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Old 08-19-2015, 09:21 AM   #1
Calenorn
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Young Adventures by - Elmer Russell Gregor

When exploring the world of early twentieth century American youth literature, you will find a lot of cowboy-and-Indian Western stories, and even some frontier stories without Indians, but Indian-only stories are unusual. This makes Elmer Russell Gregor’s novels especially delightful. He wrote three tales involving the same characters from an Eastern tribe (Delaware) and three more with a different group from a Western tribe (Sioux). The Eastern books are Spotted Deer, Running Fox, and The White Wolf. The Western stories are White Otter, The War Trail, and Three Sioux Scouts.

Gregor’s writing has a distinctive style, especially in dialogue. The rhythm and syntax used is enough to give the impression of a different language without descending into the “heap-big ugh how” stereotype that used to be so common in films. Here’s a sample:

"My people, you have heard the words of Dancing Owl," he said. "This thing he tells about is mysterious. I cannot make anything of those great fires. I will go away and think about it. Then perhaps I will tell you something."

I have noticed that the characters in both series (Eastern and Western) speak very much alike, so don’t look for detailed historic accuracy here. But if you’re after some easy-to-read adventure stories you won’t be disappointed.

Biographical information about Mr. Gregor is not easily found. I believe his writing was influential on the nascent Boy Scouting movement in the US. I think he lived on into the 1950’s, so not suitable for MobileRead at this time. Five of the six novels mentioned are currently residing at Project Gutenberg, and I found a workable scan of ‘The White Wolf’ at the archive.org. It suffered some of the usual problems with quotation marks and such, but a couple of hours in Sigil whipped it into shape.

In these books Gregor delivers stories of young men testing their courage for the benefit of their friends and their communities, a theme that transcends culture. And if his portrayal of Native Americans is not historically accurate, it is certainly respectfully intended. For its time, that was quite an achievement.
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