News | Published:


Nature volume 71, pages 417418 (02 March 1905) | Download Citation



A NOTICEABLE addition to the literature of American folk-tales has been made by two recent publications of the anthropological series of the Field Columbian Museum Publications. Vol. v. of this valuable series is devoted to the traditions of the Arapaho by Drs. G. A. Dorsey and A. L. Kroeber, collected under the auspices respectively of the Field Columbian Museum and of the American Museum of Natural History. The authors worked independently, and in many instances collected variants of the same tale; but they have published all as they were collected rather than amalgamate the two versions of the one legend. Certain incidents in the tales are translated into Latin, and even some whole tales are similarly-translated. A synopsis is given at the end of the volume of each of the hundred and forty-six tales, a feature that will prove of great use to the student. There are one origin-myth and three or four culturemyths; a large number of the stories refer to an individual called Nihangan, whose doings were frequently of a reprehensible nature. No. i of vol. vii. of the same series contains a collection of forty folktales of the Osage by Dr. Dorsey, who admits that this collection does not adequately represent the traditions of the tribe. The Osage are of Siouan stock, and are now degenerating rapidly, as they are very lazy and much addicted to drink; further, the use of the peyote, or mescal, among them is rapidly increasing, and for these reasons there was great difficulty in engaging the attention of the old men for any length of time. In No. 20, “The Rabbit and the Picture,” we have a tar-baby episode. An abstract is given of each tale.

About this article

Publication history




  1. Search for A. C. H. in:


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing