Today we tell a traditional American story called a"tall tale."A tall tale is a story about a person who is larger than life.The descriptions in the story are exaggerated–much greater than in real life.Long ago,the people who settled in undeveloped areas in America first told tall tales.After a hard day's work,people gathered to tell each other funny stories.Pecos Bill was a larger than life hero of the American West.No one knows who first told stories about Pecos Bill.Cowboys may have invented the stories.Others say Edward O'Reilly invented the character in stories he wrote for the Century Magazine in the early 1900s.The stories were collected in a book called"The Saga of Pecos Bill,"published in 1923.Another writer,James Cloyd Bowman,wrote an award-winning children's book called"Pecos Bill:The Greatest Cowboy of All Time."The book won the Newbery Honor in 1938.
今天我们讲一个传统的美国故事，叫做“高故事”。高故事是关于一个比生命更伟大的人的故事。故事中的描述被夸大了，比现实生活中的要严重得多。很久以前，定居在美国不发达地区的人们第一次讲起了高谈阔论。经过一天的艰苦工作，人们聚在一起互相讲有趣的故事。佩科斯·比尔是美国西部一位超生的英雄。没人知道是谁先讲了关于佩科斯·比尔的故事。牛仔们可能发明了这些故事。还有人说，爱德华·奥雷利在20世纪初为《世纪》杂志撰写的故事中创造了这个角色，这些故事被收录在1923年出版的一本书《佩科斯·比尔的传奇》中。另一位作家詹姆斯克罗伊德鲍曼（James Cloyd Bowman）写了一本获奖的儿童读物《佩科斯比尔：有史以来最伟大的牛仔》（Pecos Bill）。
Pecos Bill was not a historical person.But he does represent the spirit of early settlers in the American West.His unusual childhood and extraordinary actions tell about people who believed there were no limits to what they could do.Now,here is Barbara Klein with our story.Pecos Bill had one of the strangest childhoods a boy ever had.It all started after his father decided that there was no longer enough room in east Texas for his family."Pack up,Ma!"he cried."Neighbors movin'in 50 miles away!It's getting too crowded!"So they loaded up a wagon with all their things.Now some say they had 15 children while others say 18.However many there were,the children were louder than thunder.And as they set off across the wild country of west Texas,their mother and father could hardly hear a thing.Now,as they came to the Pecos River,the wagon hit a big rock.The force threw little Bill out of the wagon and he landed on the sandy ground.Mother did not know Bill was gone until she gathered the children for the midday meal.Mother set off with some of the children to look for Bill,but they could find no sign of him.
Well,some people say Bill was just a baby when his family lost him.Others say he was four years old.But all agree that a group of animals called coyotes found Bill and raised him.Bill did all the things those animals did,like chase lizards and howl at the moon.He became as good a coyote as any.Now,Bill spent 17 years living like a coyote until one day a cowboy rode by on his horse.Some say the cowboy was one of Bill's brothers.Whoever he was,he took one look at Bill and asked,"What are you?"Bill was not used to human language.At first,he could not say anything.The cowboy repeated his question.This time,Bill said,"varmint."That is a word used for any kind of wild animal."No you aren't,"said the cowboy."Yes,I am,"said Bill."I have fleas.""Lots of people have fleas,"said the cowboy."You don't have a tail.""Yes,I do,"said Bill."Show it to me then,"the cowboy said.Bill looked at his backside and realized that he did not have a tail like the other coyotes."Well,what am I then?"asked Bill."You're a cowboy!So start acting like one!"the cowboy cried out.Well that was all Bill needed to hear.He said goodbye to his coyote friends and left to join the world of humans.
Now,Pecos Bill was a good cowboy.Still,he hungered for adventure.One day he heard about a rough group of men.There is some debate over what the group was called.But one storyteller calls it the"Hell's Gate Gang."So Bill set out across the rough country to find this gang of men.Well,Bill's horse soon was injured so Bill had to carry it for a hundred miles.Then Bill met a rattlesnake 50 feet long.The snake made a hissing noise and was not about to let Bill pass.But after a tense minute,Bill beat the snake until it surrendered.He felt sorry for the varmint,though,and wrapped it around his arm.After Bill walked another hundred miles,he came across an angry mountain lion.There was a huge battle,but Bill took control of the big cat and put his saddle on it.He rode that mountain lion all the way to the camp of the Hell's Gate Gang.Now,when Bill saw the gang he shouted out,"Who's the boss around here?"A huge cowboy,9 feet tall,took one look at Bill and said in a shaky voice,"I was the boss.But you are the boss from here on in."With his gang,Pecos Bill was able to create the biggest ranch in the Southwest.Bill and his men had so many cattle that they needed all of New Mexico to hold them.Arizona was the pasture where the cattle ate grass.
Pecos Bill invented the art of being a cowboy.He invented the skill of throwing a special rope called a lasso over a cow's head to catch wandering cattle.Some say he used a rattlesnake for a lasso.Others say he made a lasso so big that it circled the whole Earth.Bill invented the method of using a hot branding iron to permanently put the mark of a ranch on a cow's skin.That helped stop people from stealing cattle.Some say he invented cowboy song