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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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INDIAN LEGEND

THE INDIANS OF THE NORTHWEST ONLY FISHED IN CREEKS.
SOME STRANGERS CAME ALONG--THERE WERE SIXTEEN OF THEM.
THEY WERE STRANGE LOOKING, FOR THEY WERE TALL WITH BLUE
EYES AND BLOND HAIR. THEY HAD METAL WEAPONS. THEY
TAUGHT THE INDIANS HOW TO BUILD BOATS AND HOUSES AND
HOW TO HUNT FOR WHALES. LEGEND SAYS THAT THESE WERE
VIKINGS WHO CAME OVER WITH LEIF ERIKSEN--THEY WENT DOWN
THE GREAT LAKES, UP THE FOX RIVER TO THE MISSISSIPPI,
THEN UP INTO CANADA. A FEW YEARS AGO A VIKING SHIP
WAS FOUND THERE; ALSO A STONE TABLET WITH VIKING
WRITING ON IT.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): GEOGRAPHY ; INDIAN ; INSTRUCTION ; Native American ; Origin ; Settlement ; Viking

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Human Being
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Secular hero

Date learned: 05-15-1965

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THE TURN OF THE CENTURY FOUND A GREAT DEAL OF THE
PRAIRIE LAND OF THE DAKOTAS OPEN FOR SETTLEMENT
THROUGH THE HOMESTEAD ACT. THIS ARID LAND WAS FAR
FROM THE BEST FOR FARMING. MY PARENTS TOOK ADVANTAGE
OF THIS ONLY TO FIND OUT YOU COULD ONLY EXPECT ONE
GOOD CROP EVERY SEVEN YEARS. AFTER THREE YEARS OF
FARMING THE LAND, IT BECAME THEIRS AND THEY SOLD IT
AND MOVED TO THE SMALL TOWN OF LEMON, S. DAKOTA, WHERE
I WAS BORN. ONE OF THE FEW MEMORIES I HAVE OF THE
DAKOTAS ARE THE MANY PRAIRIE FIRES IN THE HOT MONTHS
OF THE YEAR. THESE FIRES WOULD CREEP ALONG THE GROUND
AND TAKE EVERYTHING IN ITS WAY. WHEN A FIRE WAS SPOTTED
EVERY ABLE-BODIED MAN WOULD GO OUT TO FIGHT THE FIRES.
THESE WERE BLAMED ON THE MANY RUSSIANS WHO LIVED IN THE
AREA. I DOUBT IF THERE WAS EVEN ANY PROOF OF THE
RUSSIANS BEING RESPONSIBLE, AS THIS WAS AT A TIME
WHEN WORLD WAR I WAS GOING ON IN EUROPE AND THE U.S.
HAD NOT YET BEEN INVOLVED. A MORE LOGICAL REASON, WHICH
WAS PROVED ON MANY OCCASIONS WAS SPARKS FROM LOCOMO-
TIVES. ON ONE OCCASION, EVERY BODY HAD TO LEAVE TOWN
AS THE FIRE WAS ON THREE SIDES OF THE TOWN AND ONLY ONE
ROAD WAS USABLE AS AN EXIT.
MOVING FROM DAKOTA TO MINNESOTA WAS LIKE TRAVELING
FROM ONE WORLD TO ANOTHER, FOR THE CITY LIFE IN MINN-
ESOTA WAS VERY MODERN. IT WAS EVEN POSSIBLE TO GET ICE
DELIVERED TO THE HOUSE THREE TIMES A WEEK. THIS WAS
SUFFICIENT SERVICE TO KEEP THE ICEBOX COLD ALL OF THE
TIME AND THE VEGETABLE WAGON WITH ITS RINGING BELL
WAS A WELCOME SIGHT FOR THE HOUSEWIFE, AS IT WAS A
CHANCE TO BARGAIN FOR FRESH VEGETABLES AND FRUITS
IN SEASON. AS TIME WENT ON, MODERNIZATION SET IN AND
THE MILKMAN, ICEMAN AND VEGETABLE MAN CHANGED FROM
HORSE DRAWN CARTS TO TRUCKS BEFORE THEY EVENTUALLY
DISAPPEARED ALTOGETHER.
WITH THE ADVENT OF THE CAR, THE MAIL MAN ON THE ROAD
NO LONGER HAD THE RIGHT OF WAY AS A MATTER OF RESPECT.
MY GRANDFATHER ON MY MOTHER'S SIDE NEVER KNEW FOR SURE
JUST HOW OLD HE WAS OR WHEN HIS BIRTHDAY WAS, SO, WHEN
HE MARRIED, HE TOOK HIS WIFE'S BIRTHDAY AS HIS. AS
NEAR AS HE COULD RECALL, HE WAS ABOUT FOUR OR FIVE
YEARS OF AGE WHEN HIS PARENTS WERE MURDERED FOR THEIR
MONEY. HE WAS PLACED IN A CHICAGO ORPHANAGE WITH A
YOUNGER SISTER. HOW MANY YEARS HE SPENT IN THIS
ORPHANAGE IS NOT EXACTLY KNOWN, BUT IN HIS EARLY DAYS
HE WORKED ON A RIVERBOAT BETWEEN NEW ORLEANS AND
MINNEAPOLIS. LATER, HE WAS WORKING AS A FARMHAND
IN SOUTHEASTERN MINNESOTA, WHERE HE MET AND MARRIED
HIS LIFETIME PARTNER. ALL ATTEMPTS TO LOCATE HIS
SISTER WERE OF NO AVAIL, AS ALL RECORDS WERE LOST IN
THE GREAT CHICAGO FIRE.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: ILLINOIS ; PEORIA

Keyword(s): America ; CROPS ; Dakota ; FARMING ; Homestead Act ; Migration ; Modernization ; Prairie ; Russian ; Settlement ; Wildfire ; World War I ; WWI

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Tale

Date learned: 11-01-1971

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