Tag Archives: Myths and Folktales

FOOL KILLER PART TWENTY-EIGHT: JANUARY 1921

Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the many facets of Fool Killer lore. FOR PART ONE, INCLUDING THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT, CLICK HERE

Fool Killer condensedPART TWENTY-EIGHT – Here is a look at some of the Fool Killer’s targets from James L Pearson’s January of 1921 issue of The Fool-Killer. New imagery invoked was of the Fool Killer sitting on a high hill picking off fools as the world traveled around him. (A very odd quasi-Axis Mundi) 

** Dr Frank Crane. Pearson and his Fool Killer found Crane to be too sweet and sugary with his “inspirational” writings. The Fool Killer compared him to molasses. If Crane was writing in later decades it’s a safe bet his work would have been part of “Oprah’s Book Club.” 

** An unnamed writer for one of the “plute (plutocrat) publications” who published an article called Bulk Opinion. The writer claimed that “bulk opinion” favored everything the writer supported and rejected everything the reporter disapproved of. This writer was apparently using the vague term bulk opinion the way some people today claim to be on “the right side of history.” (LMAO)

** William Wirt Gilmer, Governor of the American possession Guam. Gilmer had recently invited ridicule by banning whistling, sort of the way modern-day SJW fools try to ban clapping (“use jazz-hands instead”) and the “ok” sign (“a symbol of white supremacy”).

** The “wolves of Wall Street” as such bloated rich pigs were called at the time. Continue reading

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JOE MAGARAC: NEGLECTED AMERICAN FOLKTALE

Joe MagaracLabor Day weekend is the appropriate time to post this look at neglected working class folk hero Joe Magarac. This figure was the Steel Mill equivalent of Paul Bunyan and John Henry.

Though mostly associated with Polish-American steel workers in Pittsburgh, PA the general figure of a literal “man of steel” helping and protecting his coworkers can be found from the East Coast through the American Midwest. Sometimes the figure is Croation or some other ethnicity instead of Polish. 

Written versions of Joe Magarac and/or similar steel worker tall tales seem to have started around 1930 or 1931. Oral legends about such figures – but not specifically Joe Magarac – have been dated as early as the 1890s.

Vintage advertisements from tattered old newspapers indicate that such Man of Steel imagery may have been used for the steel industry prior to World War One. This “Which came first, the chicken or the egg” dilemma for Joe Magarac and other Steel Men puts one in mind of the quandary surrounding Billiken lore.        

Joe Magarac statueAs a lame play on words since this is Labor Day season I’ll present Joe Magarac’s origin and then depict his tales as “Labors” like in The Labors of Hercules.

BIRTH – Joe Magarac supposedly sprang into existence from a mound of iron ore and – depending on the version – that mound was either in Pittsburgh or the Old Country. Magarac emerged from the melting mound fully grown and spoke broken English like so many of the other Polish steel workers. He was called into being by the urgent need to catch up on production since the current shift had fallen dangerously behind.

Joe was 7 or 8 feet tall, his flesh was like solid steel, his torso was as wide as a smoke-stack and his arms were as thick as railroad ties. His surname Magarac meant “mule” in the workhorse sense, referring to his stamina. Joe’s appetite was such that he carried his lunch in a washtub instead of a standard lunch box.

Magarac’s favorite leisure time activity was polka-dancing and halushkis were his favorite food.

THE LABORS OF JOE MAGARAC:   Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER PART TWENTY-SEVEN: APRIL OF 1920

Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the many facets of Fool Killer lore. FOR PART ONE, INCLUDING THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT, CLICK HERE

Fool Killer 1920sPART TWENTY-SEVEN: Here is a look at some of the Fool Killer’s targets from James L Pearson’s April of 1920 issue. As always we find an intriguing mix of attitudes, some of which would please us today or anger us today.

** Democrat Woodrow Wilson’s Attorney General A Mitchell Palmer (as in the Palmer Raids) and his fellow self-appointed censors of supposedly “dangerous” political ideas. Ironically, in 1920 the ideas under assault were Socialist ideas, today it is people espousing Socialism who want OTHER philosophies censored.

           The Fool Killer complained “a little handful of self-appointed bosses around Washington think they must be the sole judges of what a hundred and ten million Americans may read or hear.”

** The New York State Assembly – as usual called “the ASS-embly” – for refusing to seat the five elected members of the Socialist Party. Pearson and his Fool Killer saw this as invalidating the votes of the 60,000-odd New Yorkers who had voted for the candidates. The Assembly refused to seat the elected representatives solely because of the political party they belonged to.

           The Fool Killer pointed out that there were still parts of the South in 1920 where it was considered as disgusting to be a Republican as it was to be a Socialist. The point being “how would the country feel if the state legislatures in the South took it upon themselves to unseat elected Republicans like New York had unseated the Socialists?” Continue reading

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SHINTO DEITY: KUYEBIKO

 Kuyebiko was the Shinto scarecrow god. Originally he functioned as the protector of the rice fields, a task assigned him by his father Inari the rice god. 

He was considered to be incarnate in all scarecrows and eventually came to be  considered as a divinitory deity who knew everything that transpired under the heavens.

The leap from being the god of scarecrows to divinitory deity came about because of the never- closing eyes of scarecrows. Continue reading

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THE TOP PANTHEONS COVERED HERE AT BALLADEER’S BLOG

Balladeer's Blog

Balladeer’s Blog

Balladeer’s Blog’s examinations of pantheons of deities outside of the frequently-covered Greco-Roman, Egyptian and Norse have been very popular and well-received. To make sure all mythology buffs who visit here are aware of how many belief systems I’ve looked at here’s a convenient overview.

FuchiAINU  

Sampling of Deities: Shiramba the vegetation god, Hashinau-Uk the goddess of the hunt, Okikurmi the culture god and monster-slayer, Wakka-Ush the water goddess and Kando-Koro the sky god and ruler of the land of the gods.

Top Deity on List: Fuchi the fire goddess. 

Comment: This is one of the most popular of the out of the way pantheons I’ve covered.

FULL LIST CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/2014/11/20/the-top-gods-in-ainu-mythology/

Tupari live near the Rio BrancoTUPARI

Sampling of Deities: Mulher the Earth goddess, Arkoanyo the bird god, Karam the sun goddess, Valedjad the storm god and Aunyaina the wild boar god.

Top Deity on List: Patobkia, the god who rules over the afterlife and the series of trials each soul undergoes.

Comment: With only thousands of the Tupari people left this is a sadly neglected pantheon of deities.

FULL LIST CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/2013/04/02/the-top-ten-deities-in-tupari-mythology/ Continue reading

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KOREAN GOD: TALHAE

King_Kyungsoon_of_Silla_2.jpg (200×233)TALHAE – Also called Tarhae. The wife of King Hamdalpa of Wan-Ha in Yongsong had been married to him for seven years but had yet to produce an heir to the throne. She prayed to the gods for a child and at length she produced a large egg, from which a handsome boy named Talhae emerged.

King Hamdalpa’s advisors told him a child born unnaturally from an egg was a bad omen and that he should get rid of the child. Hamdalpa had the boy placed in a large floating chest along with seven treasures plus a male and female slave.

A red dragon arose from the sea to guard the chest, a red dragon sent by a dragon god who was Talhae’s real father. The chest floated at sea for seven days, during which time Talhae grew to adulthood and stood a full nine feet tall.  

Disembarking at Karak the young god bought even more slaves with his treasure and climbed Mount Toham, followed by his retinue. Talhae sat and pondered at the top of the mountain for seven days, neither sleeping nor eating. Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER PART TWENTY-SIX: MORE FROM KLARENC WADE MAK

Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the many facets of Fool Killer lore.

FOR PART ONE, INCLUDING THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT, CLICK HERE

Banjo Player by Maynard Dixon

Banjo Player by Maynard Dixon

PART TWENTY-SIX: THE FOOL KILLER (1918) – Last time around I posted plenty of quotes from Mak’s incarnation of the Fool Killer, quotes that would upset both the political left AND the political right here in the 21st Century. FOR THOSE QUOTES CLICK HERE

This time I’ll look at the uniquely stylized America that Mak depicted his Fool Killer traveling through, delivering poetry recitations and lectures plus sharing recipes during down time between slaying fools. Mak’s America seems like a Frank Baum-influenced alternate reality filled with beautiful scenery but marred by politicized religion plus the tyranny of callous tycoons and the elected officials they have in their pockets.

The Fool Killer is followed on his meanderings around the country following the harsh winter of 1916 into 1917 and up through late 1917. Our title figure takes on quasi-chivalric airs and his escapades an urbanized Faerie Queen feel. He spouts original poetry at the drop of a hat but retains the jarring element of violent judgmentalism that afflicts every incarnation of the Fool Killer.    

The Klarenc Wade Mak version of the figure seems to regard his mission in a Darwinian way, like he’s a natural force cleansing the land of fools the way that harsh, unforgiving nature inevitably weeds out those too weak to survive. As ever, the delusions of a serial killer taint the high-minded objectives that the Fool Killer pays lip service to.

Fool Killer by Klarenc Wade MakNot that our folk figure’s targets don’t deserve to be opposed. This Fool Killer battles the abomination of Child Labor, the profit-mongers who sponsor it AND the Judges who perpetuate it through their decisions striking down attempts to eliminate the ugly practice.

He also champions women’s suffrage and fights for the working class against both the bloated rich pigs who exploit them AND the sleazy Union Leaders who sell out the workers in exchange for privileges that only management can hand out.

Here’s a fuller examination of this Fool Killer’s adventures as he wanders Mak’s Surreal States of America: Continue reading

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