By: Katharine Berry Judson (1866-1929)
It is a loss to American literature that so much of the legendary history of these Indian tribes has gone, beyond hope of recovery. Exquisite in color, poetical in feeling, these legends of sun, moon, and stars, of snow, ice, lightning, thunders, the winds, the life of the forest birds and animals about them, and the longing to understand the why and the how of life—all which we have only in fragments…. As in all the other volumes of this series, no effort has been made to ornament or amplify these legends in the effort to make them “literary,” or give them “literary charm.” They must speak for themselves. What editing has been done has been in simplifying them, and freeing them from the verbose setting in which many were found. For in this section of the country, settled before it was realized that there was an Indian literature, the original work of noting down the myths was very imperfectly done.
These tales come from the following tribes: Winnebago, Chitimacha, Wyandot, Biloxi, Ojibwa, Mandan, Menomini, Cherokee, Sioux, Knisteneaux, Choctaw , Fox, and Natchez.