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One Good Story, That One

One Good Story, That One: Stories

Thomas King
Copyright Date: 1993
Pages: 147
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  • Book Info
    One Good Story, That One
    Book Description:

    One Good Story, That One is a collection steeped in native oral tradition and shot through with Thomas King's special brand of wit and comic imagination. These highly acclaimed stories conjure up Native and Judeo-Christian myths, present-day pop culture, and literature while mixing in just the right amount of perception and experience.

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-4032-8
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [vii]-[viii])
  3. One Good Story, That One
    (pp. 1-10)


    You know, I hear this story up north. Maybe Yellowknife, that one, somewhere. I hear it maybe a long time. Old story this one. One hundred years, maybe more. Maybe not so long either, this story.


    You know, they come to my place. Summer place, pretty good place, that one. Those ones, they come with Napiao, my friend. Cool. On the river. Indians call him Ka-sin-ta, that river, like if you did nothing but stand in one place all day and maybe longer. Ka-sin-ta also call Na-po. Napiao knows that one, my friend. Whiteman call him Saint Merry,...

  4. Totem
    (pp. 11-18)

    Beebe Hill stood at the reception desk of the Southwest Alberta Art Gallery and Prairie Museum and drummed her fingers on the counter until Walter Hooton came out of the director’s office. She was annoyed, she told Walter, and she thought other people were annoyed, too, but were too polite to complain about the noises the totem pole in the far corner of the room was making.

    “It sounds like gargling.”

    Walter assured her that there wasn’t a totem pole in the entire place including the basement and the storage room. The current show, he explained, featured contemporary Canadian art...

  5. Magpies
    (pp. 19-30)

    This one is about Granny. Reserve story. Everyone knows this story. Wilma knows it. Ambrose knows it. My friend, Napioa. Lionel James. Billy Frank knows it, too. Billy Frank hears this story in Calgary. He hears it three times. Maybe six. Boy, he tells me, here comes that story again.

    Sometimes this story is about Wilma. Some people tell it so Ambrose is all over the place. The way I tell it is this way and I tell it this way all the time.

    Sometimes I tell you about those Magpies first. With those noses. Good noses, those ones. Magpies...

  6. Trap Lines
    (pp. 31-48)

    When I was twelve, thirteen at the most, and we were still living on the reserve, I asked my grandmother and she told me my father sat in the bathroom in the dark because it was the only place he could go to get away from us kids. What does he do in the bathroom, I wanted to know. Sits, said my grandmother. That’s it? Thinks, she said, he thinks. I asked her if he went to the bathroom, too, and she said that was adult conversation, and I would have to ask him. It seemed strange at the time,...

  7. How Corporal Colin Sterling Saved Blossom, Alberta, and Most of the Rest of the World as Well
    (pp. 49-66)

    The bright prairie sun was just above the tops of the trailers when Ralph Lawton’s wife, Bella, rolled over and shook Ralph.

    “Are you awake?”

    Ralph grunted.

    “Did you hear those damn Indians?”

    “Coyotes,” said Ralph.

    “I know Indians when I hear them. Drinking, I suspect.”


    “Did they pay you in advance?”

    “It was the coyotes you heard last night.”

    “Then they’ve flown the coop by now.”

    There was snow on the ground, and the air was cold. Ralph looked out of the window of the office. Room sixteen seemed quiet enough. He put on his robe.

    “Dead drunk,...

  8. The One About Coyote Going West
    (pp. 67-82)

    This one is about Coyote. She was going west. Visiting her relations. That’s what she said. You got to watch that one. Tricky one. Full of bad business. No, no, no, no, that one says. I’m just visiting. Going to see Raven.

    Boy, I says. That’s another tricky one.

    Coyote comes by my place. She wag her tail. Make them happy noises. Sit on my porch. Look around. With them teeth. With that smile. Coyote put her nose in my tea. My good tea.

    Get that nose out of my tea, I says.

    I’m going to see my friends, she...

  9. A Seat in the Garden
    (pp. 83-96)

    Joe Hovaugh settled into the garden on his knees and began pulling at the wet, slippery weeds that had sprung up between the neat rows of beets. He trowelled his way around the zucchini and up and down the lines of carrots, and he did not notice the big Indian at all until he stopped at the tomatoes, sat back, and tried to remember where he had set the ball of twine and the wooden stakes.

    The big Indian was naked to the waist. His hair was braided and wrapped with white ermine and strips of red cloth. He wore...

  10. Joe the Painter and the Deer Island Massacre
    (pp. 97-120)

    Joe the Painter knew almost everyone in town and everyone knew Joe and all of the people who knew Joe as well as I knew Joe didn’t like him. Except me. I liked Joe. I was probably the only person who was willing to be seen with Joe regular like. A lot of folk would say hi to Joe if they ran into him and couldn’t get across the street in time and some would even sit down to coffee with him while the sun was out. One or two of the married fellows had invited Joe to dinner at...

  11. A Coyote Columbus Story
    (pp. 121-130)

    You know, Coyote came by my place the other day. She was going to a party. She had her party hat and she had her party whistle and she had her party rattle.

    I’m going to a party, she says.

    Yes, I says, I can see that.

    It is a party for Christopher Columbus, says Coyote. That is the one who found America. That is the one who found Indians.

    Boy, that Coyote is one silly Coyote. You got to watch out for her. Some of Coyote’s stories have got Coyote tails and some of Coyote’s stories are covered with...

  12. Borders
    (pp. 131-148)

    When I was twelve, maybe thirteen, my mother announced that we were going to go to Salt Lake City to visit my sister who had left the reserve, moved across the line, and found a job. Laetitia had not left home with my mother’s blessing, but over time my mother had come to be proud of the fact that Laetitia had done all of this on her own.

    “She did real good,” my mother would say.

    Then there were the fine points to Laetitia’s going. She had not, as my mother liked to tell Mrs. Many fingers, gone floating after...

  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 149-151)