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Trickster/Transformer

by Gerald Musinsky
Universal tale-type among all Native America. The trickster/transformer character and tale-type range from Fool narratives to hero-tales of "native cunning" elevated to levels of "Creator's helper" or "messenger" (no longer a trickster but a transformer). Animals are generally ascribed to the Trickster role: Spider for the North & Eastern Woodlands, Hare for the Plains and Great lakes; Coyote for the Western and Southwestern tribes; and Raven (sometimes analogous with Crow) for the Pacific Northwest, Eskimo set and Arctic tribes.

Other animals also included mouse, frog, fox, bluejay, mink and opossum. Common trickster traits were more often negative such as stubbornness, chicanery, duplicity, cruelty, greed, gluttony, avarice, and in sometime these mischievous actions foiled the plans of the Creator or "pranked" significant legendary (historic) humans, even causing illness or injury to the trickster himself. Tale-type similarities can be found with Brer Rabbit of West African "trickster" folklore. Specifically only few tales cross reference with European or Western Classic mythologies.


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