“Here are some of the Indian tales I have heard. I don’t remember the names of any of the whites or Indians involved in these stories. The old folks used to tell us children these tales while we sat before the fireplace at night.
“In Indian times, the whites would put pickets out about the camp or fort to keep the Indians from slipping upon them. At one place, several of the pickets had disappeared. The officers placed a man on duty on night, with orders to shoot anything he saw moving. Pretty soon he noticed an old sow rooting in the leaves under the trees and it came closer and closer. He hated to shoot an old sow that would later make good meat. But he had his orders to shoot, which he did. At the crack of his rifle, the saw r’ared upon its hind feet and feel over backwards. It proved to be an Indian in an old sow’s skin, and this was the way the Indians had been slipping up and killing and carrying away the other pickets.
“Another Indian story was often told to us by the older folks. The Indians took a woman captive and took her into Kentucky. After a few days, they let her go and get firewood in the evenings. Each day she went further and further. Finally, she ran into the woods and tried to get back to her old home. At night, she hid in a hollow log. The Indians followed her with a dog. The dog got ahead of the Indians and went into the log after her, but she choked it to death. Spiders wove a web over the open end of the log. The Indians came and saw the spider web. They were so mad they struck the log with their tomahawks and went away. She got out next morning and found her way back to the settlements. She had little to eat in her travels. At one place, the path forked and while she was debating which way to go, a little bird fluttered in front of her and darted up stream. She was still undecided which way to go. The bird came back and fluttered away in the same direction. She followed the bird and got home safely.”
Interview with Nannie Sykes Kerr Dotson
on Oct. 11, 1951 at Millard, VA
(born 1882 in what is now Clinchco, Dickenson County, VA)