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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 2:34 am    Post subject: Adventure On the Rogue Reply with quote

Adventure On the Rogue

An Oregon Tall Tale

retold by

S. E. Schlosser

We were up-river with a tour group looking at all the natural beauties here on the Rogue River when I spied a young sasquatch hiding in the shadow of a tree near a gravel bank. I swung the tour-boat around so we could get a better look, and all the tourists exclaimed and took pictures. It’s not too unusual to see a sasquatch in the spring. That’s the time they migrate through here to their summer stomping grounds up North.

We were in for a treat today. The sasquatch jumped out of the shadows suddenly, leapt into the river, and wrestled a seven-foot sturgeon onto the gravel bank. I blinked in astonishment. I didn’t know sasquatch liked sturgeon. As we watched, the sasquatch belted the big fish with a rock to stop its flopping.

Right at that moment, a big black bear came stomping down the bank on the opposite shore looking for a snack. The bear took one look at the sasquatch with the sturgeon, sitting on the opposite shore, and leapt into the water. In the blink of an eye, that ol’ bear was across the river and wading out of the water, while the tourists babbled and took pictures. The bear shook itself dry like a dog, and then jumped onto the back of the sasquatch, beating on him until he ran away from the sturgeon, leaving the bear to sniff in triumph over the large fish.

Well, I thought that was the end of it, until the sasquatch came running back down the hill holding a dead tree in his hands. He started beating on the bear and the bear was whomping back at him something fierce. Fur was flying everywhere; blood spurted out like a geyser. I don’t know where it would have ended if I hadn’t waded in there and broke it up!
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 2:35 am    Post subject: Armadillo's Song Reply with quote

Armadillo's Song

A Bolivian Legend


retold by S.E. Schlosser

There once lived an armadillo who loved music more than anything else in the world. After every rainfall, the armadillo would drag his shell over to the large pond filled with frogs and he would listen to the big green frogs singing back and forth, back and forth to each other in the most amazing voices.

"Oh," thought the armadillo, "Oh how I wish I could sing."

The armadillo would creep to the edge of the water and watch the frogs leaping and swimming in a frantic green ballet, and they would call back and forth, back and forth in beautiful, musical tones. He loved to listen to the music they made as they spoke, though he didn't understand their words; which was just as well - for the frogs were laughing at this funny animal that wanted so badly to sing like a frog.

"Don't be ridiculous," sang the frogs as they played. "Armadillos can't sing."

Then one day a family of crickets moved into a new house near the armadillo, and he was amazed to hear them chirp and sing as merrily as the frogs. He would creep next to their house and listen and listen all day, all night for their musical sounds.

"Oh," sighed the armadillo, "Oh how I wish I could sing."

"Don't be ridiculous," sang the crickets in their dulcet tones. "Armadillos can't sing."

But the armadillo could not understand their language, and so he just sighed with longing and listened to their beautiful voices laughing at him.

Then one day a man came down the road carrying a cage full of canaries. They were chirping and flittering and singing songs that were more beautiful even than those of the crickets and the frogs. The armadillo was entranced. He followed the man with the cage down the road as fast as his little legs would carry him, listening to the canaries singing.

"Oh," gasped the armadillo, "Oh how I wish I could sing."

Inside the cage, the canaries twittered and giggled.

"Don't be ridiculous," sang the canaries as they flapped about. "Armadillos can't sing."

The poor tired armadillo couldn't keep up with the man and the cage, and finally he fell exhausted at the door of the great wizard who lived in the area. Realizing where he was, the armadillo decided to beg a boon of the man.

Timidly, the armadillo approached the wizard, who was sitting in front of his house and said: "Great wizard, it is my deepest desire to learn to sing like the frogs and the crickets and the canaries."

The wizard's lips twitched a little in amusement, for who had ever heard of an armadillo that could sing. But he realized that the little animal was serious. He bent low to the ground and looked the creature in the eye.

"I can make you sing, little armadillo," he said. "But you do not want to pay the price, for it will mean your death."

"You mean if I die I will be able to sing?" asked the armadillo in amazement.

"Yes, this is so," said the wizard.

"Then I want to die right now!" said the armadillo. "I would do anything to be able to sing!"

The wizard and the armadillo discussed the matter for many hours, for the wizard was reluctant to take the life of such a fine armadillo. But the creature insisted, and so the wizard finally killed the armadillo, made a wonderful musical instrument from his shell, and gave it to the finest musician in the town to play.

Sometimes the musician would play his instrument by the pond where the frogs lived, and they would stare at him with big eyes and say: "Ai! Ai! The armadillo has learned to sing."

Sometimes the musician would play his instrument by the house where the crickets lived, and they would creep outside to stare at him with big eyes and say: "Ai! Ai! The armadillo has learned to sing."

And often the musician would visit the home of his friend who owned the cage full of canaries - who was also a musician - and the two men would play their instruments together while the little birds watched with fluttering wings and twittered in amazement: "Ai! Ai! The armadillo has learned to sing."

And so it was. The armadillo had learned to sing at last, and his voice was the finest in the land. But like the very best musicians in the world, the armadillo sacrificed his Life for his Art.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2015 2:36 am    Post subject: Attack of the Mammoth Reply with quote

Attack of the Mammoth

A British Columbia Myth


from Kaska First Nation

retold by

S.E. Schlosser

A man and his family were constantly on the move, hunting for beaver. They traveled from lake to lake, stream to stream, never staying any place long enough for it to become a home. The woman sometimes silently wished that they would find a village and settle down somewhere with their little baby, but her husband was restless, and so they kept moving.


One evening, after setting up camp on a large lake, the young mother went out to net some beaver, carrying her baby upon her back. When she had a toboggan full of beaver meat, she started back to camp. As she walked through the darkening evening, she heard the thump-thump-thump of mighty footsteps coming from somewhere behind her. She stopped; her heart pounding. She was being followed by something very large. Her hands trembled as she thought of the meat she was dragging behind her. The creature must have smelled the meat and was stalking the smell.

Afraid to turn around and alert the beast, she bent over as if to pick something off the snowy path and glanced quickly past her legs. Striding boldly through the snowy landscape was a tall, barrel-shaped, long-haired creature with huge tusks and a very long trunk. It was a tix - a mammoth - and it looked hungry. She straightened quickly and hurriedly threw the meat into the snow. Then she ran as fast as she could back to camp, dragging the toboggan behind her. Her little baby cried out fearfully, frightened by all the jostling, but she did not stop to comfort him until she was safe inside their shelter.

She told her husband at once about the terrible mammoth that had stalked her and taken the beaver meat. Her husband shook his head and told her she was dreaming. Everyone knew that the mammoth had all died away. Then he light-heartedly accused her of giving the meat away to a handsome sweetheart. She denied it resentfully, knowing that he really believed that she had carelessly overturned the toboggan and had let the meat sink beneath the icy waters of the lake.

After her husband went to set more beaver nets, she prepared the evening meal. While it was cooking over the fire, she walked all around the camp, making sure that there was an escape route through the willow-brush just in case the hungry mammoth attacked them in the night.

The husband and wife lay down to sleep next to the fire after they finished the evening meal. The husband chuckled when he saw that his wife kept her moccasins on and the baby clutched in her arms. "Expecting the mammoth to attack us?" he asked jovially. She nodded, and he laughed aloud at her. Soon he was asleep, but the woman lay awake for a long time, listening.

The wife was awakened from a light doze around midnight by the harsh sounds of the mammoth approaching. "Husband," she shouted, shaking him. He opened his eyes grumpily and demanded an explanation. She tried to tell him that the hungry mammoth was coming to eat them, but he told her she was having a nightmare and would not listen. The wife begged and pleaded and tried to drag him away with her, but he resisted and finally shouted at her to begone if she was afraid. In despair, she clutched her little child to her chest and ran away from the camp.

As she fled, she heard the harsh roar of the giant creature and the sudden shout of her husband as he came face to face with the creature. Then there was silence, and the woman knew her husband was dead. Weeping, she fled with her child, seeking a village that she had heard was nearby. Sometime in the early hours of the morning, she heard the thump-thump-thump of the creature's massive feet stomping through the snow-fields, following her trail. Occasionally, it made a wailing sound like that of a baby crying.

The woman kept jogging along, comforting her little baby as best she could. As light dawned, she saw a camp full of people who were living on the shores of an island on the lake. She crossed the icy expanse as quickly as possible and warned the people of the fierce mammoth that had killed her husband. The warriors quickly went out onto the ice and made many holes around the edges of their village, weakening the ice so that the mammoth would fall through and drown.

As evening approached, the people saw the mammoth coming toward them across the ice. When it neared their camp on the island, the creature plunged through the weakened ice. Everyone cheered, thinking that the animal had drowned. Then its large hairy head emerged out of the water and it shook its long tusks and bellowed in rage. The mammoth started walking along the bottom of the lake, brushing aside the ice with his large tusks.

The people panicked. They screamed and ran in circles, and some of them stood frozen in place, staring as the mammoth emerged from the ice and walked up onto the banks of the island. The wife of the eaten man fled with her baby, urging as many of her new-found friends as she could reach, to flee with her. But many remained behind, paralyzed with fear.

Then a boy emerged from one of the shelters, curious to know what was causing everyone to scream in fear. He wore the bladder of a moose over his head, covering his hair so that he looked bald. He was a strange lad, and was shunned by the locals. Only his grandmother knew that he was a mighty shaman with magic trousers and magic arrows that could kill any living beast.

When the boy saw the hungry, angry mammoth, he called out to his grandmother to fetch the magic trousers and the magic arrows. Donning his clothing, he shook his head until the bladder burst and his long hair fell down to his waist. Then he took his magic bow and arrows and leapt in front of the frightened people and began peppering the beast with arrows, first from one side and then the other. The mammoth roared and weaved and tried to attack the boy, but the shaman's magic was powerful, and soon the beast lay dead upon the ground.

Then those who fled from the mammoth returned to the camp, led by the poor widow and her baby. The people whose lives had been saved by the bladder-headed boy gave a cheer and gathered in excitement around the boy. In gratitude, the people made the shaman their chief and offered him two beautiful girls to be his wives, though he accepted only one of them. The widow and her baby were welcomed into the tribe, and a few months later she married a brave warrior who became close friends with the shaman-become-chief.

And from that day to this, the people have always had chiefs to lead them, and no mammoths have troubled them again.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 5:40 am    Post subject: Babe the Blue Ox Reply with quote

Babe the Blue Ox

Minnesota Tall Tales


retold by

S. E. Schlosser

Well now, one winter it was so cold that all the geese flew backward and all the fish moved south and even the snow turned blue. Late at night, it got so frigid that all spoken words froze solid afore they could be heard. People had to wait until sunup to find out what folks were talking about the night before.

Paul Bunyan went out walking in the woods one day during that Winter of the Blue Snow. He was knee-deep in blue snow when he heard a funny sound between a bleat and a snort. Looking down, he saw a teeny-tiny baby blue ox jest a hopping about in the snow and snorting with rage on account of he was too short to see over the drifts.

Paul Bunyan laughed when he saw the spunky little critter and took the little blue mite home with him. He warmed the little ox up by the fire and the little fellow fluffed up and dried out, but he remained as blue as the snow that had stained him in the first place. So Paul named him Babe the Blue Ox.

Well, any creature raised in Paul Bunyan's camp tended to grow to massive proportions, and Babe was no exception. Folks that stared at him for five minutes could see him growing right before their eyes. He grew so big that 42 axe handles plus a plug of tobacco could fit between his eyes and it took a murder of crows a whole day to fly from one horn to the other. The laundryman used his horns to hang up all the camp laundry, which would dry lickety-split because of all the wind blowing around at that height.

Whenever he got an itch, Babe the Blue Ox had to find a cliff to rub against, 'cause whenever he tried to rub against a tree it fell over and begged for mercy. To whet his appetite, Babe would chew up thirty bales of hay, wire and all. It took six men with picaroons to get all the wire out of Babe's teeth after his morning snack. Right after that he'd eat a ton of grain for lunch and then come pestering around the cook - Sourdough Sam - begging for another snack.

Babe the Blue Ox was a great help around Paul Bunyan's logging camp. He could pull anything that had two ends, so Paul often used him to straighten out the pesky, twisted logging roads. By the time Babe had pulled the twists and kinks out of all the roads leading to the lumber camp, there was twenty miles of extra road left flopping about with nowhere to go. So Paul rolled them up and used them to lay a new road into new timberland.

Paul also used Babe the Blue Ox to pull the heavy tank wagon which was used to coat the newly-straightened lumber roads with ice in the winter, until one day the tank sprang a leak that trickled south and became the Mississippi River. After that, Babe stuck to hauling logs. Only he hated working in the summertime, so Paul had to paint the logging roads white after the spring thaw so that Babe would keep working through the summer.

One summer, as Babe the Blue Ox was hauling a load of logs down the white-washed road and dreaming of the days when the winter would feel cold again and the logs would slide easier on the "ice", he glanced over the top of the mountain and caught a glimpse of a pretty yeller calf grazing in a field. Well, he twisted out of his harness lickety-split and stepped over the mountain to introduce himself. It was love at first sight, and Paul had to abandon his load and buy Bessie the Yeller Cow from the farmer before Babe would do any more hauling.

Bessie the Yeller Cow grew to the massive, yet dainty proportions that were suitable for the mate of Babe the Blue Ox. She had long yellow eyelashes that tickled the lumberjacks standing on the other end of camp each time she blinked. She produced all the dairy products for the lumber camp. Each day, Sourdough Sam made enough butter from her cream to grease the giant pancake griddle and sometimes there was enough left over to butter the toast!

The only bone of contention between Bessie and Babe was the weather. Babe loved the ice and snow and Bessie loved warm summer days. One winter, Bessie grew so thin and pale that Paul Bunyan asked his clerk Johnny Inkslinger to make her a pair of green goggles so she would think it was summer. After that, Bessie grew happy and fat again, and produced so much butter that Paul Bunyan used the leftovers to grease the whitewashed lumber roads in summer. With the roads so slick all year round, hauling logs became much easier for Babe the Blue Ox, and so Babe eventually came to like summer almost as much as Bessie.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 5:41 am    Post subject: Bear Lake Monster Reply with quote

Bear Lake Monster

A Utah Ghost Story

retold by

S. E. Schlosser

If you travel to Bear Lake in Utah on a quiet day, you just might catch a glimpse of the Bear Lake Monster. The monster looks like a huge brown snake and is nearly 90 feet long. It has ears that stick out from the side of its skinny head and a mouth big enough to eat a man. According to some, it has small legs and it kind of scurries when it ventures out on land. But in the water - watch out! It can swim faster than a horse can gallop - makes a mile a minute on a good day. Sometimes the monster likes to sneak up on unwary swimmers and blow water at them. The ones it doesn't carry off to eat, that is.

A feller I heard about spotted the monster early one evening as he was walking along the lake. He tried to shoot it with his rifle. The man was a crack shot, but not one of his bullets touched that monster. It scared the heck out of him and he high tailed it home faster than you can say Jack Robinson. Left his rifle behind him and claimed the monster ate it.

Sometimes, when the monster has been quiet for a while, people start saying it is gone for good. Some folks even dredge up that old tale that says how Pecos Bill heard about the Bear Lake monster and bet some cowpokes that he could wrestle that monster until it said uncle. According to them folks, the fight lasted for days and created a hurricane around Bear Lake. Finally, Bill flung that there monster over his shoulder and it flew so far it went plumb around the world and landed in Loch Ness, where it lives to this day.

Course, we know better than that. The Bear Lake Monster is just hibernating-like. Keep your eyes open at dusk and maybe you'll see it come out to feed. Just be careful swimming in the lake, or you might be its next meal!
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 5:42 am    Post subject: Birth of Paul Bunyan Reply with quote

Birth of Paul Bunyan

Maine Tall Tales


retold by

S. E. Schlosser

Now I hear tell that Paul Bunyan was born in Bangor, Maine. It took five giant storks to deliver Paul to his parents. His first bed was a lumber wagon pulled by a team of horses. His father had to drive the wagon up to the top of Maine and back whenever he wanted to rock the baby to sleep.

As a newborn, Paul Bunyan could hollar so loud he scared all the fish out of the rivers and streams. All the local frogs started wearing earmuffs so they wouldn't go deaf when Paul screamed for his breakfast. His parents had to milk two dozen cows morning and night to keep his milk bottle full and his mother had to feed him ten barrels of porrige every two hours to keep his stomach from rumbling and knocking the house down.

Within a week of his birth, Paul Bunyan could fit into his father's clothes. After three weeks, Paul rolled around so much during his nap that he destroyed four square miles of prime timberland. His parents were at their wits' end! They decided to build him a raft and floated it off the coast of Maine. When Paul turned over, it caused a 75 foot tidal wave in the Bay of Fundy. They had to send the British Navy over to Maine to wake him up. The sailors fired every canon they had in the fleet for seven hours straight before Paul Bunyan woke from his nap! When he stepped off the raft, Paul accidentally sank four war ships and he had to scramble around sccooping sailors out of the water before they drowned.

After this incident, Paul's parents decided the East was just too plumb small for him, and so the family moved to Minnesota.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 5:43 am    Post subject: Bigfoot Wallace and the Gray Bean Reply with quote

Bigfoot Wallace and the Gray Bean

A Texas Folktale


retold by

S.E. Schlosser

Turns out, the rough and tumble life of a Texas Ranger wasn’t enough to satisfy Bigfoot Wallace. No sir! He hungered for adventure, and he found it. First he fought against Mexican General Adrian Woll's invasion of Texas in 1842, then he volunteered for the retaliatory raid across the Rio Grande. When the raid ended, he joined the Mier Expedition organized to penetrate further into Mexico. Got himself into a mess of trouble then. The Texans in the expedition were surrounded and captured by a force ten times their size. They managed to escape a short while later, but were rounded up in the desert and Santa Ana ordered a decimation of the escaped prisoners – meanin’ that one man in ten would be executed. The Mexican soldiers put a mess of beans into a covered crock -- 159 white and 17 black -- and each Texan had to draw a bean in alphabetical order, starting with the Texan officers. Anyone who got a black bean was shot, and the ones who got a white bean went to prison. ‘Course Wallace had to draw near the end of the line, not good odds. And being a rebel, he ended up with a gray bean. Lucky for him the officer in charge decided the bean was white, so he didn’t get shot with the rest. Spent a couple years afterward doing hard labor in a Mexican prison before being released.

You’d think ol’ Bigfoot would have settled down after that last episode, but not him. He joined the other Texans in the Mexican-American War and fought with gusto, since he had so many scores to settle with the Mexicans who’d killed his brother and treated him so bad. At one point, he came face-to-face with that ornery coyote who held the crock from which the Texas Prisoners had drawn the white and black beans. Unfortunately, he was under a white surrender flag at the time, but it still took several fellows to restrain Wallace from shooting the man.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 7:01 am    Post subject: Casey Jones Reply with quote

Casey Jones

A Tennessee Legend


retold by

S.E. Schlosser

Casey Jones, that heroic railroad engineer of the Cannonball, was known as the man who always brought the train in on time. He would blow the whistle so it started off soft but would increase to a wail louder than a banshee before dying off. Got so as people would recognize that whistle and know when Casey was driving past.

April 29, 1900, Casey brought the Cannonball into Memphis dead on time. As he was leaving, he found out one of the other engineers was sick and unable to make his run. So Casey volunteered to help out his friend. He pulled the train out of the station about eleven p.m., an hour and thirty-five minutes late. Casey was determined to make up the time. As soon as he could, he highballed out of Memphis (highballing means to go very fast and take a lot of risks to get where your headed) and started making up for lost time.

About four a.m., when he had nearly made up all the time on the run, Casey rounded a corner near Vaughin, Mississippi and saw a stalled freight train on the track. He shouted for his fireman to jump. The fireman made it out alive, but Casey Jones died in the wreck, one hand on the brake and one on the whistle chord.

The Ballad of Casey Jones is still sung today.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 7:02 am    Post subject: Cherokee Rose Reply with quote

Cherokee Rose

An Oklahoma Legend


retold by S.E. Schlosser

We lost everything after the treaty was signed. The white men wanted the Indian's removed, and so we were Removed. We lost our homes, our sacred lands, our way of life. We were thrust out by greed, and our hearts broke on the long, long journey west. We only had the few precious belongings we could carry, and many of us were not even given time to fetch that much from our homes before we were forced into camps and then marched west.

The weather turned cold, and still we marched, without adequate shelter, without blankets. Our men were grim with anger and pain. Our children were crying for comfort we could not give. Many were dying. And we Cherokee women, we wept. Our hearts were broken. Our spirits were drowning in pain. Our hope was gone. Such terrible grief made us neglect our families, our appearance. We were ready to die rather than go another step.

Seeing our pain, the Elders gathered together and began praying that some sign would come to ease the heart-numbing horror we felt at our loss, so that we might once again care for our children, comfort their tears, and walk proudly beside our men during this terrible journey. And the Elders were answered!

The very next morning as we began our long hard journey once again, we began to see white roses growing along the trail. They seemed to have sprung up overnight, and they were very beautiful. The petals of each rose were white like our tears. The center was yellow like the gold the greedy white men took from our hills. And we counted seven leaves on each stem -- just as there were seven clans in the Cherokee nation! The sight of the roses brought a strange peace into the hearts of the Cherokee women who saw them. There was a particularly large patch of them in the small glen where many of us had sat weeping the previous night. I paused to pick one, and one of the Elders stopped beside me and told me there was a rose for each team we had shed during the journey. His words stayed with me as I took up my small parcel of belongings, hurried my children into line, and set out behind my husband. A rose for every tear. Could it be possible? In my heart, I already believed him.

It was a small wonder. A tiny miracle. But the best parts of our lives are made up of small miracles and tiny wonders. It gave us heart. Though we suffered much in the rest of the journey to Oklahoma Territory -- a journey later called the Trail of Tears -- and though we lost many children along the way, somehow we had hope that a better day was coming for the Cherokee. And so it has.

But the Cherokee rose continues to grow along the route of the trail today, as a reminder of the past and a hope for our future.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 7:03 am    Post subject: Coyote and Wishpoosh Reply with quote

Coyote and Wishpoosh

from the Chinook tribe


retold by

S.E. Schlosser

Now Wishpoosh the monster beaver lived in the beautiful Lake Cle-el-lum which was full of fish. Every day, the animal people would come to the lake, wanting to catch some fish, but Wishpoosh the giant beaver drove them away with many threats and great splashing. If they refused to leave, Wishpoosh would kill the animal people by dragging them deep into the lake so that they drowned.

Coyote was very upset at Wishpoosh for the way he treated the animal people. Coyote decided that he would kill the monster beaver and so he went to Lake Cle-el-lum with his spear tied to his wrist and started to fish. As soon as Wishpoosh saw this upstart person invading his territory, the giant beaver attacked. Coyote threw the spear and it pierced the beaver. Immediately, Wishpoosh dove to the bottom of the lake, dragging Coyote with him.

Well, Coyote and Wishpoosh wrestled and tugged and fought each other at the bottom of the lake until the sides gave way and all the water rushed out, pouring out over the mountains and through the canyons until it collected in Kittitas Valley and formed another, larger lake. Coyote and Wishpoosh burst forth into the new lake, shouting and wrestling and fighting each other with renewed vigor until the second lake gave way and the water rushed out, joining in with the waters of several rivers to form a massive lake at Toppenish.

Wishpoosh the monster beaver would not give up the fight. He bit and clawed at Coyote and tried to drown him in the massive lake. Coyote fought back fiercely, and at last the massive lake gave way, the water roared down into the meeting place of the Columbia, the Yakima, and the Snake, where it dammed up into a lake so huge none has ever seen its like before or since.

Coyote and Wishpoosh dragged at each other, pulling and tugging and ripping and biting until the dam gave way and a huge wave of water swept down the Columbia River towards the sea. Coyote and Wishpoosh were tumbled over and over again as they were swept down river in the mighty wave of water. Coyote grabbed bushes and rocks and trees, trying to pull himself out of the massive wave. By these efforts was the Columbia Gorge was formed. But Coyote could not pull himself out of the great wave and so he tumbled after Wishpoosh, all the way to the bitter waters at the mouth of the river.

Wishpoosh was furious. He was determined to beat this upstart Coyote who had driven him from his beautiful lake. The giant beaver swept all the salmon before him and ate them in one gulp to increase his strength. Then he swam out to sea with Coyote in pursuit. The monster beaver threw his great arms around a whale and swallowed it whole.

Coyote was frightened by this demonstration of the monster beaver's strength. But he was the most cunning of all the animals, and he came up with a plan. Turning himself into a tree branch, Coyote drifted among the fish until Wishpoosh swallowed him. Returning to his natural form, Coyote took a knife and cut the sinews inside the giant beaver. Wishpoosh gave a great cry and then perished.

Coyote was tired after his long fight with the monster beaver. He called to his friend Muskrat, who helped drag the body of Wishpoosh to shore. Coyote and Muskrat cut up the giant beaver and threw the pieces up over the land, thus creating the tribes of men. The Nez Perce were created from the head of the giant beaver, to make them great in council. The Cayuses were created from the massive arms of Wishpoosh, in order that they might be strong and powerful with the war club and the bow. From the beaver's ribs, Coyote made the Yakimas and from the belly the Chinooks. To make the Klickitats, Coyote used the beaver's legs, so that they would become famous for their skill in running. With the leftover skin and blood, he made the Snake River Indians who thrived on war and blood.

Thus were the tribes created, and Coyote returned up the mighty Columbia River to rest from his efforts. But in his weariness, Coyote did not notice that the coastal tribes had been created without mouths. The god Ecahni happened along just then and fixed the problem by assembling all of the coastal tribes and cutting mouths for them. Some he made too large and some he made crooked, just as a joke. This is why the mouths of the coastal tribes are not quite perfect.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 7:04 am    Post subject: Coyote and the Columbia Reply with quote

Coyote and the Columbia

From the Sahaptin/Salishan Tribes


retold by

S. E. Schlosser

One day, Coyote was walking along. The sun was shining brightly, and Coyote felt very hot.

"I would like a cloud," Coyote said.

So a cloud came and made some shade for Coyote. Coyote was not satisfied.

"I would like more clouds," he said. More clouds came along, and the sky began to look very stormy. But Coyote was still hot.

"How about some rain," said Coyote. The clouds began to sprinkle rain on Coyote.

"More rain," Coyote demanded. The rain became a downpour.

"I would like a creek to put my feet in," said Coyote. So a creek sprang up beside him, and Coyote walked in it to cool off his feet.

"It should be deeper," said Coyote.

The creek became a huge, swirling river. Coyote was swept over and over by the water. Finally, nearly drowned, Coyote was thrown up on the bank far away. When he woke up, the buzzards were watching him, trying to decide if he was dead.

"I'm not dead," Coyote told them, and they flew away.

That is how the Columbia River began.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 7:13 am    Post subject: Crow Brings the Daylight Reply with quote

Crow Brings the Daylight

An Inuit Myth

retold by


S. E. Schlosser

Story featured in Land of the Midnight Sun, a concert band piece composed by Vince Gassi!

Long, long ago, when the world was still new, the Inuit lived in darkness in their home in the fastness of the north. They had never heard of daylight, and when it was first explained to them by Crow, who traveled back and forth between the northlands and the south, they did not believe him.

Yet many of the younger folk were fascinated by the story of the light that gilded the lands to the south. They made Crow repeat his tales until they knew them by heart.

"Imagine how far and how long we could hunt," they told one another.

"Yes, and see the polar bear before it attacks," others agreed.

Soon the yearning for daylight was so strong that the Inuit people begged Crow to bring it to them. Crow shook his head. "I am too old," he told them. "The daylight is very far away. I can no longer go so far." But the pleadings of the people made him reconsider, and finally he agreed to make the long journey to the south.

Crow flew for many miles through the endless dark of the north. He grew weary many times, and almost turned back. But at last he saw a rim of light at the very edge of horizon and knew that the daylight was close.

Crow strained his wings and flew with all his might. Suddenly, the daylight world burst upon him with all its glory and brilliance. The endless shades of color and the many shapes and forms surrounding him made Crow stare and stare. He flapped down to a tree and rested himself, exhausted by his long journey. Above him, the sky was an endless blue, the clouds fluffy and white. Crow could not get enough of the wonderful scene.

Eventually Crow lowered his gaze and realized that he was near a village that lay beside a wide river. As he watched, a beautiful girl came to the river near the tree in which he perched. She dipped a large bucket into the icy waters of the river and then turned to make her way back to the village. Crow turned himself into a tiny speck of dust and drifted down towards the girl as she passed beneath his tree. He settled into her fur cloak and watched carefully as she returned to the snow lodge of her father, who was the chief of the village people.

It was warm and cozy inside the lodge. Crow looked around him and spotted a box that glowed around the edges. Daylight, he thought. On the floor, a little boy was playing contentedly. The speck of dust that was Crow drifted away from the girl and floated into the ear of the little boy. Immediately the child sat up and rubbed at his ear, which was irritated by the strange speck. He started to cry, and the chief, who was a doting grandfather, came running into the snow lodge to see what was wrong.

"Why are you crying?" the chief asked, kneeling beside the child.

Inside the little boy's ear, Crow whispered: "You want to play with a ball of daylight." The little boy rubbed at his ear and then repeated Crow's words.

The chief sent his daughter to the glowing box in the corner. She brought it to her father, who removed a glowing ball, tied it with a string, and gave it to the little boy. He rubbed his ear thoughtfully before taking the ball. It was full of light and shadow, color and form. The child laughed happily, tugging at the string and watching the ball bounce.

Then Crow scratched the inside of his ear again and the little boy gasped and cried.

"Don't cry, little one," said the doting grandfather anxiously. "Tell me what is wrong."

Inside the boy's ear, Crow whispered: "You want to go outside to play." The boy rubbed at his ear and then repeated Crow's words to his grandfather. Immediately, the chief lifted up the small child and carried him outside, followed by his worried mother.

As soon as they were free of the snow lodge, Crow swooped out of the child's ear and resumed his natural form. He dove toward the little boy's hand and grabbed the string from him. Then he rose up and up into the endless blue sky, the ball of daylight sailing along behind him.

In the far north, the Inuit saw a spark of light coming toward them through the darkness. It grew brighter and brighter, until they could see Crow flapping his wings as he flew toward them. The people gasped and pointed and called in delight.

The Crow dropped the ball, and it shattered upon the ground, releasing the daylight so that it exploded up and out, illuminating every dark place and chasing away every shadow. The sky grew bright and turned blue. The dark mountains took on color and light and form. The snow and ice sparkled so brightly that the Inuit had to shade their eyes.

The people laughed and cried and exclaimed over their good fortune. But Crow told them that the daylight would not last forever. He had only obtained one ball of daylight from the people of the south, and it would need to rest for six months every year to regain its strength. During that six month period, the darkness would return.

The people said: "Half a year of daylight is enough. Before you brought the daylight, we lived our whole life in darkness!" Then they thanked Crow over and over again.

To this day, the Inuit live for half a year in darkness and half a year in daylight. And they are always kind to Crow, for it was he who brought them the light.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 7:14 am    Post subject: Daniel Boone's Dear Reply with quote

Daniel Boone's Dear

A North Carolina Legend

retold by

S.E. Schlosser

Late one night, Daniel Boone and a friend went out fire hunting. Fire hunting involves the shining of the light from a fire pan (a pan full of blazing pine knots) into the woods. The light reflects in the eyes of the deer, which is too dazzled to run and the hunters can shoot it.

This night, as they neared a creek bed, Daniel Boone caught a glimpse of blue eyes shining in the darkness. He dismounted from his horse and aimed his rifle, but found himself unable to shoot. he had never seen a blue eyed deer. A rustle told him his prey had fled, and he followed it over a fence and into a meadow. The moonlight told him his "deer" had really been a young woman, and fate had kept him from shooting her. He followed her to the house, where he was met by her father, a close neighbor.

The father welcomed him in, and while they were still greeting one another, a young boy and girl burst into the room, babbling excitedly about their older sister's adventures. She appeared in the doorway, still flushed from her flight, the light shining on her gold hair. Daniel Boone was smitten. Her father introduced her as Rebecca. Being a determined sort of fellow, Daniel proceeded to woo Rebecca as doggedly as he once chased her across the fields, and did not give up until he had won the heart of the maid.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2015 6:11 am    Post subject: Ghost Handprints Reply with quote

Ghost Handprints

A Texas Ghost Story


retold by

S. E. Schlosser

My wife Jill and I were driving home from a friend's party late one evening in early May. It was a beautiful night with a full moon. We were laughing and discussing the party when the engine started to cough and the emergency light went on. We had just reached the railroad crossing where Villamain Road becomes Shane Road. According to local legend, this was the place where a school bus full of children had stalled on the tracks. Everyone on board the bus had been killed by an oncoming freight train. The ghosts of the children were reported to haunt this intersection and were said to protect people from danger.

Not wanting a repeat of the train crash, I hit the gas pedal, trying to get our car safely across the tracks before it broke down completely. But the dad-blamed car wouldn't cooperate. It stalled dead center on the railroad tracks.

As if that weren't enough, the railroad signals started flashing and a bright light appeared a little ways down the track, bearing down fast on our car. I turned the key and hit the gas pedal, trying to get the car started.

"Hurry up, Jim! The train's coming," my wife urged, as if I didn't hear the whistling blowing a warning.

I broke out into a sweat and tried the engine again. Nothing.

"We have to get out!" I shouted to my wife, reaching for the door handle.

"I can't," Jill shouted desperately. She was struggling with her seat belt. We'd been having trouble with it recently. She'd been stuck more than once, and I'd had to help her get it undone.

I threw myself across the stick-shift and fought with the recalcitrant seat belt. My hands were shaking and sweat poured down my body as I felt the rumble of the approaching train. It had seen us and was whistling sharply. I risked a quick glance over my shoulder. The engineer was trying to slow down, but he was too close to stop before he hit us. I redoubled my efforts.

Suddenly, the car was given a sharp shove from behind. Jill and I both gasped and I fell into her lap as the car started to roll forward, slowly at first, then gaining speed. The back end cleared the tracks just a second before the train roared passed. As the car rolled to a stop on the far side of the tracks, the engineer stuck his head out the window of the engine and waved a fist at us; doubtless shouting something nasty at us for scaring him.

"Th..that was close," Jill gasped as I struggled upright. "How did you get the car moving?"

"I didn't," I said. "Someone must have helped us."

I jumped out of the door on the driver's side of the car and ran back to the tracks to thank our rescuer. In the bright moonlight, I searched the area, looking for the person who had pushed our car out of the path of the train. There was no one there. I called out several times, but no one answered. After a few minutes struggle with her seatbelt, Jill finally freed herself and joined me.

"Where is he?" she asked.

"There is no one here," I replied, puzzled.

"Maybe he is just shy about being thanked," Jill said. She raised her voice. "Thank you, whoever you are," she called.

The wind picked up a little, swirling around us, patting our hair and our shoulders like the soft touch of a child's hand. I shivered and hugged my wife tightly to me. We had almost died tonight, and I was grateful to be alive.

"Yes, thank you," I repeated loudly to our mystery rescuer.

As we turned back to our stalled vehicle, I pulled out my cell phone, ready to call for a tow truck. Beside me, Jill stopped suddenly, staring at the back of our car.

"Jim, look!" she gasped.

I stared at our vehicle. Scattered in several places across the back of our car were several glowing handprints. They were small handprints; the kind that adorned the walls of elementary schools all over the country. I started shaking as I realized the truth; our car had been pushed off the tracks by the ghosts of the schoolchildren killed at this location.

Te wind swept around us again, and I thought I heard an echo of childish voices whispering 'You're welcome' as it patted our shoulders and arms. Then the wind died down and the handprints faded from the back of the car.

Jill and I clung together for a moment in terror and delight. Finally, I released her and she got into the car while I called the local garage to come and give us a tow home.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2015 5:47 am    Post subject: Ghost Pilots of Times Square Reply with quote

Ghost Pilots of Times Square

A New York Ghost Story


retold by

S. E. Schlosser

He had just graduated from Harvard University and was living in Manhattan. He loved the city and was beginning to feel at home on its streets. World War II was raging in Europe, and like all other good citizens, he followed the headlines daily and did his part for the boys overseas.

Hugging his jacket close, he stood shivering at the corner, waiting for the light to change and wondering where his enlisted friends might be staying on that cold winter night. He hoped they were safe. He shivered, only partially from the cold, and looked around him at the bright lights of Times Square. He never tired of this glittering scene.

His eye was caught by two men who were dressed in the uniforms of the Royal Air Force of England. They must be on leave, he thought. The men stopped beside him, glanced quickly at their watches, and then nodded and grinned at him. The taller of the two asked him, in the clipped accent of the British, if this was Times Square. He suppressed a smile at such a touristy question and said that it was.

The light changed, and the two RAF pilots fell into step with the Harvard graduate as he crossed the street. The three men fell into conversation together as they meandered along the shining streets. The Brits were thrilled to be in Times Square after all they had suffered in the war. They didn't go into detail about their wartime experiences, and he didn't press them. He just enjoyed their pleasure in the scene, which was marred only by the frequent checking of their watches. Finally, he asked if they had someplace to be, but they said they were free for the evening. He promptly invited them to have dinner with him at the Harvard Club, and the RAF pilots accepted with alacrity.

The three men repaired immediately to the Harvard Club, where they dined leisurely and chatted late into the evening. The RAF pilots were good company and told many stories, although they glossed over their experiences in the war. They continued to check their watches frequently throughout the night, but he decided it was just a nervous habit they had picked up somewhere - possibly in the air force.

As midnight approached, the two RAF pilots excused themselves are rose from the table. They thanked the Harvard man for a memorable evening and started for the door. Then the tall pilot turned back and told their host that they had always wanted to visit Times Square, but never had the opportunity. It was strange, the pilot added, that they had to wait until after they were dead - killed in action when their planes were shot down the night before over Berlin - to fulfill this dream.

The Harvard man stiffened, his eyes widening incredulously and his mouth falling open in shock. He gasped but could not speak. The phantom RAF pilot smiled sardonically at him, nodded, and joined his friend in the doorway. Then the pilots vanished before the astonished man's eyes, just at the stroke of twelve midnight.
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