Woods Cree Stories
University of Regina Press / 17 March 2015

Woods Cree Stories by Solomon Ratt Illustrated by Holly Martin Published by University of Regina Press Review by Keith Foster $24.95 ISBN 978-0-88977-345-5 Woods Cree Stories is a collection of nine Cree folkloric tales related in three versions – syllabic, Cree, and the English translation. Author Solomon Ratt embellishes his stories with humour as an aid to learning the Cree language. If they seem a little weird, it’s probably because Ratt describes himself as having “a weird sense of humour.” Some of the tales may seem far-fetched. In “Buffalo Wings,” Ratt takes readers on a fanciful flight of fantasy going back to olden days when buffalo had wings. According to Ratt’s mythology, buffalo were hunted just for their wings, which were a delicious delicacy. Shaking-Spear, a character in another story, talks to animals, and they talk back to him. In the end, he makes a talking tree very happy. Another amusing tale involves a mouse who tries to form a friendship pact with a rabbit, a man, a cat, and a porcupine, all of whom are quite conversational in both Cree and English. Inevitably their alliance starts to break up. The last straw is when man gets ravenously hungry and…