American Hero-Myths

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: THE BEARDED HERO. 53 textit{A curious addition to the story was told the early Swedish settlers on the river Delaware by the Algonkin tribe which inhabited its shores. These related that their various arts of domestic life and the chase were taught them long ago by a venerable and eloquent man who came to them from a distance, and having instructed them in what was desirable for them to know, he departed, not to another region or by the natural course of death, but by ascending into the sky. They added that this ancient and beneficent teacher textit{wore a long beard.i We might suspect that this last trait was thought of after the bearded Europeans had been seen, did it not occur so often in myths elsewhere on the continent, and in relics of art finished long before the discovery, that another explanation must be found for it. What this is I shall discuss when I come to speak of the more Southern myths, whose heroes were often ""white and bearded men from the .East." § 2. textit{The Iroquois Myth of Ioskeha." / . The most ancient myth of the Iroquois represents this earth as covered with water, in which dwelt aquatic animals and monsters of the deep. Far above it were the i Thomas Campanins (Holm), textit{Description of the Province of New Sweden, book iii, oh. xi. Campanius does not give the name of the hero-god, but there can be no doubt that it was the " Great Hare." 2 The sources from which I draw the elements of the Iroquois hero- myth of loskeha are mainly the following: textit{Relations de la Nouvelle France, 1636, 1640, 1671, etc. Sagard, textit{Histoire dn Canada, pp. 451, 452 (Paris, 1636) ; David Cusick, textit{Ancient History of the Six Nations, and manuscript material kindly furnished me by Horatio Hale, Esq., who has made a thorough study of the Iroquo...
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