Tuesday, April 9, 2019

H is for Huckleberry Picking (A to Z Challenge 2019: Fruit Folktales)

Huckleberry is a term applied to several different kinds of berries in North America. Once you rule Mark twain out of the Google search, the stories that remain are mostly from Native American traditions - and they tend to describe the things that can happen when one goes picking huckleberries...

The Lytton girls who were stolen by giants

Two girls go out playing, wander too far from home, and are kidnapped by giants. The giants treat them well and feed them well, and the girls spend four years on the island of the giants. One day, the giants take them across to the mainland, to a place where huckleberries grow in abundance (because they know the girls love huckleberries very much). They leave the girls to pick berries, while they go off to hunt. The girls discover that they are not far from home and run away, hiding on trees and inside logs to avoid the giants.

The great serpent and the young wife

A young wife has three jealous sisters-in-law who want to get rid of her. They take her to an island in the middle of a lake to pick huckleberries, and while she is picking berries, they quietly slip away and leave her alone. Stranded on the island, the young wife has no way out - but at night, the animals of the island hold a council, and decide to help her. She is carried by a horned serpent across the water, pursued by the serpent's old enemy, Thunder, and just narrowly escapes from their confrontation.

The girl and the cannibal

A girl is lured away by a cannibal who promises to show her puppies. The cannibal's wife helps her stay alive and get away. She gives the girl things to throw over her shoulder when the cannibal is pursuing her, to slow him down: Three huckleberries (they turn into huckleberry bushes), three blackberries (they turn into a blackberry thicket), three pieces of cane (they turn into a canebrake), and mud (which make the trail boggy).

Have you ever picked berries in the wild? Did you have any adventures? Which ones are your favorite?


  1. Thanks for sharing

    new post

  2. No, not in the wild, but blackberries from the wall of the garage behind my block of flats.

    That last story is interestingly like that Russian Baba Yaga tale, isn’t it? The one where the girl is throwing a comb and other things behind her to slow down the witch?

  3. Picked blueberries at a festival over the weekend. Spent too much time fairly stationary in the heat.

  4. We used to pick blueberries and blackberries in the wild, but never huckleberries. I'm not sure I've ever even tasted huckleberries. Blackberries are not much fun to pick, due to the thorns, of course. I feel like the giants in the first tale were rather sweet. It's a shame they couldn't all get along with the human community. As for the second tale, I know that if a cannibal promised my daughter puppies, she'd be off with him without a second glance.
    Black and White: H is for Hercinia

  5. i picked blackberries and blueberries. very fun. the cannibal's wife sounds very clever. hehe.

    Joy at The Joyous Living

  6. In Poland where I grew up, you can find blackberries and blueberries (and sometimes raspberries) growing wild, so I did pick some when I was a child. Funny enough, even though it seems we have plants from huckleberry family, it doesn't seem we pick their berries.

  7. On vacations I've picked wild blackberries, raspberries, thimbleberries. In my old neighborhood there was a paved bike path lined with blackberries and my son and I would pick loads to make pies and jams. We have wild blackberries everywhere in town now, it's very invasive. I managed to almost totally get rid of mine.
    We picked other edible things my father knew were edible, I just can't remember! Current like things!

  8. How interesting.. Sorry it’s my first time here. What exactly is your theme? I’m very intrigued!

  9. Yes I do picking berries in the wild, quite the same as Lisa by the way! They are so much tastier ;)

  10. I had seen some light red berries in my childhood and I have never picked them. I was scared they would be poisonous.

    3 lovely fruit folktales from your pen. Enjoyed reading them.

  11. When we were in Mississippi we had blackberry and huckleberry bushes growing wild in our yard. I miss those free and plentiful berries.

  12. You must definitely wear long sleeves with blackberries! And off topic, kind of, is my favorite movie quote of Val Kilmer from Tombstone..."I'm your huckleberry". lol

    Stephanie Finnell
    @randallbychance from
    Katy Trail Creations

  13. I haven't gone berry picking in the wild - generally lived in berry-less places. The closest I've come to it is going cherry picking in an orchard in Kashmir - fondest memories.

    I liked the cannibal story the best - good for the wife, helping her escape.

  14. Every time I hear the Huckleberry I think of the old Jackie Gleason show where he did the dance the Huckleberry! I picked lots of blackberries as s child - love making blackberry cobbler.

  15. I like all three stories :-)

    Ronel visiting from the A-Z Challenge with Music and Writing: Home-Grown