This little volume is a contribution to the comparative study of religions. It is an endeavor to present in a critically correct light some of the fundamental conceptions which are found in the native beliefs of the tribes of America. So little has heretofore been done in this field that it has yielded a very scanty harvest for purposes of general study. It has not yet even passed the stage where the distinction between myth and tradition has been recognized. Nearly all historians continue to write about some of the American hero-gods as if they had been chiefs of tribes at some undetermined epoch, and the effort to trace the migrations and affiliations of nations by similarities in such stories is of almost daily occurrence. How baseless and misleading all such arguments must be, it is one of my objects to set forth. At the same time I have endeavored to be temperate in applying the interpretations of mythologists. I am aware of the risk one runs in looking at every legend as a light or storm myth. My guiding principle has been that when the same, and that a very extraordinary, story is told by several tribes wholly apart in language and location, then the probabilities are enormous that it is not a legend but a myth, and must be explained as such. It is a spontaneous production of the mind, not a reminiscence of an historic event. The importance of the study of myths has been abundantly shown of recent years, and the methods of analyzing them have been established with satisfactory clearness
Scrivi una recensione per "American Hero-Myths: A Study in the Native Religions of the Western Continent"