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NEW STAMPS TELL TALL TALES OF FOLK HEROES

Published: Wednesday, July 24 1996 12:00 a.m. MDT

The tall tales of four American "folk heroes" - Mighty Casey, Pecos Bill, John Henry and Paul Bunyan - come alive on a new set of 32-cent U.S. stamps. Mighty Casey (at the bat) has been a baseball legend for all the boys of summer. Casey, at the moment of potential triumph, struck out with the bases loaded. Ernest Lawrence Thayer's poem, "Casey At the Bat," became an American classic due to the oratory skill of William DeWolf Hop-per.

Pecos Bill was a super-cowboy who embodied the wildness of America's frontier. According to legend, Pecos Bill was raised by coyotes and was so tough he could ride a mountain lion and use a rattlesnake as a whip.John Henry, the legendary "steel-drivin' man," was born with a hammer in his hand, say the writers of folklore. John Henry still is the subject of many stories and songs of railroad workers.

Paul Bunyan possessed immense strength. As the stories go, Bunyan was abandoned by his parents because he had grown so big that they were unable to care for him. He was the "king" of the 19th-century loggers who chopped down acres and acres of trees.

First-day cancellations by mail are available for the collector. You may purchase the stamps at your local post office, address the envelopes and place in a larger envelope, addressed to: Folk Heroes Commemorative Stamps, Postmaster, 701 Loaro St., Anaheim, CA 92803-9991. Requests for first-day cancellations must be made by Aug. 12.

- Syd Kronish

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