THE SOUND OF FLUTES: And Other Indian Legends by Richard--Ed. Erdoes
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THE SOUND OF FLUTES: And Other Indian Legends

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A folklore collection with a difference--the difference being the living presence of contemporary American Indian storytellers. Erdoes has recorded and edited the oral narration of his Plains Indian (mostly Sioux) friends, and he includes here their background exposition, casual asides, and political/cultural commentary. At the core is a rich variety of fine stories--whether traditional origin and hero tales, primitive trickster (a spider here) tales, short witty anecdotes or glimpses of the spirit world--and they are especially notable for their total absence of self-importance. In fact the one story about a young man's ""vision quest"" concerns the lesson in humility that he learns after the vision fails to appear. In addition to the stories (some of which occur ""long ago, before Columbus 'discovered' us"") there are historical legends, prophecies, and informal catalogs of beliefs. In one of this last category, Eagle Elk says of Thunderbird, ""If this story ever gets into a book, I pity the artist who has to illustrate this. . . . I hope he will take a sweat bath and go on a vision quest. . . ."" Whatever Eagle Elk would say of Goble's Thunderbird, the small, soft black drawings that decorate most of the pages do seem informed by a genuine vision--and his more characteristic full-page color illustrations are as handsome and attuned as ever.

Pub Date: Oct. 25th, 1976
Publisher: Pantheon