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A collection of English folk tales centering around a character usually named "Jack," Jack tales are also popular in Appalachian folklore.
The Jack in these tales is usually a weak character, sometimes a foolish one, but generally a kindly one. "Jack and the Beanstalk", and "Jack the Giant Killer" are just some of the most popular Jack tales.
Richard Chase, an American Folklorist, collected in his book "The Jack Tales" many popular Appalachian Jack tales as told by descendents of Council Harmon. Council Harmon's grandfather, Cutliff Harmon, is known to very possibly be the one who originally brought the Jack tales to America.
As pointed out by folklorist Herbert Halpert, the Appalachian Jack tales are an oral tradition as opposed to written, and like many Appalachian folksongs, trace back to sources in England. For instance, where the English original would feature a king or other noble, the Appalachian Jack tale version would have a sheriff. Some stories feature Jack's brothers, Will and Tom. Some Jack tales feature themes that trace to Germanic folk tales.
Suggested Reading 
- William Bernard McCarthy, Cheryl Oxford and Joseph Daniel Sobol, Jack in Two Worlds: Contemporary North American Tales and Their Tellers, University of North Carolina Press (1994), ISBN 978-0-8078-2135-0
- Julia Taylor Ebel, Orville Hicks: Mountain Stories, Mountain Roots, Parkway Publishers (2005), ISBN 978-1-933251-02-8
- Journey Through Fantasy Literature: A Resource Guide for Teachers. Vol. I. Ed. Roberta T. Herrin. 1988–89.
- Betty N. Smith, Jane Hicks Gentry: A Singer Among Singers, University Press of Kentucky (1998), ISBN 978-0-8131-0936-7 , page 15.
- Julia Taylor Ebel and Orville Hicks, Orville Hicks: Mountain Stories, Mountain Roots, University Press of Kentucky (1998), ISBN 978-0-8131-0936-7, page 11.
- Richard Chase, ed., The Jack Tales, Houghton Mifflin Co., 1943, ISBN 0-395-06694-8. "Told by R. M. Ward and his kindred in the Beech Mountain section of Western North Carolina and by other descendants of Council Harmon (1803-1896) elsewhere in The Southern Mountains; with three tales from Wise County, Virginia. Set down from these sources and edited by Richard Chase; with an appendix compiled by Herbert Halpert; and illustrated by Berkeley Williams, Jr."