A Treasury of Nebraska Pioneer Folklore by Roger L. Welsch

By Roger L. Welsch

Folklore tells us whatever approximately nearly each element of the lifetime of the folks. This wealthy and interesting number of Nebraska pioneer folklore, taken mostly from the Nebraska Folklore Pamphlets issued by means of the Federal Writers' undertaking within the Thirties, is meant before everything for the final reader, for the folk whose historical past it is. Songs of path and prairie and of the Farmers' Alliance, white man's yarns and Indian stories, pioneer Nebraska people customs, sayings, proverbs, ideals, kid's video games, cooking, and cures—these "wondrously wonderful kaleidoscopic reflections of the folks and setting that have been inspirations of the vintage literature of Mari Sandoz and Willa Cather—to identify two—could be a version for Americana creditors in different states to emulate. . . . A treasury indeed."—King gains Syndicate "Parade of Books."

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A Treasury of Nebraska Pioneer Folklore

Folklore tells us whatever approximately virtually each element of the lifetime of the folks. This wealthy and exciting choice of Nebraska pioneer folklore, taken mostly from the Nebraska Folklore Pamphlets issued via the Federal Writers' undertaking within the Thirties, is meant at the start for the final reader, for the folks whose history it truly is.

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Example text

The song, which was in existence as early as 1854, reputedly had so many verses that a bull-whacker could sing it all the way from Fort Leavenworth to the Rockies without a repetition. According to Miss Pound, some have thought Joe Bowers a real person from Pike County, Missouri, who was one of that army of gold seekers who crossed the plains during the years 18491851, after the gold strike at Sutter's Mill, on the Coloma River in California. Others, however, believe him to be merely a typical figure of the time popularized by the ballad.

In a few of the prose selections, the wording of a sentence has been rearranged for the sake of clarity. Finally, a word about my principles of selection. In addition to the usual folklore criteria, I was guided by what I thought would have the greatest interest and appeal for the people of the State of Nebraska, and limited by the physical dimensions of this volume. Thus, not all types of folklore are represented (proverbial phrases, riddles, dialect, religious songs, and folk verse are among the omissions) and the collections of songs, dance calls, customs, games, sayings, and so on, are far from being exhaustive (suggesting the wealth of available material, Louise Pound's folksong syllabus lists more than 550 songs, and there are around 50 in the Nebraska Folklore Pamphlets, Page xviii including 17 which also appear in the syllabus).

All night in the darkness they trailed him Through the mesquite and chaparral, And I couldn't but think of the woman, When I saw him pitch and fall. If she'd been the pal she should've, He might have been rearing a son, Instead of out there on the prairie, To be falling by a Ranger's gun. The cowboy was fatally wounded; His chances for life were too slim. Where they were putting his body Was all that worried him. Page 13 He raised his head to his elbow, And the blood from his wound flowed red. He looked at his pals grouped about him And whispered to them and said: "Oh, bury me out on the prairie, Where the coyotes may howl o'er my grave, And cover me over with boulders, That some of my bones may be saved.

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