Richard Erdoes &
Alfonso Ortiz, editors,
American Indian Myths & Legends
(Pantheon, 1984)

American Indian Myths & Legends is the foremost authority on Native American folklore in general. It includes stories from the widest range of tribes to be found in one volume. There is an appendix that tells about each of the 79 tribes from which the stories are drawn. There is also an index of the stories. The book contains 527 pages, with 497 devoted to folk tales.

The 166 stories are grouped into 10 major parts: "Rabbit Boy Kicked That Blood Clot Around: Stories of Human Creation," "The Place of Emergence: Tales of World Creation," "The Eye of the Great Spirit: Tales of the Sun, Moon and Stars," "Ordeals of the Hero: Monsters and Monster Slayers," "Counting Coup: War and the Warrior Code," "The Sound of Flutes: Tales of Love and Lust," "Coyote Laughs and Cries: Trickster Tales," "Four Legs, Two Legs and No Legs: Stories of Animals and Other People," "Something Whistling in the Night: Ghosts and the Spirit World" and "Only the Rocks and Mountains Last Forever: Visions of the End."

These stories will bring out every emotion in the reader, from hoots of laughter to deep sadness. This is entertainment at in its finest form. It is a strong reference, although you must know what story you are seeking or you spend a lot of time searching for it. Still, if it takes you a couple of hours of reading stories to find the exact one you were looking for, it will be time well spent and totally enjoyed. You can read this book over and over without ever tiring of it. For the folklorist, student of Native American studies or storyteller, American Indian Myths & Legends is a must-own book.

The stories are all wonderfully entertaining. They will send your imagination to new heights while introducing you to the cultures of native peoples all across America. They take you inside the hogans and teepees of a widely diverse group and offer age-old explanations for the mysteries of the universe. Get a copy of this book today.

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 28 June 2003

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