Myths and Tales of the Southeastern Indians

By John R. Swanton | Go to book overview

COMPARISON OF MYTHS

The accompanying table gives in condensed form the results of a comparison of the myths of the people under consideration, those of the Yuchi as recorded by Speck, and the Cherokee myths given by Mooney. The Creek stories embrace the ones obtained by myself, those in the Tuggle collection, and the Taskigi collection of Speck. In parenthesis after each name is the total number of stories collected from the tribe in question; in the third column is the number of coincidences; in the final column the percentages. The whole number of stories is so small and the changes that would result from a single alteration so great that only the most general conclusions may be drawn from this table, and the conclusions that may be drawn are such as might have been expected. Thus the Koasati and Alabama have lived close to each other from the earliest period of which we have any record. At the present day they are near neighbors in southwestern Louisiana and eastern Texas and their languages differ little and are mutually understood by nearly everyone in the two groups. The Yuchi, Hitchiti, Alabama, and Koasati were all incorporated into the Creek confederacy in later times and were in close contact with the dominant Muskogee tribe. Natchez shows numerous Creek resemblances because a part of the tribe was long incorporated with the Upper Creeks and because, although the present series of Natchez stories was collected from the Cherokee Band, this band was located near the western edge of the Cherokee Nation and in contact with small bodies of Creeks who chose to live for a time on the Cherokee side of the common boundary. In fact, two or three Natchez stories were learned by my informant from a Creek Indian by his own statement. The Natchez-Cherokee resemblances are due to the fact that the Natchez stories come from a member of the Cherokee Band of Natchez. Koasati and Alabama on one side and Hitchiti on the other lay at the extreme edge of the old Creek country, and the later history of the two groups of peoples has run in widely separated channels. The Yuchi material, finally, is too scanty to have much significance.

-267-

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Myths and Tales of the Southeastern Indians
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Letter of Transmittal iii
  • Contents v
  • Myths and Tales of the Southeastern Indians 1
  • Creek Stories 2
  • Hitchiti Stories 87
  • Alabama Stories 118
  • Koasati Stories 166
  • Natchez Stories 214
  • Comparison of Myths 267
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