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Algonquin Legends of New England

Charles Godfrey Leland

Book Overview: 

This work, then, contains a collection of the myths, legends, and folk-lore of the principal Wabanaki, or Northeastern Algonquin, Indians; that is to say, of the Passamaquoddies and Penobscots of Maine, and of the Micmacs of New Brunswick. All of this material was gathered directly from Indian narrators, the greater part by myself, the rest by a few friends; in fact, I can give the name of the aboriginal authority for every tale except one.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .p, whose name he forgets, is a fair specimen of what he learned. Yet he could in the same book write as follows: "The Anglo-American can indeed cut down and grub up all this waving forest, And make a stump and vote for Buchanan on its ruins; but he cannot Converse with the spirit of the tree he fells, he cannot read the poetry and mythology which retires as he advances."

If Mr. Thoreau had known the Indian legend of the spirit of the fallen tree—and his guide knew it well—he might have been credited with speaking wisely of the poetry and mythology which he ridicules the poor rural Yankees for not possessing.

Such a writer can, indeed, peep and botanize on the grave of Mother
Nature, but never evoke her spirit.

The moving the island is evidently of Eskimo origin, since Crantz (History of Greenland) heard nearly the same story of some magician-giant. It was probably suggested by the very. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Leland has a rare sense for the profound significance of the myths he relates, and thus one forgives him any archaisms, which are as nothing compared to the fact that he places the Algonquin religion shoulder to shoulder with any of the other great world religions, and has gathered their lore with s

It’s wonderful if you can get past the annoying obsession with tracking on Norse parallels and the debilitating racism. Worth the read for some of these woodland monsters!

Inspiring collection of Algonquin Legends. Charles Leland wrote this book in 1884 and included several references to Old Norse Mythology (e.g., comparing Lox to Loki - the God of Mischief). He suggested that the Algonquin myths were the result of Native American interaction with the Vikings in Newfo

The commentary leaves a lot to be desired but the stories themselves amazing.

Reading and studying 19th century collections of folktales is by turns intriguing and exasperating. This assemblage of stories is, like many of its contemporaries, of inestimable value simply due to the author-editor’s direct proximity and access to the original tellers, many of whom he identifies b

So. Mixed review time.
The recordings are really interesting. Leland does a pretty good job of translating without changing things as he has heard them, particularly for his time. As such, this is a fascinating historical record.

BUT.

His conclusions based on these recordings are hilariously, out of