In this Book

The Blind Man and the Loon
summary

The story of the Blind Man and the Loon is a living Native folktale about a blind man who is betrayed by his mother or wife but whose vision is magically restored by a kind loon. Variations of this tale are told by Native storytellers all across Alaska, arctic Canada, Greenland, the Northwest Coast, and even into the Great Basin and the Great Plains. As the story has traveled through cultures and ecosystems over many centuries, individual storytellers have added cultural and local ecological details to the tale, creating countless variations.

In The Blind Man and the Loon: The Story of a Tale, folklorist Craig Mishler goes back to 1827, tracing the story’s emergence across Greenland and North America in manuscripts, books, and in the visual arts and other media such as film, music, and dance theater. Examining and comparing the story’s variants and permutations across cultures in detail, Mishler brings the individual storyteller into his analysis of how the tale changed over time, considering how storytellers and the oral tradition function within various societies. Two maps unequivocally demonstrate the routes the story has traveled. The result is a masterful compilation and analysis of Native oral traditions that sheds light on how folktales spread and are adapted by widely diverse cultures.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. 1-3
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  1. Title Page
  2. pp. 4-4
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  1. Copyright Page
  2. pp. 5-5
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. List of Illustrations
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Foreword
  2. pp. ix-xi
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. xiii-xiv
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xv-xviii
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  1. Introduction: The Story of a Tale
  2. pp. xix-xxvii
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  1. 1. The History and Geography of the Tale
  2. pp. 1-25
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  1. 2. The Writing of the Tale
  2. pp. 27-47
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  1. 3. The Tale Behind the Tale
  2. pp. 49-66
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  1. 4. The Telling of the Tale
  2. pp. 67-91
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  1. 5. The Art of the Tale [Contains Image Plates]
  2. pp. 93-118
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  1. 6. The Mediated and Theatrical Tale
  2. pp. 119-133
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  1. 7. The Power of the Tale
  2. pp. 135-152
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  1. Conclusion and Afterword
  2. pp. 153-156
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  1. Appendix A: Paradigm of Tale Traits
  2. pp. 157-161
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  1. Appendix B: Annotated Bibliography of Variants
  2. pp. 163-189
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  1. Appendix C: Knud Rasmussen’s Greenlandic Variants
  2. pp. 191-209
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  1. Appendix D: The Steenholdt Text and Additional Variants from Hinrich Rink’s Collection
  2. pp. 211-215
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 217-222
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  1. References
  2. pp. 223-237
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 239-246
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