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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. 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.

This book includes in one volume two earlier books—Way Down Yonder on Troublesome Creek and The Wolfpen Rusties—that have been unavailable for several years. It contains the complete text of the original editions, including Still’s explanatory notes for archaic or obscure expressions. Also included are the original lively illustrations by the noted artist Janet McCaffery.

Since the early 1930s, James Still made his home in eastern Kentucky, living in an ancient log cabin on Dead Mare Branch and supporting himself by farming, teaching, and serving as librarian for the Hindman Settlement School. He is the author of several works of fiction, among them River of Earth, The Run for the Elbertas, An Appalachian Mother Goose, and of the collection of poems, From the Mountain, From the Valley.

Janet McCaffery has illustrated many books, including The Swamp Witch, winner of an award from the American Institute of Graphic Arts.

"Both young and young in spirit will delight in the dozens and dozens of 'rusties and riddles and gee-haw whimmy-diddles' Still has gathered for their enjoyment."—The Ashland Sunday Independent

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Kentucky, Riddles, Appalachia, Humor


Appalachian Studies


Illustrations by Janet McCaffery. Includes explanatory notes by the author. Previously published in two volumes, Way Down Yonder on Troublesome Creek and The Wolfpen Rusties.

Rusties and Riddles and Gee-Haw Whimmy-Diddles
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