This book features a series of short stories collected by renowned ethnologist Henry R. Schoolcraft. The stories are adapted from old Native American legends with the aim to protect their authenticity from future contamination. Schoolcraft made it his duty to learn the Native American folklore, after living among them in the Great Lakes region and experiencing their culture firsthand. The allegorical collection include tales of adventure, whilst offering exciting explanations for natural phenomena as perceived by members of the tribe and their ancestors, who have passed down the tales from one generation to the next.
The collection of stories begins with the introduction of wise and venerable Iagoo, whose respected position and function in the tribe is to preserve their history through the means of storytelling. It is his role as a storyteller to recount tales of the customs and traditions of their people to attentive young listeners. Consequently begin the tales of mythological and fascinating events, which take place in a time when animals could speak and the world was still new. Personification is therefore generously applied and embraced throughout the collection. The stories serve a purpose of endorsing morals, expressing the sweet rewards of good conduct, and ultimately act as cautionary tales to portray the consequences of certain traits. Celebrating interconnectedness between man and nature, the stories support the idea that every course of action has a consequence and that humans are not superior to nature, but equally valuable while sharing responsibility and purpose.
What makes the collection so fascinating is the fact that the stories have been passed down throughout generations by oral traditions, therefore signifying their cultural richness and identity. Depicting a close relationship between mankind, spirits, animals, and nature, the stories depict a cultural tradition successfully portrayed in the pages of the anthology. Furthermore the compilation allows readers to observe and learn more about a culture preserved in a most intriguing manner.