New England Bean-Pot, by M. A. Jagendorf
Five out of five stars
This is a collection of short folk stories told and retold in the New England states of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. They involve witches or accusations of witchcraft, appearances of the devil, hauntings, traveling the ocean for fishing or commerce and examples of good and bad deeds. In some, the execution of the bad deeds are the prelude to a lesson learned that leads to a life of good deeds.
The stories are segmented by state and have both local and general flavors. For example, the stories involving the mischief of the devil could be located anywhere, but when they are in a specific state, there is geographic context in terms of what the people do as well as the weather they deal with.
These stories would be useful in English language classes, where the purpose is to have the class read and discuss the background as well as the topic. There is little in the way of violence, they are designed to be read to children and pass along aspects of the local culture.