By Roger L. Welsch
Folklore tells us anything approximately virtually each point of the lifetime of the folk. This wealthy and wonderful choice of Nebraska pioneer folklore, taken mostly from the Nebraska Folklore Pamphlets issued via the Federal Writers' venture within the Thirties, is meant in the beginning for the final reader, for the folks whose background it is. Songs of path and prairie and of the Farmers' Alliance, white man's yarns and Indian stories, pioneer Nebraska people customs, sayings, proverbs, ideals, kid's video games, cooking, and cures—these "wondrously interesting kaleidoscopic reflections of the folk and atmosphere that have been inspirations of the vintage literature of Mari Sandoz and Willa Cather—to identify two—could be a version for Americana creditors in different states to emulate. . . . A treasury indeed."—King positive factors Syndicate "Parade of Books."
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Additional info for A Treasury of Nebraska Pioneer Folklore
The pamphlets were meant to be the chapters of a future book, but when World War II brought an end to unemployment the work of collection stopped and the project was shelved. Occasionally compilers of folklore anthologiesas, for instance, Ben Botkin, who had studied with Louise Poundborrowed a tale or song from the pamphlets, but the rather crude presentation of the FWP materials and their incompleteness discouraged further publication. The Nebraska pamphlets, moreover, suffered from deficiencies common to the FWP studies.
I labored late and early, In rain an' sun an' snow. I was working for my Sally 'Twas all the same to Joe. One day I got a letter, 'Twas from my brother Ike; It came from old Missouri, And all the way from Pike. It was the darndest letter That ever I did see, And brought the darndest news That ever was brought to me. It said that Sal was false to me It made me cuss and swear How she'd went and married a butcher, And the butcher had red hair; Page 7 And, whether 'twas gal or boy, The letter never said, But that Sally had a baby And the baby's head was red!
Refrain) The Cowboy's Lament Also known as "Streets of Laredo" and "The Dying Cowboy," this famous song is related to "The Unfortunate Rake," an eighteenth-century English ballad; "The Bad Girl's Lament,'' a variant most often found in the southern Appalachians; andsurprisingly"Saint James's Infirmary," which belongs to the deep south. In the version below, known throughout the West, the scene is shifted to Laredo, Texas, and details altered accordingly. The "Unfortunate Rake" of the earliest version is an English soldier dying of a venereal disease; he is wrapped in a sheet soaked with medicine, as was then a common treatment.