Tricksters: the Tennessee Legend about Davy Crockett Essay

September 29, 2020 by Essay Writer


A trickster is a mischievous character in folklore. These characters are usually very cunning and sly making up for what they lack in the physique by employing their great skills in mingling with the other characters in an effort to make the best of any situation. Due to their sly and elusive nature, it is difficult to pin them down ( Leonard et al., 2004, 4 ). Tricksters are characterized by contrasts of their nature. They are very smart as well as stupid, Kind as well as cruel, polite just as they are rude and so on.

The Tennessee Legend of Davy Crockett

Folklore has it that Davy Crockett was known throughout the land for being the greatest bear hunter in the entire United States of America. It is said that Davy Crockett participated in the election.

Once it was said that while he was campaigning in town, standing on a tree stump talking to a big crowd attending the campaign, a member of the crowd complained that he was thirsty. The crowd below jeered demanding for free drinks and wanted Davy to pay for it from his pockets, or else they would not elect him to Congress (Schlosser 2011, 3).

At this instant, Davy knew he had to do something, and first or else, all his effort would be in jeopardy. So he walked to the nearest bar and ordered drinks for the crowd. He took it upon himself to do the singing and shouting, ordering drinks for the crowd. The barman said he wanted to be paid upfront before he served anyone. Davy asked him to hold on for a moment and took his rifle and took off to the woods, and the crowd watched in amusement. Davy did not take long and shot a coon on the first go.

He came back with the coon skinned and ready to give to the barman. In those days, coonskin was a god as money which the bar accepted and began serving the crowd. The rounds kept coming and coming until the crowd was drunk as skunks. When the coonskin was all paid up, he went back to the tree stump for another speech to another crowd. News had traveled fast, and Davy took the crowd to the bar, and they all wondered if he was going to run off to the woods again and hunt. He keenly watched the bar and noticed that the coonskin was placed under the counter between logs that had been used to build the bar.

He leaned over the counter and used his right hand to reach the coonskin and pulled it hard. He pulled it from the logs and gave it to the barman as payment for the crowd’s drinks to the delight of the crowd who drunk beyond their fill. While the crowd was busy enjoying the free drinks, Davy moved around the bar campaigning, putting his all in it. While moving around, he noticed where the barman hid the coonskin again. He continued moving around, and when the drinks were low, he pulled the coonskin and ordered for more drinks. He did this over and over again, and the crowd went ballistic singing in his praise (Schlosser, 2011, 4).

One day it is said he bought ten rounds with the same coonskin with this joke he won the election. Even the bartender admitted that anyone with such wit was surely fit for Congress.

Davy won the election, and everyone referred to him as the ‘Coonskin Congressman.’ He introduced himself to fellow congressmen as ‘’ I am that Davy Crockett, fresh from the woods, half-horse, half-alligator” (Schlosser, 2011, 2). Davy Crockett served for three terms in Congress.


In today’s modern culture, trickster character can be seen in all spheres of life. The wit, intelligence, kindness as well as cruelty and contrasts of sorts is identified with trickster characters. In mythological trickster, characterization can still be seen in modern trickster stories. Modern trickster characters now employ advanced technology in assimilation with their character.


Schlosser S. E. (2011). Davy Crockett and the Coonskin. Web.

Leonard, S. & McClure, M. (2004). Myth & Knowing: An Introduction to World Mythology. New York.

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