A Treasury of Nebraska Pioneer Folklore by Roger L. Welsch

By Roger L. Welsch

Folklore tells us anything approximately virtually each element of the lifetime of the folk. This wealthy and interesting choice of Nebraska pioneer folklore, taken mostly from the Nebraska Folklore Pamphlets issued by way of the Federal Writers' undertaking within the Thirties, is meant in the beginning for the final reader, for the folk whose history 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 folks and surroundings 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 beneficial properties Syndicate "Parade of Books."

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They say there will be a great roundup, and cowboys, like dogies, will stand, To be marked by the Riders of Judgment who are posted and know every brand. Page 17 I know there's many a stray cowboy who'll be lost at the great final sale. When he might have gone in the green pastures, had he known of the dim, narrow trail. " For they, like the cows that are locoed, stampede at the sight of a hand, Are dragged with a rope to the roundup, or get marked with some crooked man's brand. (Refrain) And I'm scared that I'll be a stray yearlinga maverick, un- branded on high And get cut in the bunch with the "rusties" when the Boss of the Riders goes by.

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. As the eminent folklorist Stith Thompson pointed out in Anthropology Today (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953): "In some states these inexperienced [FWP] workers were merely told to go out and collect folklore.

Chorus) When the night comes on we hold them on the bed-ground, Those little dogies that roll on so slow; Round up the herd and cut out the strays, And roll the little dogies that never rolled before. (Chorus) Oh, you'll be soup for Uncle Sam's Injuns; "It's beef, heap beef," I hear them cry. Git along, git along, git along there, little dogies, You're gonta be beef steers by and by. (Chorus) The Texas Cowboy Here's a cowboy who has roamed from Montana to Indian Territory (Oklahoma), and although he seems to favor Nebraska over other states he has visited, to him there is no place like Texas.

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