The Punishment of the Stingy and Other Indian Stories
The Punishment of the Stingy, first published in 1901, has become a classic of American Indian literature. George Bird Grinnell’s retelling of Indian tales like “The Star Boy,” “The Girl Who Was the Ring,” “The First Medicine Lodge,” and “Nothing Child” retains the humor and mystery of their sources.
Featuring the twin themes of generosity and stinginess, this is the only one of Grinnell's collections to embrace narratives from a number of tribes—Blackfoot, Pawnee, Blood, Piegan, and Chinook. Plucky young heroes emerge from obscurity through their generosity; the closefisted draw down supernatural punishments befitting their cold and hardened spirits.
Jarold Ramsey writes, "The history of the Plains Indians as we have it would be unthinkable without the keen eye and honest, diligent pen of George Bird Grinnell. With him, it is still possible after eighty or one hundred years to leap through that historical lightning door that shut so suddenly on the Old West. Among the heroic Pawnees, Cheyennes, Blackfeet, and their neighbors of long ago, stories like these will continue to be our horses, and Grinnell our faithful overland guide."
Jarold Ramsey is a professor of English at the University of Rochester. He is the author of many articles on Indian literature and editor of Coyote Was Going There: Indian Literature of the Oregon Country.