DURING the past century the untiring labors of a score or two of field workers have gathered from the North American Indians by far the most extensive body of tales representative of any primitive people. These tales are available in government reports, folk-lore journals, and publications of learned societies. Unfortunately, the libraries in which more than a small portion of them can be examined are few, and even in the largest libraries the very wealth of material serves but to confuse the general reader who seeks without undue expenditure of time to acquaint himself with American Indian tales.
To meet the obvious need presented by this situation, this collection has been prepared. The editor has sought to make available in the compass of a single volume typical examples of such of these tales as have gained any general currency. Some tales are common to the tribes of a single culture area, some to the whole East or the whole West, and some are known over practically the whole continent. Indeed, few tales worth telling are confined to a single tribe. The assiduous reader soon learns to recognize many recurrent patterns or types, which transcend geographical and linguistic boundaries, and which form the basis of most of the tales in the various collections. In recognition of the persistence of these types, the editor has endeavored to secure representative versions of each of the better-known tales then, by means of comparative notes, to show the extent of the distribution of each tale and each motif; and, finally, to present the material in such wise as to be obvious to the general reader.
The unit of arrangement of the volume is thus the tale--not the tribe or the culture area. That each area has characteristics peculiar to itself the editor shows in the Introduction, but for the purpose of this volume the tale-type has been chosen as the most logical basis for classification. Only the first chapter, that on mythological tales, follows a geographical order. It is hoped that the geographical arrangement of the notes will give adequate recognition to the significance of tribe and culture area.
In his choice of the texts of the tales the editor has striven to use a full, well-told example of each tale. With the following exceptions, he has given the texts as they appear in the original collections. (1) In stories about a single hero, the spelling of his name has been standardized. (2) Certain Indian names have been changed in spelling in order to be more easily pronounced by the general reader. Occasionally an Indian word has been omitted entirely when it did not add to the meaning of the story. (3) In several places irrelevant episodes have been omitted. These changes are always indicated.
For valuable assistance in the preparation of the volume, the editor owes much to his graduate students of the past few years, especially for making his notes on various motifs fuller than they would otherwise be. To his wife he is grateful for much assistance in many indispensable parts of the undertaking. Particularly to his friend, Professor Archer Taylor of the University of Chicago, he desires at this time to give thanks for his encouragement and detailed advice at nearly every stage of the work.
For courteous permission to reprint tales, acknowledgment is hereby made to the American Museum of Natural History, to the American Folk-Lore Society, to the Canadian Geological Survey, to Professor Franz Boas for the Jesup North Pacific Expedition Papers, to the Field Columbian Museum, to the University of California, to the Carnegie Institution, to G. P. Putnam's Sons, and to Wellesley College.
I. SEDNA, MISTRESS OF THE UNDERWORLD (Eskimo) 3
II. SUN SISTER AND MOON BROTHER (Eskimo) 4
III. GLOOSCAP (Micmac) 5
IV. MANABOZHO 8
A. MANABOZHO'S BIRTH (Menomini) 8
B. MANABOZHO'S WOLF BROTHER (Menomini) 10
C. MANABOZHO PLAYS LACROSSE (Menomini) 11
V. THE WOMAN WHO FELL FROM THE SKY (Seneca) 14
VI. THE BEGINNING OF NEWNESS (Zuñi) 17
VII. RAVEN'S ADVENTURES 19
A. RAVEN BECOMES VORACIOUS (Tsimshian) 19
B. THE THEFT OF LIGHT (Tsimshian) 22
VIII. THE CREATION (Maidu) 24
IX. THE CREATION (Kato) 30
X. THE LIZARD-HAND (Yokuts) 38
XI. DETERMINATION OF THE SEASONS (Tahltan) 38
XII. MARRIAGE OF THE NORTH AND THE SOUTH (Cherokee) 39
XIII. DETERMINATION OF NIGHT AND DAY (Iroquois) 39
XIV. THE THEFT OF FIRE (Maidu) 40
XV. THE SUN SNARER (Menomini) 42
XVI. THE MAN WHO ACTED AS THE SUN (Bella Coola) 44
XVII. THE MAN IN THE MOON (Lillooet) 45
XVIII. ORIGIN OF THE PLEIADES (Onondaga) 46
XIX. THE BAG OF WINDS (Thompson) 47
XX. THE BIRD WHOSE WINGS MADE THE WIND (Micmac) 48
XXI. THE RELEASE OF THE WILD ANIMALS (Comanche) 49
XXII. THE EMPOUNDED WATER (Malecite) 51
XXIII. THE ORIGIN OF CORN (Abanaki) 51
XXIV. MANABOZHO'S ADVENTURES (Ojibwa and Menomini) 53
XXV. THE TRICKSTER'S GREAT FALL AND HIS REVENGE (Menomini) 57
XXVI. THE DECEIVED BLIND MEN (Menomini) 59
XXVII. THE TRICKSTER'S RACE (Blackfoot) 61
XXVIII. THE EYE-JUGGLER (Cheyenne) 63
XXIX. THE SHARPENED LEG (Cheyenne) 64
XXX. THE OFFENDED ROLLING STONE (Pawnee) 64
XXXI. THE TRICKSTER KILLS THE CHILDREN (Arapaho) 66
XXXII. WILDCAT GETS A NEW FACE (Uintah Ute) 68
XXXIII. THE TRICKSTER BECOMES A DISH (Lillooet) 68
XXXIV. COYOTE PROVES HIMSELF A CANNIBAL (Jicarilla Apache) 70
XXXV. THE BUNGLING HOST (Thompson) 71
XXXVI. COYOTE AND PORCUPINE (Nez Percé) 73
XXXVII. BEAVER AND PORCUPINE (Tlingit) 75
XXXVIII. THE BIG TURTLE'S WAR PARTY (Skidi Pawnee) 75
XXXIX. THE SUN TESTS HIS SON-IN-LAW(Bella Coola) 78
XL. THE JEALOUS UNCLE (Kodiak) 87
XLI. BLUEJAY AND HIS COMPANIONS (Quinault) 93
XLII. DUG-FROM-GROUND (Hupa) 97
XLIII. THE ATTACK ON THE GIANT ELK(Jicarilla Apache) 101
XLIV. LODGE-BOY AND THROWN-AWAY (Crow) 104
XLV. BLOOD-CLOT-BOY (Blackfoot) 108
XLVI. THE SON-IN-LAW TESTS (Timagami Ojibwa) 113
XLVII. THE JEALOUS FATHER (Cree) 116
XLVIII. DIRTY-BOY (Okanagon) 120
XLIX. THE FALSE BRIDEGROOM (Gros Ventre) 124
JOURNEYS TO THE OTHER WORLD
L. THE STAR HUSBAND--TYPE I: THE WISH TO MARRY A STAR (Timagami Ojibwa) 126
LI. THE STAR HUSBAND--TYPE II: THE GIRL ENTICED TO THE SKY (Arapaho) 128
LII. THE STRETCHING TREE (Chilcotin) 130
LIII. THE ARROW CHAIN (Tlingit) 131
LIV. MUDJIKIWIS (Plains Cree) 135
LV. ORPHEUS (Cherokee) 148
LVI. THE VISIT TO CHIEF ECHO (Tsimshian) 148
ANIMAL WIVES AND HUSBANDS
LVII. THE PIQUED BUFFALO-WIFE (Blackfoot) 150
LVIII. BEAR-WOMAN AND DEER-WOMAN (Lassik) 153
LIX. SPLINTER-FOOT-GIRL (Arapaho) 154
LX. THE EAGLE AND WHALE HUSBANDS (Greenland Eskimo) 160
LXI. THE FOX-WOMAN (Labrador Eskimo) 161
LXII. THE WOMAN STOLEN By KILLER-WHALES (Tahltan) 162
LXIII. THE ROLLING HEAD (Cheyenne) 163
LXIV. THE BEAR-WOMAN (Blackfoot) 164
LXV. THE DOG-HUSBAND (Quinault) 167
LXVI. THE YOUTH WHO JOINED THE DEER (Thompson) 169
LXVII. THE DESERTED CHILDREN (Gros Ventre) 174
LXVIII. THE PRINCESS WHO REJECTED HER COUSIN (Tsimshian) 178
LXIX. THE FATAL SWING (Osage) 184
LXX. THE SKIN-SHIFTING OLD WOMAN (Wichita) 186
LXXI. THE CHILD AND THE CANNIBAL (Bella Coola) 190
LXXII. THE CANNIBAL WHO WAS BURNED (Haida) 193
LXXIII. THE CONQUERING GAMBLER (Chilcotin) 194
LXXIV. THE DECEIVED BLIND MAN (Smith Sound Eskimo) 195
LXXV. THE GIRL WHO MARRIED HER BROTHER (Shasta) 196
LXXVI. THE SWAN-MAIDENS (Smith Sound Eskimo) 198
LXXVII. THE DEATH OF PITCH (Tsimshian) 199
TALES BORROWED FROM EUROPEANS
LXXVIII. THE SEVEN-HEADED DRAGON (Ojibwa) 201
LXXIX. JOHN THE BEAR (Assiniboin) 205
LXXX. THE ENCHANTED HORSE (Malecite) 208
LXXXI. LITTLE POUCET (Thompson) 218
LXXXII. THE WHITE CAT (Chilcotin) 222
LXXXIII. CINDERELLA (Zuñi) 225
LXXXIV. THE TRUE BRIDE (Thompson) 231
LXXXV. THE MAGIC APPLES (Penobscot) 238
LXXXVI. MAKING THE PRINCESS LAUGH (Micmac) 241
LXXXVII. THE CLEVER NUMSKULL (Micmac) 248
LXXXVIII. THE FOX AND THE WOLF (Menomini) 254
LXXXIX. THE TAR-BABY (Cherokee) 258
XC. THE TURTLE'S RELAY RACE (Arikara) 258
XCI. THE PEACE FABLE (Wyandot) 259
XCII. THE ANT AND THE GRASSHOPPER (Shuswap) 260
XCIII. ADAM AND EVE (Thompson) 261
XCIV. NOAH'S FLOOD (Thompson) 262
XCV. THE TOWER OF BABEL (Choctaw) 263
XCVI. CROSSING THE RED SEA (Cheyenne) 264
ABBREVIATIONS USED IN NOTES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY 269
COMPARATIVE NOTES 271
LIST OF MOTIFS DISCUSSED IN THE NOTES 361
SOURCES ARRANGED BY CULTURE AREAS AND TRIBES 368
MAP OF TRIBES AND CULTURE AREAS
NEARLY three centuries have passed since the first American Indian tales were recorded by Europeans. The Jesuit Fathers in their Relations beginning with 1633 report tales current among the tribes with whom they had come into contact. From them we have at this early date rather good versions of the Iroquois creation myth (No. v of this collection), of "The Sun Snarer" (No. xv) and of "The Empounded Water" (No. xxii). These tales have the same form when collected in the twentieth century as they had in the early seventeenth.
Though tales were reported sporadically during the next two centuries by travellers and explorers, it was not till the second quarter of the nineteenth century that any considerable body of this folk-lore became available. Through the labors of Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, the legends of the Ojibwa and their neighbors were reported at some length. Unfortunately, the scientific value of his work is marred by the manner in which he has reshaped the stories to suit his own literary taste. Several of his tales, indeed, are distorted almost beyond recognition. Nevertheless, he introduced to the civilized world a considerable body of Indian legend. Among these tales was the myth of Manabozho (No. iv), though he caused great confusion by adapting to his myth the name of the Iroquois hero, Hiawatha. Through the poem of Longfellow, the details of this myth have become a part of American literature. Another mythical tale known anew through the work of Schoolcraft was "The Sun Snarer" (No. xv), already mentioned as reported by the Jesuits. He also tells a number of trickster incidents (for example, Nos. xxiv, xxv, and xxvi). His work serves as a landmark in the history of the recording of American Indian tales.
A result of Schoolcraft's sentimentality has been the attitude of a large part of the general public toward Indian tradition. All sections of the country have acquired legends of "lovers' leaps." The courtship of Hiawatha and Minnehaha, the least "Indian" of any of the events in "Hiawatha," has come for many readers to stand as the typical American Indian
tale. If a collection of authentic tales, like the present, can help correct so erroneous an impression, it will have been well worth preparing.
Since Schoolcraft's day collecting has continued. Most of it in the sixties, seventies, and eighties of the past century was done faithfully and well. Too little regard, indeed, was paid to the preservation of variants, or to reproducing carefully the style of the native narrator. But such embroidery as appears in the otherwise excellent volumes of Rink's Eskimo or Rand's Micmac tales seems to be in diction rather than in incident.
Beginning about 1890, largely through the influence of Professor Franz Boas and others inspired by the desire to make their work of scientific value, collectors have been covering the entire continent in an increasingly efficient manner. A number of agencies have contributed to the very gratifying results thus attained. The Bureau of American Ethnology in its reports and bulletins, the University of Pennsylvania Museum, the American Museum of Natural History, the American Folk-Lore Society in its memoirs and in the Journal of American Folk-Lore have issued tales from every quarter of the continent. Several universities and societies have devoted themselves to the cultivation of particular areas. Thus the Field Museum has specialized in tales of the Pueblo and Plains tribes. the University of California has confined itself largely to the tribes of California; the Jesup North Pacific Expedition, to the tribes of the North Pacific Coast; Columbia University, to the North Pacific Coast and to Oregon; and the Canadian Geological Survey, to the Central and Eastern Woodland tribes. The American Ethnological Society has issued in text and close translation a series of studies covering the continent. These are of especial value to students of linguistics and of literary style. Aside from all these organized efforts, independent collectors such as Cushing for the Zuñi, Curtin for the Modoc, the Wintun, the Yana, and the Seneca, and Grinnell for the Blackfoot, the Cheyenne, and the Pawnee, have added to the store of available material. Some idea of the extent of recent collections and of the manner in which the whole territory north of Mexico has been covered will be gained by an examination of the list of sources on page 368. No other primitive people has such an extensive and accurate record of its myths, tales, and legends as the North American Indian.
After even a limited perusal of a few representative volumes of these tales the reader will begin to recognize certain general types of story that prevail in nearly all parts of the continent. Further reading but confirms the prevalence of these fundamental types.
Prominent among these will be found mythological stories dealing with the world before it was in the present state. The primary purpose of such tales is to show the preparation for the present order of affairs. They often treat of demigods or culture heroes. They explain origins of animals, or tribes, or objects, or ceremonies, or the universe itself. The true creation myth, as Professor Boas points out, is almost wholly lacking, but origin myths of a sort are found over a large territory. The Zuñi myth (No. vi) and the California myths (Nos. viii and ix) are about as clear examples of the creation myth as are to be found. Stories of the "Glooscap" type (No. iii), in which the culture hero (in a world assumed as already existing) acts as an originator of various aspects of culture and is responsible for many changes in topography, are much more prevalent. In the Southwest and the Southeast, migration legends tell of the emergence of the tribe from lower worlds in mythological times.
Aside from such rather well-developed mythological tales, there are a number of separate incidents or episodes that evidently belong to the same world of thought. The whole purpose of such tales is to explain by some happening in an earlier world the existence of some phenomenon in present-day life. Without the explanation the tale is pointless.
Attempts at exact definition of "myth" as distinguished from "tale" seem futile. As Waterman has pointed out in his study of the explanatory element in North American mythology, it is quite certain that no satisfactory classification of tales can be made on the basis of whether some phenomenon is explained or not. By far the greater number of explanations he has studied are not organic: they are not necessary to the story, but are added as an ornament or for other reasons. The same explanations combine freely with a great number of different tales. Nor can more successful classification be made on the basis of ritualistic significance, or on that of personification. All these things appear and disappear--the tale remains as the only permanent element. In this volume, tales involving
an earlier world and primarily devoted to explaining present conditions have been classed as mythical. But no sharp line can be drawn. Certainly no real difference is found in published collections, whether the author calls his book "myths," or "tales," or "legends."
A second class of tale is that relating the deeds of a trickster. Sometimes the buffoon is a human being, but more often he is an animal endowed with human characteristics. Usually it is quite impossible to tell whether animal or person is in the mind of the narrator. The distinction is never very clear. In the most human of these tales , such as the Manabozho cycle (No. xxiv), the animal nature of the trickster seems always in the background of the narrative. Sometimes the trickster appears outside his proper cycle and confusion between the two natures is especially marked. Such is true, for example, in the version of the "Son-in-Law Tests" here given (No. xlvi).
To the civilized reader, perhaps the most incongruous feature of the trickster tales is the frequent identification of the buffoon with the culture hero. Such identification is found over a large part of the continent. In one set of tales, for example, Manabozho is a beneficent being, bringing culture and light to his people (No. iv); in another (No. xxiv), he is the incarnation of greediness, lust, cruelty, and stupidity. As Professor Boas has shown, even the acts of benevolence of such trickster demigods are often mere accidental by-products of baser motives. Raven steals the sun that he may more easily satisfy his greed; incidentally, his people receive light. While it would be going too far to say that none of the trickster demigods is altruistic, one must always remember that most of the culture heroes are also tricksters and that even in their most dignified moments they are prone to show something of their dual nature.
A third large division of American Indian tales concerns the life of human beings under conditions at least remotely resembling the present. To be sure, in all of these the marvelous occupies a large place. Transformation, magic, otherworld journeys, ogres, and beast marriages abound. But the characters are thought of as distinctly human. The general background is the tribal life and environment. The resemblance to the European tale in method and material is often striking. The characters and the setting are usually as vague as in a story
from Grimm, the events as definitely established by convention. Motivation is usually weak, frequently quite absent. But to the average educated reader this type of tale is often more interesting than either the mythological story or the trickster cycle. We seem to have at least a partial expression of the life of the people from whom the tales come.
A large group of these stories we may call "hero" tales, for they concern themselves with the exploits of a hero (or often of twin heroes). As will be seen from an examination of our fourth chapter, the tales usually relate attempts made to kill the hero and his successful escapes from death. He often deliberately seeks dangerous enemies and overcomes them. Frequently the hero is subjected to tests by his father-in-law--an incident bearing very interesting resemblances to the European Son-in-Law Test theme.
From one area to another the hero differs in type. On the North Pacific Coast the heroes of even this kind of tale may be of the animal-human type (for example, No. xvi); in California and on the Plains his supernatural birth is stressed (Nos. xlii, xliv, xlv); the unpromising hero turned victor is common on the Plains (No. xlix), the Plateau (No. xlviii), and among the Iroquois. Twin heroes are frequent on the Plains and in the Southwest.
On the North Pacific Coast the hero cycle merges with the next to be mentioned--tales of journeys to the other world. In these stories there is, from the point of view of the civilized reader, a confusion of worlds. Usually the "other world" is pictured as above; sometimes as below; sometimes as across a vast river or sea. The cosmological concepts of the particular tribe are always in the background of these tales, and a real understanding of what the narrator has in mind can often be gained only by a serious study of the religious ideas of the tribe. In spite, however, of tribal differences, such simple concepts as a star-world, a sky window, a rope to the sky, a rainbow-bridge to the upper world are to be found everywhere. For example, "The Star Husband" (Nos. l and li) is told over the entire width of the continent.
In the discussion of the trickster cycle, mention has been made of the confusion between man and animal. This same confusion exists in the many stories of beast marriages. Animals carry off human girls or marry human husbands. They
have offspring--sometimes human, sometimes animal, sometimes capable of becoming either at will. Sometimes the animal spouse is a transformed person. The tales regularly end with the transformation of the animal spouse to human form, or with an escape from the animal.
All the classes of tales thus far discussed are sufficiently widespread to attract the attention of the casual reader. A number of stories of relatively wide distribution are much more difficult to classify. These have been grouped into a chapter to themselves (chapter VII).
In the stories of certain tribes the recent influence of the Europeans is very apparent. The French in Canada, the Spanish in the Southwest, and the negroes in the Southeast have contributed many tales to the tribes in their respective territories. Usually the Indians recognize these definitely as borrowings. European phraseology, background, and ideas abound. Not fewer than fifty well-known European tales are current among the American Indians. Several good examples of such tales, as well as of Bible narratives, form chapters VIII and IX of this collection.
As the discussion of types has several times implied, there is a difference in the tales of the American Indian as we pass from one culture area to another. The same themes may--usually do--appear, but there are differences, nevertheless. Certain kinds of tale or hero or setting may be favorites with one tribe and not with another. Explanatory stories may prevail here; hero myths there; trickster tales in a third tribe A few words will serve to characterize the various areas.
The Eskimos are poor in explanatory myths and trickster tales. Insignificant animal stories and accounts of monsters and pursuits occupy a much larger proportion of their mythology than the selections here given would indicate. As a whole, their stories have a very low level of interest. (Nos. i, ii, xl, lx, lxi, lxxiv, lxxvi.)
The tribes of the Mackenzie River district have little to distinguish their tales from those of their neighbors. As they approach the Eskimos to the north, the Coast tribes to the west, the Plains and Plateau tribes to the south, their stories show corresponding change.
In contrast the Plateau area gives us collections of marked individuality. A wandering hero-trickster changes topography
and gets into mischief. Journeys to the upper world, unpromising heroes and heroines, and animal marriages are frequent. These peoples have borrowed freely from the Europeans. Their trickster cycle contains both Plains and Pacific Coast elements. (Nos. xvii, xix, xxxiii, xxxv, xxxvi, xlviii, lxvi, lxxiii, lxxxi, lxxxii, xcii, xciii, xciv.)
Tales of the North Pacific Coast are of a considerable variety. No more than the peoples already discussed do they possess a real creation myth. The trickster--Raven in the north, Mink, and Blue Jay farther south--is very active. Tales based on ritual or social rank are frequent. The sea is ever present, and in place of the animals of the Plateau, these tribes tell stories of whales and salmon. Tales involving the other world are prominent. (Nos. vii, xi, xvi, xxxvii, xxxix, xli, liii, lvi, lxii, lxv, lxviii, lxxi, lxxii, lxxvii.)
The interest of the teller of tales in California seems to be two things only--the creation and the deeds of the trickster. A few other animal tales are present. One feels that, with the possible exception of the Eskimos, the range of interest is least among the California Indians of any tribes on the continent. (Nos. viii, ix, x, xiv, xlii, lviii.)
In the Plains the range of interest is extraordinarily wide. Practically every class of tale current anywhere occurs here. If there are any favorite types they are the trickster and the hero tales. In certain parts of the area (for example, among the Caddoan tribes) the origin myth is important. (Nos. xxi, xxvii, xxviii, xxix, xxx, xxxi, xxxii, xxxviii, xliv, xlv, xlix, li, liv, lvii, lix, lxiii, lxiv, lxvii, lxix, lxx, lxxix, xc, xcvi.)
In general spirit it is hard to distinguish between the tales of the Plains and those of the Central Woodland. The trickster cycle in almost all its parts is common to the two areas. The mythology of the Central Woodland tribes is nearly uniform, whereas the Plains tribes show great divergence. The Manabozho cycle prevails through most of this area. (Nos. iv, xxiv, xxv, xxvi, xlvi, xlvii, lxviii, lxxxviii.)
The Northeast Woodland has been in such constant contact with Europeans that the native tales, except among such remote tribes as the Naskapi, have been almost crowded out. In the culture-hero cycle, myths explaining topography are prominent. Animal marriages and trickster tales are frequent.
The Glooscap cycle is notable as an account of a culture hero not combined (or certainly to a very small extent) with a trickster. (Nos. iii, xx, xxii, xxiii, lxxx, lxxxv, lxxxvi.)
No other tribes show such thorough independence in their tales and detachment from other sections as do the Iroquois. Though their origin myth has much in common with that of the Central Woodland, the rest of their tales show little outside influence. The reader is impressed with a great monotony of motivation and treatment. Accounts of cruel uncles, wicked brothers, cannibalistic mothers, flying heads, and ravaging monsters are given but slight relief through an occasional trickster tale or a beautiful myth of otherworld journeying. (Nos. v, xiii, xviii, xci.)
Animal tales and migration legends mark the collections from the Southeast. The animal cycle has become so greatly influenced by the "Uncle Remus" tales as to be at least as much negro, as Indian. (Nos. xii, lv, lxxix, xcv.)
The tribes of the Southwest desert land have many interesting stories of the emergence of the tribe from lower worlds and its final establishment in its present habitat. Their hero tales are usually connected with their mythology. The trickster cycle of the Plains is also prevalent. Among some tribes (for example, the Navaho) there is a tendency to string many tales into a long and complicated myth. (Nos. vi, xxxiv, xliii, lxxxiii.)
After due consideration is given to the differences in the various areas, however, these will not be found nearly so striking as the likenesses. Generally speaking, though proportion varies, the same classes of tales are found everywhere on the continent. The practised reader immediately recognizes a tale as characteristically American Indian, whether it comes from California or Labrador.
In spite of the intrusion of stories from the whites during the past few centuries, the body of older American Indian tales is very clearly established. These tales have been here for a very long time--long enough for the incidents to travel over the entire continent. That they have some sort of relation to myths of the Old World seems in many cases most probable, but until the exact nature of parallels has been studied and a large number of them traced, speculation is perhaps unwise. Certain very clear instances of ancient migration of tales from Asia even
now appear, but only very careful and detailed investigation will make any larger generalization safe.
The American Indian tale offers ample material for much profitable study. The groping toward literary style, the attempt to narrate interestingly, the primitive conception of humor--such are only a few of the possibilities of their use for the student. To the general reader they hold out great attractions as a characteristic product of our native Americans. We may well be grateful to the faithful collectors who have gathered such a wealth of material for our profit and enjoyment.