Ray Hicks was one of this country's best-loved storytellers and the famous teller of the Appalachian Jack Tales. He grew up in a remote section of the North Carolina mountains in Watauga County, where his family had lived for over two hundred years. Through the generations the family preserved the stories, songs, and folkways of their ancestors, along with stories of Jack and other fantastic happenings. Few of these storytellers ever ventured out from their communities until Ray Hicks came to the forefront as the leader of the storytelling revival that began in the 1970s. By 1985, he was known as the last traditional Jack Tale teller in North Carolina, and the Smithsonian honored him as a National Heritage Fellow.