Rusties and Riddles & Gee-Haw Whimmy-Diddles

ISBN: 0-8131-1686-4

Isolated and left to their own devices, the people of the Kentucky mountains and the southern Appalachians preserved a language alive with colorful turns of phrase and whimsical wit, and for their amusement they created a rich vein of oral lore – songs, tales and games. In this book the distinguished novelist and poet James Still presents a varied and entertaining collection of riddles, whimsies and verbal pranks, gathered through his long association with the mountain people of Eastern Kentucky. As through a window this lore affords tantalizing glimpses of the live in a simpler, bygone time.

This book contains the complete text of the original editions, including Still’s explanatory notes for archaic or obscure expressions. Also included are the original lively illustration by the noted artist Janet McCaffery. Here is fine entertainment for the young in spirit from the ages of eight to eighty.

James Still (1906-2001), was born on Double Creek in Alabama, one of 10 children. For most of his life he lived in a log house between Dead Mare Branch and Wolfpen Creek in Knott County, Kentucky. He enjoyed a long relationship with Hindman Settlement School where he first began work as a librarian and lived in his later years.

His early books – a book of poems, Hounds on the Mountain (1937); his celebrated novel River of Earth (1940); and a collection of stories, On Troublesome Creek (1941) – were all published by The Viking Press. It was not until 35 years later, after Pattern of a Man was first published, that there was revival of interest in his work. Other books include a novel Sporty Creek; the collection of stories The Run for the Elbertas; The Wolfpen Notebooks; and a number of books for children: The Wolfpen Rusties; Way Down Yonder on Troublesome Creek; Jack and the Wonder Beans; and An Appalachian Mother Goose. His two later major collections of poems are The Wolfpen Poems and From the Mountain, From the Valley.