Johnny Appleseed

I also remember the tale of Johnny Appleseed—and as a kid I used to think of him every time I ate an apple and threw away the core. So the idea is that this guy, supposedly called Johnny Appleseed, traveled across the nation on foot and planted apple trees whenever he went and carried a whole bag of apple seeds. When we learned about him in elementary school the teachers said that he loved nature and animals, and respected the land, so it was kinda inspirational to hear about his kindness. Apparently he loved all living things, and wouldn’t even harm a fly. So he also gave away apple trees to settlers who were moving westward, and helped them with food and shelter—he was a really benevolent story.
When I grew up, I thought this was mostly a legend or that it was some made-up story, but it turns out that he was a real guy, and his real name was John Chapman.

Context: This was an over the phone interview with another classmate of mine who told me about her experience learning about this legend in her childhood. All text was transcribed from audio.

Johnny Appleseed’s benevolent actions paint a brighter picture of American expansionism and Manifest Destiny, which occurred during his lifetime. He symbolizes this spirit of pioneering, and conservationism and generosity, which reminds me a bit of Thanksgiving tales where settlers and Natives feasted peacefully and learned from each other, which may be an over-idyllic picture.