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A Legendary Storyteller

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The recipient of a legend must do his or her best to retell the story as close to the original version as possible. It is a great responsibility and for this reason, the best storytellers are greatly respected among those in the tribe. Many of these stories, which tell about the way of life and beliefs of the Seminoles of Florida, have been collected in a book, Legends Of The Seminoles, by Betty Mae Jumper. Both Legends Of the Seminoles and a video featuring Betty Mae Jumper called The Corn Lady are available at the Marketplace.

Dr. Betty Mae Jumper, second chairperson of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, is also known as a storyteller. She comes from the Muscogee of Creek origins and also speaks the Miccosukee language. Each year at the Florida Folk Festival and other such gatherings, she enthralls crowds with Seminole legends she first heard as a child around the campfire. The following is an excerpt from her book "Legends of the Seminoles."


Little Frog - As Told by Betty Mae Jumper

"This story was told to me by my grandmother when I was just a baby. Where we lived, the sounds in the woods were very important to us. We were always asking, "What is that sound from?" A lot of times we were answered with a story such as this one."

The little green frog was sitting on the edge of the water lilies sleeping away. A big ol' rabbit came hopping along, came upon the frog and said, "Hi there! Why are you sleeping? It's too pretty a day to sleep. Wake up! Wake up!"

"I don't have to do anything," said the irritated little frog. But that pretty ol' pesky rabbit kept on until the little frog got really mad and told him, "I'll fix you up."

So little frog started singing his funny little song or noise he makes to call the rain. Within a few minutes, the black cloud came and the wind started blowing. Then the rains came and soaked the ol' rabbit so much he got cold and ran home.

Whenever you hear the frogs singing away today, better be near shelter, because they are warning you that rain is coming soon.

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