About the stories

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The tales I have retold in Hold Up the Shy have been told to generation after generation of Native Ameri­can audiences by the storytellers of their tribes. For all we know, some could have their roots in tales a thou­sand years old. It is sad to think that more stories were lost than saved as the early, and then later, peoples of Texas and the Southern Plains dwindled, mingled with other tribes, or were destroyed by dis­ease, war, or the hostility of white settlers. Native American storytellers still told the tales they heard from their elders, but missionaries and the schools for Native American children hoped to erase this tra­ditional lore and make the children into "good little whites." Not until the latter part of the nineteenth century did travelers and scholars begin to listen, and to value and to write down the tales they heard.

It is in the printed records that these men and women published that I found the tales I have retold. Stories always change a little from teller to teller. Some tales in time were influenced by those of allied tribes, or of European stories. Those in Hold Up the Shy are also different in that, though the content of the stories is unchanged, they are told in my own words. The tales that were my sources can be found in the books that follow.

Elliott Canonge, in Comanche Texts (1958), pages 21­23, gives a translation of "The Great Meatball" from the Comanche language.

George A. Dorsey, in The Mythology of the Wichita (Carnegie Institution of Washington, Publica­tion no. 21, 1904), records on page 289 the Tawakoni story "Coyote and the Smallest Snake," told to him by a man named Ignorant Woman! The Waco tale "The Thunderbird Woman" appears on pages 120-23, and the Wichita tale "Young Boy Chief and His Sister" on pages 218-24.

In Traditions of the Caddo (1905), Mr. Dorsey has recorded "How Rabbit Stole Mountain Lion's Teeth" (on pages 85-86) and two versions of "Slaying the Monsters," told by Wing and White Bread (on pages 47-50). In Traditions of the Osage (in the Field Columbian Museum Anthropological Series, vol. 7) he recorded "Mountain Lion and the Four Sisters" (pages 18-19) and "The Boy Who Killed the Hill" (page 42).

On pages 59-61 in "Coyote and the Six Brothers," he records the story of an old woman's youngest son and his six brothers, which I retell as "Coyote and the Seven Brothers." In his article "Wichita Tales" in The Journal of American Folklore, vol. 15, (1902), Mr. Dorsey includes on pages 223-28 the tale I tell as "The Monsters and the Flood" as one part of a longer story.

Mattie Austin Hatcher translates the story I call "The Beginning of the World" as part of a longer story in "Myths of the Tejas Indians" (Texas and Southwestern Lore, one of the publica­tions of the Texas Folk-Lore Society Series, vol. 6 (1927), pages 109-10.) Her sources were the writings of early Spanish missionaries Fray Jesus Maria de Casarias (Informe, 1691) and Fray Isidro Espinosa (Chronica, c. 1720).

Harry Hoijer gives translations of "Coyote and Mouse" (on page 41), and "The Tonkawa and the Bear" (on page 79) in Tonkawa Texts, volume 72 of the University of California Publications in Linguistics Series (1972).

Alexander Lesser's "Kitsai Texts" translates "Coyote Frees the Buffalo" (pages 45-49), which was told to him by Kai Kai, a woman in her eighties. The article appears in Caddoan Texts (vol. 2, no. 1 of the International Journal of American Linguistics, Native American Texts Series, 1977), edited by Douglas R. Parks. In the same volume Mr. Parks, in "Pawnee Texts: Skiri and South Band," presents the southern Pawnee tale "Coyote and Possum" (on pages 75-79).

*Alice Marriott and Carol K. Rachlin, in American Indian Mythology (1968), reprint on pages 128­30 the Comanche tale "Why the Bear Waddles When He Walks." This book is still in print, and may be available in your public library or book­store.

Among the stories recorded in J. Gilbert McAllis­ter's article "Kiowa-Apache Tales" are "How Coyote Made the Sun" (pages 22-25); "How the Poor Boy Won His Wife" (pages 82-85), told by Solomon Katchin; and "The Ghost Woman" (pages 93-97), narrated by Big Lobo Wolf. The article can be found in The Sky Is My Ti pi, edited by Mody C. Boatright. It is volume 22 of the Publications of the Texas Folklore Society series (1949).

Morris Edward Opler's Myths and Legends of the Lipan Apache Indians, volume 36 in the Memoirs of the American Folklore Society series (1940), was the source for my retellings of "The Quarrel Between Wind and Thunder" (page 86), "Coy­ote Helps Lizard Hold Up the Sky" (page 150), "Coyote Flies with the Geese" (pages 108-9), and "The Fight Between the Animals and the Insects" (pages 199-200).

Elsie Clews Parsons's Kiowa Tales (Memoirs of the American Folklore Society, vol. 22, 1929) was the source for my retellings of "Sendeh Sings to the Prairie Dogs" (pages 27-29), told by Kumole, a.k.a. Big Hand; and "White Fox" (pages 69-70), told by Kiabo ("Rescued").

H. H. St. Clair II collected and R. H. Lowie edited the original version of "The Deserted Chil­dren," which can be found on pages 275-76 of "Shoshone and Comanche Tales," in The Journal of American Folklore, volume 22 (1909).

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