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Good Times on Grandfather Mountain
by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Illustrated by Susan Graber
Orchard Books, 1992. ISBN 978-0-531-05977-7.

Good TimesGood Times on Grandfather Mountain is a literary tall-tale about one of my favorite characters--Old Washburn-- a fine whittler, who uses his whittling to turn misfortune into good times.  When his cow, Blanche Wisconsin, jumps the fence and runs away Old Washburn whittles the useless milk pail into a milk bucket drum. When the raccoons sneak in at night and eat every ear of sweet corn, he makes corn cob whistles. And when a fierce mountain storm causes the worst misfortune of all by blowing his cabin down, he finds the wood for a new fiddle. And the new fiddle starts one of the "best times" on Grandfather Mountain.
Another book about mountain life and mountain music is: Milnes, Gerald. Granny Will Your Dog Bite and Other Mountain Rhymes. Illustrated by Kimberly Bulcken Root. Knopf, 1990.


  • Tall tales: Tall tales depend on exaggeration. Long ago story tellers used exaggeration to tell a story. They took one trait and stretched it and stretched it until it was so exaggerated that the story became unbelievable. A good example of a tall tale character is Paul Bunyan.
    1. When writers make up a story that resembles the exaggeration in tall tales, the story is called a literary tall tale. You might want to try to write your own literary tall tale. Your character might be the best cook in the land, able to make a feast out of a few bread crumbs and a couple of onions; or maybe the best on-line skater, able to skate up the sides of tree trunks and down again.
    2. Another way to tell a story is through songs. If you like to write songs or rhymes you might want to write a song for Old Washburn to play on his fiddle.
    3. Before his chickens ran off Old Washburn might have used some of the eggs to make Mountain Scramble. (You will probably want an adult to help with this recipe.)
    Mountain Scramble
    (makes enough for two people, change amounts of potatoes and eggs as needed)
        • Wash two potatoes. You do not need to peel if you wash carefully.
        • Cut the potatoes into small pieces.
        • Melt 2 Tablespoons of butter in a frying pan.
        • Fry the potatoes for 20 minutes, or until cooked and a bit brown on the edge.
        • Break two eggs into a bowl.
        • Add 1/4 cup milk. Stir with a fork.
        • Pour eggs over the potatoes.
        • Turn mixture with a spatula as the eggs cook.
          It will take 5-10 minutes to cook the eggs. Divide in half. Put each half on a plate. Eat and enjoy. 
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