Native American Stories:
Like most of Indiana, the Barbee Lakes area used to be the home of Native American tribes, notably the Piankenshaw, Pottawotamie, and Eagle River Miamis. Because very few of the Indiana tribes are still around today, documented information about them is scarce; however, stories about them still are told. P.V. claims in his story, "Arrowheads still found on Tumble Inn grounds," that Native American artifacts still exist in the area. A motif that corresponds to P.V.’s story is an Irish myth of "Treasure found in ground" (N511). The other Native-American-inspired stories concern "Princess Barbee," whom Barbee Lake was supposedly named for. It is unknown whether or not Princess Barbee really existed. However, two similar stories about her claim that she had supernatural powers. Betty’s story is about Princess Barbee using magic to find the body of a drowned man; P.V.’s story is about Princess Barbee’s ghost helping another Native American find the body. Both stories have the motif of "Drowned corpse found by magic" (D1816.4.1), and "Magic Canoe" (D1122), both Irish myths. The story that deals with the ghost of Princess Barbee has the motif of "Revenant as American Indian" (E425.2.4). This motif has also been in stories collected in Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Texas, and Alabama. Bob also told a story about Princess Barbee and her lover meeting in the middle of the lake until they were shot by angry relatives. "When there is a full moon, you can see them paddling out in the middle of the lake," he claims. This story has a motif of "Lover’s tragedy reenacted" (E337.2) collected in stories from England and United States.
Two similar stories concerning canoes are also told about Barbee Lake. Molly Sheridan claims that she saw a disappearing canoe after hearing the story of Princess Barbee; Mary and Donnie Kuzma saw a ghostly couple in a canoe. These stories both suggest the motif of "Phantom canoe" (E535.3.1) which is a story from New York. Also, in both of those stories, the ghost disappears. This motif is "Spirit fades into air" (F407.2), another Irish myth.
Even though U.F.O.s did not appear in any motif index, monsters did. Betty and P.V. both told stories about a possible "lake-monster." There were many motifs about monsters, for example the Irish myths of "Lake-spirits" (F421) and "Water monster" (G308.2). Also, P.V. mentions in his story, "Strong turtle pulls up anchor in Barbee Lake," that he might have "caught" the lake monster while fishing, and it dragged the anchor. This story loosely suggests the motif "Fight with sea (lake) monster" (G308), yet another Irish myth. This story is also similar to the "Beast of Busco" that was in the book Hoosier Folk Legends. People in Churubusco, Indiana have claimed to see a giant turtle in the Blue Lake (Baker 126). The "Beast of Busco" story and the "Strong turtle" stories both have the motif of "Giant turtle" (B875.3), found in United States and England.
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