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Indian Legends Retold   By: (1863-1953)

Indian Legends Retold by Elaine Goodale Eastman

First Page:

INDIAN LEGENDS RETOLD

BY ELAINE GOODALE EASTMAN

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY GEORGE VARIAN

[Decoration]

BOSTON LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY 1919

Copyright, 1919 , By Little, Brown, and Company.

All rights reserved

Published, September, 1919

Norwood Press Set up and electrotyped by J. S. Cushing Co., Norwood, Mass., U.S.A. Presswork by S. J. Parkhill & Co., Boston, Mass., U.S.A.

BOOKS BY ELAINE GOODALE EASTMAN

Yellow Star Indian Legends Retold

In Collaboration with CHARLES A. EASTMAN

Wigwam Evenings

[Illustration: THE CAPTIVE The murdered dove instantly became a whole flock of hawks. Frontispiece. See page 18. ]

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

The author wishes to thank the Bureau of American Ethnology, Washington, D.C., for kind permission to make use of certain of the stories contained in their collections.

INTRODUCTION

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF INDIAN LEGENDS

The first Indian legends, repeated by the fireside to children, deal with the animals humanized, their gifts and their weaknesses, in such a way as to be a lesson to the young. Our view of the creation allows a soul to all living creatures, and rocks and trees are reverenced as sharers in the divine. Beyond their simplicity and realism there is always the unexplained, the background of mystery and spirituality.

These animal fables serve as an introduction to more complicated stories with human actors, which almost always have their hidden moral and are accepted by our people as guides to life. They are full of humor and poetry, of pride, tenderness, boastfulness, and real heroism. Human lives are mingled with the supernatural, with elements and mysterious powers, bringing swift punishment for wrong doing. This is the basis of our Indian philosophy, the groundwork early laid in the mind of the child, for him to develop later in life by his own observation.

One who reads these stories carefully and thoughtfully will understand something of Indian psychology. Mystery to the Indian is not mystery after all, but a reflection of the Great Mystery which opens out as simply as a flower. To us nothing is strange or impossible. It seems natural that an animal or even a rock should speak; God is in it and speaks through it.

It must be remembered that these are only fragments of what were once consecutive and continued stories, too long and involved to be set down here in full. With just such stories the foundation of my early education was laid in the cold winter evenings, and the impression made was permanent. The characters were real people to me, and the tales of the old men and old women fostered a love of nature, reverence, a kindly spirit, and finally patriotism and the inspiration to heroic effort. Like the other boys, I was expected to learn them by heart and rehearse them in the family circle. It is gratifying to have these old stories saved for the children of another race and generation.

Charles A. Eastman (Ohiyesa).

CONTENTS

PAGE

Introduction vii

A Little Talk about Indians 1

Pima Tales 11

Cherokee Tales 23

Choctaw Stories 51

Iroquois Tales 65

Tsimshian Tales 77

Alaskan Stories 137

ILLUSTRATIONS

The murdered dove instantly became a whole flock of hawks Frontispiece

One contrived to pull her son down but the other six went up into the sky PAGE 44

He makes it choose one of three gifts " 55

He rudely pushed her backward until she fell down " 83

He discovered the woman in a small pool " 111

He took him to a tall stump in the very middle of the lake and there he left him " 144

INDIAN LEGENDS RETOLD

A LITTLE TALK ABOUT INDIANS

Many of us think of the American Indians as all one people... Continue reading book >>




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