By Basil Johnson
These are the stories of the manitous--the spirits who inhabit the supernatural world of the Ojibway (the
Native American tribe of the Great Lakes and central Canada region). Harvested by an eminent expert from an ancient oral tradition, these sacred stories introduce wily tricksters, fearsome giants, timorous tree spirits, seductive maidens, and wise grandmothers. Here, a coward masquerading as a hero becomes one; a powerful warrior is riled and routed by a younger sibling with a gift for dancing and disguises; and the ever-hungry evil weendigos--evil manitous--haunt the land. In spellbinding and hypnotic fashion, the creation and flood legends are told, and the origin stories of corn, spruce, and tobacco are revealed. Comic, erotic, dramatic, and tragic, these engrossing tales are a window into the heart of an ancient culture, an important contribution to Native American literature, and a fascinating source of spiritual guidance for the many followers of New Age mysticism.