THUNDER CAVE Information Pages

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THUNDER CAVE Information Pages
Millennium EditionTM

"Through Thunder Cave, I first met human beings with a different
color of skin -- met them, and loved them."

-- D.G. Jones, editor, 2001
Thunder Cave Millennium EditionTM

Featured in the Utah Spirit magazine, June 1, 2005 issue:
"Thundering Back to the Past", article by Jan Hopkins, writer for the Davis County Clipper.


THUNDER CAVE: The Thrilling Advendures of Jasper and Zebbie
and the Good Giant Wigwah

retold by D.G. Jones © 2001  

Introduction to the Millennium EditionTM
Editor's Note, Millennium EditionTM
Credits, Millennium EditionTM
Notes to the Millennium EditionTM
Preface and Dedication to the 1932 & Revised 1945 Editions
Publisher's Note to the 1932 Edition

1932 edition               1932 edition                    
cover & front page, THUNDER CAVE   Millennium EditionTM  
click on image for enlargement
A slim, large edition, "bound to last."

Jeremiah Stokes' Thunder Cave began as a compilation of bedtime stories made up "on the spot" for his children in the early 1900s; forming a multi-cultural fairy tale destined to be remembered by generations of children.

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to the Millennium EditionTM

Jasper and Zebbie are two young boys with cheeks like polished chestnuts and smiles like the sun; but when their parents disappear their troubles begin and they’re forced to leave home on a dangerous quest with only hotcakes in their pockets. Their search leads them into the very depths of Thunder Cave where they enter the mysterious Basement of the Mountain and discover a fascinating underground world. There, they find themselves at the mercy of a strange little people; witness a battle to the death with the evil Giant Lackajohn; take a trip to the top of the Rainbow; and, with the help of four new and unusual friends, gain at last the object of their quest in a fabulous and unexpected place - the Toy Shops of Kris Kringle.
This is the story of two boys’ adventures with the mischievous little Jackawees, the inseparable Grey Wolf and Crow Foot, the good Giant Wigwah, and a talkative Owl named Solomon Swift.

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Millennium EditionTM

[Read excerpts from the Seventh Adventure]

Jeremiah Stokes' Thunder Cave was first published in its entirety in 1932 by Thunder Cave Corporation . . . [formed in 1931 by] John S. Sears, (1) president. A shorter, revised edition was published by Bookcraft in 1945 through the efforts of two of Stokes' children, Claudia S. Thurman and Jeremiah Stokes III. (2)
Since its publication, many a mother (including my own) has charmed her children with adventures from Thunder Cave. (3) Through Thunder Cave, I first met human beings with a different color of skin -- met them, and loved them.
It was not until I read the 1932 edition to my own children, using my mother's well-worn copy, that I saw a need for further revision and conceived of rewriting the book for the children of the 21st century, using both the 1932 and 1945 editions. After checking the legality of such a project, I began the retelling of Thunder Cave, retaining its spontaneity as a collection of stories written "on-the-spot" at bedtime but envisioning the work as a whole.
In the process, I distilled long passages of moralizing into key concepts and incorporated them into the dialogue and narrative; modified aspects which no longer fulfilled the author's original intent, as expressed in his "Preface and Dedication"; and sought continuity in the dialects of the Wilson family and Indians. At the same time I've endeavored to maintain as much as possible the author's wording and unique literary style. The resulting book combines the charm and flavor of the original versions with more-fully developed characters, plot, and action, as well as a more universal point of view . . .
Many thanks go to numerous family members, whose encouragement has helped me to complete this new edition . . . Above all, thanks to my husband . . . for doing research for me unasked, for surprising me with a 1945 edition as well as other books by Jeremiah Stokes . . . Finally, my deepest thanks to my four children for their helpful counsel -- and for listening to and putting up with my rewriting of Thunder Cave for the collective years of their childhood.
What is it about Jeremiah Stokes' Thunder Cave that is so enchanting? Its unforgettable characters?   Fantastic settings?   Humor?   Mystery?   Jack Sears' unique illustrations?   Timeless appeal to the child in us all?   Or is it all of the above? (4)
In presenting that rule of conduct basic to all great religions, (5) and in fostering attitudes of tolerance and respect among people of differing beliefs, race, and customs, it is also a story for our times. The Millennium Edition™ of Thunder Cave will make the delightful "adventures of Jasper and Zebbie and the good Giant Wigwah" available for generations of children to come.

Centerville, Utah, 2001

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CREDITS  Extract
Millennium EditionTM

For aid in obtaining information, and for shared insights and personal experiences, thanks go to family members of both Jeremiah Stokes (Douglas E. Bagley) and Jack Sears (Peggy Sears) - and to multiple librarians, curators, and Thunder Cave enthusiasts such as Louis Hoyt DeMers (for information on the first printing of a Thunder Cave adventure) and John Alan Stevens (for the inscription regarding Thunder Cave radio shows). Special thanks to Dr. Vern Swanson, Springville (Utah) Museum of Art . . .

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to the 1932 & revised 1945 editions

Giant Wigwah, Jasper and Zebbie, the clever Jackawees, Solomon Swift, Lightnin Shure-shot, the mysterious Thunder Cave, and the hitherto unheard-of "Basement of the Mountain" with its wealth of fascinating interest -- together with the amusing incidents of adventure experienced by the characters of this book -- had their beginning in the original oral stories I developed for the entertainment of my own children over a period of many years.

In all of my creations I purposely eliminated all things that were not in harmony with clean entertainment and constructive thought. Likewise I avoided the presentation of characters and situations that would frighten or give an erroneous or bad impression. Furthermore, I endeavored to drive home by example some principle of correct conduct, duty, or ideal thought without preachment. Then, too, I planned to make each episode a complete adventure and of such length as to sustain the keenest interest of reader and listener to the end.

To my wife (6) belongs the credit of suggesting that I preserve the original stories from which this volume was developed. It was she who inspired me to take the time from my practice of law to preserve as a memento of "bygone days" the bedtime stories that were fondly linked with the happy memories of the nursery. And had it not been for her, Thunder Cave would have lived only as a memory in the minds of our own children and in the minds of their little associates who were privileged also to hear them. Moreover, I am deeply indebted to her for many helpful suggestions in the finishing of this volume, and for her sustaining interest and her hearty cooperation and encouragement over the long period of time that I have spent in the completion of these stories as they now appear.

In grateful acknowledgment, therefore, of her helpful contribution to this volume, in testimony of her splendid qualities as a wife and mother, and finally, as a memoir of "bygone days" -- that to both of us are replete with cherished recollections of chubby arms, restless feet, hilarious voices, "giant stories," rosy lips, "good night, Daddy" and "good night, Mama," and the vision of tousled heads against downy pillows, tucked in and fast asleep -- I dedicate this volume to her. (7)



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to the 1932 edition

Give a child a goodly supply of wholesome, enchanting stories -- stories that are replete with fascinating pictures -- and his joys are complete. Moreover, his ambitions, his ideals, and his conception of the standards of life develop along the lines of the things thus portrayed.

Children are faithful imitators. Readily do they copy and adopt the expressions, actions, and ideals of their associates. The same thing is also true of the characters presented in picture and story. Children's dreams and ideals are inspired by what they see and hear and, ultimately, these things crystallize into fixed habits of thought and conduct. Things heard and seen are the electrons of which the fiber of character is made. This truth constitutes a most potent factor of soul development that parents should employ -- a factor that cannot be too strongly stressed as a home-training, character-building principle.

It is the birthright of all children to receive the benefit of the painstaking discrimination of their guardians in the selections of stories -- a parental trust of sacred responsibility that cannot be ignored or disregarded without irreparable injury to the child deprived of it.

The most desirable type of juvenile stories and pictures is that which is the creation of authors and artists who understand and love children, and whose interest in the future attainments and welfare of youth impels them to eliminate from their work whatever is psychologically wrong. A knowledge of the principles of soul growth, by writers and illustrators, make them careful to avoid the presentation of ideas of fear, cruelty, coarseness, and all other thoughts that tend to upset the nerves, dull the finer feelings, and hinder the development of the noblest traits of character. Into their work is cleverly and unobtrusively woven ideas of the very highest constructive value.

Thunder Cave is an illustrated story that measures up to the highest standard of juvenile literature, so declared by the best critics, and by editors, teachers, parents, and children to whom it has been submitted. Outstanding features of this work are the marvelous pictures of Jack Sears, a nationally recognized artist, who enjoys the reputation of being "one of the best idea men in America." While living in New York, Mr. Sears, for ten years, supplied ideas around which the famous syndicate writer, Arthur Brisbane, wrote his editorials for the New York Evening Journal. These illustrated subjects, which were syndicated to all the Hearst papers, had a combined daily circulation of millions of copies. During the same period, he furnished humorous and political drawings for Judge, the same occupying positions on every page of the paper many times over. For two years the New York Morning Telegraph, then the leading sporting and theatrical publication in America, featured the sketches made by Mr. Sears of the celebrities living or visiting in the great metropolis. (9) The late Elbert Hubbard (10) recognized his unusual skill and originality, and, for a long time prior to his death, employed him as his chief illustrator for his books and magazines. Life, Puck, Harpers, Everybody's Literary Digest, and many other publications have used the clever creations of this outstanding artist "whose fingers are never idle and whose life is bounded by sketches that never lag for interest."

To have the privilege of presenting to parents, children, teachers and the public generally, such an unusual story as Thunder Cave, with the superb illustrations of this noted artist, is a service which gives us the keenest pleasure.



John S. Sears, President. (11)

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Millennium EditionTM

1. "Jack" Sears. (See "Publisher's Note" and "Biographical Note".)

2. Douglas E. Bagley, e-mail to editor, June 4, 2001 and Aug. 25, 2001.

3. e.g., Aileen H. Clyde, "Charity Suffereth Long," Ensign, Nov. 1991, 76.

4. from editor's letter to Joan Nay, Western Epics Publishers, April, 25 1996.

5. See John Bowker's World Religions: The Great Faiths Explored and Explained, New York: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, Inc., 1997, 188.

6. Susan Eugenia [Neff] Stokes.

7. In the 1945 edition, this line reads: " . . . I dedicate this volume to her memory which I dearly cherish." (See "Biographical Note".)

8. Signature of Jeremiah Stokes, courtesy John Alan Stevens. From inscription in his copy of Stokes' The Soul's Fire. Used by permission.

9. For additional details, see Robert S. Olpin's Dictionary of Utah Art, Salt Lake City: Salt Lake Art Center in cooperation with the Utah American Revolution Bicentennial Commission, l980), 220-222.

10. Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915) "at the Roycrofters, East Aurora, New York," was a philosopher and author. Sears illustrated "several of his works" (Salt Lake Tribune, Sunday, June 8, 1969, C1), including Pig-pen Pete (Olpin, Dictionary of Utah Art, 221).

11. John S. [Jack] Sears, president, Wm. J. Koew, secretary. See "Editor's Note". Thunder Cave Corporation was authorized to sell 5,000 shares: 3,500 shares of common stock at one cent, and 1,500 preferred shares at fifty dollars. (Source: stock certificate in editor's possession.)

 . . .

N.B. Complete introductory pages and notes are included in the Millennium EditionTM of Thunder Cave, as are the Editor's Note and the Biographical Note.

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