Have you ever dreamt about a cowboy that rides lions, and huge tornadoes? Well dream no more because in the folktale, "Pecos Bill" that is exactly what he does. An understanding of the folktale, "Pecos Bill" and the lessons it may teach it's readers are necessary to full comprehend how cowboy's dress, live, and talk. The folktale even influences today's idea of what a cowboy should be.
There is no specific author to, "Pecos Bill" to date. What we do know is it was originated in the Southwest. "Pecos Bill, legendary cowboy folk hero, personified the frontier spirit of the American Southwest around the turn of the century" (Burns). "Pecos Bill is based on the old southwest frontier's men. "It was told during campfires to pass time when there was nothing else to do" (www.pbskids.org/lions/pecos).
The folktale taught me nothing, but it teaches most readers that no matter how big the obstacle in life may be, it can always be overcome and that there is always another obstacle waiting for you on the other side, "Pecos Bill" has survived so long because of "The elusive dream of being a cowboy which lingers in the subconscious of today's society" (Shar Puhalo). There are no popular folktales similar to that of "Pecos Bill".
"Some cowboys say that he died from drinking fishhooks with his whiskey and nitroglycerin; others insist that he died laughing at dudes who called themselves cowboys. Whatever the mode of his death, Pecos Bill exists in cowboy folklore as a hyperbole of the endurance, enterprise and other qualities required of cowboys" (Schlosser, S.E.) Pecos Bill only rode one horse, which he named, "widow maker", who is girlfriend tried to ride but was thrown so high that Bill had to shoot so she wouldn't starve to death (www.tsha.utexas.edu).
Pecos Bill first appeared as the "Saga of Pecos Bill" written by Edward O"Reilly in the early 1920's. Subsequent to the original story, other writers have added new and even more amazing feats to the legend.