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"Bull Talk," #94 Swapping Stories
Jimmie H. Davis

Recorded July 7, 1990, by Monty Brown at Jonesboro's Kraft Paper Festival of the South from a former governor of Louisiana, Jimmie H. Davis. Davis is a native of Jonesboro but resides in Baton Rouge. He was twice governor of Louisiana, once in the 1940s and again in the early 1960s; however, Davis's fame is not linked simply to politics. To outsiders, he's probably better known for the widely popular song, "You Are My Sunshine." He also appeared in movies, most notably Louisiana, in which he had the leading role, and Mississippi Gambler.


Gov. Davis: This is kind of new to me. I don't know if they want me to tell lies or what.

Monty Brown: Anything you want to tell.

Gov. Davis: Oh, I don't want to tell lies! (Audience laughs.) That reminds me; a few years ago, I was up on an engagement in North Carolina. And it's about fifty miles from where a good friend of mine lives. He used to hold office here in this state. But he went up there, since his boy was there; he's a judge.

I went over there, and he said, "I'm glad you're here." Said, "They're having a fair here in town. Let's ride around a little bit." And he said, "Oh yeah, the teenagers are having a lying contest. And the one who tell the biggest lie gets an eighteen-month-old, white-faced, registered Hereford bull."

I said, "Let's go by there and hear them."

Went by there, he introduced me, they said, "Gov. Davis, we know you are not a teenager, and you're a visitor here. So we'll just put you in on this too. You can tell, and if you tell the biggest lie, then you can win the bull, too."

I said, "That's great." And I said, "This is kind of tough for me, though. I've never been to something like this. In the fact of the business, down there where I came from in Louisiana, people don't tell lies."

He said, "Governor Davis, you just won the bull!" (Audience claps and laughs.)

For more information about this and related tales, refer to the book Swapping Stories: Folktales from Louisiana, published by University Press of Mississippi.

About the Transcriptions


National Endowment for the Arts.

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