Hailed by Ezra Pound as the "American Ovid" and renowned as a linguist and a self-described "amateur anthropologist," Jaime de Angulo drew on his forty years among the Pit River tribe of California to create the amalgam of fiction, folklore, tall tales, jokes, ceremonial ritual, and adventure that is Indian Tales. He first wrote these stories to entertain his children, borrowing freely from the worlds of the Pit, and also of the Miwok, Pomo, and Karok. Here are the adventures of Father Bear, Mother Antelope, the little boy Fox, and, of course, Old Man Coyote in a time when people and animals weren't so very far apart. The author's intent was not so much to rer anthropologically faithful translations-though they are here-as to create a magical world fueled by the power of storytelling while avoiding the dangers for the romantic and picturesque. True to the playful and imaginative spirit he portrays, de Angulo mischievously recommends to readers: "When you find yourself searching for some mechanical explanation, if you don't know the answer, invent one. When you pick out some inconsistency or marvelous improbability, satisfy your curiosity like the old Indian folk: 'Well, that's the way they tell that story. I didn't make it up!'"
About the Author
Jaime de Angulo was born in Paris in 1887. At eighteen he came to the United States, where he spent his first years as a ranch hand in the Far West. He later studied medicine at Johns Hopkins and served in the Medical Corps during World War I. He passed several decades with the Indian tribes of the Pacific Coast in roles varying from anthropologist to unofficial medicine man. He died in Berkeley in 1950.