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Legends of Texas, Volume I: Lost Mines and…

Legends of Texas, Volume I: Lost Mines and Buried Treasure (1924)

by J. Frank Dobie

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This is a collection of legends about buried treasure and lost mines in early Texas. It's really more of an academic book about how legends develop and the connections between them than a book of stories to be read for fun. The legends are arranged either by type or by location so that the reader can see how multiple similar legends developed. The editor has also included fairly extensive footnotes about the historical basis for the legends and other tidbits of information. If you're looking for something to help you understand Texas legends from that perspective, this book is pretty good.

However, it's not what I had expected, a collection of re-tellings of adventures and legends that would be fun to read. Most of the legends are repetitive, and only some of them are well-written. Most of them also have racist language and/or ideas (the book was written in 1924).

The most interesting thing I learned is that the e-mail scam in which someone allegedly from Nigeria tells the recipient that he has oodles of money in a U.S. bank and just needs the recipient to pay a certain amount to release the funds (and then the recipient will get a share of the fortune) is not new. Dobie describes as "a tale common to both legend and roguery" scams by prisoners (one in 1911) where the prisoners would write someone on the outside to send funds to help the prisoner get back home in exchange for the prisoner then showing that person where a treasure was buried. ( )
  carlym | Feb 8, 2009 |
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However many legends of other kinds there may be, the buried treasure or lost mine legend is the typical legend of Texas.
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