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Native American Tales from Appalachia

Tina L. Hanlon
"The Ice Man"

Note: The Cherokee homeland was in the Appalachian Mountains for a thousand years before Europeans and Americans forced most of the Cherokee to move west. AppLit includes tales from Cherokee oral traditions that are retold within Appalachia and elsewhere.

Moore, Marijo. The Ice Man: A Traditional Native American Tale. Illus. Yoshi Miyake. Rigby Literacy Series. Crystal Lake, IL: Rigby, 2000. When the Cherokee people do their usual burning of fall leaves in the Smoky Mountains, something goes wrong and they cannot put out the huge fire. The wise man Running Wolf sends younger men, Little Squirrel and Young Deer, to a land of snow and ice, where they give food to an old man in an ice house "with long, frosty hair handing down in two braids" (p. 10). After the stern Ice Man unbraids his hair and slaps it against his hand, he sends the men who have endured his freezing place back to their careless people; then rain and hail put out the fire. A huge lake forms and people can still hear the embers crackling under it. Moore is a North Carolina writer of Cherokee, Irish and Dutch descent. Colorful realistic illustrations, some with borders of geometric patterns, show the contrast between the fall mountain landscape with fire and the white world of the Ice Man. This and other books by Moore are recommended by Debbie Reese, a member of Nambe Pueblo, in northern New Mexico, and expert on American Indians in Children's Literature (see Reese's list of Recommended Children's/YA/Reference/Resource Books). See also Moore's First Fire and The Cherokee Little People.

"The Ice Man." In Cherokee Nation. Traditional Stories. Provided by Cherokee Nation Cultural Resource Center, in official web site of the [western] Cherokee Nation, Tahlequah, OK. 1998-2002.

"The Return of the Iceman." In Greene, Gary. Tales from the Enchanted Land of the Cherokee. CD. [Kingston, Ga.?]: G. Greene, 2004. Other contents (from Worldcat): Introduction, "Rabbit and Old Man Flint," "Why Possum's Tail is Bare," "The Legend of the Corn Beads." "Spearfinger," "Why Owl Has a Spotted Coat," "The Ravel Mockers," "The Little People," "Cherokee Names," "The World is Full of Stories," Bonus track: "The Wolves Within" (a Lakota Sioux story)

Wilson, Gilbert Livingstone. The Little Ice Man. Filmstrip. Imperial Films Co., 1969. 9 min. Color. 35 mm. and phonodisc. Also issued with cassette. Listed for elementary and junior high school. "Based on the story of the same title by Gilbert L. Wilson (1868-1930). . . . Relates the Cherokee legend that explains the hissing noises in the lake bottom as the remains of a large fire put out by the ice man from the North" (WorldCat). Audio cassette, 1968, 8 min., by International Teaching Tapes, Lakeland, Fla.

"The Ice Man." In Curry, Jane Louise, reteller. The Wonderful Sky Boat and Other Native American Tales of the Southeast. Illus. James Watts. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001. Most of the tales include a black and white drawing. Other Cherokee tales include "Stonecoat" (Yamassee/Cherokee), "How Rabbit Stole Otter's Coat," "Bigfoot Bird" (about the meadowlark learning to appreciate its own feet when it helps a little bird hide eggs from men), and "Keeper of the Animals" (about Kanati and his two boys). The title story is an Alabama tale.

"The Man of Ice." In Judson, Katharine Berry, ed. Native American Legends of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi Valley. DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press, 2000. Also includes Cherokee tales "The Corn Woman," "Origin of the Bear," "The Death Trail," "Rabbit Goes Duck Hunting," "Rabbit and Tar Wolf," "How Rabbit Stole Otter's Coat," "Welcome to a Baby," "Baby Song," "Song of the Mother Bears," "The Man in the Stump," "When the Owl Married," "How Partridge Got His Whistle," "How Kingfisher Got His Bill," "Ball Game of the Birds and Animals," "The Groundhog Dance,""Why the 'Possum's Tail is Bare," "The Wolf and the Dog," "The Star Creatures," "The Thunders,""The Nunnehi," "The Little People," "The War Medicine." Originally published Myths and Legends of the Mississippi Valley and the Great Lakes. Chicago: A.C. McClurg, 1914.

See also:

Other pourquoi tales about animals, natural phenomena, and human inventions are listed in the Native American section of this index, the animal tale index, and AppLit's picture book bibliography. Pourquoi elements are also found in tall tales such as Tony Beaver, Isaacs and Zelinsky's Swamp Angel, and Steven Kellogg's Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind Crockett. See study guide on Tall Tales and Jack Tales.

"The Magic Lake" is another Cherokee tale that is often retold. See AppLit's picture book bibliography and collections such as the one by Mary Chiltoskey in the Appalachian Folktale Collections bibliography.

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