It was more than 200 years ago now when Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind came into this world. The family already had nine boys, and then there she was, a brand-new daughter. Right away Sally Ann looked up at that family of hers, and before they knew what was happening, she started to talk.
"Hello!" she said, "I'm Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind! And I'm amazing!"
Now people say her parents just stood and stared at that little talking baby for a minute. Then they grinned real wide. "Well, little daughter of ours," they said. "You ARE amazing!"
Sally Ann's brothers had wanted another brother, so they weren't too impressed by this little girl. But Sally Ann wasn't going to put up with their disappointment, so she looked at those brothers of hers and said, "Brothers, let me tell you something. Whatever any one of you can do, I can do better!"
Naturally the boys didn't believe her. After all, this was a baby -- and a girl at that.
But Sally Ann truly was amazing. When she was just 1 year old, she could run faster than a wildcat -- faster than all her brothers; when she was 4, she beat them all at arm wrestling. So pretty soon the brothers were proud of her, and they entered her in big contests. Sally Ann ran faster than all the runners in Tennessee, and then she out-wrestled all the arm wrestlers. When she was just 7, she was the toughest member of the Tennessee Tug 'o War Team.
Sally Ann was tough and sassy, but she was pretty, too, and as sweet as honey -- so sweet that the hornets liked to let her use their nests for her Sunday-go-to-church hats.
Here's the thing about Sally Ann. She was a sweetheart, but she didn't like anybody calling her that. "Don't call me sweetie," she'd tell anyone who tried. "I can out-grin and out-run and out-lift and out-sneeze and out-lie any old scamp from Maine to Louisiana," and that was true.
When Sally grew up, she decided she wanted to see more of the world. "I'm off to seek adventure," she told her family, and she set off for the big frontier. That first winter away from home, she hibernated with the bears so she could stay warm. Then spring came, and Papa Bear woke up, and when he saw her there, he wasn't too happy.
He snorted and scowled, and growled his deepest, meanest growl. And what did Sally Ann do? She just grinned at him. She had this fabulous grin, and nothing scared her, and Papa Bear was so surprised to see that pretty girl smiling, he fell over in a faint.
While he was on the ground, Sally Ann ran out of the cave. She kept wandering all through that spring and deep into the high heat of summer.
They say it was a pretty day that summer when Sally Ann came upon a hickory tree and saw something strange. It was a man's head, and that head was wearing a coonskin cap, and it was stuck in the crook of the tree.
But it wasn't just any man. The man stuck in that tree was the famous Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier. Sally Ann didn't recognize him, though. She just said, "Now how're we gonna set you free?"
But before Davy could answer, Sally Ann saw something else. She spotted a nest of rattlesnakes down near a bush beside her. That gave her a great idea, so she snatched those rattlesnakes -- all six of them -- and knotted them together and made a lasso. Then she lassoed the branch and tugged just one stiff tug, and POP! Davy's head was set free.
Naturally Davy was mightily impressed, and he introduced himself to Sally Ann.
She smiled. She liked the look of this fella. And besides, everyone knew Davy Crockett. He was famous far and wide, so Sally Ann thought for one second and then said, "Davy, how's this sound? Let's get married!"
And that's what they did.
They were happy, people say, and they had 10 children.
When their first son was born, they named him Hardstone, and soon after that Davy Crockett left home for a while to go to Washington. He kissed Sally Ann and Hardstone goodbye. He wouldn't be back for a while, but he knew they'd be all right.
That very night, just as Sally Ann was about to lie down to go to sleep, she looked out the window and saw a whole gang of ferocious alligators surrounding their house. Now Sally Ann was determined to protect that little baby of theirs, so she ran outside and started flinging those alligators this way and that.
From that day on, everyone in the whole wide world knew that Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind was the bravest woman anywhere, and the strongest.
Well, most people knew. Some folks didn't believe it, but when they tried to test her strength and courage and wits, they always discovered it was true. Sally Ann was really amazing, just like she said.
"Tell Me a Story 2: Animal Magic," the second CD in the audiobook series, is now available. For more information, please visit www.mythsandtales.com.
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