By Brian Sewell
Even before opening Mary Hamilton’s ode to storytelling, the rustcolored cover, adorned with a rocking chair and the kind of rustic text that might be carved in a tree, invites the reader into a world of oral traditions shared among Kentuckians for years before being captured on the page.
Hamilton is a professional storyteller, which is evident in her collection of original and traditional stories, “Kentucky Folktales: Revealing Stories, Truths, and Outright Lies.” Her writing exudes a love for the art as she advises the reader to “read the stories frozen in print; then thaw them out and bring them to life again.”
The tales inside range from campfire-friendly scary stories, many short enough to remember after a few readings, to tales of fortunate farmers and real-life folk heroes such as Daniel Boone. Some are fact, some only fable and some are outright lies.
More than just a collection of stories, Hamilton adds her own commentary on each tale’s origin. Her diligent notes increase the collection’s quality, ensuring many hours enjoyed in the chair of your choice.