Published on July 12, 2013 by Carol
Book title: The Deetkatoo: Native American Stories About Little People
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Author: John Bierhorst
Illustrator: Ron Hilbert Coy
If you ever see them, don’t be afraid.
Talk to them, be nice to them,
and they will bring you luck.
The world of the little people is no farther than the patch of woods beyond the last house. Yet it is a place of mystery, closely connected to nature. From the little people come rain and wind. From their cooking pots comes food that never runs out. They themselves are small, but their strength and wisdom are great, providing a source of lasting power for average-size humans.
Here are twenty-two not-quite-folktales in an unusual collection gathered from the Mohawk, the Cherokee, the Zuni, the Inuit, the Maya, and other Native American groups. Though each tale is different, the little people themselves are recognizable from one story to the next. They are capable of playing tricks, yet offer help when someone is in trouble. They run and hide, yet want to make friends, even propose marriage.
Are the little people real? Or do they live only in stories? The answer to both questions is a resounding yes, as explained by folklorist John Bierhorst in a fascinating introduction exploring the history and meaning of the little people in Native American culture.
Complementing the tales are perceptive illustrations by Native American artist Hilbert Coy, demonstrating that the helpful (and sometimes not so helpful) little people are everywhere — at least to those who have eyes to see them.