attracted to the cask, and one of them accidentally slipped her tail into the bung-hole, which the boy grasped immediately, and kept fast holding with admirable resolution. The cow started off, and after running about three hundred yards the cask struck against a rock and broke to pieces.

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Tall Stories — This article is about the American rock band. For the sophomore album by Johnny Hates Jazz, see Tall Stories. Tall Stories is a band featuring singer Steve Augeri, who later sang for Tyketto and Journey, guitarist Jack Morer, bassist Kevin… …   Wikipedia

  • Tall Stories from Under the Table — Infobox Album | Name = Tall Stories From Under the Table Type = Album Artist = Dogs Released = June 25, 2007 Recorded = flagicon|England Miloco Garden Studio, Shoreditch flagicon|England Raezor Studio, Wandsworth Genre = Rock, punk Length = 41:10 …   Wikipedia

  • Tall Stories (album) — Infobox Album | Name = Tall Stories Type = Album Artist = Johnny Hates Jazz Released = June 1991 Recorded = 1990 1991 Genre = Pop Length = 36:32 Label = Virgin Records Producer = Calvin Hayes and Mike Nocito Reviews = Last album = Turn Back the… …   Wikipedia

  • Tall Stories For Small Children — Infobox Album | Name = Tall Stories For Small Children Type = Album Artist = Guy Manning Released = October 1999 Recorded = 1999 Genre = Progressive rock Length = 00:00 Label = Cyclops Producer = Guy Manning Reviews = * Allmusic Rating|3.5|5… …   Wikipedia

  • tall story — UK US noun [countable] [singular tall story plural tall stories] british informal something that someone tells you that sounds so exciting, dangerous, unpleasant etc that you do not believe it is true. The American word is tall tale …   Useful english dictionary

  • tall story — tall stories N COUNT A tall story is the same as a tall tale …   English dictionary

  • tall — adjective 1 a person, building, tree etc that is tall has a greater than average height: 6 ft/2 metres etc tall: I m only five feet tall. see high 1 2 AmE a tall drink has a small amount of alcohol mixed with a large amount of a non alcoholic… …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • tall story — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms tall story : singular tall story plural tall stories British informal something that someone tells you that sounds so exciting, dangerous, unpleasant etc that you do not believe it is true. The American word is …   English dictionary

  • Tall Tales & Legends — Tall Tales and Legends is a series created by Shelley Duvall, following her success with her first series, Faerie Tale Theatre. It ran from 1985 1987 and was comprised of nine episodes, adapted from various American based stories of bravery …   Wikipedia

  • Tall tale — multiple issues expand=May 2008 cleanup=February 2008A tall tale is a story with unbelievable elements, related as if it was true and factual. Some such stories are exaggerations of actual events, such as, that fish was so big, why I tell ya , it …   Wikipedia