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8 years ago
The Bear Who Married a WomanTsimshian

Once upon a time there lived a widow of the tribe of the Gispaxlâ'ts. Many men tried to marry her daughter, but she declined them all.

The mother said, "When a man comes to marry you, feel of the palms of his hands. If they are soft, decline him. If they are rough, accept him." She meant that she wanted to have for a son-in-law a man skillful in building canoes.

Her daughter obeyed her commands and refused the wooings of all young men. One night a youth came to her bed. The palms of his hands were very rough, and therefore she accepted his suit. Early in the morning, however, he had suddenly disappeared, even before she had seen him.

When her mother arose early in the morning and went out, she found a halibut on the beach in front of the house, although it was midwinter. The following evening the young man came back, but disappeared again before the dawn of the day. In the morning the widow found a seal in front of the house. Thus they lived for some time. The young woman never saw the face of her husband; but every morning she found an animal on the beach, every day a larger one. Thus the widow came to be very rich.

She was anxious to see her son-in-law, and one day she waited until he arrived. Suddenly she saw a red bear emerge from the water. He carried a whale on each side, and put them down on the beach. As soon as he noticed that he was observed, he was transformed into a rock, which may be seen up to this day. He was a supernatural being of the sea.

  • Source: Franz Boas, Tsimshian Mythology (Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office, 1916), p. 19.

  • The Tsmimshian Indians are native to the coastal regions of British Columbia and southern Alaska.

8 years ago

The Story of the Drum

An Abenaki Legend

It is said that when Creator was giving a place for all the spirits to dwell who would be taking part in the inhabitance of Mother Earth, there came a sound, a loud BOOM, from off in the distance.

As Creator listened, the sound kept coming closer and closer until it finally it was right in front of Creator. "Who are you?" asked Creator. "I am the spirit of the drum" was the reply. I have come here to ask you to allow me to take part in this wonderful thing." "How will you take part?" Creator questioned." I would like to accompany the singing of the people. When they sing from their hearts, I will to sing as though I was the heartbeat of Mother Earth. In that way, all creation will sing in harmony. "Creator granted the request, and from then on, the drum accompanied the people's voices.

Throughout all of the indigenous peoples of the world, the drum is the center of all songs. It is the catalyst for the spirit of the songs to rise up to the Creator so that the prayers in those songs reach where they were meant to go. At all times, the sound of the drum brings completeness, awe, excitement, solemnity, strength, courage, and the fulfillment to the songs. It is Mother's heartbeat giving her approval to those living upon her. It draws the eagle to it, who carries the message to Creator.

It changes people's lives!

This post was modified from its original form on 24 Sep, 12:07
8 years ago

The Legend of the Dreamcatcher

"A spider was quietly spinning his web in his own space.  It was beside the sleeping space of Nokomis, the grandmother.

Each day, Nokomis watched the spider at work, quietly spinning away.  One day as she was watching him, her grandson came in.  "Nokomis-iya!" he shouted, glancing at the spider. He stomped over to the spider, picked up a shoe and went to hit it.

 "No-keegwa," the old lady whispered, "don't hurt him."

"Nokomis, why do you protect the spider?" asked the little boy.  The old lady smiled, but did not answer.

When the boy left, the spider went to the old woman and thanked her for saving his life.  He said to her, "For many days you have watched me spin and weave my web.  You have admired my work.  In return for saving my life, I will give you a gift."

He smiled his special spider smile and moved away, spinning as he went.  Soon the moon glistened on a magical silvery web moving gently in the window.  "See how I spin?" he said.  "See and learn, for each web will snare bad dreams.  Only good dreams will go through the small hole.  This is my gift to you.  Use it so that only good dreams will be remembered.  The bad dreams will become hopelessly entangled in the web."

This post was modified from its original form on 16 Sep, 11:04
8 years ago
Creation Story & The Importance Of Dreaming An Abenaki Legend

Osiyo my brothers and sisters!

The follwing is a story from the Abenaki-Blackfoot tribe:

The Great Spirit, in a time not known to us looked about and saw nothing. No colors, no beauty. Time was silent in darkness. There was no sound. Nothing could be seen or felt. The Great Spirit decided to fill this space with light and life.

From his great power he commanded the sparks of creation. He ordered Tôlba, the Great Turtle to come from the waters and become the land. The Great Spirit molded the mountains and the valleys on turtle's back. He put white clouds into the blue skies. He was very happy.He said, "Everything is ready now. I will fill this place with the happy movement of life."He thought and thought about what kind of creatures he would make.

Where would they live? What would they do? What would their purpose be? He wanted a perfect plan. He thought so hard that he became very tired and fell asleep.

His sleep was filled with dreams of his creation. He saw strange things in his dream. He saw animals crawling on four legs, some on two. Some creatures flew with wings, some swam with fins. There were plants of all colors, covering the ground everywhere. Insects buzzed around, dogs barked, birds sang, and human beings called to each other. Everything seemed out of place. The Great Spirit thought he was having a bad dream. He thought, nothing could be this imperfect.

When the Great Spirit awakened, he saw a beaver nibbling on a branch. He realized the world of his dream became his creation. Everything he dreamed about came true. When he saw the beaver make his home, and a dam to provide a pond for his family to swim in, he then knew every thing has it's place, and purpose in the time to come.

It has been told among our people from generation to generation. We must not question our dreams. They are our creation.

The meeting of the wild animals
8 years ago

A long time ago, when the Tsimshian lived on the upper Skeena River in Prairie Town, they were the cleverest and the strongest of all humans. They were good hunters and caught many animals. They went hunting the whole year round, and all the animals feared for their survival.

Grizzly Bear invited all the large animals to his house. "A terrible calamity has come to us with these hunting people, who pursue us even into our dens," he said. "I suggest we ask Him Who Made Us to give us more cold winter and keep the hunters in their own houses and out of our dens!" All the large animals agreed, and Wolf said, "Let's invite all the small animals--Porcupine, Beaver, Raccoon, Marten, Mink, and even the really small ones such as Mouse and the insects--to join us and increase our strength."

On the following day the large animals assembled on a wide prairie and called together all the small animals, even down to the insects. The multitude sat down, the small animals on one side of the plain, the large animals on the other. Panther came, and Black Bear, Wolf, Elk, Reindeer, and Wolverine.

Then the chief speaker, Grizzly Bear, rose. "Friends," he said to the small animals and the insects, "you know very well how the people hunt us on mountains and hills, even pursuing us into our dens. Therefore, my brothers, we large animals have agreed to ask Him Who Made Us to give our earth cold winters, colder than ever, so that the people who hunt us cannot come into our dens and kill us and you! Large animals, is this so?"

The Panther said, "I fully support this wise counsel," and all the large animals agreed. Grizzly Bear turned to the small animals and said, "We want to know what you think of this matter." The small animals did not reply at first. After they had been silent for a while, Porcupine rose and said, "Friends, let me say a word or two in response. Your strategy is very good for you, because you have plenty of warm fur for the most severe cold. But look at these little insects. They have no fur at all to warm them in winter. Moreover, how can insects and small animals obtain food if winters are colder? Therefore I say this: don't ask for more cold." Then he sat down.

Grizzly Bear rose again. "We need not pay attention to what Porcupine says, he told the large animals. "You all agree, don't you, that we should ask for the severest cold on earth?" The large animals replied, "Yes, we do. We don't care for Porcupine's reasoning."

"Now, listen once more! I will ask you just one question," Porcupine said. "If it's that cold, the roots of all the wild berries will freeze and die, and all the plants of the prairie will wither away. How will you get food? You large animals roam the mountains wanting something to eat. When your request brings more winter frost, you will die of starvation in spring or summer. But we will survive, for we live on the bark of trees, the very small animals eat the gum of trees, and the smallest insects find their food in the earth."

After he had spoken, Porcupine put his thumb into his mouth, bit it off, said, "Confound it!" and threw his thumb out of his mouth to show the large animals how bold he was. He sat down again, full of rage. Therefore the hand of the porcupine has only four fingers, no thumb.

The large animals were speechless at Porcupine's wisdom. Finally Grizzly Bear admitted, "It's true what you have said." And the large animals chose Porcupine as their wise man and as the first among the small animals. Together all the animals agreed that the cold in winter should be the way it is now. And they settled on six months for winter and six months for summer.

Then Porcupine spoke again in his wisdom: "In winter we will have ice and snow. In spring we will have showers, and the plants will become green. In summer we will have warmer weather, and all the fishes will go up the rivers. In the fall the leaves will drop, it will rain, and the rivers and brooks will overflow. Then all animals, large and small, and those that creep on the ground, will go into their dens and hide for six months. And after they had all agreed to what Porcupine had proposed, they happily returned to their homes.

That's why wild animals, large and small, take to their dens in winter. Only Porcupine does not hide, but goes about visiting his neighbors. Porcupine also went to the animals that had slighted him at the meeting and struck them dead with the quills in his tail. That's why all the animals are afraid of Porcupine to this day.

The First Fire
9 years ago

When anyone visits the Cherokee Museum here in North Carolina thias is the first story that vis told in the introdution to the museum..It is told in a very realistic 3D fashion nd it will be one of the things yoiu will remember about the museum long after you leave..

The First FireCherokee

In the beginning of the world, there was no fire. The animal people were often cold. Only the Thunders, who lived in the world beyond the sky arch, had fire. At last they sent Lightning down to an island. Lightning put fire into the bottom of a hollow sycamore tree.

The animal people knew that the fire was there, because they could see smoke rising from the top of the tree. But they could not get to it on account of the water. So they held a council to decide what to do.

Everyone that could fly or could swim was eager to go after the fire. Raven said, "Let me go. I am large and strong."

At that time Raven was white. He flew high and far across the water and reached the top of the sycamore tree. While he sat there wondering what to do, the heat scorched all his feathers black. The frightened Raven flew home without the fire, and his feathers have been black ever since.

Then the council sent Screech Owl. He flew to the island. But while he was looking down into the hollow tree, a blast of hot air came up and nearly burned out his eyes. He flew home and to this day, Screech Owl's eyes are red.

Then Hooting Owl and Horned Owl were sent to the island together. But the smoke nearly blinded them, and the ashes carried up by the wind made white rings about their eyes. They had to come home, and were never able to get rid of the white rings.

Then Little Snake swam across to the island, crawled through the grass to the tree, and entered it through a small hole at the bottom. But the smoke and the heat were too much for him, too. He escaped alive, but his body had been scorched black. And it was so twisted that he doubled on his track as if always trying to escape from a small space.

Big Snake, the climber, offered to go for fire, but he fell into the burning stump and became as black as Little Snake. He has been the great blacksnake ever since.

At last Water Spider said that she would go. Water Spider has black downy hair and red stripes on her body. She could run on top of water and she could dive to the bottom. She would have no trouble in getting to the island.

"But you are so little, how will you carry enough fire?" the council asked.

"I'll manage all right," answered Water Spider. "I can spin a web." so she spun a thread from her body and wove it into a little bowl and fastened the little bowl on her back. Then she crossed over to the island and through the grass. She put one little coal of fire into her bowl and brought it across to the people.

Every since, we have had fire. And the Water Spider still has her little bowl on her back

The Golden Feather
11 years ago


I love the Native American musician, Robby Robertson. He's part Mohawk and has been successful both in the 'white' world and the
Native American one. He collected a treasure of songs by Native American performers and artists in an album called "Robbie Robertson
and the Red Road."

One of the songs always takes me back to the place where I was born and raised. The words go like this:

"I gave my love, a Golden Feather, a Golden Feather I gave my love.

I gave my love a Golden Feather, a golden feather to lead him home."

In many Nations of the First Peoples, there are legends about how things were in the 'Time of the Beginning', when only the First Peoples walked the hills, mountains, forests and plains of Turtle Island, what the folks now a days call "North America." We are taught that the Teachings and Lessons that made the world a majickal place in that time, can reach through and touch us in our lives atkey points, when we are making decisions that affect not only ourlives, but those of our children and their children and theirchildren. This story is about one of those times.

The Golden Feather
11 years ago

As a young girl growing up just off the edge of an Indian Reservation, in the early sixties, these tales, told by the Elders and our families, were all the entertainment we had. There was no running water, or electricity. No movie theaters, or televisions. No computer games, or play stations. We made our own entertainment and found joy in many things, and in all the many parts of the Sacred Medicine Wheel, that we call life.

Back then, most folks walked or drove horse and wagon to get to where they were going. A few people had rattle trap old Fords, mostly Model T's, or broken down pickup trucks. Many of the Elders and other older folk thought they were 'the work of Lucifer.' The old folks said
these modern contraptions made people lazy and took up more than their fair share of the road. Not to mention the noise and smoke was
a pollution to the eyes, ears and nose! Have you ever smelled a Model T? And it took away a horse's opportunity to do a good days work!

Now stories and how one came to be the person they were from the life one had lived were an integral part of our world. My favorite person in the entire world was my Grandmother. Her face was full of deep
lines, etched by years under Grandfather Sun. She smelled of woodsmoke, and cedar water. She had a laugh that bubbled and burbled
like the water in the crick close to home. Her voice, it could be soft and gentle like lamb's wool, or loud and frightening like
Thunder after a summer rain.

And a story from her was a pleasure indeed.

Now some of you may remember that my Grandmother was known as the local 'witch', so called by the local preacher, The Reverend Findaly, if'n he had a first name no one recalled what it was, so everyone simply called him 'that preacher man' or The Reverend Findaly. He'd started the 'witch' thing right after the first old board church had burned down, and my Grandmother, Annenaya liked the sound of it she said. She used it to her advantage. She would give him 'the eye' and
he would flee in terror, making crosses over his chest as he fled, as fast as his legs would carry him. Us children, well, we'd laugh and
laugh, unless Annenaya gave us 'the look' that said, we'd better be quiet and laugh later. Valuing our 'hides', we knew which was which!

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

One of my favorite stories to listen to was about how Annenaya (My Granny's family name, not the white man's idea of who she was) escaped going to Residential School, and got to stay on the Reservation, learning all the Medicine Ways, the ways to heal the sick, and bring babies into the world (without all those drugs the white ladies had to have) and the stories and histories of our community and our people. And how it was all because of a Feather from the Golden Eagle, sacred to our people.

Ya see, back when she was a young girl, the government people came each year and took all the school age children off to the 'white
man's school' to be given a 'decent white man's education'. The real thing it was about was to strip the children of their family
connections, language, and spirituality, and turn 'em all into 'white Indians'.

Many of the children back then, they saw this was an exciting adventure. They didn't realize that if they were allowed to return home, they would no longer understand their parents words, having lost their Tribal languages, and been forced to learn English. They didn't realize that they would have to work very hard, and suffer a great deal of abuse, and that many would die before coming home. Many who came home would be 'lost', and turn to violence, alcohol and other addictions to hide the pain of the abuse, and of the grief they felt.

Now Annenaya, she wasn't like other young'ens. She wanted to learn the Old Ways. She wanted to stay and listen to the old stories, the old ways of thinking, and being and doing and 'remembering'.

The first year that Annenaya was big enough to be taken by the government agents, when they came to collect all the young children, she was ill with 'influenza' and looked to 'sickly' to survive, so they left her. After all, couldn't have one of those "heathen' children infectin' good white folks now", could they? Or so the agent said that day, shaking his head and walking away with a hankie over his mouth.

This left Annenaya a whole year to come up with another plan to stay put on the lands of her ancestors and family. She thought about it
night and day. She conferred with the Elders, finding holes in all her plans, until one was designed that all agreed would work and
protect the community at the same time.

The night before they new the children would leave, Annenaya snuck out of her home. This was easy enough to do as her father had drunk a bunch of his own 'hooch', his favorite pastime. She ran across the fields in her moccasined feet.

As she fled over the grass and through the great Trees, brothers to all HumanKind, she looked up at the starry sky, and offered prayers on Brother Wind for safe passage and safety in the coming days.

The Golden Feather
11 years ago

The sky was so clear, with just a hint of autumn coming. The stars all shone so bright! She couldn't imagine living in a place where she couldn't look up each night and see Grandmother Moon or all the twinkling stars. She could hear the crickets singing in the bulrushes near the pond, and hear the "Moo" of the big, brown eyed Jersey cows that they milked each day.

It took only a short time to reach the home of one of the Traditional Elders, Old Tom Maracle, and his wife Elizabeth. His home was across
several hay fields, set up on a hill, and ringed by old Maple and Elm trees, like her home was. This home was full of love and kindness,
and they always had food to share with those who needed it, or even those who wandered by.

Old Tom was as old as the hills, or so Annenaya thought at the time.
He was tall, way over six feet, one of the tallest men for many miles. His face was deeply lined, from years of working out under the rays of Grandfather Sun. His eyes shone with love and kindness each time he looked into the face of a child. Old Tom always smelled of Sage and Sweetgrass and hand made lye soap. The leathers he wore were
decorated with ancient porcupine quill work, and he moved with dignity and grace. Old Tom could move so silently that no one ever
heard him coming! He loved to take the children out into the woods, disappear on them and leave them to find their way home. He always stayed where he could keep an eye on them, but most children didn't  see him doing so. Annenaya had caught him doing it first time! And she was really proud of that!

That night, Old Tom and his wife were waiting for her. They gathered her in their arms and held her close for a long moment. Annenaya
loved the way they smelled, and vowed that when she was grown and older, she would always smell nice too!

After the long hug ended, they brought her into the sitting room in front of the fire place. Old Tom had build a Sacred Fire, offering
Tobacco to the Four Sacred Direction and asking the Guardians there to be with them as they prayed, shared fresh bannock and homemade jam and spoke.

They sat up much of the night, talking and planning. Old gave Annenaya some herbs. He explained that these herbs would make her
cough and appear sick. Just as Grandfather Sun was rising in the early morning hours, he pulled out a Gold Eagle Feather and handed it
to Annenaya. She was astounded! Eagle Feathers were won with acts of bravery, or acts of honor!

Old Tom told her how the Golden Eagle is a messenger who carries prayers of the People to the Spirit World. That the Spirit of the
Golden Eagle would guide the Souls of those who left the World of Physical Things on their Journey to the Spirit World, helping them
reach the Sacred Fire where the Guardians of the Four Sacred Directions waited, keeping watch over all the things of the Physical
World. Each Soul would visit with these Guardians before facing Creator to give an accounting of their use of the Gifts and Blessings they'd enjoyed in their physical life.

He explained to Annenaya that if one gave a Golden Feather to someone who was Beloved, that Golden Feather would help guide that person home again, to fulfill their destiny in life. Old Tom wrapped the Feather in a piece of red cotton, added some Sacred Tobacco and some crumbled Sage, and then wrapped once more in a piece of hard leather.
It was tied with a string, with four knots, one for each Sacred  Direction. This was then wrapped in a piece of cotton to make a
bundle. They ate a small meal together and then his wife walked Annenaya back to her home and helped her sneak back into the house, undetected. Her father was still asleep in front of his own fire, snoring loudly and smelling foul.

Annenaya spent the remaining hours singing softly and praying for her safety and for the protection of the Spirits, not so much for herself you understand, but for the future of her people.

The next day was just at the beginning of the Harvest Time. The local Indian Agent, Mr. Knight, arrived in the community in an old horse drawn wagon. He had flaming red hair, and a temper to match. When he pitched a 'royal fit' it was high entertainment for all!

Why that old white man, he could cuss and swear better than almost any one for miles about, and most people paid attention, hoping to learn something new and innovative to take to the County Fair cussing contest. His face would get all red, and spit would fly out of his
mouth. He would jump up and down, kick things, throw things and generally give everyone a good show. The fact that everyone found it so entertaining only made him more angry.

The Golden Feather
11 years ago

Now Mr. Knight, he really enjoyed this time of year. After all, he was getting rid of 'Indian vermin' and better yet, making sure that
someday, in the future, the Indian Problem would no longer exist! Now that was a worthy undertaking! And he told folks so, often enough.
This was a topic he was happy to expound upon at the local tavern (in the nearest town which was eight or so miles away on rutted, gravel and hard packed mud roads). None of the Indians were allowed to go there unless he gave them a piece of paper called a 'travel permit'.
If it was terribly important, he might allow himself to be bribed, but most times he wouldn't help anyone for anything.

On this happy (for him at least) day, Mr. Knight went from house to house, yard to yard, and farm to farm, demanding that all the
children who were six years old be brought to the local church, (the old one, not the new one, remember this was about 1908 or so) where the preacher who was there before the famous Reverend Findaly, lived in a house build on the side. Annenaya never could remember his name and no one else bothered. I thought he must have been a real 'waste
of skin' but didn't say to her when she was sharing the story.

There was an empty hay field where those attending church would leave their horses just across from the church. It was surrounded by big old Maple and Elm trees, with a few Blue Spruce thrown in to keep the bugs away.

Now Annenaya was brought there by her Pappy, a man who was 'mean as a snake' and had the 'mind sickness'. (A few years later he went out in the barn and hung himself, and not a soul ever expressed any sadness about that fact. Many, in fact, drew large sighs of relief to be rid of him, being as mean spirited as he was!)

Pappy, known as "Mean Sam" by most, was a tall man. He wore his hair cut short in an army style cut. Most men at that time wore long hair, but he was ornery and just had to be different. He dressed in worn out old pants, with suspenders to hold them up, and a shirt made from an old flower sack, like most of the men there and then. Mean Sam, he had a loud, raspy voice, hoarse from all the shouting and raging, and drinking and smoking that he did. His hands were work toughened and
calloused. He used them to slap anyone or punch anyone he took a mind too. Annenaya was scared of him as he was wont to 'tan her hide' at any time, and for little or no reason other than being mean. And she liked her hide just the way it was thank you and didn't think
'tanning' improved it any!

The entire drive to the church, which was all of a mile or so, Pappy lectured her on how she had best not 'pull any Heathen' tricks, and
that she had "better come home really educated so she could support him in his old age". Since his idea of support was enough moonshine to drink himself into oblivion each day, Annenaya wasn't too keen on
doing that.

As they drove slowly down the tree lined roads, Annenaya wondered if her plan would work or if this would be the last time she'd see the fields and woods of her beloved home. She loved to walk in the woods and fields, looking for herbs to help heal others, enjoying the feel
of Brother Wind on her skin, feeling the warmth of Grandfather Sun on her face. She felt if she was forced to leave her home she would surely die of heart sickness. And who would learn the old ways? Who would preserve them? Pass them along to the next generation? Someone had to do that and she believed it was her destiny to do just that.
The Traditional Elders agreed with her. Her Pappy didn't follow those old ways, not at all. He thought it was all mumbo jumbo, which
Annenaya felt was a sad thing.

Annenaya often told us how Grandfather Sun was shining so high in the sky that day. The sky was the prettiest shade of blue, and only a few wispy clouds floated in the air. The Autumn colors were just beginning to take hold in the Maple trees the lived all about the
community. There was a feeling of frost soon to come.

Annenaya knew that she still didn't look right, that she looked pale and pasty under the deep olive color of her skin. (She'd stayed up
two nights in a row to maker herself look ill). The herbs that Old Tom had given her made her cough and cough and her chest and throat hurt.

Even before they arrived, they could both hear a great commotion.
Moaning and crying, wailing and weeping carried across the distance on the soft wings of Brother Wind. Many of the little children were
crying, and most of the parents, and grandparents too. Everyone was related to everyone else there and then, so this affected almost every single soul for miles around. All the children leaving carried little cloth bundles of varied colors of cotton cloth. Inside each of
the bags was a change or two of clothes, and some bannock or other food for the long ride to the residential school.

The Golden Feather
11 years ago

It seemed like everyone in the entire community was there, and all of
them were crying. Maybe Mr. Knight expected trouble, as he had two ugly white men standing around with loaded guns in plain sight.

Mr. Knight stepped forward, and told the parents to bring all the young children to the tables that were set up in the shade of the
biggest Maple tree at the edge of the field. Trust the white folks to take the best real estate!

After the children were all gathered around, the Missionaries came along. Two older 'penguins' (the local folks called them behind their hands), dressed in black and white habits, Sisters of the Catholic Church were also there. Now these ladies were mostly afraid of us Heathens, but it was their Christian Duty, or so they told us, to collect all the children's names, make a written record and ensure
that all children of school age were present and ready to leave.

Annenaya was afraid of these strange ladies in the black and white dresses, with the funny things that almost, but not quite, covered their faces.

The children lined up as they were told to do, in a long scraggly line and waited their turn. Annenaya got ready to put her plan into
place. She took out a needle and began to poke the ends of her fingers to make them bleed. She put some of the blood on the white
hankie she carried in her hands. Each time she coughed, she made it louder and louder, until she thought her lungs would come right out
her mouth! She turned her face away from the white folks. Her heart fluttered hard in her chest. Her mind cried out to Creator to
strengthen her and help her. The closer she got to the table, the more fear she felt. It gnawed it's way up her fingers, to her hands,
her arms, and down into the pit of her stomach. The backs of her hands prickled, and her palms were all wet and sticky like.

Then she put her hand on the bundle of cloth she carried. She knew that inside was the Golden Feather. As she touched it, she felt a
strange peace fill her up, even as her cough felt like her chest was going to rip open. All of a sudden she coughed up this HUGE bunch of
blood! She moved fast and the hankie caught most of it, but some ran down her face, and onto the front of her shirt. Children on either
side screamed in horror and moved away as far as they could.

Mr. Knight and one of his guards came running over to quell the disturbance. One look at Annenaya and they gasped in horror! "That
child has the Consumption!!!" Mr. Knight shouted! "Quick, get her away from us! Far Away!!! We can't have her poisoning all of us! Get her out of here!"

"Who's responsible for this child??? GET OVER HERE!!!!" He was too scared to grab Annenaya, but his guard pushed her out of line using
the end of his rifle! Hurriedly, but weakly, she went to the edge of the field and waited. Her legs felt like wilted sticks, ready to give way and leave her on the hard, sun baked lap of Mother Earth.

Where was her father? Had he left without her? Annenaya was frightened. She couldn't see him anywhere. What should she do now?
How would she get home? She was feeling very weak and the coughing wouldn't stop.

Suddenly, Old Tom Maracle appeared at her side. Part of her wondered, "how the heck does he DO that anyway?" He wrapped her in a big old Star Blanket, picked her up in his strong arms and took her to his wagon. She wondered, where had he come from? He appeared like majick!

Softly he whispered in her ear: "Hey little one! We're almost home free. Just lay quietly till I get you out of here and back to my Missus. She'll have some warm food and a warm fire for both of us."

Annenaya slumped into his arms, comforted by the smell of wood smoke, and Sage and Cedar. The plan had worked!!! It really had! They
wouldn't take her away this year! She offered prayers of thanks to Creator and the Sacred Guardians for their protection. And she
thanked the Spirit of the Golden Eagle for bringing her safely back home!

Tom placed her in the bed of his wagon, all wrapped up in blankets, clucked to his old horse, "Red" to Giddyap, and away they went down the tree lined, dusty road. Once they were out of sight, they stopped to offer some Sacred Tobacco in Thanksgiving. Then Old Tom gave her some Cedar Tea with more herbs in it to help ease her cough and take away some of the pain.

"Did you see, Sir? How I coughed up all that blood at just the right time? Wasn't that something?" Annenaya was so excited! "The Golden Feather, it helped me come back home! Just like you said!!!"

Old Tom, he just smiled and let her go on talking. Soon enough, he knew, there would be lots of hard work for her to do. Let her have
her joyfulness! She had a Destiny to fulfill, and he was pleased to be a part of it. Creator, after all, always has a Plan!

Many years later, when she was sharing this Story with me and my rascally brothers, her eyes would light up with delight as she
recounted each and every detail.

Now I'm a mother of many and grandmother myself, and understand that the Old Ways are not dead, as long as someone remembers them.

Help keep this one alive by sharing this story with someone young. Or better yet? Share a story of your own childhood with a child,
grandchild or neighbor. Keep your own history alive! Stories are power.

Author Unknown...
Origin of the Medicine Man
11 years ago

This is a legend of long, long ago about a Passamaquoddy Indian woman who travelled constantly back and forth and through the woods. From every bush she came to, she bit off a twig, and from one of these she became pregnant. Bigger and bigger she grew, until at last she could not travel, but she built a wigwam near the mouth of a fresh-running stream.

In the night, the woman gave birth to a child. She thought at first that she should kill the child. Finally, she decided to make a bark canoe in which she placed her child. She set it adrift and let it float down the stream. Though the water was rough in places, the child was not harmed, or even wet.

The canoe floated to an Indian village, where it became stranded on the sandy shore near a group of wigwams. One of the women found the baby and brought it to her home. Every morning thereafter, it seemed that a baby of the village died. The villagers did not know what was the matter with their babies.

A neighbour noticed how the rescued child toddled off to the river every night and returned shortly after. She wondered if this could have anything to do with the death of so many babies. Then she saw the child return to its wigwam with a small tongue, roast it, and eat it. Then it lay down to sleep all night.

On the next morning, a report circulated that another child had died. Then the Indian woman was certain she knew who the killer was. She alerted the parents of the dead child and found that the child's tongue had been removed, and the child had bled to death.

Tribal deliberations were held to decide what should be done with the murderer. Some said, cut up the person and throw him into the river. Others said, burn the fragments; this they did after much consultation. They burned the fragments of the wayward child, until nothing but its ashes remained.

Naturally, everyone understood the child was dead. But that night it came back to camp again with a small tongue, which it roasted and ate. The next morning another child was found to have died in the night. The weird child was found sleeping in its usual place, just as before its cremation. He said to everyone that he would never kill any more children, and that now he had become a big boy, in fact.

The big boy announced he would take one of his bones out of his side. This he started to do, and all of his bones spilled out of his body at the same time. He closed his eyes by drawing his fingers over his eyelids, hiding his eyes. He could not move without bones and he began to grow very fat.

He surprised the Passamaquoddies by becoming a great Medicine Man. Anything they desired within reason, he granted. Later, however, his tribe moved away from their old camp. Before they left, they built a fine wigwam for the Medicine Man. So accustomed had they become to call upon his powers that they still returned to make their requests. His tribal members asked him for medicine of all kinds. When he granted their wishes, he asked them, "Turn me over and you will find your medicine beneath me."

A young man came and wished to have the love of a woman, so he asked for a love potion. The Medicine Man said, "Turn me over." The young man turned over the conjurer and found an herb. "You must not give this away or throw it away," said the old man. The young Passamaquoddy went back to his own wigwam.

Soon he was aware that all the young women followed him in the camp, at all times. In fact, he longed to be alone for a change. He did not like to be chased by the women. At last when he became too troubled by the tribal women, he returned to the Medicine Man and gave back the herbal love portion. The young Passamaquoddy left without it.

Another young man went to the conjurer for help. The Medicine Man asked, "What is it you want?" This man said, "I want to live as long as the world shall stand."

"Your request is a hard one to consider, but I will do my best to answer it," replied the Medicine Man. "Now turn me over," and underneath his body was an herb. He said, "Go to a place that is bare of everything, so bare it is destitute of all vegetation, and just stand there." The Medicine Man pointed out this direction for the young man.

The young man went according to the Medicine Man's instructions, but looking back at the conjurer, the standing man saw branches and twigs sprouting all over his own body. He had been changed into a cedar tree, to stand there forever--useless to everyone.

11 years ago

After that, Wolf hunted for Rabbit every day until he found him lying in a nice grassy place. He was about to spring upon him when Rabbit said, "My friend, I've been waiting to see you again. I have something good for you to eat. Somebody killed a pony out there in the road. If you wish I'll help you drag it out of the road to a place where you can make a feast off it."

"All right," Wolf said, and he followed Rabbit out to the road where a pony was lying asleep.

"I'm not strong enough to move the pony by myself," said Rabbit, "so I'll tie its tail to yours and help you by pushing."

Rabbit tied their tails together carefully so as not to awaken the pony. Then he grabbed the pony by the ears as if he were going to lift it up. The pony woke up, jumped to its feet, and ran away, dragging Wolf behind. Wolf struggled frantically to free his tail, but all he could do was scratch on the ground with his claws.

"Pull with all your might," Rabbit shouted after him.

"How can I pull with all my might," Wolf cried, "when I'm not standing on the ground?"

By and by, however, Wolf got loose, and then Rabbit had to go into hiding for a long, long time.

Creek How Rabbit Fooled Wolf
11 years ago

Creek    How Rabbit Fooled Wolf

Two pretty girls lived not far from Rabbit and Wolf. One day Rabbit called upon Wolf and said, "Let's go and visit those pretty girls up the road."

"All right," Wolf said, and they started off.

When they got to the girls' house, they were invited in, but both girls took a great liking to Wolf and paid all their attention to him while Rabbit had to sit by and look on. Rabbit of course was not pleased by this, and he soon said, "We had better be going back."

"Let's wait a while longer," Wolf replied, and they remained until late in the day. Before they left, Rabbit found a chance to speak to one of the girls so that Wolf could not overhear and he said, "The one you've been having so much fun with is my old horse."

"I think you are lying," the girl replied.

"No, I am not. You shall see me ride him up here tomorrow."

"If we see you ride him up here," the girl said with a laugh, "we'll believe he's only your old horse."

When the two left the house, the girls said, "Well, call again."

Next morning Wolf was up early, knocking on Rabbit's door. "It's time to visit those girls again," he announced.

Rabbit groaned. "Oh, I was sick all night," he answered, "and I hardly feel able to go."

Wolf kept urging him, and finally Rabbit said, "If you will let me ride you, I might go along to keep you company."

Wolf agreed to carry him astride of his back. But then Rabbit said, "I would like to put a saddle on you so as to brace myself" When Wolf agreed to this, Rabbit added: "I believe it would be better if I should also bridle you."

Although Wolf objected at first to being bridled, he gave in when Rabbit said he did not think he could hold on and manage to get as far as the girls' house without a bridle. Finally Rabbit wanted to put on spurs.

"I am too ticklish," Wolf protested.

"I will not spur you with them," Rabbit promised. "I will hold them away from you, but it would be nicer to have them on."

At last Wolf agreed to this, but he repeated: "I am very ticklish. You must not spur me."

"When we get near the girls' house," Rabbit said, "we will take everything off you and walk the rest of the way."

And so they started up the road, Rabbit proudly riding upon Wolf's back. When they were nearly in sight of the house, Rabbit raked his spurs into Wolf's sides and Wolf galloped full speed right by the house.

"Those girls have seen you now," Rabbit said. "I will tie you here and go up to see them and try to explain everything. I'll come back after a while and get you."

And so Rabbit went back to the house and said to the girls: "You both saw me riding my old horse, did you not?"

"Yes," they answered, and he sat down and had a good time with them.

After a while Rabbit thought he ought to untie Wolf, and he started back to the place where he was fastened. He knew that Wolf must be very angry with him by this time, and he thought up a way to untie him and get rid of him without any danger to himself. He found a thin hollow log and began beating upon it as if it were a drum. Then he ran up to Wolf as fast as he could go, crying out: "The soldiers are hunting for you! You heard their drum. The soldiers are after you."

Wolf was very much frightened of soldiers. "Let me go, let me go!" he shouted.

Rabbit was purposely slow in untying him and had barely freed him when Wolf broke away and ran as fast as he could into the woods. Then Rabbit returned home, laughing to himself over how he had fooled Wolf, and feeling satisfied that he could have the girls to himself for a while.

Near the girls' house was a large peach orchard, and one day they asked Rabbit to shake the peaches off the tree for them. They went to the orchard together and he climbed up into a tree to shake the peaches off. While he was there Wolf suddenly appeared and called out: "Rabbit, old fellow, I'm going to even the score with you. I'm not going to leave you alone until I do."

Rabbit raised his head and pretended to be looking at some people off in the distance. Then he shouted from the treetop: "Here is that fellow, Wolf, you've been hunting for!" At this, Wolf took fright and ran away again.

Some time after this, Rabbit was resting against a tree-trunk that leaned toward the ground. When he saw Wolf coming along toward him, he stood up so that the bent tree-trunk pressed against his shoulder.

"I have you now," said Wolf, but Rabbit quickly replied: "Some people told me that if I would hold this tree up with the great power I have they would bring me four hogs in payment. Now, I don't like hog meat as well as you do, so if you take my place they'll give the hogs to you."

Wolf's greed was excited by this, and he said he was willing to hold up the tree. He squeezed in beside Rabbit, who said, "You must hold it tight or it will fall down." Rabbit then ran off, and Wolf stood with his back pressed hard against the bent tree- trunk until he finally decided he could stand it no longer. He jumped away quickly so the tree would not fall upon him. Then he saw that it was only a leaning tree rooted in the earth. "That Rabbit is the biggest liar," he cried. "If I can catch him I'll certainly fix him."

Hunter and the Dakwa
11 years ago

In the old days there was a great fish called the Dakwa which lived in the Tennessee River near the mouth of Toco Creek. This fish was so large that it could easily swallow a man. One day several hunters were travelling in a canoe along the Tennessee when the Dakwa suddenly rose up under the canoe and threw them all into the air. As the men came down, the fish swallowed one with a single snap of its jaws, and dived with him to the bottom of the river.

This man was one of the bravest hunters in the tribe, and as soon as he discovered where he was he began thinking of some way to overcome the Dakwa and escape from its stomach. Except for a few scratches and bruises, the hunter had not been hurt, but it was so hot and airless inside the big fish that he feared he would soon smother.

As he groped around in the darkness, his hands found some musselshells which the Dakwa had swallowed. These shells had very sharp edges. Using one of them as a knife, the hunter began cutting away at the fish's stomach. Soon the Dakwa grew uneasy at the scraping inside his stomach and came up to the surface of the river for air. The man kept on cutting with the shell until the fish was in such pain that it swam wildly back and forth across the river, thrashing the water into foam with its tail.

At last the hunter cut through the Dakwa's side. Water flowed in, almost drowning the man, but the big fish was so weary by this time that it came to a stop. The hunter looked out of the hole and saw that the Dakwa was now resting in shallow water near the riverbank.

Reaching up, the man pulled himself through the hole in the fish, moving very carefully so as not to disturb the Dakwa. He then waded ashore and returned to his village, where his friends were mourning his death because they were sure he had been eaten by the great fish. Now they named him a hero and held a celebration in his honour. Although the brave hunter escaped with his life, the juices in the stomach of the Dakwa had scalded all the hair from his head, and he was bald forever after.

Ball Game of the Birds and the Animals
11 years ago

The following story explains the origin of a custom of the Cherokee Indians of North Carolina. They used to prepare for a popular ball game by holding a dance the night before. While the drummers beat on their drums, the rest of the people chanted songs. Before the game, each player asked the help of the bat and of the flying squirrel. For good luck, each player tied a small piece of bat's wing to the stick he would hit the ball with.

Long ago, the animals sent a message to the birds. "Let us have a big ball game. We will defeat you in a big ball game."

The birds answered, "We will meet you. We will defeat you in a big ball game."

So the plans were made. The day was set. At a certain place, all the animals gathered, ready to throw the ball to the birds in the trees. On the side of the animals were the bear, the deer, and the terrapin or turtle. The bear was heavier than the other animals. He was heavier than all the birds put together. The deer could run faster than the other animals could. The turtle had a very thick shell. So the animals felt sure that they would win the game.

The birds, too, felt sure that they would win. On their side were the eagle, the hawk, and the great raven. All three could fly swiftly. All three had farseeing eyes. All three were strong and had sharp beaks that could tear.

In the treetops the birds smoothed their feathers. Then they watched every movement of the animals on the ground below them. As they watched, two small creatures climbed up the tree toward the leader of the birds. These two creatures were but a little bigger than mice.

"Will you let us join in the game?" they asked the leader of the birds.

The leader looked at them for a moment. He saw that they had four feet.

"Why don't you join the animals?" he asked them. "Because you have four feet, you really belong on the other side."

"We asked to play the game on their side," the tiny creatures answered. "But they laughed at us because we are so small. They do not want us."

The leader of the birds felt sorry for them. So did the eagle, the hawk, and the other birds.

"But how can they join us when they have no wings?" the birds asked each other.

"Let us make wings for the little fellows," one of the birds suggested.

"We can make wings from the head of the drum," another bird suggested.

The drum had been used in the dance the night before. Its head was the skin of a groundhog. The birds cut two pieces of leather from it, shaped them like wings, and fastened them to the legs of one of the little fellows. Thus they made the first bat.

The leader gave directions. He said to the bat, "When I toss the ball, you catch it. Don't let it touch the ground.

The bat caught it. He dodged and circled. He zigzagged very fast. He kept the ball always in motion, never letting it touch the ground. The birds were glad they had made wings for him.

"What shall we do with the other little fellow?" asked the leader of the birds. "We have used up all our leather in making the wings for the bat."

The birds thought and thought. At last one of them had an idea.

"Let us make wings for him by stretching his skin," suggested the eagle.

So eagle and hawk, two of the biggest birds, seized the little fellow. With their strong bills they tugged and pulled at his fur. In a few minutes they stretched the skin between his front feet and his hind feet. His own fur made wings. Thus they made the first flying squirrel.

When the leader tossed the ball, flying squirrel caught it and carried it to another tree. From there he threw it to the eagle. Eagle caught it and threw it to another bird. The birds kept the ball in the air for some time, but at last they dropped it. Just before it reached the ground, the bat seized it. Dodging and circling and zigzagging, he kept out of the way of the deer and other swift animals. At last bat threw the ball in at the goal. And so he won the game for the birds.

Slo'w - The Great Eagle Chief
11 years ago
In Chumash Mythology, Slo'w is the Great Eagle who lives above the earth as a powerful force in the Sky. When Slo'w stretches his wings, it is believed he causes the phases of the moon. Slo'w's wing span sustains the Upper World, and when there is an eclipse of the moon, it is thought his wings are covering the glowing orb.
Slo'w's companions in the Sky Pantheon of powerful beings were Sky Coyote, Sun, and Morning Star. As you will learn in the stories we have selected, these four mighty beings controlled the weather on Earth, and determined the form in which First People were made.
Not always benevolent, the Sky Beings had the power to punish First People as well. Slo'w, from his stationery position in the sky may also have been a stern judge of First People, as it was thought he lived surrounded by " hills and hills of bleaches white bones that can be seen from afar. They are the bones of people of this world that Slo'w has eaten. Slo'w has neither wife nor family. He is never referred to as a relative - only as a - he who commands. He is very patient. He is always in the sky, thinking.
Ohhh TY
11 years ago
That is one of my favorite stories.
11 years ago
The Call of the Owl [Cherokee]

Long ago in the Red Indian tribe of the Cherokees there was a widow who had a very beautiful daughter. When the girl was old enough to marry, her mother took her aside.

"It's time, my child, to find yourself a husband," she said. "Your father was a famous hunter. Only another man like him is good enough for you."

Her daughter agreed, but she was a difficult, temperamental girl, and none of the young men of the tribe pleased her. One was too small, another too ugly, a third too poor and a fourth too simple. But one day a very handsome young man appeared at the widow's wigwam. She had never seen him before."

"I am U-gu-ku," he said. "I would like to marry your daughter. I've always wanted a wife as beautiful as her."

"My daughter," replied the woman, "must marry a good hunter, so she never goes hungry. My husband was a famous hunter, and we always had plenty of meat."

"I'm a very good hunter," answered U-gu-ku."

He was a pleasant young man, and so the widow called her daughter.

"This is U-gu-ku," she told her. "He wants to marry you."

The girl liked the look of the young man, and so the marriage took place.

Next day the widow went to her new son-in-law.

"There's no more meat in the house," she said.

"Don't, worry, mother of my wife," replied U-gu-ku. "I'll go hunting." And off he went. But when he came back, all he had were three paltry little fish.

"I'm sorry," said U-gu-ku. "I had no luck hunting today, so I decided to go fishing. I've brought you three fish. No doubt I'll have better luck tomorrow."

Their supper that evening was not very lavish. But worse was to come, for the next day all that U-gu-ku brought back from the hunt were three lizards.

"It's as if there's a curse on me," said U-gu-ku sadly. "But don't worry. Tomorrow you'll have meat."

On the third day U-gu-ku returned very tired from the hunt, and handed the widow three scrawny little bits of meat that the other hunters had left behind. His wife and mother-in-law could not understand it. They began to wonder if U-gu-ku could be trusted.

"He told me he was a good hunter," said the widow, "but he has hardly killed a thing. Don't you think you should follow him secretly and see what he's doing?"

The girl agreed, and on the fourth day of her marriage she followed her husband into the forest, hiding behind the trees. WHen they came to the river, to her surprise and horror, U-gu-ku turned into an owl.

"U-gu-ku - oooooooo - ooooooo," he cried, flying up into the air and out over the river. Then suddenly, he swooped down to the water and seized a little crayfish.

The young woman was horrified to think she had an owl as a husband. She ran back home as fast as she could, weeping as if her heart would break.

That evening, when U-gu-ku returned, the crayfish was all he had. "Is that all you caught?" asked the wife.

"An owl stole the rest from me," he replied.

"But you're the owl!" cried the young woman furiously. "You've lied to me, you've tricked me, and what's more you're a dreadfully bad hunter!"

"No, I'm not," protested U-gu-ku. "I may be a bad hunter for a man, but for an owl I'm a very good one."

"Get out of my sight!" shouted his wife. "I never want to see you again."

So the owl flew away into the forest, cryihng and hooting dolefully. He was terribly unhappy, for he loved his wife with all his heart.

"U-gu-ku - oooooo - oooooo - oooooo," went the sorrowful voice, as U-gu-ku mourned his loss. And every night since then, the owl's lament has been heard, as he sings of his lost love.

Cherokee The Legend of the Cedar Tree
11 years ago

Cherokee    The Legend of the Cedar Tree
    A long time ago when the Cherokee people were new upon the earth, they thought that life would be much better if there was never any night. They beseeched the Ouga (Creator) that it might be day all the time and that there would be no darkness.
The Creator heard their voices and made the night cease and it was day all the time. Soon, the forest was thick with heavy growth. It became difficult to walk and to find the path. The people toiled in the gardens many long hours trying to keep the weeds pulled from among the corn and other food plants. It got hot, very hot, and continued that way day after long day. The people began to find it difficult to sleep and became short tempered and argued among themselves.

Not many days had passed before the people realized they had made a mistake and, once again, they beseeched the Creator. "Please," they said, "we have made a mistake in asking that it be day all the time. Now we think that it should be night all the time." The Creator paused at this new request and thought that perhaps the people may be right even though all things were created in twos... representing to us day and night, life and death, good and evil, times of plenty and those times of famine. The Creator loved the people and decided to make it night all the time as they had asked.

The day ceased and night fell upon the earth. Soon, the crops stopped growing and it became very cold. The people spent much of their time gathering wood for the fires. They could not see to hunt meat and with no crops growing it was not long before the people were cold, weak, and very hungry. Many of the people died.

Those that remained still living gathered once again to beseech the Creator. "Help us Creator," they cried! "We have made a terrible mistake. You had made the day and the night perfect, and as it should be, from the beginning. We ask that you forgive us and make the day and night as it was before."

Once again the Creator listened to the request of the people. The day and the night became, as the people had asked, as it had been in the beginning. Each day was divided between light and darkness. The weather became more pleasant, and the crops began to grow again. Game was plentiful and the hunting was good. The people had plenty to eat and there was not much sickness. The people treated each other with compassion and respect. It was good to be alive. The people thanked the Creator for their life and for the food they had to eat. The Creator accepted the gratitude of the people and was glad to see them smiling again. However, during the time of the long days of night, many of the people had died, and the Creator was sorry that they had perished because of the night. The Creator placed their spirits in a newly created tree. This tree was named a-tsi-na tlu-gv {ah-see-na loo-guh} cedar tree.

When you smell the aroma of the cedar tree or gaze upon it standing in the forest, remember that if you are Tsalagi {Cherokee}, you are looking upon your ancestor.

Tradition holds that the wood of the cedar tree holds powerful protective spirits for the Cherokee. Many carry a small piece of cedar wood in their medicine bags worn around the neck. It is also placed above the entrances to the house to protect against the entry of evil spirits. A traditional drum would be made from cedar wood.

Bear cubs
11 years ago

When spring finally came to the country, the bear woke from hibernation. She got out of her den and said "The spring has arrived again."

She went for a walk to the place where most of the snow had melted so that she could eat berries. She left her children behind where they were still asleep. After she had finished eating, she went back to her den and took a nap. While she was sleeping, her children woke up and saw that their mother's mouth was purple from eating berries.

One cub said to the other, "Look, what's that in mother's mouth, sticking to her teeth?"

The other replied, "Let's get them out."

And they took the berries out that had been sticking in mother bear's mouth, and ate them.

The first cub said, "They taste very good. Let's follow her footprints and see if we can find the berries too."

So they followed their mother's footprints until they reached a patch of berries and started eating too. After they had eaten enough berries, they both went home. When they had nearly reached their den, they heard their mother making desperate cries.

But it was too late. A greedy monster had killed their mother and had eaten her. This monster knew that there were cubs around because he had seen their footprints in the snow. We was very excited because he knew that baby cubs are very tasty and tender to eat. He started to run as he chased after the baby cubs.

The cubs had already taken off running when they heard their mother screaming. After running for a long time, they met grandmother porcupine along the trail. They said to her, "Grandma, please let us pass. We are running away from someone who has killed our mother. Will you try to stall him while we run again?"

"Yes, I will," replied the grandmother porcupine. "You have another grandmother who can kill this monster. You will find her. Just follow this trail," pointing to the path ahead. And so the cubs ran again.

Shortly thereafter, the monster got to the grandmother porcupine. He said to her, "Please move out of the way grandma. I'm looking for our grandchildren. They have run away from me."

Grandmother porcupine said, "I will not move out of the way unless you can do what they have done for me."

The monster replied, "What did they do?"

She said, "They built me a fire and they rubbed their faces on my tail."

The monster replied, "Oh, that's easy. I can do that for you." And so he built her a fire. He was very happy thinking that she would soon let him pass.

After he had finished making a fire, he rubbed his face on her tail. But while he was doing this, grandmother porcupine swung her tail very hard on his face. Guills were lodged all over his eyes and mouth.

"Now I will move out of your way so you can pass," she said to the monster.

The monster passed, taking his time to pull the porcupine quills out of his face. After he had finished picking the quills out, he was on his way again. He saw the cubs' prints on the ground.

The cubs were still following the trail that the grandmother porcupine had shown them. They finally reached their other grandma's house. This grandma was a giant seagull. They said, "Grandma, we are running away from someone who has killed our mother. We are afraid he might try to kill us too."

The grandma said, "Don't be afraid. I have killed this kind of monster before." The cubs were no longer afraid.

She said, "I will take both of you across to where you can stay safely." She took them across the water in her boat.

The cubs said to their grandmother, "Will you kill this monster, Grandma?"

"I will," she replied.

When she got back to her boat, she painted it with dirty, smelly fish. When the monster reached the crossing place, he called out to the seagull, "Grandma, please come help me get across!"

The seagull paddled her boat to the monster.

"Did you see our grandchildren? I have been running after them. I was thinking of eating them because they are still very tender."

The seagull said, "Yes, I have seen them. I took them across. Would you like to go across too?"

"Yes," said the monster. And he got into the boat. When he got into the boat, he couldn't stand the smell of it.

The seagull said, "If you can't stand the smell, hang your head over the side instead." And so the monster held his head over the water to avoid smelling the stinking boat. While he was doing this, the seagull took a huge knife out from hiding and cut his head off. It fell into the water.

After she had killed the monster, she went back to the bear cubs. "I have already killed the monster who killed your mother," she said. "You can both stay here, and I will make you toys to play with."

The bear cubs played with their boat on the river, and they had a lot of fun. They stayed there forever.

11 years ago
Creation of First Man and First Woman [Navajo]

The first people came up through three worlds and settled in the fourth world. They had been driven from each successive world because they had quarreled with one another and committed adultery. In previous worlds they found no other people like themselves, but in the fourth world they found the Kisani or Pueblo people.
The surface of the fourth world was mixed black and white, and the sky wasmostly blue and black. There were no no sun, no moon, no stars, but there were four great snow-covered peaks on the horizon in each of the cardinal directions.

Late in the autumn they heard in the east the distant sound of a great voice calling. They listened and waited, and soon heard the voice nearer and louder than before. Once more they listened and heard it louder still, very near. A moment later four mysterious beings appeared. These were White Body, god of this world; Blue Body, the sprinkler; Yellow Body; and Black Body, the god of fire.

11 years ago
Using signs but without speaking, the gods tried to instruct the people, but they were not understood. When the gods had gone, the people discusssed their mysterious visit and tried without success to figure out the signs. The gods appeared on four days in succession and attempted to communicate through signs, but their efforts came to nothing.
On the fourth day when the other gods departed, Black Body remained behind and spoke to the people in their own language: "You do not seem to understand our signs, so I must tell you what they mean. We want to make people who look more like us. You have bodies like ours, but you have the teeth, the feet and the claws of beasts and insects. The new humans will have hands and feet like ours. Also, you are unclean; you smell bad. We will come back in twelve days. Be clean when we return."
On the morning of the twelfth day the people washed themselves well. Then the women dried their skin with yellow cornmeal, the men with white cornmeal. Soon they heard the distant call, shouted four times, of the approaching gods. When the gods appeared, Blue Body and Black Body each carried a sacred buckskin. White Body carried two ears of corn, one yellow, one white, each covered completely with grains.
The gods laid one buckskin on the ground with the head to the west, and on this they placed the two ears of corn with their tips to the east. Under the white ear they put the feather of a white eagle; under the yellow the feather of a yellow eagle. Then they told the people to stand back and allow the wind to enter. Between the skins the wind wind blew from the east and the yellow wind from the west. While the wind was blowing the eight of the gods, the Mirage People, cma and walked around the objects on the ground four times. As they walked, the eagle feathers, whose tips protruded from the buckskins, were seen to move. When the Mirage People had finished their walk, the upper buckskin was lifted. The ears of corn had disappeared; a man and a woman lay in their place.

11 years ago
The white ear of corn had become the man, the yellow ear the woman, First Man and First Woman. It wa the wind that gave them life, and it is the wind that comes out of our mouths now that gives us life. When this ceases to blow, we die.
The gods had the people build an enclosure of brushwood, and when it was finished, First Man and First Woman went in. The gods told them, "Live together now as husband and wife."
At the end of four days, First Woman bore hermaphrodite twins. In four more days she gave birth to a boy and a girl, who grew to maturity in four days and lived with one another as husband and wife. In all First Man and First Woman had five pairs of twins, and all except the first became couples who had children.
In four days after the last twins were born, the gods came again and took First Man and First Woman away to the eastern mountain, dwelling place of the gods. The coupld stayed there for four days, and when they returned, all their children were taken to the eastern mountain for four days. The gods may have taught them the awful secrets of witchcraft. Witches always use masks, and after they returned, they would occasionally put on masks and pray for the good things they needed--abundant rain and abundant crops.
Witches also marry people who are too closely related to them, which is what First Man and First Woman's children had done. After they had been to the eastern mountain, however, the brothers and sisters separated. Keeping their first marriages secret, the brothers now married women of the Mirage People and the sisters married men of the Mirage People. But they never told anyone, even their new families, the mysteries they had learned from the gods. Every four days the women bore children, who grew to maturity in four days, then married, and in turn had children in four days. In this way many children of First Man and First Woman filled the land with people.
--Based on a lengend reported by Washington Matthews in 1897
It is common in origin stories aournd the world for the first people to be hermaphrodites or bisexuals. Religious scholars hae been trying for years to find an explanation but have not yet succeeded.

The Gift
11 years ago
In the mountains and on the prairie
In the forests and in the open
We roam to see the land before us
And how the People live beside us.

We watch their lives slowly unfolding
Watch their children slowly growing
Reaching manhood, becoming women
In the land they call their own.

Weíre the mightiest of the Elk Tribe
With antlers as trees growing
With powers from our fathers
With magic coursing through our blood.

On the prairie there is a young man
We have often seen him hunt there
Draw his bow and send his arrows
Bringing down the mighty buffalo.

We have watched him on his pony
Ride into the running herd of thunder
Strong and bravely does his killing
Providing for his honored parents.

As we stand hidden, behind the bull pines
Blending with the brush around us
We have seen him stalk the brown bear
Take itís life with knife and arrow.

He is brave and he is noble
He shows no fear when in a battle
Rushing towards advancing enemy
Wielding shield and lance, surviving.

All of his bravery we have witnessed
All the man-strength, he has plenty
All of his power he shows daily
In this young man we have seen this.

Among his people there is a woman
Soft and pretty as a new leaf
Wanted by many of the young men
Who in their robes desire to wrap her.

In robes of buffalo they have taken
Quilled and painted, telling stories
With picture writing they speak of conquests
On their robes of warmth and courting.

Wanting to whisper words of needing
Hidden beneath the darkened shelter
Close together, arms around her
They feel the need to be close to her.

With their painted faces, greet her
Show their strong young bodies to her
Tell her all that they could give her
Laughing, joking with young Calf Woman.

As we watched the young men courting
We saw the bravest from among them
Standing hidden, silently watching
Wishing the words he thought, could reach her.

Among the trees along the river
Through the red of willows standing
Comes the beauty of Calf Woman
With her gourd she comes for water.

Day after day we see him stand there
Among the willows surely hidden
He watches the beauty of the woman
Longs to touch her and to hold her.

He tried to call his heart words to her
They left his lips in only whispers
Falling soon they floated downward
And on the ground lay gasping, dying.

On the breeze they never floated
To her ears, they did not reach them
In her heart she could not feel them
Feel his words of love, and warm her.

As she left the waterís lapping
And the young manís love and wanting
Unknowingly trod upon his words that lay there
Dying on the damp and rocky ground.

On the pathway to the village
Many young braves there awaited
With their smiles upon their faces
With their robes to wrap around her.

As he hid, he wept there watching
His frustration brought him sorrow
Life without her had no meaning
Broken hearted he left to wander.

As he journeyed from his homeland
Walked into ascending coolies traveling
Towards the steep and forested mountains
Hid from his sight we carefully followed.

The Gift(cont)
11 years ago

Upon a mountain top he prayed there
For peace of heart and calm of spirit
Wondering why his bravery failed him
When of his love he tried to tell her.

He strung his bow and placed his arrow
Bent the bow and stretched the sinew
Sent the arrow flying skyward
With no target but the heavens.

Toward the clouds soared his arrow
Reached itís time to change direction
Turned and slowly headed westward
At a speed that he could follow.

He saw the arrow as a sign then
A sign of magic, unseen powers
Four long days he followed westward
For three nights it waited while he rested.

In the evening of the forth day
Tired and weary he lay himself down
Amidst the smell of yellow aspen
To the song of the forestís singing.

As we stood among the quaking aspen
Watching the young man laying, sleeping
The time came in which we should greet him
We then walked and stood above him.

We, the Elk Men with branching antlers
We with paint of black and yellow
We who know the heart ache in him
As he woke we said "Weíll help you"

As we spoke to him in beauty
All the leaves quaked songs of gladness
All that was, so softly listened
As we told him "We shall show you"

With our presence there he fully wakened
Sat in awe of paint and antlers
Saw our hoops with quills and otter
Saw the mirror hanging from it.

In our hands we held out to him
The thing of magic we had for him
With his hands he reached out for it
Took the flute with wondrous powers.

"This is cedar wood" we told him
"Fashioned by our friend woodpecker
Five holes in it he has made there
And put his likeness on one end for you.

All the animals helped to make it
We have put our voices in it
When you blow it love will insue
Play it for your needed woman.

Unlike your words itís voice will reach her
It will not lay upon the ground dying, gasping
She will hear you and will love you
Together have children and together live long."

We could see the young man feared us
We could read his thoughts so clearly
With our mirrors and the moonlight
We caused the beam to close his eyes.

In the moment he was blinded
Our human form from us we banished
As he blinked and saw us leaving
We were two bull elk , grand and mighty.

The night brought dreams of young Calf Woman
Of her beauty and his needing
With the morning sun came new strength
On the rays of sun came new hope.
The Gift
11 years ago

As he journeyed homeward, walking
Songs from the flute he sent so sweetly
That the cranes all gathered ëround him
Singing songs and dancing gaily.

He listened to the animals of the forest
Learned their sacred songs of beauty
And the animals of the prairies taught him
Their love songs from long ago.

When he reached his peoples camp
There on a hill above the lodges
Beneath the moon and stars he played songs
For the young woman he loved so dearly.

On the breeze notes softly floated
To the ears of all the women
All beheld the magic music
All knew it was for young Calf Woman.

As she heard the floating melodies
In her heart she knew who played them
Remembered the young man in the willows
Remembered the young man who had watched her.

He knew he was finally able
To send his heart thoughts into her heart
And under the moon and stars he stood there
Playing the words I love and need you.

We the strongest of the Elk Tribe
We who gave him songs of magic
Walked away with hooves a clicking
In our hearts we felt contented.
Big Long Man's Corn Patch
11 years ago
As soon as Big Long Man got back from the mountains he went to his garden to admire his corn and melons. He had planted a big crop for the coming winter. When he saw that half of the corn stalks had been shucked and the ears stolen, and that the biggest melons were gone off of the melon vines, he was very angry.
"Who stole my corn and melons?" he muttered to himself. "I'll catch the thief, whoever he is."
He began to scheme. The next day he built a fence around the garden. But the fence did no good. Each morning Big Long Man found more corn stalks stripped.
At last he thought up a scheme to catch the thief. He gathered a great ball of pine pitch and molded it into the shape of a man. He set the figure up in the corn field and then went to his hogan.
That night Skunk came along to get a bit of corn for his dinner. He had heard from Badger that Big Long Man was away in the mountains. He squeezed his body under the fence and waddled up to a clump of corn. He was just about to shuck a fat ear when he noticed a man standing by the fence. Skunk let go of the ear of corn in fright. He could see in the moonlight that the man was not Big Long Man. He waddled over to the fence and spoke to the figure.
"Who are you, in Big Long Man's corn patch?'' asked Skunk.
The figure did not answer.
"Who are you?" said Skunk again, moving closer.
The figure did not answer.
"Speak!" said Skunk boldly, "or I will punch your face."
The figure did not say a word. It did not move an inch.
"Tell me who you are," said Skunk a fourth time, raising his fist, "or I will punch your face."
The figure said not a word. It was very quiet in the moonlit corn field. Even the wind had gone away.
Plup went Skunk's fist into the pine gum face. It sunk into the soft pitch, which is as sticky as glue, and there it stuck. Skunk pulled and pulled.
"If you don't let go my hand," he shouted, "I will hit you harder with my left hand."
But the pine pitch held tight.
Plup went Skunk's left hand. Now both hands stuck fast.
"Let go my hands, or I will kick you," cried Skunk, who was by this time getting mad.
The pine gum man did not let go.
Plup, Skunk gave a mighty kick with his right foot. The foot stuck too, just like the hands.
"I will kick you harder," said Skunk and Plup he kicked with all of his strength with his left foot. Pine gum man held that foot too. Skunk struggled but he could not get loose. Now he was in a fine plight. Every limb was held tight. He had only one more weapon, his teeth.
"I will bite your throat," he shouted and he dug his teeth into the pine gum throat.
"Ugh!" he gurgled for he could no longer say a word. His tongue and teeth were held fast in the pine pitch.
The next morning Big Long Man came to his corn patch and there was Skunk stuck onto the pine gum man. Only his tail was free, waving behind him.
"Ah!" said Big Long Man. "So it's you, Skunk, who has been stealing my corn."
"Ugh," replied Skunk. His mouth full of pine pitch.
Big Long Man pulled him away from the gum figure, tied a rope around his neck and led him to his hogan. He put a great pot of water on the stove to boil, then he took the rope off of Skunk's neck.
"Now, Skunk," he said, "go fetch wood."
Skunk went out into the back yard. Just then Fox happened to pass by. He was on his way to Big Long Man's corn patch. Skunk began to cry loudly. Fox stopped running, and pricked up his sharp ears.
"Who is crying?" he said.
"I am crying," said Skunk.
"Why?" said Fox.
"Because I have to carry wood for Big Long Man. He gives me all of the corn I want to eat, but I do not want to carry wood."
Fox was hungry. He knew that if he stole corn he was liable to get caught. "What an easy way to get corn," he thought. "I would not mind carrying wood."
Out loud he said, "Cousin, let us change places. You go home and I will carry wood for Big Long Man. I like the job. Besides, I was just on my way to steal an ear of corn down at the field."
"All right," said Skunk. "But don't eat too much corn. I have a stomach ache." He felt his fat stomach and groaned. Then he waddled happily away. Fox gathered up an armful of piñon wood. He hurried into Big Long Man's hogan. Big Long Man looked at him in surprise.
"Well, well, Skunk, you changed into a fox, did you? That's funny."
Fox did not say a word. He was afraid he might say the wrong thing and not get any corn to eat. Big Long Man took the rope which had been around Skunk's neck and tied it around Fox's neck.
Big Long Man's Corn Patch(cont)
11 years ago
Fox sat down and waited patiently. Soon the water in the big pot began to bubble and steam. At last Fox said, "Isn't the corn cooked yet, Big Long Man?"
"Corn?" asked Big Long Man. "What corn?"
"Why the corn you are cooking for me," said Fox. "Skunk said you would feed me all of the corn I could eat if I carried wood for you."
"The rascal," said Big Long Man. "He tricked you and he tricked me. Well, Fox, you will have to pay for this." So saying he picked up Fox by the ears and set him down in the boiling water. It was so hot that it took off every hair on his body. Big Long Man left him in the pot for a minute and then he pulled him out by the ears and set him free out of doors.
"Don't be thinking you will ever get any of my corn by tricks," said Big Long Man.
Fox ran yelping toward his den. He was sore all over. Half way home he passed Red Monument. Red Monument is a tall slab of red sand stone that stands alone in a valley. On top of the rock sat Raven eating corn that he had stolen from the corn patch. At the bottom was Coyote holding on to the rock with his paws. He was watching for Raven to drop a few kernels. He glanced behind him when Fox appeared. He did not let go of the rock, however, because he thought Fox might get his place. He was surprised at Fox's appearance.
"Where is your fur, Fox?" he asked over his shoulder.
"I ate too much corn," said Fox sadly. "Don't ever eat too much corn, Coyote. It is very painful." Fox held his stomach and groaned. "Corn is very bad for one's fur. It ruined mine."
"But where did you get so much corn, cousin?" asked Coyote, still holding on to the rock.
"Didn't you hear?" asked Fox. "Why, Big Long Man is giving corn to all the animals who carry wood for him. He will give you all you can eat and more too. Just gather an armful of piñon sticks and walk right into his hogan."
Coyote thought a moment. He was greedy. He decided to go to Big Long Man's hogan but he did not want Fox to go with him. He wanted everything for himself.
"Cousin," he said, "will you do me a favor? Will you hold this rock while I go and get a bite of corn from Big Long Man? I am very hungry and I do not dare leave this rock. It will fall and kill somebody."
"All right," said Fox, smiling to himself. "I will hold the rock. But do not eat too much." He placed his paws on the back side of the rock and Coyote let go. The next minute Coyote was running away as fast as he could toward Big Long Man's hogan. Fox laughed to himself, but after a bit he became tired of holding the rock. He decided to let it fall.
"Look out, Cousin Raven," he shouted. "The rock is going to fall." Fox let go, and jumped far away. Then he ran and did not look behind. He was afraid the rock would hit his tail. If Fox had looked behind him he would have seen the rock standing as steady as a mountain.
Presently, along came Coyote, back from Big Long Man's hogan. He was running at top speed and yowling fearfully. There was not a hair left on his body. When he came to Red Monument he saw Raven still sitting on his high perch nibbling kernels of corn.
"Where has Fox gone?" howled Coyote who was in a rage.
Raven looked down at Coyote. "Fox?" he said. "Why, Fox went home, I suppose. What did you do with your hair, Coyote?"
Coyote didn't answer. He just sat down by the foot of the rock and with his snout up in the air waited for Raven to drop a few kernels of corn.
"I'll get Fox some other day," he muttered to himself.
The Raccoon and the Bee-Tree
11 years ago
The Raccoon had been asleep all day in the snug hollow of a tree. The dusk was coming on when he awoke, stretched himself once or twice, and jumping down from the top of the tall, dead stump in which he made his home, set out to look for his supper.
In the midst of the woods there was a lake, and all along the lake shore there rang out the alarm cries of the water people as the Raccoon came nearer and nearer.
First the Swan gave a scream of warning. The Crane repeated the cry, and from the very middle of the lake the Loon, swimming low, took it up and echoed it back over the still water.
The Raccoon sped merrily on, and finding no unwary bird that he could seize he picked up a few mussel-shells from the beach, cracked them neatly and ate the sweet meat.
A little further on, as he was leaping hither and thither through the long, tangled meadow grass, he landed with all four feet on a family of Skunks---father, mother and twelve little ones, who were curled up sound asleep in a oft bed of broken dry grass.
"Huh!" exclaimed the father Skunk. "What do you mean by this, eh?" And he stood looking at him defiantly.
"Oh, excuse me, excuse me," begged the Raccoon. "I am very sorry. I did not mean to do it! I was just running along and I did not see you at all."
"Better be careful where you step next time," grumbled the Skunk, and the Raccoon was glad to hurry on.
Running up a tall tree he came upon two red Squirrels in one nest, but before he could get his paws upon one of them they were scolding angrily from the topmost branch.
"Come down, friends!" called the Raccoon. "What are you doing up there? Why, I wouldn't harm you for anything!"
"Ugh, you can't fool us," chattered the Squirrels, and the Raccoon went on.
Deep in the woods, at last, he found a great hollow tree which attracted him by a peculiar sweet smell. He sniffed and sniffed, and went round and round till he saw something trickling down a narrow crevice. He tasted it and it was deliciously sweet.
He ran up the tree and down again, and at last found an opening into which he could thrust his paw. He brought it out covered with honey!
Now the Raccoon was happy. He ate and scooped, and scooped and ate the golden, trickling honey with both forepaws till his pretty, pointed face was daubed all over.
Suddenly he tried to get a paw into his ear. Something hurt him terribly just then, and the next minute his sensitive nose was frightfully stung. He rubbed his face with both sticky paws. The sharp stings came thicker and faster, and he wildly clawed the air. At last he forgot to hold on to the branch any longer, and with a screech he tumbled to the ground.
There he rolled and rolled on the dead leaves till he was covered with leaves from head to foot, for they stuck to his fine, sticky fur, and most of all they covered his eyes and his striped face. Mad with fright and pain he dashed through the forest calling to some one of his own kind to come to his aid.
The moon was now bright, and many of the woods people were abroad. A second Raccoon heard the call and went to meet it. But when he saw a frightful object plastered with dry leaves racing madly toward him he turned and ran for his life, for he did not know what this thing might be.
The Raccoon who had been stealing the honey ran after him as fast as he could, hoping to overtake and beg the other to help him get rid of his leaves.
So they ran and they ran out of the woods on to the shining white beach around the lake. Here a Fox met them, but after one look at the queer object which was chasing the frightened Raccoon he too turned and ran at his best speed.
Presently a young Bear came loping out of the wood and sat up on his haunches to see them go by. But when he got a good look at the Raccoon who was plastered with dead leaves, he scrambled up a tree to be out of the way.
By this time the poor Raccoon was so frantic that he scarcely knew what he was doing. He ran up the tree after the Bear and got hold of his tail.
"Woo, woo!" snarled the Bear, and the accoon let go. He was tired out and dreadfully ashamed. He did now what he ought to have done at the very first---he jumped into the lake and washed off most of the leaves. Then he got back to his hollow tree and curled himself up and licked and licked his soft fur till he had licked himself clean, and then he went to sleep.

Spirit Animals
11 years ago

Spirit Animals are animals that we are born with.
Native Americans believe that upon birth an animal's spirit enters into that person.
Its duties are to keep each person strong and wise as well as to excel in matters of attributes given to that Animal.

A Deer is an animal of love, tenderness,and swiftness. There is an old story about
the animal kingdom wanting to get into heaven to see the Almighty God.
At a council meeting all the animals stood up to tell why they would be the most appropriate one
to get to the kingdom of God. The Bear stood up and said,
" I, Bear , who is the strongest bravest creature will go to see the Creator".
Upon the road to the Creator stood a big , nasty, monster.
The bear took one look and ran back to the animal kingdom to tell of the nasty, monster.
The Eagle Screeched, "I will fly over the monster to get to see the Creator". Off went the eagle.
He flew higher and higher and got closer to the kingdom of the Creator than any other animal before.
He started to screech a prayer. "Almighty Great Creator, I so would like to see You".
The Almighty Creator said, "It is true you are the best at reaching high enough to talk to me,
but a messenger is all you will be. Tell the rest of the animals that they have to go through the red road of truth to find me".
The eagle said to The Almighty Creator," But there is a monster in the way , how can we cross?
The Almighty said no further. The eagle went back and told all the animals of what the Almighty had said to him.
and all the animals started to fight and argue.
The Deer hearing such a roar jumped so high he landed right in front of the nasty monster.
The deer looked into the eyes of the monster and stared.
The monster looked deep into the deer's eyes and saw
love, warmth and tenderness, and upon seeing that the monster melted away.
And so the deer was the first to go through the red road of truth to see the Almighty.

11 years ago

The Lore of The Owl 

Among the different American Indian tribes, there are many diverse
beliefs regarding the Owl. Presented here are some of those beliefs.

The Dakota Hidatsa Indians saw the Burrowing Owl as a protective spirit
for brave warriors.

To the Mojave Indians of Arizona, one would become an Owl after death,
this being and interim stage before becoming a water beetle, and
ultimately pure air.

According to Navajo legend, the creator, Nayenezgani, told the Owl after
creating it " days to come, men will listen to your voice to know
what will be their future"

California Newuks believed that after death, the brave and virtuous
became Great Horned Owls. The wicked, however, were doomed to become Barn

In the Sierras, native peoples believed the Great Horned Owl captured the
souls of the dead and carried them to the underworld.

The Hopis Indians see the Burrowing Owl as their god of the dead, the
guardian of fires and tender of all underground things, including seed
germination. Their name for the Burrowing Owl is Ko'ko, which means
"Watcher of the dark" They also believed that the Great Horned Owl helped
their Peaches grow.

The Inuit believed that the Short-eared Owl was once a young girl who was
magically transformed into an Owl with a long beak. But the Owl became
frightened and flew into the side of a house, flattening its face and
They also named the Boreal Owl "the blind one", because of its tameness
during daylight. Inuit children make pets of Boreal Owls.

Native Northwest coast Kwagulth people believed that owls represented
both a deceased person and their newly-released soul.

The Kwakiutl Indians were convinced that Owls were the souls of people
and should therefore not be harmed, for when an Owl was killed the person
to whom the soul belonged would also die.

The Lenape Indians believed that if they dreamt of an Owl it would become
their guardian.

The Menominee people believed that day and night were created after a
talking contest between a Saw-whet Owl (Totoba) and a rabbit (Wabus). The
rabbit won and selected daylight, but allowed night time as a benefit to
the vanquished Owl.

To an Apache Indian, dreaming of an Owl signified approaching death.

Cherokee shamans valued Eastern Screech-Owls as consultants as the owls
could bring on sickness as punishment.

The Cree people believed Boreal Owl whistles were summons from the
spirits. If a person answered with a similar whistle and did not hear a
response, then he would soon die.

The Montagnais people of Quebec believed that the Saw-whet Owl was once
the largest Owl in the world and was very proud of its voice. After the
Owl attempted to imitate the roar of a waterfall, the Great Spirit
humiliated the Saw-whet Owl by turning it into a tiny Owl with a song
that sounds like slowly dripping water.

The Tlingit Indian warriors had great faith in the Owl; they would rush
into battle hooting like Owls to give themselves confidence, and to
strike fear into their enemies.

A Zuni legend tells of how the Burrowing Owl got its speckled plumage:
the Owls spilled white foam on themselves during a ceremonial dance
because they were laughing at a coyote that was trying to join the dance.
Zuni mothers place an Owl feather next to a baby to help it sleep.

11 years ago

Ghost of the White Deer

Chickasaw Native American Indian Lore

A lore of the Chickasaw People of Oklahoma
A brave, young warrior for the Chickasaw Nation fell in love with the daughter of a chief. The chief did not like the young man, who was called Blue Jay. So the chief invented a price for the bride that he was sure that Blue Jay could not pay.

" Bring me the hide of the White Deer, : said the chief. The Chickasaws believed that animals that were all white were magical. "The price for my daughter is one white deer." Then the chief laughed. The chief knew that an all white deer, an albino, was very rare and would be very hard to find. White deerskin was the best material to use in a wedding dress, and the best white deer skin came from the albino deer.

Blue Jay went to his beloved, whose name was Bright Moon. "I will return with your bride price in one moon, and we will be married. This I promise you." Taking his best bow and his sharpest arrows Blue Jay began to hunt.

Three weeks went by, and Blue Jay was often hungry, lonely, and scratched by briars. Then, one night during a full moon, Blue Jay saw a white deer that seemed to drift through the moonlight. When the deer was very close to where Blue Jay hid, he shot his sharpest arrow. The arrow sank deep into the deers heart. But instead of sinking to his knees to die, the deer began to run. And instead of running away, the deer began to run toward Blue Jay, his red eyes glowing, his horns sharp and menacing.

A month passed and Blue Jay did not return as he had promised Bright Moon. As the months dragged by, the tribe decided that he would never return.

But Bright Moon never took any other young man as a husband, for she had a secret. When the moon was shinning as brightly as her name, Bright Moon would often see the white deer in the smoke of the campfire, running, with an arrow in his heart. She lived hoping the deer would finally fall, and Blue Jay would return.

To this day the white deer is sacred to the Chickasaw People, and the white deerskin is still the favorite material for the wedding dress.

Correction My sweet Brother Haviland Thank you also!
11 years ago
my sweet brother Haviland for the story of Dream Webs. Essie
Dian, Patricia, Haviland, Robbi,my sweet Sisters Thank you for Inspiring me.
11 years ago
Dian, Patricia S, Robbi D, Haviland, Thank your for inspiring me and and making my soul Essie
Melissa thank you for the post The Legends of the Iroquois!
11 years ago
Melissa for the post on the story The Legends of the Iroquois! Essie
Thank you sweet sis NIkki!
11 years ago
I have enjoyed so much Niki the post on Where will my Grandmother go! Beautiful and it touched my heart! Thank you sis! Essie
Thank you my sweet sis silverWolf!
11 years ago
I have also enjoyed your threads on Myths and Stories. I thank you also for awakening beautiful feelings within me, that have touched my heart and kissed my ya .your sis Essie
Thank you Sweet Chief RunningFox Moss!
11 years ago
Thank you Sweet Chief RunningFox Moss for this thread on Myths and Stories of the Red Man! I love the post on Atagahi, the enchanted Lake. Made me feel so Mystical and Enchanted. Thank you for awakening those feelings within me! Thank you also for the post on Cherokee Women-Trail of Tears. to me also it was very sad and it awakened tears within me...Thank you. Essie
Thanks, Chief RunningFox...
11 years ago

That led me on a search, where I found stories that were told by Chief Cornplanter of the Seneca, Iroquois that tie in with the Thunderbird.

Exerpt from    The Legends of the Iroquois

Told by          The Cornplanter

Written by      William W. Canfield   in 1902

                              The Great Mosquito

An immense bird preyed upon the redmen in all parts of the country. Their homes were at no time safe from its ravages. Often it would carry away children playing beside the wigwams or, like a bolt of lightening, dart from the sky and strike a woman or man bleeding and dying to the earth. Whole fields of corn had been destroyed in a single night by its ravages, and its coming was so swift and terrible that the Indians hardly dared stir from the shelter of their houses. A strong party of Cayuga and Onondagas finally determined upon its death no matter at what cost to themselves. A young warrior offered himself for the sacifice. He was provided with a quantity of raw-hide thongs, and directed to one of the open spaces, where it was believed the dreaded monster would discover and descend upon him. The young brave was to bind one of the thongs upon the bird's feet or upon some portion of its body, if possible, before he was killed, and then his companions, rushing from their place of concealment, would try to slay the enemy that had been snared with such difficulty. The preparations were elaborately made, and the young brave went forth on his dangerous mission.

Three days he sat, chanting his death song and awaiting the coming of his terrible fate. On the morning of the fourth day the sky was suddenly darkened and the watchers saw that the great bird was slowly circling above the heroic young Cayuga. He ceased his chanting, and, standing upright, shouted defiance to the almost certain death that awaited him.

With a scream that turned the hearts of the waiting Indians cold with terror, the bird dropped upon its victim like a panther on his prey. A short and terrible struggle took place and then the concealed warriors rushed forth to finish the work of their brave young companion, who had succeeded in throwing one of the thongs over the great mosquito's neck. They brought willing and ready hands to the battle, and the arrows poured upon the struggling mass like a storm of hail.   After a long encounter the bird was killed, and the young Cayuga smiled in triumph as his last glance rested upon the dead body of the monster. Runners were at once dispatched to the villages to inform the Indians of the victory, and soon vast numbers of them came to look upon their long dreaded enemy that had been slain at such cost. Its body was larger than that of the largest bear they had ever seen, and the breadth of its outstretched wings was as great as the height of three men. Its talons were as long as arrows, and its monstrous beak was lined with sharp teeth. There was much rejoicing over the great mosquito's death, and for several days there was feasting and dancing held in honor of the bravery of those who had rid the country of such a terrible scourge. Soon, however, swarms of the poisonous little flies that have been the pests of all nations since that time infested the woods, and the Indians discovered that they came from the body of the dead bird. Too late they realized that the body of the great bird should have been burned when it was first slain, for fire is ever the destroyer of evil spirits.

It sure sounds to me as though they killed the last of the pterodactyls. ( an extinct flying reptile (pterosaur) of the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods with membranous wings and a rudimentary tail and beak) Could that be the Thunderbird???

 I wonder if that's really from where mosquitos came.

The Thunderbird
12 years ago

Depiction of a Thunderbird on a Totem Pole


Depiction of a Thunderbird on a Totem Pole

The Thunderbird is a mythical creature common to Native American religion. Its name comes from that supposition that the beating of its enormous wings causes thunder and stirs the wind. The Lakota name for the Thunderbird is "Wakinyan", a word formed from "kinyan", meaning "winged", and "wakan", "sacred". The Kwakiutl called him "Hohoq," and the Nootka
called him "Kw-Uhnx-Wa." It is described as being two canoe-lengths
from wingtip to wingtip, and it creates storms as it flies- clouds are
pulled together by its wingbeats, the sound of thunder is its wings
clapping, sheet lightning is the light flashing from its eyes when it
blinks, and individual lightning bolts are glowing snakes that it
carries with it. In masks, it is depicted as many-colored, with two
curling horns, and sometimes with teeth within its beak.

Depending on the people telling the story, the Thunderbird is either
a singular entity, or a species. In both cases, it is intelligent,
powerful, and wrathful. All agree that you should go out of your way to
keep from getting them angry.

The singular Thunderbird (as the Nootka believed) was said to reside on the top of a mountain, and was the servant of the Great Spirit. The Thunderbird only flew about to carry messages from one spirit to another.

The plural thunderbirds (as the Kwakiutl and Cowichan
tribes believed) could take on human form by tilting back their beak as
if it were only a mask, and by removing their feathers as if it were a
feather-covered blanket. There are stories of thunderbirds in human
form marrying into human families, who still trace their lineage to
this. Families of thunderbirds who kept to themselves, but wore human
form, lived along the northern tip of Vancouver Island-
other tribes soon forgot the nature of one of these thunderbird
families, and when one tribe tried to take them as slaves, the
thunderbirds put on their feather blankets and transformed to take
vengeance upon their foolish captors.

A famous story of the Thunderbird is "Thunderbird and Whale". The Thunderbird, if it exists, may be related to the Roc if not the same creature.

Thanks, SilverWolf!
12 years ago
12 years ago
Got to love ya Melissa very wise words

12 years ago

I believe that every story that was ever told or written had a moral to teach it's listener. It may be different to each one...we all have different challenges to face...take what you need from every story. Let's just not force our own needs and answers on others. As you know, everyone walks a different path, if I stop and ask you for directions you will tell me in the best way that you know how. You may give me the short cut...your neighbor may send me on the scenic route. The destination is all that really matters...and sometimes...I even wonder if THAT matters.

For instance...that story about the dogs, it probably didn't really happen...but, the story teller was instructing someone about the personality of a good they can be loyal and loving to the point of giving their life to save it's friend and master. There are amazing animals out there...appreciate them.

That's what the story said to me...true or was an enjoyable read...and made me think of my own four eyed Zen.


12 years ago

My heart does not lie to me it tells truths.

WHOLE truths.

12 years ago

For an Example...The White Buffalo Calf story...I do beleive that with all my heart as some believe Moses was spoken to by a burning bush. Or is staff turned to a snake...people turned to salt...etc...

THERE is no proof in anny of these 'myths' as you call them, but to many...OUR Stories are true!  

12 years ago

Thank You Chief Running Fox Moss...and Silver Wolf 

I still believe in them with all my heart...and many more from my Celtic beleifs as well...and what is in my heart and mind is mine and it is real and cannot be taken away.

 It cannot be made UN REAL. People do not need PROOF for the Bible stories/myths, and many people believe them.

What is in your heart is it not true?

Is it not true what your spirit has seen?  

Thanks for your answers.

Thanks for your time.

12 years ago
Nikki Jo thank you for the question when I made the first posting to this thread I had to give it a title and I titled this thread Myths and stories of the Redman because the word myth itself comes from the Greek "mythos" which originally meant "speech" or "discourse" but which later came to mean "fable" or "legend". In this thread on our group the word "myth" is defined as a story of forgotten or vague origin, basically religious or supernatural in nature, which seeks to explain or rationalize one or more aspects of the world or a society.

Furthermore, in the context of this thread, all myths are, at some stage, actually believed to be true by the peoples of the tribes that used or originated the myth. Our definition is thus clearly distinguished from the use of the word myth in everyday speech which basically refers to any unreal or imaginary story.

Some myths describe some actual historical event, but have been embellished and refashioned by various story tellers over time so that it is impossible to tell what really happened. In this last aspect myths have a legendary and historical nature.

And that is as Paul Harvey would say the rest of the story..

12 years ago
To me they are myths just like the bible in my eyes is a myth because none can be proven.... Myths are half truths.
Why are they half truths? Well let me give you a scenario: your in school and your teacher asks you and all the rest of the students to get into a circle and the teacher pulls one student aside and tells that student a short story that she must tell to the student to her right and student to the right has to pass it to the next student this continues intil it gets to the last student and then the teacher asks the last student to tell her what the story was about and when the student repeated it, it was nothing like the original.... So starting from way back when long before writing was even discovered many of these stories have been verbally told over and over.So hence my scenerio many have been changed from what they were originally and even those that were written have been changed to better suit some people. So there for making them myths because we do not know what really happened.

12 years ago

With respect...

WHY do you call them MYTHS?? These are our Realations historic beliefs and spiritual accountings, recorded from one generation to the next...

JUST LIKE THE BIBLE...and those stories are not called MYTHS?

just pondering...

The Theft Of Fire
12 years ago
A Maidu Legend

At one time the people had found fire, and were going to use it; but Thunder wanted to take it away from them, as he desired to be the only one who should have fire. He thought that if he could do this, he would be able to kill all the people.

After a time he succeeded, and carried the fire home with him, far to the south. He put Woswosim (a small bird) to guard the fire, and see that no one should steal it. Thunder thought that people would die after he had stolen their fire, for they would not be able to cook their food; but the people managed to get along.

They ate most of their food raw, and sometimes got Toyeskom (another small bird) to look for a long time at a piece of meat; and as he had a red eye, this after a long time would cook the meat almost as well as a fire. Only the chiefs had their food cooked in this way. All the people lived together in a big sweat-house. The house was as big as a mountain.

Among the people was Lizard and his brother; and they were always the first in the morning to go outside and sun themselves on the roof of the sweat- house. One morning as they lay there sunning themselves, they looked west, toward the Coast Range, and saw smoke. They called to all the other people, saying that they had seen smoke far away to the west.

The people, however, would not believe them, and Coyote came out, and threw a lot of dirt and dust over the two. One of the people did not like this. He said to Coyote, " Why do you trouble people? Why don't you let others alone? Why don't you behave? You are always the first to start a quarrel. You always want to kill people without any reason."

Then the other people felt sorry. They asked the two Lizards about what they had seen, and asked them to point out the smoke. The Lizards did so, and all could see the- thin column rising up far to the west.

One person said, "How shall we get that fire back? How shall we get it away from Thunder? He is a bad man. I don't know whether we had better try to get it or not."

Then the chief said, "The best one among you had better try to get it. Even if Thunder is a bad man, we must try to get the fire. When we get there, I don't know how we shall get in but the one who is the best, who thinks he can get in, let him try."

Mouse, Deer, Dog, and Coyote were the ones who were to try, but all the other people went too. They took a flute with them for they meant to put the fire in it.

They traveled a long time, and finally reached the place where the fire was. They were within a little distance of Thunder's house, when they all stopped to see what they would do. Woswosim, who was supposed to guard the fire in the house, began to sing, "I am the man who never sleeps. I am the man who never sleeps."

Thunder had paid him for his work in beads, and he wore them about his neck and around his waist. He sat on the top of the sweat-house, by the smoke-hole.

After a while Mouse was sent up to try and see if he could get in. He crept up slowly till he got close to Woswosim, and then saw that his eyes were shut. He was asleep, in spite of the song that he sang. When Mouse saw that the watcher was asleep, he crawled to the opening and went in. Thunder had several daughters, and they were lying there asleep.

Mouse stole up quietly, and untied the waist-string of each one's apron, so that should the alarm be given, and they jump up, these aprons or skirts would fall off, and they would have to stop to fix them. This done, Mouse took the flute, filled it with fire, then crept out, and rejoined the other people who were waiting outside.

Some of the fire was taken out and put in the Dog's ear, the remainder in the flute being given to the swiftest runner to carry. Deer, however, took a little, which he carried on the hock of his leg, where today there is a reddish spot. For a while all went well, but when they were about half-way back, Thunder woke up, suspected that something was wrong, and asked, "What is the matter with my fire?"

Then he jumped up with a roar of thunder, and his daughters were thus awakened, and also jumped up; but their aprons fell off as they did so, and they had to sit down again to put them on. After they were all ready, they went out with Thunder to give chase. They carried with them a heavy wind and a great rain and a hailstorm, so that they might put out any fire the people had. Thunder and his daughters hurried along, and soon caught up with the fugitives, and were about to catch them, when Skunk shot at Thunder and killed him.

Then Skunk called out, "After this you must never try to follow and kill people. You must stay up in the sky, and be the thunder. That is what you will be." The daughters of Thunder did not follow any farther; so the people went on safely, and got home with their fire, and people have had it ever since.

Rock House:
12 years ago
Why The Sun Follows The Moon A Maidu Legend

Father Sun and Mother Moon lived inside the huge hollow rocks of Rock House. Their light did not shine from the sky, so the People and the Animals lived in darkness.

Now Coyote, who was always playing tricks, thought it would be great fun to dump some fleas on Father Sun and Mother Moon. So he began to gather the fleas and place them in bags. On his way to Rock House he met Rabbit. When Coyote bragged about his bags of fleas, Rabbit would not believe him. They began to argue. Between them, Rabbit and Coyote began to tug on one of the bags. As Rabbit yanked it from Coyote's grasp, the bag opened and the fleas spilled out on the ground. And to this day, Rabbit and Coyote are always scratching fleas.

Rabbit liked Coyote's idea of taking the fleas to Rock House. So together they trudged up the peak to Rock House carrying the bags of fleas. As they walked they tried to think of a plan to get the fleas inside of Rock House.

Along the path they found Gopher digging a hole. They decided to include Gopher in their trick. Gopher could dig a hole down through the soil to Rock House. When they reached the top of the peak, Gopher began to dig quietly so Father Sun and Mother Moon would not be alarmed. As soon as Gopher backed out of the hole, Coyote and Rabbit shook the bags of fleas down the opening. Then they plugged up the hole and ran away feeling very pleased with themselves.

The fleas soon covered Father Sun and Mother Moon. When Mother Moon could no longer stand the fleas, she flew out of Rock House and began to circle the Earth. Father Sun followed Mother Moon out of Rock House. They raced around the Earth trying to get rid of those fleas.

That is why, to this day, the Sun follows the Moon across the sky.

This legend is sometimes listed as a Cherokee legend. It is in fact a Maidu legend. The story was collected in Yuba County by Don May, a Cherokee and told to Barbara Warren in 1990. Don originally heard the story in 1980 from his eighty year old Southern Maidu friend, Frazier Edwards.

Frazier had lived in this area all his days; this was the home of his ancestors. The Maidu are a Northern-Central Valley tribe of California. Originally their territory encompassed both sides of the Sacramento River. The Maidu are among the most gifted basket makers in the world.

As a legend which has never been previously recorded, it is being placed on Cherokees of California's webpage so that others may "hear the words" once again.

Rock House is the Southern Maidu name for Paines Peak. The twelve hundred foot high Paines Peak is a jagged out-cropping of volcanic rock. It is located within a circle of the foothill roads of Old Marysville, Fruitland, Loma Rica and Scott-Grant in northern Yuba County.

The Man Who Acted As The Sun
12 years ago
A Bella Coola Legend

Once upon a time there lived a woman some distance up Bella Coola River. She refused the offer of marriage from the young men of the tribe, because she desired to marry the Sun. She left her village and went to seek the Sun.

Finally she reached his house, and married the Sun. After she had been there one day, she had a child. He grew very quickly, and on the second day of his life he was able to walk and to talk. After a short time he said to his mother, "I should like to see your mother and your father"; and he began to cry, making his mother feel homesick.

When the Sun saw that his wife felt downcast, and that his son was longing to see his grandparents, he said, "You may return to the Earth to see your parents. Descend along my eyelashes." His eyelashes were the rays of the Sun, which he extended down to his wife's home, where they lived with the woman's parents.

The boy was playing with the children of the village, who were teasing him, saying that he had no father. He began to cry, and went to his mother, whom he asked for bow and arrows. His mother gave him what he requested. He went outside and began to shoot his arrows towards the sky. The first arrow struck the sky and stuck in it; the second arrow hit the notch of the first one; and thus he continued until a chain was formed, extending from the sky down to the place where he was standing. Then he ascended the chain.

He found the house of the sun, which he entered. He told his father that the boys had been teasing him, and he asked him to let him carry the sun. But his father said, "You cannot do it. I carry many torches. Early in the morning and late in the evening I burn small torches, but at noon I burn the large ones." The boy insisted on his request. Then his father gave him the torches, warning him at the same time to observe carefully the instructions that he was giving him in regard to their use.

Early the next morning, the young man started on the course of the sun, carrying the torches. Soon he grew impatient, and lighted all the torches at once. Then it grew very hot. The trees began to burn, and many animals jumped into the water to save themselves, but the water began to boil. Then his mother covered the people with her blanket, and thus saved them. The animals hid under stones.

The ermine crept into a hole, which, however, was not quite large enough, so that the tip of its tail protruded from the entrance. It was scorched, and since that time the tip of the ermine's tail has been black. The mountain-goat hid in a cave, hence its skin is perfectly white. All the animals that did not hide were scorched, and therefore have black skins, but the skin on their lower side remained lighter.

When the Sun saw what was happening, he said to his son, "Why do you do so? Do you think it is good that there are no people on the Earth?"

The Sun took him and cast him down from the heavens, saying, "You shall be the mink, and future generations of man shall hunt you."

Continued...2nd part.
12 years ago

Now the sun was only the width of a hand above the western edge of the sky. The path had grow more familiar as he ran and he knew that he was close to his village. It had taken him many days to make the journey to the place where they had been hunting. But so strong had been the advice which the little four-eyed dog had given him, he made the journey back in only one day and a night. He was very tired now, though. He could hardly place one foot in front the other and he stumbled as he made his way along the trail. His legs felt weaker than those of a newborn child. He fell to his knees.

The little four-eyed dog stepped from the bushes in front of him. She looked as tired as he and there were many wounds on her body. The hunter almost wept when he saw her. She spoke before he could say anything.

"My Brother," she said, "Long-Tooth is dead. My own time to die is coming. I shall attack the creature now. Perhaps I can hold it until you reach safety. Since it cannot come within a circle of light. maybe you will escape. If I fight well enough, the creature will be so weak that it will go away and never return.

"Do not weep for me. Only do us one last favour if you live. Come back and give our bones decent burial so the animals of the forest do not scatter them. Now run or our sacrifice will be for nothing."

The man stood up and ran. Tears filled his eyes. He summoned all of his strength and ran on into the deepening evening. Behind him he heard a terrible struggle as his small dog attacked the creature he had not yet seen, but he did not slow down or look back. On and on he ran until he heard one last yelp. Then he knew that Four-Eyes too had been killed.

Now he could feel the ground shaking as if great trees were falling behind him. A howl split the night close behind him and his limbs felt as if they were filled with ice. Yet he did not stop or look back. "Go-weh!" he called, giving the ancient distress cry of the Iroquois. "GO-WEH!!"

In the village the men who had gathered for the Feast to Honour the Dead heard the cry. Pulling down dry torches from the racks above their heads, they lit them and rushed out into the forest. The human cry was faint, but it was close to them.

Now the hunter felt the creature's hot breath on the back of his neck. "GOOO-WEHHH!!!!" he called one last time and then, catching his foot on a root, he fell headlong to the earth. The next thing he knew he was being lifted to his feet by friendly hands. Above him in a circle were the faces of the men of his village holding torches of dried bark over their heads to give them light. Where were his dogs?

Then a terrible howl from the northern edge of the forest filled the air. The hunter and the others looked. There in the darkness something towered over the trees. It had long arms and its eyes were fire pits. They saw the gleam of sharp teeth from its mouth and the claws at the ends of its arms were like lance tips. Four times it screamed and then turned and shambled back into the forest.

When the next morning came, the hunter and a party of his friends went back and found huge tracks of a kind they had never seen before, leading straight to the north. There was blood on the rocks as if the creature had suffered many wounds. They did not follow the creature. Instead they continued on along the hunter's trail to search for the bodies of his faithful dogs. The first dog they found was Four- Eyes. Only her bones were left, but she still held between her teeth a great piece of flesh torn from the creature. They placed her bones in a sack and continued on. It took them two days to reach the place where Long-Tooth had died and here, too, they found only the dog's bones which they placed in the sack. Two more days passed before they reached the bones of Quick-Foot and another two before the bones of Bear-Killer were found. Yet the hunter had come that far in a single night and a day.

The hunter brought the bones of his four dogs back to his village and buried them beneath the floor of his lodge.

From that time on, the hunting was good for that man and the people of his village. The terrible creature was never seen again. It is said, too, that in that village the dogs were always treated well and whenever a dog was born with two spots over its eyes, it was treated the best of all.

                                      The Best Dog in the Whole World

The Dogs Who Saved Their Master
12 years ago

Long ago a hunter owned four dogs. Three of them were very large and fierce. They were strong enough to hold and kill a bear. The fourth dog was small, but she was no less valuable. She was the kind of dog the Iroquois people call Gayei Nadehogo 'eda', "Four-Eyes." She had two yellow spots on her forehead which made her look as if she had an extra pair of eyes. Such dogs are supposed to have special power and indeed, though she was the smallest of the dogs, Four-Eyes led the others. She was always the first to pick up a trail.

The hunter thought his dogs very special and treated them as if they were part of his family. Each night he slept by their side. Whenever he killed any game he always fed them before taking any of the meat for himself.

It was during the Moon when the leaves changed colour. The hunter had roamed far from his village in search of game. For some time now the hunting had not been good. It seemed as if the animals had all been driven away and even with his fine dogs, it was hard to find a single deer. Finally, the hunter shot a fine buck. As he began to clean it, he noticed that his dogs had not gathered around as they usually did after a kill to be given their reward if the first cut of meat. Instead, all four of them stood around a great dead elm tree with its top broken off as if shattered by lightning. The hunter called his dogs.

"Four-Eyes, Long-Tooth, Quick-Foot, Bear-Killer," he said, "come."

But without leaving their places around the tree, the dogs just turned their heads to look at him. Now many hunters would have shouted at their dogs or beaten them, but this man had great respect for these animals.

"Something," he said, "must be in that tree. I must wait and watch."

So he made camp at the edge of he clearing, built a small fire, and made ready to go to sleep. However, just as he was about to fall asleep, he heard a noise from the other side of his fire. He looked up. There stood the little four-eyed dog.

"My Brother," said Four-Eyes, "You are in great danger." The hunter was greatly surprised. Never before had he heard a dog speak. He listened closely.

"In that hollow tree," the dog continued, "there is a terrible creature which has driven away or killed all the game. We are trying to keep it within the tree so that you can escape, but we cannot do so much longer. My three brothers and I will probably die, but there is a chance you can escape if you do as I say."

"Nyoh, my sister," the man said leaning forward, "well shall I listen."

"As soon as I leave you." said Four-Eyes, "you must begin to run. Take only two pairs of moccasins with you. I shall lick the bottoms of them so that you can travel as we dogs do with the speed of the wind through the trees. Take nothing else with you. Your arrows and your club are no good against this creature. Go straight to the east from here and do not look back. If it goes well, I shall see you again."

Then the dog came around to his side of the fire and licked the bottoms of his moccasins. He put on one pair, tying the others about his waist with a strip of twisted basswood bark. As the little four-eyed dog melted back into the darkness, he leaped up, leaving everything behind him, and began to run. From the other side of the clearing he heard a terrible howl and the sound of his dogs growling as they attacked, but he did not slow down or look back.

All through the night he ran. The moon crossed the sky, casting her light on his path and then the east began to glow with light as the sun began to lift. He slowed down to rest and as he did so the little four eyed dog stepped out from the bushes in front of him.

"My brother," said Four-Eyes. "Bear-Killer is dead. We have held the creature for a while. but now it on your trail. Look," she said, "there are holes in your moccasins. You must put on the other pair."

The hunter looked at his feet. His moccasins were all in tatters. He took them off and put on the other pair.

"Nyah-weh, little sister," he said, "I thank you and your brothers."

"You have thanked us many times in the past by the way you always treated us," Four-Eyes said "Now you must run. Head straight to the south. The creature is getting near."

Again the hunter ran. Once more he heard the awful howl of the creature and the sound of his dogs attacking. But he did not look back or slow down. All through the morning he ran and ran until the sun was high in the sky. Once more he paused for breath. The little four-eyed dog stepped out from the bushes in front of him.

"My Brother," she said. "Quick-Foot is dead. It is not going well for us. The creature is coming more quickly now, leaping from tree to tree. My brother and I will wait here and hide. We will try to pull it down. Perhaps you will be able to get away."

The man nodded. There were no words he could speak.

"One thing more," said Four-Eyes. "When you need strength, stop and drink from any pool of water by the side of the path. But before you do so be sure to step in and muddy the water. That is what you have always seen us doing and it is our secret for gaining strength from the water we drink. Now go."

The man did as she said. Once more he heard behind him the howl of the creature, this time from high in the trees. Then he heard the growling of his dogs and the sound of a large body being pulled to the ground. But he did not slow down or look back. Soon he came to a pool of water by the side of the path. He stepped in to muddy the water and drank. Then, with his strength renewed, he ran on.

How Fire Came to the Six Nations
12 years ago

Often, around the fire in the long house of the Iroquois, during the Moon of the Long Nights, this tale is told.

Three Arrows was a boy of the Mohawk tribe. Although he had not yet seen fourteen winters he was already known among the Iroquois for his skill and daring. His arrows sped true to their mark. His name was given him when with three bone-tipped arrows he brought down three flying wild geese from the same flock. He could travel in the forest as softly as the south wind and he was a skilful hunter, but he never killed a bird or animal unless his clan needed food. He was well-versed in woodcraft, fleet of foot, and a clever wrestler. His people said, 'Soon he will be a chief like his father.' The sun shone strong in the heart of Three Arrows, because soon he would have to meet the test of strength and endurance through which the boys of his clan attained manhood. He had no fear of the outcome of the dream fast which was so soon to take. His father was a great chief and a good man, and the boy's life had been patterned after that of his father.

When the grass was knee-high, Three Arrows left his village with his father. They climbed to a sacred place in the mountains. They found a narrow cave at the back of a little plateau. Here Three Arrows decided to live for his few days of prayer and vigil. He was not permitted to eat anything during the days and nights of his dream fast. He had no weapons, and his only clothing was a breechclout and moccasins. His father left the boy with the promise that he would visit him each day that the ceremony lasted, at dawn.

Three Arrows prayed to the Great Spirit. He begged that soon his clan spirit would appear in a dream and tell him what his guardian animal or bird was to be. When he knew this, he would adopt tat bird or animal as his special guardian for the rest of his life. When the dream came he would be free to return to his people, his dream fast successfully achieve.

For five suns Three Arrows spent his days and nights on the rocky plateau, only climbing down to the little spring for water after each sunset. His heart was filled with a dark cloud because that morning his father had sadly warned him that the next day, the sixth sun, he must return to his village even if no dream had come to him in the night. This meant returning to his people in disgrace without the chance of taking another dream fast.

That night Tree Arrows, weak from hunger and weary from ceaseless watch, cried out to the Great Mystery. 'O Great Spirit, have pity on him who stands humbly before Thee. Let his clan spirit or a sign from beyond the thunderbird come to him before tomorrow's sunrise, if it be Thy will.' As he prayed, the wind suddenly veered from east too north. This cheered Three Arrows because the wind was now the wind of the great bear, and the bear was the totem of his clan. When he entered the cavern he smelled for the first time the unmistakable odour of a bear: this was strong medicine. He crouched at the opening of the cave, too excited to lie down although his tire body craved rest. As he gazed out into the night he heard the rumble of thunder, saw the lightning flash, and felt the fierce breath of the wind from the north. Suddenly a vision came to him, and a gigantic bear stood beside him in the cave. Then Three Arrows heard it say, 'Listen well, Mohawk. Your clan spirit has heard your prayer. Tonight you will learn a great mystery which will bring help and gladness to all your people.' A terrible clash of thunder brought the dazed boy to his feet as the bear disappeared. He looked from the cave just as a streak of lightning flashed across the sky in the form of a blazing arrow. Was this the sign from the thunderbird ?

Suddenly the air was filled with a fearful sound. A shrill shrieking came from the ledge just above the cave. It sounded as though mountain lions fought in the storm; yet Three Arrows felt no fear as he climbed toward the ledge. As his keen eyes grew accustomed to the dim light he saw that the force of the wind was causing two young balsam trees to rub violently against each other. The strange noise was caused by friction, and as he listened and watched fear filled his heart, for, from where the two trees rubbed together a flash of lightning show smoke. Fascinated, he watched until flickers of flames followed the smoke. He had never seen fire of any kind at close range nor had any of his people. He scrambled down to the cave and covered his eyes in dread of this strange magic. Then he smelt bear again and he thought of his vision, his clan spirit, the bear, and its message. This was the mystery which he was to reveal to his people. The blazing arrow in the sky was to be his totem, and his new name - Blazing Arrow.

At daybreak, Blazing Arrow climbed onto the ledge and broke two dried sticks from what remained of one of the balsams. He rubbed them violently together, but nothing happened. 'The magic is too powerful for me,' he thought. Then a picture of his clan and village formed in his mind, and he patiently rubbed the hot sticks together again. His will power took the place of his tired muscles. Soon a little wisp of smoke greeted his renewed efforts, then came a bright spark on one of the stick. Blazing Arrow waved it as he had seen the fiery arrow wave in the night sky. A resinous blister on the stick glowed, then flamed - fire had come to the Six Nations!

dream webs
12 years ago
Many moons ago a young mahigan women named nipapoa was seeking a vision from earth mother, on old thunder mountain in the hudson highlands..... In her vision, great trickster wise teacher of knowledge appeared in form of grandmother spider...... She to spoke nipapoa in a sacred language, while speaking grandmother spider piked up nipapoc willow hoop which had feathers, elkhair, beads and sacred stones on it.....

She spoke to nipapoa about life cycles, how we begin as infants, moving on through childhood into youth , into adulthoood. Finally we are on the white path where old age completes the cycle...

"but" grandmother spide said aas she continued to spin her web, in each path of life thee are many forcs; some good some bad, If you listen to the good forces, they will steer you in the right direction, "but, if listen to bad forces, they'll guide you down a rocky path where hurt, pain could befall you....................So these forces can help, or can interfere with your harmony and balance ...

While grand mother spider finished speaking she gave nipapoa he web and said" this web is perfect circle with a hole in its center Use this web to help your people find harmony and balance, and fulfill their visions. Let them make good use of their ideas, dreams, and visions... If you believe in the earth mother your good dreams will go the hole in the center and become your visions.... your bad dreams will be caught in the web and melt away with morning's dew ... nipapoa lived her visions for her people . The good dreams passed through the hole and are carried by her people, the bad dreams get caught in the wed and are no longer a part of their lives. It is said that dreams webs hold our destiny! ..... They are the dreams and visions of our future......................... haviland
Iroquois Creation Myth
12 years ago
Before the world was fully formed, there were two worlds: that of the sky, and the lower, darker world. The lower world had only water, and water creatures. A woman fell from the cloud world, and she was pregnant with twins; one good and one bad. Two swans saw her falling and decided to break her fall. She was too heavy for them, however, and so the Great Turtle offered to hold her. The water creatures wanted to save her from the waters, and so decided to get some earth from the bottom of the sea for her. First the Beaver dived down for some earth, but the sea was too deep, and when he came back up, he died from trying. The otter then tried, and died the same way. Finally, the frog tried, and when he came back up, he also died. However, he had managed to get some earth, and the Great Turtle put it on his back, where it grew to form the Earth we know today.

The woman was in the final stages of pregnancy, and the bad twin wanted to be born through his mother's side, or her arm. The good twin tried to stop him, but didn't succeed. Both twins were born, and their mother died in the process. Some stories say their grandmother came down from the cloud land to raise them; others say the twins didn't need to be raised by anyone.

The good twin* didn't like living in the dark, and so decided to make some light for the world. He took his mother's head, and made it into the sun, and made the rest of her body into the moon. Then he made more light, called the stars. He also created rivers and animals, and eventually, created people out of the dust. He called these people Ea-gwe-howe, or "real people". He caused rain to fall to make the land fertile, and able to support the people.

Meanwhile, the bad twin didn't like what his brother was doing, since he liked the world better the way it was. As his brother was creating the world, he went around the island making high cliffs, waterfalls,and poisonous reptiles. Once, the good twin made all the rivers run downstream so everyone could always paddle with the current, but the bad twin made half of them run backward. The bad twin tried to lock up all the animals, but the good twin freed the animals from the cave they were in.

Not surprisingly, eventually the two twins came at odds with one another. The bad twin challenged his brother to a fight, and the winner would get to rule the universe. The good twin told his brother that he could be killed by being beaten with rushes and reeds. The bad twin claimed he could be killed by being beaten by deer horns. The fight lasted for two days, with trees and mountains being uprooted. Eventually, the good twin won, and as his brother died, the bad twin said that he would have equal rulership over the afterlife. The good twin repaired the Earth from their fight, and went to live with the people he had created.

*Several names are given for the twins:
For the good twin: Tsenta; Tharonhiawagon (Tuscarora); Enigorio (Mohawk).
For the bad twin: Taweskare; Tawiscaron (Tuscarora); Onondaga (Seneca).

Copyright Info: All articles by Keitha may be copied, posted, printed, distributed, reprinted, and linked to as long as the text is not changed, money is not earned, full credit is given to Keitha at, and this notice is attached.
Myths and Stories of The Red Man-
12 years ago

The story below is supposed to be The New Colorful Creatures,

 It got cut somehow...

Myths and Stories of The Red Man-
12 years ago
The New CCreatures

by Nikki J. Lucero 

A long time ago, before the time when the white blanket
covers the earth, when all the colors disappear and animals sleep; Grandfather sat under a tree that had begun to drop yellow leaves to the ground.  He knew that soon there would be no more beautiful colors or lovely things for the children to look at and play with. Grandfather was sad. He began to
think of some way to make pretty colors for the children to look at as a reward for being so good all winter long. 
Finally he got a lovely idea. On the next beautiful day, he
began to work on his new idea. He made a large pouch of leather. Inside
this pouch he put several items of things that had bright colors:
  Yellow leaves from the Sun , green from the evergreen tree, blue from
the sky
, black from the raven's wing, orange from a squash, and red from
some flowers
he spent all day looking for many beautiful items for this
special bag that he made for the children. At the last minute he put the songs
from the songbirds in there too. Then with a twinkle in his eyes, he hung
with great care the pouch in a tree, where it would be safe. 
 He then gathered the children around and said, " Dear children, winter is coming and the white blanket will cover all the land, hiding all the colors, and many creatures will sleep until the spring comes. Do not be sad, I have made a wonderful new creature in this pouch and it must stay here safe until the snow begins to melt. It will be a reward for the ones that do not cry because there is nothing to do, or the ones who complain about the cold, or your hunger. You must be careful of these little creatures they are small and delicate, yet they are very important. 
 The children became very excited and begged Grandfather
to let them peek into the pouch. Grandfather was very patient as he warned the children that if any one looked inside before the warmth of spring
came, then spring would be spoiled, and winter would stay forever. The
children all agreed that a winter staying forever would not be fun or do well
for the people. Their beautiful peach trees would never bloom again. Life would be terrible. So they all agreed to leave the pouch alone. They all knew
that Grandfather's rules where to be respected and not broken.
 Finally, one morning a few months later, the days began to warm up and the snow began to melt.  The children gathered around the tree, sang songs of
happiness, and warm spring days coming. There they waited patiently
like Grandfather had taught them. 
 The pouch in the tree started to wiggle and squirm, and suddenly: POOF!  The pouch burst open! Fluttering out flew these tiny winged creatures, smaller than any birds! Even smaller than the hummingbird!  The
children were so pleased; they carefully chased them, laughed at them,
and made up new little songs to sing and dances to dance. Their little
bird-like singing was sweeter than any sound that had ever been heard before. 
 A little brown song bird came and landed on Grandfather
and said,  "Dear Grandfather, you are wise, kind and fair; however this time
you are not fair. You took away the most beautiful thing we birds had: OUR
SONGS! Please Grandfather, give us back our songs, these little creatures are so beautiful they do not need our songs too!" Grandfather who was very
wise, kind, and fair said, " Little song bird, of course you are right, these
little creatures do have beautiful colors, it is not fair to let them
have your voices too." So Grandfather gave the songbirds back their songs.
 Then to the children he said,  "These little creatures are
small and very pretty, yet, they have a very important job," the children
were silent as Grandfather spoke, " There job is to wake up early in
the spring, and go around to all the new flowers and give them kisses and
wake them up, and this will help them to grow."  The children all cheered
and everyone was so happy!  One little girl asked, " Grandfather, what
shall we name the new creatures?"  Grandfather was thinking, when suddenly all the pretty creatures started to kiss the Buttercups, and Grandfather got
his idea," They went first to the buttercups, and they fly, let them be
called BUTTERFLIES!" He announced.
So, to this day they are called Butterflies, although  they are
small they have a very important job and they are very beautiful to
look at.
                      N.J.Lucero/First time in print: 04/01/01(printed here 4/30/03)

Myths and Stories of The Red Man
12 years ago

"Where will I go Grandmother?"   By Nikki J. Lucero

The Child lay still in her Grandmother's arms, looking up she asked, "Where will I go Grandmother?"  The Grandmother spoke through a painful throat, "You are going to begin a journey in a far away world,
there many people wait for you."  She said, and  the cube in her throat grew and almost choked her.
  "Then why are you sad Grandmother?",  Asked the Child in a quiet voice.

"I am sad because I will not see you again for a long time, I will miss you."  The Grandmother said, this time tears did roll down her face, and she let them. She wanted to show her Granddaughter that tears are normal and this trip was joyful, as well as sad. 

Sometimes that is the way things are.

There were now others gathering around the Woman and Child. They began to sing warm and happy songs. The older men beat on little drums that they carried, and women sang songs in their language, the language of the Cherokee People.  Far, far away Songbirds could be heard, so softly, yet it made many remember the days of their passing and the days before their passing. There was a mixture of happiness and sadness.

Quietly the clouds began to part and the sunbeams shone brightly onto the Grandmother and the Child. Tears fell from her as well as the other people, they where happiness tears and perhaps some sadness. Somewhere it also began to rain and through the rain shone a Rainbow.

Now Grandfather stepped forward and said,  "My Child, are you ready to take your journey?"  A little voice answered, "Yes Grandfather, I am ready to go."  

Grandfather lit the sage bundle and began to sing in his deep, old, yet comforting voice.

"Now you leave us, your life so new, now you leave us, memories of this place are silenced, now your voice is taken from you, now you leave us, we rejoice, we cry, when it rains you will be happy, but remember us you will not, now you leave us, to go on a journey, all of us have traveled before, may you feel the comfort of this new place, it can be wonderful, it can be terrible, you may have pain, and make mistakes, may you grow and learn from your pain and your trials.  You are leaving us now,  your voice is gone, only the sound of crying will you be able to make, to tell the people y

12 years ago

Hasan and Dian I am glad you are enjoying reading these Robbie for posting Old man and the lynx..... I to find these stories very interesting....



Old Man and the Lynx
12 years ago
Origin: Blackfoot

Old man was travelling around the prairie when he saw a circle of prairie dogs. Catching them with trickery, he roasted all but one around the fire, and having eaten lay down to sleep. He failed to wake when a bobcat crept in and ate the remainder of his food.. . At last he awoke to the sound of his own snoring, crept softly over to where the bobcat rested on a flat rock. and grabbed it before it could bite or scratch. The bobcat cried out, hold on, let me speak a word or two before you kill me. But old man would not listen, and screamed, I will teach you to eat my food.. he snatched off the bobcats tail, while holding his head against the rock, making his face flat.  and then tossed him into the bushes.
As he went sneaking away, Old Man cried after him. There, that is the way all of you bobcats will look from now on.,

Old man went back to his fire.
The wind, being angry at what it had seen, blew him up in the air..
As he was flying along, he grabbed at anything that he thought might hold him.. Weeds and trees broke under his grasp, until he grabbed a birch tree.
He held onto this and it did not give way. although the wind whipped him this way and that, the tree held him. He kept calling to the wind to blow more gently and finally it listened.
When he was safetly on the ground, Old Man said, this is a beautiful tree, and it has kept me from being blown away and knocked all to pieces. I will ornament it. He took his stone knife and cut gashes across it in patterns, as you see it today.

12 years ago
Guess U don't get told enough but I love coming here and reading.  Wado U 2
The Stories are Fascinating
12 years ago
Dear Runningfox, Silverwolf and all, Just read one of the stories, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I will read the rest too. All of them are fascinating and enchanting. Keep up the awareness raising and enlightenment on Native American culture and history. Lots of Respect from Hasan
12 years ago

Title: Fox and the Moon
Tribe: Snoqualmie
Region: Washington
Object: Moon

Long ago, Snoqualm, the Moon, had a spider make him a rope out of cedar bark and stretch it from the sky to the Earth. One day Fox and Blue Jay found the rope and climbed up to where the rope was fixed to the underside of the sky. Blue Jay pecked a hole in the sky and they climbed through to the sky world. Blue Jay flew to a tree while Fox changed himself into Beaver and swam in a lake. Moon had set a trap in the lake which caught Beaver. Moon skinned him and threw the body in the corner of the smokehouse. That night when Moon was asleep Beaver got up and put his skin back on. He looked around. He took a few of the trees, and the Moon's daylight making tools, some fire, and the Sun which was hidden in Moon's house. He changed back into Fox then he found the hole that Blue Jay had made and took the things to Earth. He planted the trees, made daylight, gave the fire to the people, and put the Sun in it's place. When Moon awoke he was very angry. He found the tracks that led to the hole. He started down but the rope broke and he fell to the Earth in a heap where he became a mountain. One can see the face of Snoqualm on one of the rocky cliffs. Today it is called Mount Si and it is near Northbend, Washington.

12 years ago

Title: Grizzly Sisters
Tribe: Sierra
Region: California
Object: Aries

Grizzly sisters (Aries) use to play with Deer sisters in a cave. One day Grizzly mother ate Deer mother. Deer sisters retaliated by trapping Grizzly sisters in the cave.

Title: Six Wives
Tribe: Western Mono
Object: Taurus

Six wives (Pleiades cluster) ate wild onions that gave them skunk breath. The Husbands (Hyades cluster) threw them out of their huts. When the wives went up into the sky to live, the lonely husbands followed but never caught them.

Title: Walks All Over the Sky
Tribe: Tsimshian
Region: Pacific Northwest
Object: Sun, Moon, Stars

Back when the sky was completely dark there was a chief with two sons, a younger son, One Who Walks All Over the Sky, and an older son, Walking About Early. The younger son was sad to see the sky always so dark so he made a mask out of wood and pitch (the Sun) and lit it on fire. Each day he travels across the sky. At night he sleeps below the horizon and when he snores sparks fly from the mask and make the stars. The older brother became jealous. To impress their father he smeared fat and charcoal on his face (the Moon) and makes his own path across the sky.

12 years ago

Title: The Fifth World
Tribe: Toltec
Region: Central America
Object: Sun, Earth

Five worlds and five suns were created, one after the other. The first world was destroyed because it's people acted wrongfully. They were eaten by ocelots and the sun destroyed. The second sun saw it's people turned into monkeys due to lack of wisdom. The third sun had it's world destroyed by fire, earthquakes, and volcanoes because the people didn't make sacrifices to the gods. The fourth world perished in a flood that also drowned it's sun. Before creating the fifth world, our world, the gods met in the darkness to see who would have the honor of igniting the fifth sun. Tecciztecatl volunteered. The gods built a big fire on top of a pyramid and the volunteer prepared to throw himself into the flames. He was dressed in beautiful hummingbird feathers, and gold and turquoise. Four times he tried to force himself into the suicidal fire but each time his fear drove him back. Then the lowliest of all the gods, Nanautzin, dressed in humble reeds, threw himself into the fire. Teccitztecatl was so ashamed that he too jumped into the fire. The new sun rose into the sky giving light to the fifth world.

Title: Two Dogs
Tribe: Cherokee
Region: Tennesee, North Carolina
Object: Canis Major

There are two dogs (alpha and beta Canis Majori) who guard the path to the land of souls. To get past the dogs one should bring food. Be warned, if you give food to the first dog (alpha) he will let you pass, but if you fail to save some food for the second dog (beta) you will be trapped between them forever.

12 years ago

Title: Little Brother Snares the Sun
Tribe: Winnebago
Region: Michigan
Object: Sun

In the old days people were not the chiefs and did not hunt animals. Animals were the chiefs and hunted people. They killed all the people except one girl and her little brother. They hid in a cave. The boy learned to kill snowbirds with a bow and arrow and made a robe from the feathers. They made soup from the bodies of the birds and that was the first time people ate meat. The bright sun ruined the robe one day and the little brother swore revenge. His sister helped him fashion a snare. He traveled to the hole in the ground where the Sun rises every morning. As the Sun rose he snared it and tied it up so that there was no light or warmth that day. The animals were afraid and amazed by the boy. They sent the biggest and most fearsome animal to try and free the sun. This was the doormouse which in those days was as big as a mountain. The mouse chewed through the snare freeing the sun but meanwhile the intense heat shrunk him down to his present size. Since that time the people have been the chiefs and the hunters.

Title: Walks All Over the Sky
Tribe: Tsimshian
Region: Pacific Northwest
Object: Sun, Moon, Stars

Back when the sky was completely dark there was a chief with two sons, a younger son, One Who Walks All Over the Sky, and an older son, Walking About Early. The younger son was sad to see the sky always so dark so he made a mask out of wood and pitch (the Sun) and lit it on fire. Each day he travels across the sky. At night he sleeps below the horizon and when he snores sparks fly from the mask and make the stars. The older brother became jealous. To impress their father he smeared fat and charcoal on his face (the Moon) and makes his own path across the sky.

12 years ago

Title: Sun and her Daughter
Tribe: Cherokee
Region: Tennesee, North Carolina
Object: Sun, Moon

As the Sun traveled across the sky she would stop in the middle each day to have dinner at her daughter's house. Now the Sun hated people because they would always squint when they looked at her. "They screw up their faces at me!" she told her brother the Moon. "I like them," said the Moon, "they always smile at me." The Sun was jealous and decided she would kill the people by sending a fever. Many people were dying and those remaining decided they would have to kill the Sun. With some magic, one of the people was turned into a rattlesnake and sent to wait by the daughter's door, to bite the Sun when she stopped for dinner. But when the daughter opened the door to look for her mother, the snake bit her instead. The snake returned to Earth with the Sun still alive and the daughter dead. When the Sun discovered what had happened she shut herself up in the house and grieved. The people no longer had the fever but now it was cold and dark. So, seven people were chosen to visit the land where ghosts dance to see if they could retrieve the daughter. As she danced past them they struck her with rods so she fell down, then they trapped her in a box. On the trip home she complained of not being able to breath so they opened the lid just a crack. She became a redbird and escaped, flying back to the land of ghosts. Seeing the seven people return empty handed, the Sun began to cry. This caused a great flood. To amuse the Sun and stop the flood, the people danced.

This is why the people do the Sun dance to this very day.

Title: Spider and the Sun
Tribe: Cherokee
Region: Tennesee, North Carolina
Object: Sun, Milky Way

In the beginning there was only darkness and people kept bumping into each other. Fox said that people on the other side of the world had plenty of light but were too greedy to share it. Possum went over there to steal a little piece of the light. He found the Sun hanging in a tree, lighting everything up. He took a tiny piece of the Sun and hid it in the fur of his tail. The heat burned the fur off his tail. That is why possums have bald tails. Buzzard tried next. He tried to hide a piece of Sun in the feathers of his head. That is why buzzards have bald heads. Grandmother Spider tried next. She made a clay bowl. Then she spun a web (Milky Way) across the sky reaching to the other side of the world. She snatched up the whole sun in the clay bowl and took it back home to our side of the world.

12 years ago

Title: Coyote and Eagle Steal the Sun and Moon
Tribe: Zuni
Region: New Mexico, Arizona
Object: Sun, Moon

Back when it was always dark, it was also always summer. Coyote and Eagle went hunting. Coyote was a poor hunter because of the dark. They came to the Kachinas, a powerful people. The Kachinas had the Sun and the Moon in a box. After the people had gone to sleep the two animals stole the box. At first Eagle carried the box but Coyote convinced his friend to let him carry it. The curious Coyote opened the box and the Sun and Moon escaped and flew up to the sky. This gave light to the land but it also took away much of the heat, thus we now have winter.

Title: Boy and the Sun
Tribe: Hopi
Region: Northern Arizona
Object: Sun, Moon, Milky Way

A boy once lived with his mother's mother for he didn't know who his father was. His grandmother said to ask the Sun about his father, surely the Sun would know. One morning the boy made a flour of crushed tortoise shell, cornmeal, coral, and seashells. He threw the flour upwards and it made a path into the sky (Milky Way). He climbed the path and when he found the Sun he asked "Who is my father?" and the Sun replied, "You have much to learn." The boy fell to Earth. He then made a wooden box from a Cottonwood tree and sealed himself in it as it floated west down a river to find the Sun again. The box washed ashore where two rivers join. He was freed from the box by a young female rattlesnake. Together they traveled west to find the Sun. They saw a meteor fall into the sea on its way to the Sun's house. They asked it for a ride. In this way they made it to the Sun's house. There they met the Sun's mother (the Moon) who was working on a piece of turquoise. That evening when the Sun came home from his days work, the boy asked again, "Who is my father?" And then the Sun replied "I think I am."

12 years ago

Title: Raven and the Sun
Tribe: Tsimshian
Region: Northwest
Object: Sun

Once the sky had no day. When the sky was clear there was some light from the stars but when it was cloudy it was very dark. Raven had put fish in the rivers and fruit trees in the land but he was saddened by the darkness. The Sun at that time was kept in a box by a chief in the sky. The Raven came to a hole in the sky and went through. He came to a spring where the chief's daughter would fetch water. He changed himself into a cedar seed and floated on the water. When the girl drank from spring she swallowed the seed without noticing and became pregnant. A boy child was born which was really Raven. As a toddler he begged to play with the yellow ball that grandfather kept in a box. He was allowed to play with the Sun and when the chief looked away he turned back into Raven and flew back through the hole in the sky.

Title: Three Legged Rabbit
Tribe: Western Rocky
Region: Rocky Mts.
Objects: Sun, Moon, Stars

A three legged rabbit made himself a fourth leg from wood. The rabbit thought the Sun was too hot for comfort so he went to see what could be done. He went east at night to the place where the Sun would rise. When the Sun was half way up the Rabbit shot it with an arrow. As the Sun lay wounded on the ground the Rabbit took the white of the Suns eyes and made the clouds. He made the black part of the eyes into the sky, the kidneys into stars, and the liver into the Moon, and the heart into the night. "There!" said the Rabbit, "You will never be too hot again."

12 years ago

The Spirit Of Little Deer
Traditional Cherokee Legend

Little Deer was the protector of the deer. The Cherokee hunters were instructed in the ways of hunting the deer and prayed to the Deer Spirit for pardon when they were killed for food. If a hunter killed a deer needlessly and without asking the Deer Spirit's pardon, Little Deer would track down the hunter and give him rheumatism so that he could hunt no more.
Traditional Story: The Ice Man
12 years ago

January ~ Unolvtanv
"Month of Snow Spirits in the Wind"

The old people tell us that once when the people were burning the woods in the fall, the blaze set fire to a poplar tree, which continued to burn until the fire went down into the roots and burned a great hole in the ground. It burned and burned, and the hole grew constantly larger, until the people became frightened and were afraid it would burn the whole world. They tried to put out the fire, but it had gone too deep, and they did not know what to do.

At last, someone said there was a man living in a house of ice far in the north who could put out the fire, so messengers were sent, and after traveling a long distance they came to the ice house and found the Ice Man at home. He was a little fellow with long hair hanging down to the ground in two plaits. The messengers told him their errand and he at once said, "Oh, yes, I can help you," and begam to unplait his hair. When it was all unbraided he took it up in one hand and struck it once across the other, and the messengers felt a wind blow against their cheeks. A second time he struck his hair across his hand, and a light rain began to fall. The third time he struck his hair across his open hand there was sleet mixed with the raindrops and when he struck the fourth time great hailstones fell upon the ground, as if they had come our from the ends of his hair. "Go back now," said the Ice Man, "and I shall be there tomorrow." So the messengers returned to their people, whom they found still gathered helplessly about the great burning pit.

The next day while they were all watching about the fire there came a wind from the north, and they were afraid, for they knew that it came from the Ice Man. But the wind only made the fire blaze up higher. Then a light rain began to fall, but the drops seemed only to make the fire hotter. Then the shower turned to a heavy rain, with sleet and hail that killed the blaze and made clouds of smoke and steam rise from the red coals. The people fled to their homes for shelter, and the storm rose to a whirlwind that drove the rain into every burning crevice and piled great hailstones over the embers, until the fire was dead and even the smoke ceased. When at last it was all over and the people returned they found a lake where the burning pit had been, and from below the water came a sound as of embers still crackling.

12 years ago
A Shasta Legend

Before people were on the Earth, the Chief of the Great Sky Spirits grew tired of his home in the Above World because it was always cold. So he made a hole in the sky by turning a stone around and around. Through the hole he pushed snow and ice until he made a big mound. This mound was Mount Shasta.

Then Sky Spirit stepped from the sky to the mountain and walked down. When he got about halfway down, he thought: "On this mountain there should be trees." So he put his finger down and everywhere he touched, up sprang trees. Everywhere he stepped, the snow melted and became rivers.

The Sky Spirit broke off the end of his big walking stick he had carried from the sky and threw the pieces in the water. The long pieces became Beaver and Otter. The smaller pieces became fish. From the other end of his stick he made the animals.

Biggest of all was Grizzly Bear. They were covered with fur and had sharp claws just like today, but they could walk on their hind feet and talk. They were so fierce looking that the Sky Spirit sent them to live at the bottom of the mountain.

When the leaves fell from the trees, Sky Spirit blew on them and made the birds.

Then Sky Spirit decided to stay on the Earth and sent for his family. Mount Shasta became their lodge. He made a BIG fire in the middle of the mountain and a hole in the top for the smoke and sparks. Every time he threw a really big log on the fire, the Earth would tremble and sparks would fly from the top of the mountain.

Late one spring, Wind Spirit was blowing so hard that it blew the smoke back down the hole and burned the eyes of Sky Spirit's family. Sky Spirit told his youngest daughter to go tell Wind Spirit not to blow so hard.

Sky Spirit warned his daughter: "When you get to the top, don't poke your head out. The wind might catch your hair and pull you out. Just put your arm through and make a sign and then speak to Wind Spirit."

The little girl hurried to the top of the mountain and spoke to Wind Spirit. As she started back down, she remembered that her father had told her that the ocean could be seen from the top of the mountain. He had made the ocean since moving his family to the mountain and his daughter had never seen it.

She put her head out of the hole and looked to the west. The Wind Spirit caught her hair and pulled her out of the mountain. She flew over the ice and snow and landed in the scrubby fir trees at the timberline, her long red hair flowing over the snow.

There Grizzly Bear found her. He carried the little girl home with him wondering who she was. Mother Grizzly Bear took care of her and brought her up with her cubs. The little girl and the cubs grew up together.

When she became a young woman, she and the eldest son of Grizzly Bear were married. In the years that followed they had many children. The children didn't look like their father or their mother.

All the grizzly bears throughout the forest were proud of these new creatures. They were so pleased, they made a new lodge for the red-haired mother and her strange looking children. They called the Lodge - Little Mount Shasta.

After many years had passed, Mother Grizzly Bear knew that she would soon die. Fearing that she had done wrong in keeping the little girl, she felt she should send word to the Chief of the Sky Spirits and ask his forgiveness. So she gathered all the grizzlies at Little Mount Shasta and sent her oldest grandson to the top of Mount Shasta, in a cloud, to tell the Spirit Chief where he could find his daughter.

The father was very glad. He came down the mountain in great strides. He hurried so fast the snow melted. His tracks can be seen to this day.

As he neared the lodge, he called out for his daughter.

He expected to see a little girl exactly as he saw her last. When he saw the strange creatures his daughter was taking care of, he was surprised to learn that they were his grandchildren and he was very angry. He looked so sternly at the old grandmother that she died at once. Then he cursed all the grizzlies.

"Get down on your hands and knees. From this moment on all grizzlies shall walk on four feet. And you shall never talk again. You have wronged me."

He drove his grandchildren out of the lodge, threw his daughter over his shoulder and climbed back up the mountain. Never again did he come to the forest. Some say he put out the fire in the center of his lodge and returned to the sky with his daughter.

Those strange grandchildren scattered and wandered over the earth. They were the first Indians, the ancestors of all the Indian Tribes.

That is why the Indians living around Mount Shasta never kill Grizzly Bear. Whenever one of them was killed by a grizzly bear, his body was burned on the spot. And for many years all who passed that way cast a stone there until a great pile of stones marked the place of his death.

Wolf Tricks The Trickster
12 years ago
A Shoshone Legend

The Shoshoni people saw the Wolf as a creator God and they respected him greatly. Long ago, Wolf, and many other animals, walked and talked like man.

Coyote could talk, too, but the Shoshoni people kept far away from him because he was a Trickster, somebody who is always up to no good and out to double-cross you.

Coyote resented Wolf because he was respected by the Shoshoni. Being a devious Trickster, Coyote decided it was time to teach Wolf a lesson. He would make the Shoshoni people dislike Wolf, and he had the perfect plan. Or so he thought.

One day, Wolf and Coyote were discussing the people of the land. Wolf claimed that if somebody were to die, he could bring them back to life by shooting an arrow under them. Coyote had heard this boast before and decided to put his plan into action.

Wearing his most innocent smile he told Wolf that if he brought everyone back to life, there would soon be no room left on Earth. Once people die, said Coyote, they should remain dead.

If Wolf takes my advice, thought Coyote, then the Shoshoni people would hate Wolf, once and for all.

Wolf was getting tired of Coyote constantly questioning his wisdom and knew he was up to no good, but he didn't say anything. He just nodded wisely and decided it was time to teach Coyote a lesson.

A few days after their conversation, Coyote came running to Wolf. Coyote's fur was ruffled and his eyes were wide with panic.

Wolf already knew what was wrong: Coyote's son had been bitten by Rattlesnake and no animal can survive the snake's powerful venom.

Coyote pleaded with Wolf to bring his son back to life by shooting an arrow under him, as he claimed he could do.

Wolf reminded Coyote of his own remark that people should remain dead. He was no longer going to bring people back to life, as Coyote had suggested.

The Shoshoni people say that was the day Death came to the land and that, as a punishment for his mischievous ways, Coyote's son was the first to die.

No one else was ever raised from the dead by Wolf again, and the people came to know sadness when someone dies. Despite Coyote's efforts, however, the Shoshoni didn't hate Wolf. Instead, they admired his strength, wisdom and power, and they still do today.

Legend Of The Northern Lights
12 years ago
An Ojibwa Legend

Many of us who live in the Northern areas of the American Continent have had the delightful experience of watching the magnificent display of moving multi-coloured, misty lights, as they flash across the night skies.

A number of theories and explanations have been advanced for this natural phenomenon known as the "Aurora Borealis" or "Northern lights", but let us travel in our minds, back through the eons of time and discover how they really came into being. We are in a world that spins in a perfect vertical position upon its axis. The moderate temperature is about the same all over its surface and beautiful vegetation is everywhere.

As we return through time, we witness the great Flood where everything becomes submerged and finally lost. As the waters gradually recede their tremendous weight throws our planet off its balance and it now tilts to one side, thus causing long dark periods in the North and South.

Not quite all is lost however, for in the North lived a simple and God-fearing race of people, known to us now as the "Mongols", whom the Great Manitou (their name for God) had spared from this great deluge.

When they could no longer see the Sun and feel its warmth, fear came upon them and they prayed to the Great Manitou to save them. In his compassion, the Great Spirit decided to take them to the warm and fertile plains of this Continent and he bade them gather together their families and 'what goods they could carry and trek across the barren North to the "New Land".

Because there was no daylight many became lost and perished within the deep crevices caused by the flood waters.

Again they prayed for help and the Great Manitou devised a plan. Covering the Northern cap of the world with great crystals of ice, some as high as mountains, he was able to capture the rays of the hidden sun and reflect them up into the sky, thus providing light for his people to see by. Onward these stalwart people trekked, and became the forerunners of our many Indian tribes.

The great ice prisms split the sun's rays into all the beautiful colors of the spectrum and because of this, people for thousands of years have witnessed this wonderful miracle, the Northern Lights!

Dance In A Buffalo Skull
12 years ago
A Lakota Legend

It was night upon the prairie. Overhead the stars were twinkling bright their red and yellow lights. The moon was young. A silvery thread among the stars, it soon drifted low beneath the horizon. Upon the ground the land was pitch black.

There are night people on the plain who love the dark. Amid the black level land they meet to frolic under the stars. Then when their sharp ears hear any strange footfalls nigh they scamper away into the deep shadows of night.

There they are safely hid from all dangers, they think.

Thus it was that one very black night, afar off from the edge of the level land, out of the wooded river bottom glided forth two balls of fire. They came farther and farther into the level land. They grew larger and brighter. The dark hid the body of the creature with those fiery eyes. They came on and on, just over the tops of the prairie grass. It might have been a wildcat prowling low on soft, stealthy feet.

Slowly but surely the terrible eyes drew nearer and nearer to the heart of the level land. There in a huge old buffalo skull was a gay feast and dance! Tiny little field mice were singing and dancing in a circle to the boom-boom of a wee, wee drum. They were laughing and talking among themselves while their chosen singers sang loud a merry tune.

They built a small open fire within the center of their queer dance house. The light streamed out of the buffalo skull through all the curious sockets and holes. A light on the plain in the middle of the night was an unusual thing.

But so merry were the mice they did not hear the "king, king" of sleepy birds, disturbed by the unaccustomed fire.

A pack of wolves, fearing to come nigh this night fire, stood together a little distance away, and, turning their pointed noses to the stars, howled and yelped most dismally. Even the cry of the wolves was unheeded by the mice within the lighted buffalo skull.

They were feasting and dancing; they were singing and laughing--those funny little furry fellows. All the while across the dark from out the low river bottom came that pair of fiery eyes. Now closer and more swift, now fiercer and glaring, the eyes moved toward the buffalo skull. All unconscious of those fearful eyes, the happy mice nibbled at dried roots and venison. The singers had started another song.

The drummers beat the time, turning their heads from side to side in rhythm. In a ring around the fire hopped the mice, each bouncing hard on his two hind feet. Some carried their tails over their arms, while others trailed them proudly along. Ah, very near are those round yellow eyes! Very low to the ground they seem to creep--creep toward the buffalo skull.

All of a sudden they slide into the eye-sockets of the old skull. "Spirit of the buffalo!" squeaked a frightened mouse as he jumped out from a hole in the back part of the skull.

"A cat! A cat!" cried other mice as they scrambled out of holes both large and snug. Noiseless they ran away into the dark.

Blue Corn Maiden And The Coming Of Winter
12 years ago
A Hopi Legend

Blue Corn Maiden was the prettiest of the corn maiden sisters. The Pueblo People loved her very much, and loved the delicious blue corn that she gave them all year long. Not only was Blue Corn Maiden beautiful, but she also had a kind and gentle spirit. She brought peace and happiness to the People of the Pueblos.

One cold winter day, Blue Corn Maiden went out to gather firewood. This was something she would not normally do. While she was out of her adobe house, she saw Winter Katsina. Winter Katsina is the spirit who brings the winter to the earth. He wore his blue and-white mask and blew cold wind with his breath. But when Winter Katsina saw Blue Corn Maiden, he loved her at once.

He invited her to come to his house, and she had to go with him. Inside his house, he blocked the windows with ice and the doorway with snow and made Blue Corn Maiden his prisoner. Although Winter Katsina was very kind to Blue Corn Maiden and loved her very much, she was sad living with him. She wanted to go back to her own house and make the blue corn grow for the People of the Pueblos.

Winter Katsina went out one day to do his duties, and blow cold wind upon the earth and scatter snow over the mesas and valleys. While he was gone, Blue Corn Maiden pushed the snow away from the doorway, and went out of the house to look for the plants and foods she loved to find in summer. Under all the ice and snow, all she found was four blades of yucca.

She took the yucca back to Winter Katsina's house and started a fire. Winter Katsina would not allow her to start a fire when he was in the house.

When the fire was started, the snow in the doorway fell away and in walked Summer Katsina. Summer Katsina carried in one hand fresh corn and in the other many blades of yucca. He came toward his friend Blue Corn Maiden.

Just then, Winter Katsina stormed through the doorway followed by a roar of winter wind. Winter Katsina carried an icicle in his right hand, which he held like a flint knife, and a ball of ice in his left hand, which he wielded like a hand-ax. It looked like Winter Katsina intended to fight with Summer Katsina.

As Winter Katsina blew a blast of cold air, Summer Katsina blew a warm breeze. When Winter Katsina raised his icicle-knife, Summer Katsina raised his bundle of yucca leaves, and they caught fire. The fire melted the icicle.

Winter Katsina saw that he needed to make peace with Summer Katsina, not war. The two sat and talked.

They agreed that Blue Corn Maiden would live among the People of the Pueblos and give them her blue corn for half of the year, in the time of Summer Katsina. The other half of the year, Blue Corn Maiden would live with Winter Katsina and the People would have no corn.

Blue Corn Maiden went away with Summer Katsina, and he was kind to her. She became the sign of springtime, eagerly awaited by the People.

Sometimes, when spring has come already, Winter Katsina will blow cold wind suddenly, or scatter snow when it is not the snow time. He does this just to show how displeased he is to have to give up Blue Corn Maiden for half of the year.

Ataga'hi, The Enchanted Lake
12 years ago
A Cherokee Legend

Westward from the headwaters of Oconaluftee river, in the wildest depths of the Great Smoky mountains, which form the line between North Carolina and Tennessee, is the enchanted lake of Ataga'hi. (Gall place)

Although all the Cherokee know that it is there, no one has ever seen it, for the way is so difficult that only the animals know how to reach it. Should a stray hunter come near the place he would know of it by the whirring sound of the thousands of wild ducks flying about the lake.

On reaching the spot he would find only a dry flat, without bird or animal or blade of grass, unless he had first sharpened his spiritual vision by prayer and fasting and an all-night vigil.

Because it is not seen, some people think the lake has dried up long ago, but this is not true. To one who had kept watch and fast through the night it would appear at daybreak as a wide-extending but shallow sheet of purple water, fed by springs spouting from the high cliffs around.

In the water are all kinds of fish and reptiles, and swimming upon the surface or flying overhead are great flocks of ducks and pigeons, while all about the shores are bear tracks crossing in every direction. It is the medicine lake of the birds and animals, and whenever a bear is wounded by the hunters he makes his way through the woods to this lake and plunges into the water, and when he comes out upon the other side his wounds are healed.

For this reason the animals keep the lake invisible to the hunter.

12 years ago
Creation Story & The Importance Of DreamingAn Abenaki Legend

The Great Spirit, in a time not known to us looked about and saw nothing. No colors, no beauty. Time was silent in darkness. There was no sound. Nothing could be seen or felt. The Great Spirit decided to fill this space with light and life.

From his great power he commanded the sparks of creation. He ordered Tôlba, the Great Turtle to come from the waters and become the land. The Great Spirit molded the mountains and the valleys on turtle's back. He put white clouds into the blue skies. He was very happy.He said, "Everything is ready now. I will fill this place with the happy movement of life."He thought and thought about what kind of creatures he would make.

Where would they live? What would they do? What would their purpose be? He wanted a perfect plan. He thought so hard that he became very tired and fell asleep.

His sleep was filled with dreams of his creation. He saw strange things in his dream. He saw animals crawling on four legs, some on two. Some creatures flew with wings, some swam with fins. There were plants of all colors, covering the ground everywhere. Insects buzzed around, dogs barked, birds sang, and human beings called to each other. Everything seemed out of place. The Great Spirit thought he was having a bad dream. He thought, nothing could be this imperfect.

When the Great Spirit awakened, he saw a beaver nibbling on a branch. He realized the world of his dream became his creation. Everything he dreamed about came true. When he saw the beaver make his home, and a dam to provide a pond for his family to swim in, he then knew every thing has it's place, and purpose in the time to come.

It has been told among our people from generation to generation. We must not question our dreams. They are our creation.

12 years ago
One fine snowy day, Bear was walking through the snow in the forest. When he walked up on a little hill and stood up on his hind legs, he was so much taller than anything else he could see, that he was very proud. Bear loved to brag about how splendid he was, so he thumped himself on the chest and roared, "I'M THE BIGGEST ANIMAL IN THE FOREST!" And nobody made a sound, because Bear really was awfully big.

Bear got an itchy spot on his back, so he walked through the snow to a little tree, leaned against it and wriggled around. While he was scratching, the whole tree broke with a snap! Bear was so impressed with how strong he was, once more he roared out, "I'M THE STRONGEST ANIMAL IN THE FOREST!" And nobody said anything, because Bear really was very strong.

Bear began to run down off that little hill. Now, every human child learns very early that you can run like the wind downhill. But Bear was so impressed with how fast he could run, he skidded to a halt by a little frozen lake and roared, "I'M THE FASTEST ANIMAL IN THE FOREST!"

Then Bear heard a little voice pipe up from the edge of the lake, "No you're not, Bear! I'm a lot faster than you!"

"WHAT?!" Bear couldn't believe his ears. Then he couldn't believe his eyes! Because that voice came from a little green water turtle, who was sticking his head up through a hole in the ice.

Turtle said it again, "Really, Bear, I'm a lot faster than you are." Bear and Turtle began to disagree, then to argue, and then they began to make so much noise that the other animals came to see what was going on. A great argument was in the making when it was decided that the only way to settle the question was to have a race between Bear and Turtle. The animals reached a general agreement: the race would be around the lake. But then Turtle said, "I am a water animal, so I'll have to race in the lake."

Bear objected, "You must think I'm pretty stupid! You can just dive under the ice, then come back up and say you won!" Though the animals did think he was pretty stupid, he had a point. So a solution was agreed upon. Bear who was a land animal, would race around the lake, while Turtle would swim from one hole in the ice to another, put his head up and say something, then swim on. Fox, who had no reason to cheat in this case, was chosen to be the starter and judge, and the race was scheduled for the next day.

The next morning, Elk, who had the biggest feet, was chosen to punch holes in the ice every few feet. All the animals had heard about the race and had come to see it. Almost all the spectators were making bets, and because most of them were so tired of listening to Bear brag, the bets were heavily in favor of Turtle.

Fox called the racers to his side. "Are you ready, Bear?" Now Bear had been warming up, doing exercises, and getting in some last minute bragging, so he yawned and said, "Yeah, I'm ready." Fox asked, "Are you ready Turtle?" And Turtle, at his first hole in the ice said, "I'm ready!"

"Alright," said Fox, "once around the lake and back to me. Now ........... RUN!"

Turtle dived under the water, and Bear began to just walk, waving casually to his friends, just to prove how easy this was going to be. But Bear had only taken a couple of steps when Turtle's head came up in the second hole in the ice.

Turtle said, "Come on Bear, catch up with me!" And Turtle dived under and went on. Bear was flabbergasted! This turtle was faster than he thought, so Bear began to jog a little faster. But only three steps farther, Turtle's head popped up at the next hole. He said, "Come on, Bear, catch up with me!" then dived under and went on.

Now, Bear knew he had to run! He dropped to all fours and began to run as fast as he could. But before Bear passed the third hole, Turtle came up at the fourth hole and said, "come on, Bear, I'm way ahead of you!"

Bear ran and ran as fast, his tongue drooping further and further out of his mouth, so out of breath he thought he would drop. But, that turtle just kept getting farther and farther ahead, each time popping out of a hole to say, "Come on, Bear, catch up with me!" Until finally, when Bear was only half way around the lake, Turtle finished the race!

A great cheer went up from the other animals, "TURTLE IS THE FASTEST ANIMAL IN THE FOREST!" Even those that hadn't bet on Turtle came down to congratulate him and shake his clawed foot and pat his shell.

And Bear? Well, Bear was so exhausted, and so humiliated that he didn't even finish the race. He turned and went to his house, which was a cave, and slept the rest of the winter. And to this day, bears sleep all winter so they don't have to remember losing that race to a turtle!

There was a big party and feast in Turtle's honor, and then, finally, everyone went home.

Now, Turtle looked around carefully, making sure everyone was gone. Then he crawled down to the edge of the ice, stuck out his clawed foot and rapped three times on the ice.

Suddenly, up through the holes in the ice came Turtle's brothers and sisters, his mom and dad, his aunts, uncles, cousins near and distant, even his grandma and grandpa turtles were there, and everyone of them looked exactly like Turtle! They nodded their heads at each other and said, "Yes, we are the fastest animals in the forest!"

Turtle said, "Thank you, my kinfolks. Today we have proved that though we turtles may be slow of foot, we are not slow of wit!"

" How Buzzard Got His Clothing"
12 years ago
When the Creator first made the world, he gave the animals their fur and hair, the fish and snakes their scales, and the insects their shells and wings. But he forgot to give the birds any clothing. The birds had no feathers yet, and could not fly. They were cold. They walked everywhere they went. And all they could eat was dead fish that washed up along the shore. The birds were very unhappy.

The birds met in council and said, 'Surely this is not right. Everyone has clothes but birds.' Eagle was the chief of the birds, and he said, 'Let us wait until the sun is coming up, and we will all pray. Each bird will sing his song to He-who-holds-up-the-sky.'

The next morning, at the crack of dawn, the birds all began to pray. Woodpecker and Indian Hen played the drum. All the birds sang. Crow cawed and Robin chirped. Lark and Bluebird trilled their songs. They all sang their songs except Mockingbird, who sang little pieces of everyone else's song. Even today, birds sing at dawn.

The prayers drifted up to heaven, and the Creator sent down his helper to the eagle with a message. The helper came to the council fire of the birds and said, "The Creator has heard your prayers and will answer them. Select one among you who will serve as the messenger-to-the-gods, and he will be taken up to the heavens. He will not even need to speak his wishes, the Creator already knows them.'

When the Creator's helper had gone back to the sky world, the birds began to discuss who among them should be chosen as the messenger-to-the-gods. Eagle said, "I would go, but the journey may be long, and I have other responsibilities here."

Hummingbird said, "I would go, but I am so small the Creator might not even see me."

Robin was well respected at council, and he said, "Let us send Buzzard. He is both noble and patient." Everyone agreed, and they turned to Buzzard and gave him their blessing. All the birds came up and congratulated Buzzard, who was so proud that he blushed. Robin came up and congratulated Buzzard, and he blushed again, because buzzard was somewhat shy and did not speak to the other birds very often.

Buzzard puffed up his chest and walked proudly out of the council house, and the Creator gave him the power of fight, the first of the birds to have it. As Buzzard flew higher, he saw the earth shrinking below. Finally, Buzzard reached the sky world. He stepped onto a cloud.

By now Buzzard was swelling with pride; he had lost his humility, which had been his best trait until then.

Buzzard was led into the Lodge of the Creator. He stood there for a few minutes, surrounded by clouds, when he heard a voice.

"Buzzard, turn around.' Buzzard turned around, and where there had been nothing before, now there were hundreds of beautiful suits of feathers hanging from pegs on the vast walls of the lodge, each different from the next.

"Here are the suits of feathers I have made for the Bird People. As their messenger, you have the honor of selecting for your own the suit you like the best. Those you do not choose will fall to earth and become the clothing of the other birds.

Take as long as you like to make your selection, but beware: once you have taken a suit of clothing off, you can never put it on again. Choose wisely!'

Then there was silence, and Buzzard began to try on suits of feathers to find one that he liked the best. He tried on the first suit; the wings were brown with little white streaks, and the breastplate was the color of the sunrise-a bold red-orange.

Buzzard said, "This suit of feathers is very beautiful, but as messenger-to-the-gods, I need something more colorful.' He took off that suit and let it fall. The suit passed through the cloud-floor of the lodge and drifted down to earth. Robin caught it and put it on.

Buzzard took another suit of feathers off its wooden peg and pulled it on. It was bright crimson, with a beautiful black dance mask and crimson mess cap. 'This is all one color,' said Buzzard and he took it off and let it fall. Cardinal ran and caught the suit and wore it.

Buzzard tried on a gold and black suit, but he didn't like the colors, and let it fall. Finch wears it today.

One suit was brilliant moss green on the wings and back, with a blood-red gorget at the throat. But the suit was a little bit tight, so he let it fall. Hummingbird is wearing it today.

Suit after suit fell from the lodge of He-who-holds-up-the sky, and birds sang their thanks to the Creator and their praise to Buzzard for sending down such beautiful suits for them to wear.

Finally Buzzard put on a suit that was brown-black and dull; the suit was too small, and his bare neck stuck out. The wings were wide, but drab and not colorful at all. The leggings didn't reach his feet, so his legs were bare, and there was no cap to wear with his suit, so his head was bare. 'I don't like this at all,' he said, and he looked over at the wall of the lodge. All the pegs were empty.

This was the last suit of feathers! And it was not beautiful at all, in fact it was rather ugly. Buzzard realized how vain he had been, wanting the very best suit for himself. He was so embarrassed at his vanity that he blushed and his head turned red forever.

Buzzard was so ashamed that he flew off alone and ate the carcasses of dead animals rather than go back to the feast at the council house of the birds, where everyone was happy with their feather suits.

The Legend of the Corn Bead
12 years ago
As the soldiers came to each household to gather the Cherokee people together many wept tears of sadness over the loss of homes and personal belongings. Many were only allowed to take what they could carry and many were not allowed to take anything at all. As the people were taken from their homes they would cry out asking the CREATOR to send a miracle.

Many realized that these things would happen according to some of our old teachings, but they still wept because this was the only home they had ever known. The CREATOR looked down upon his children, the Cherokee, and sent a miracle to help soothe their sorrows.

At the place where the tears of our people fell, up sprang a shoot that looked like a cornstalk. As the plant bloomed and opened up, tears of gray fell to the ground. CREATOR said, “This will be a sign unto all who pass that my children will always be a part of this land. The cornstalk represents life for my children and the tears are gray for the suffering and sorrow.”

As the Trail of Tears began the people cried their tears of sorrow. They cried for the loss of family and home. As they walked along the trail, tears fell to the ground. Where these tears fell, there sprang up a small shoot and from it fell the tears of our people’s suffering.

Today these small plants can be found where the Cherokee once walked in times of sadness. From the Smokey Mountains of North Carolina to the Green Country of Oklahoma, to remind us that our people are strong and will survive just as this plant has. It also reminds us of the love our CREATOR has for his children.

*This legend is a new legend and was “born” on the Trail of Tears in the years 1836-38. Like our people it to has survived and lives to be told again.
The Ani Yunwiya Name
12 years ago
The proper name we Cherokees call ourselves is Yun-wiya, meaning the principal people or the real people.  Cherokee, the name we are known by, has no meaning in our language. It is believed that the word came from the Choctaw word choluk or chiluk, meaning cave and that when the Spanish explorers ask what the Choctaw what our tribe’s name was, what the Spanish heard was Cherokee. The Choctaw called our nation the Cave Dwellers because we lived in caves.

The Cherokee Country use to be the territory now known as the states Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia until our forced removal, known as the Tear of Tears in 1838, to Oklahoma.   My family escaped the removeal because my GGGrandmother (who lived in West Virginia) was adopted by whites which is what they did in those days so natives would grow up forgetting their culture and native tongue.  Luckily, she didn't forget her culture and passed it down through our family.
12 years ago
The Legend of the First Woman
As Told by Mary Ulmer Chiltoskey

For a time the man was very happy on earth. He roamed around and ate the fruits and berries and he visited the animals and he saw all his homeland. There was much to learn and the earth was beautiful. But before long the man grew discontented and he became very unhappy. He didn't know what this disease was, bit it was a disease that we still have. He was bored.

When he got bored, he used his mind and his strength differently. he shot arrows at the deer without really needing to. He picked the plants and didn't use them. He tore up the animals' dens just to see if he could do it. And soon the animals became concerned about the new creature.

The animals called a council meeting to try to determine what to do. They said they thought this creature was supposed to have respect for other creatures, that he was given a mind. A little insect said, "Wait, you haven't thought this out. The Great One made him; let's ask him what to do." This seemed to be a good idea. They called to the Great One to help them with the new "superior" creature.

The owl said, "You told us the man has a mind and he is to respect us."

The deer said, "I don't want to be disrespectful, but you told us the man would need more of us deer than any other animal. If he keeps killing us like he is now, very soon he won't have any deer left."

"Oh," said the Great One, "thank you, thank you. I had not thought about something I left out in this man."

The bear said, "Look at him right now. He's lying out in the sun with his face up. No animal will sleep right out in the open. We all know to go into a private, guarded place to rest."

The Great One said, "Yes, there is something missing because I was in such a hurry to make him. But I know what is missing."

"Stand back," he said. He made a green plant to grow up tall. The plant grew up right over the man's heart, up toward Galunlati. It was a plant with long, graceful leaves and then an ear and a golden tassel. Above the tall plant was a woman, a beautiful, tall, brown woman growing from the stalk of strong corn.

The man woke up and thought he was dreaming. He rubbed his eyes and said, "This is not true. In a minute I'll wake up and be just as bored as I was before. Oh, I am so lonely."

The Great One sort of kicked him in the behind. "Get up you lazy thing," the Great One said. "Be a man for your lady" Now no one had any reason to think this man was a mannerly individual. Recently he had certainly not been acting like a real gentleman. But we don't have to be taught manners: We need someone to expect the best from us and we use the manners the Great One has already given us. So the man got up, brushed himself off, and gallantly offered his hand to the woman who came down from the stalk of corn.

The woman said, "No, wait a minute." The man didn't argue or huff. He just waited as she asked. She reached up and pulled two good ears of corn to take with her. Then she said, "I'm ready." Do you know why she wanted the corn? She couldn't have known yet that the corn would be an important food. She just knew that she had sprung from the corn and she needed to take something of her heritage with her.

The Great One remembered that although each man will sometimes need to be alone, each man will also need companionship to be his best.

Over a period of time, the man and the woman built a home where they kept the corn for planting. The next spring she planted her corn and it grew into a beautiful plant. It was probably the next year that she noticed a large bird who became sacred to the Cherokee because they could watch what he ate, and they would then know it was safe to eat.

One morning the woman noticed the turkey eating the tender corn. She knew then the corn was food and it was time to eat the corn. That evening she set a pottery pot of corn in the middle of her cook fire. She covered the pot with a curve of chestnut bark. When the man came in to eat his fish stew, she didn't tell him what she had cooked. She just pulled an ear of corn from the pot and pealed it back so he could smell it. he thought it was the best aroma he had ever smelled and he began to eat the first corn of the spring.

Myths and Stories
12 years ago

More Legends from the Elders....Love to you and yours, SingingBird

The Origin of Cherokee Medicine

The old ones tell us that at one time, the animals, fish, insects and plants could all talk. Together with the people, they were at peace and had a great friendship. As time went on, the numbers of people grew so much that their settlements spread over the whole earth, and the animals found themselves cramped for space. To make things worse, the people invented bows, knives, blowguns, spears, and hooks, and they began to hunt and kill the larger animals, birds and fish only for their hides. The smaller creatures, like the frogs and worms, were stepped upon and crushed without thought, out of carelessness, and sometimes even contempt. The animals decided to meet in a council to agree on measures for their safety.

The bears were the first ones to meet in a council, at Mulberry Place, or Kuwahi mountain. The old White Bear Chief led the council. After each one had his turn of complaining about the way people killed their friends, ate their flesh, and used their skins for his own purposes, they decided to begin a war at once against man. One of the bears asked what kind of weapons the people used to destroy them. "Bows and arrows!" exclaimed all the Bears together. "What are they made of?" was the next question. "The bow is made of wood, and the string is made of our entrails," replied one of the Bears. They then decided they would make a bow and see if they could use the same type of weapon the people were using. One of the Bears got a nice piece of locust wood, and another bear sacrificed himself for the good and betterment of his brothers of sisters. He offered to let his entrails be used for the string of the bow. When everything was ready, a Bear found that in letting the arrow fly after drawing the string, his long claws got in the way and his shot was ruined. He was very frustrated, but someone suggested they clip his claws. After this, it was found that the arrow went straight to the mark. But, the Chief White Bear objected, saying they must not trim their claws as they needed them to climb trees. "One of us already gave his life, and if we cut off our claws, then we must all starve together. I think we should trust and use the teeth and claws the Creator gave us, and it is plain that the people's weapons were not made for us."

Colors and The Rainbow
12 years ago
Once upon a time the colors of the world started to quarrel: all claimed that they were the best, the most important, the most useful, the favorite.

GREEN said: "Clearly I am the most important. I am the sign of life and of hope. I was chosen for grass, trees, leaves - without me, all animals would die. Look over the countryside and you will see that I am in the majority."

BLUE interrupted: "You only think about the earth, but consider the sky and the sea. It is the water that is the basis of life and drawn up by the clouds from the deep sea. The sky gives space and peace and serenity. Without my peace, you would all be nothing."

YELLOW chuckled: "You are all so serious. I bring laughter, gaiety, and warmth into the world. The sun is yellow, the moon is yellow, the stars are yellow. Every time you look at a sunflower, the whole world starts to smile. Without me there would be no fun."

ORANGE started next to blow her trumpet: "I am the color of health and strength. I may be scarce, but I am precious for I serve the needs of human life. I carry the most important vitamins. Think of carrots, pumpkins, oranges, mangoes, and pawpaws. I don't hang around all the time, but when I fill the sky at sunrise or sunset, my beauty is so striking that no one gives another thought to any of you."

RED could stand it no longer. He shouted out: "I am the ruler of all of you - I am blood - life's blood! I am the color of danger and of bravery. I am willing to fight for a cause. I bring fire into the blood. Without me, the earth would be as empty as the moon. I am the color of passion and of love, the red rose, the poinsettia and the poppy."

PURPLE rose up to his full height. He was very tall and spoke with great pomp: "I am the color of royalty and power. Kings, chiefs, and bishops have always chosen me for I am the sign of authority and wisdom. People do not question me - they listen and obey."

Finally, INDIGO spoke, much more quietly than all the others, but with just as much determination: "Think of me. I am the color of silence. You hardly notice me, but without me you all become superficial. I represent thought and reflection, twilight and deep water. You need me for balance and contrast, for prayer and inner peace."

And so the colors went on boasting, each convinced of his or her own superiority. Their quarreling became louder and louder. Suddenly there was a startling flash of bright lightening - thunder rolled and boomed. Rain started to pour down relentlessly. The colors crouched down in fear, drawing close to one another for comfort.

In the midst of the clamor, rain began to speak: "You foolish colors, fighting amongst yourselves, each trying to dominate the rest. Don't you know that you were each made for a special purpose, unique and different? Join hands with one another and come to me."

Doing as they were told, the colors united and joined hands. The rain continued: "From now on, when it rains, each of you will stretch across the sky in a great bow of color as a reminder that you can all live in peace. The rainbow is a sign of hope for tomorrow."

And so, whenever a good rain washes the world, and a rainbow appears in the sky, let us remember to appreciate one another.

Based on a Native American Legend

Reproduced with the kind permission of
Blue Panther Keeper of Stories

12 years ago
Reply posted by Cindy S Barbara  December 24, 2004 8:50 AM

...Thanks for sharing that, I thoroughly enjoyed it!  That is very true, and I've seen it happen.

You have a wonderful day!

Smiles & Blessings!


12 years ago
B & F pg 2 December 24, 2004 8:40 AM

All at once he thought he heard a distant call: "Bring a knife! Bring a knife ! "

When the second call came, Red Fox started in the direction of the sound. At the first knoll he stopped and listened, but hearing nothing more, he was about to go back. Just then he heard the call plainly, but in a very thin voice, "Bring a knife!"Red Fox immediately set out again and ran as fast as he could.

By and by he came upon the huge body of the Buffalo lying upon the ground. The little Mouse still stood upon the body.

"I want you to dress this Buffalo for me and I will give you some of the meat,"commanded the Mouse.

"Thank you, my friend, I shall be glad to do this for you,"he replied, politely.

The Fox dressed the Buffalo, while the Mouse sat upon a mound near by, looking on and giving his orders. "You must cut the meat into small pieces," he said to the Fox. When the Fox had finished his work, the Mouse paid him with a small piece of liver. He swallowed it quickly and smacked his lips.

"Please, may I have another piece?" he asked quite humbly.

"Why, I gave you a very large piece! How greedy you are!"exclaimed the Mouse. "You may have some of the blood clots,"he sneered. So the poor Fox took the blood clots and even licked off the grass. He was really very hungry.

"Please may I take home a piece of the meat?"he begged. "I have six little folks at home, and there is nothing for them to eat."

"You can take the four feet of the Buffalo. That ought to be enough for all of you!"

"Hi, hi! Thank you, thank you!" said the Fox. "But, Mouse, I have a wife also, and we have had bad luck in hunting. We are almost starved. Can't you spare me a little more?"

"Why,"declared the Mouse, "I have already overpaid you for the little work you have done. However, you can take the head, too!"

Thereupon the Fox jumped upon the Mouse, who gave one faint squeak and disappeared.

If you are proud and selfish you will lose all in the end.

12 years ago
The Baffalo and the Field Mouse posted by Barbara B on December 24, 2004 8:33 AM

Once upon a time, when the Field-Mouse was out gathering wild beans for the winter, his neighbor, the Buffalo, came down to graze in the meadow. This the little Mouse did not like, for he knew that the other would mow down all the long grass with his prickly tongue, and there would be no place in which to hide. He made up his mind to offer battle like a man.

"Ho, Friend Buffalo, I challenge you to a fight! "he exclaimed in a small, squeaking voice.

The Buffalo paid no attention, thinking it only a joke. The Mouse angrily repeated the challenge, and still his enemy went on quietly grazing. Then the little Mouse laughed with contempt as he offered his defiance. The Buffalo at last looked at him and replied carelessly:

"You had better keep still, little one, or I shall come over there and step on you, and there will be nothing left! "

"You can't do it! "replied the Mouse.

"I tell you to keep still,"insisted the Buffalo, who was getting angry. "If you speak to me again, I shall certainly come and put an end to you! "

"I dare you to do it! "said the Mouse, provoking him.

Thereupon the other rushed upon him. He trampled thc grass clumsily and tore up the earth with his front hoofs. When he had ended, he looked for the Mouse, but he could not see him anywhere.

"I told you I would step on you, and there would be nothing left! "he muttered.

Just then he felt a scratching inside his right ear. He shook his head as hard as he could, and twitched his ears back and forth. The gnawing went deeper and deeper until he was half wild with the pain. He pawed with his hoofs and tore up the sod with his horns. Bellowing madly, he ran as fast as he could, first straight forward and then in circles, but at last he stopped and stood trembling. Then the Mouse jumped out of his ear, and said:

"Will you own now that I am master? "

"No! "bellowed the Buffalo, and again he started toward the Mouse, as if to trample him under his feet. The little fellow was nowhere to be seen, but in a minute the Buffalo felt him in the other ear. Once more he became wild with pain, and ran here and there over the prairie, at times leaping high in the air. At last he fell to the ground and lay quite still. The Mouse came out of his ear, and stood proudly upon his dead body.

"Eho! "said he, "I have killed the greatest of all beasts. This will show to all that I am master! "

Standing upon the body of the dead Buffalo, he called loudly for a knife with which to dress his game.

In another part of the meadow, Red Fox, very hungry, was hunting mice for his breakfast. He saw one and jumped upon him with all four feet, but the little Mouse got away, and he was terribly disappointed.

12 years ago
Here is a story of Wolf Clan Medicine:
In the old days, it's said,that back in the very, very beginning times,after the villages were built.  An old man came walking out of the woods and had sores all over his body. He came down to the clans of the Cherokee and said to the first woman in charge of the first clan,"Would you take me in and make me well?"
She answered the old man and said,"Oh, you look so terrible, we don't know how to make you well.
Go away."The man left and came upon another clan of the Cherokee,it could have been the Blue Clan, and the Clan Mother comes out and says,"We have children here. Don't, bother us, please go away."
Again and again the old man was turned away from these clans, and eventually he comes to the Wolf Clan of the Cherokee.
All the terrible sores on his body,
   and he says to the woman of the Wolf Clan,
   "Will you bring me in and make me well?"
She says,
   "I don't know what to do for you.
   But if you'll come in,
   we will lay you down upon the bed,
   and we will do everything we possibly can
   to make you better."
He went in,
   and he lay down upon the bed,
   and he sent her out to the forest the first day and said,
   "Get the bark of the cherry tree and bring it back and make tea to
           let me drink."
And she did.
And his cold went away.
   "Go back to the willow tree
   and get some bark and make it into a poultice
   and wring it and put it upon my sores."
And she did.
And the sores went away.
Again and again for a long time
   he sent her into the forest,
   telling her every time a certain cure for a certain ailment.
After a while
   he was completely healed.
Then one day he got up from the bed and said,
   "Since you were good to me,
   I have taught you, the women of the Wolf Clan,
   all the cures of the forest.
   and from this day forward,
   you, the women of the Wolf Clan,
   will be the doctors of the communities and the reservations."
12 years ago
No one knows how old the Cherokee stories are.  Some tell about the origin of corn and beans, and archaeologists say that the Cherokee began growing corn sometime before 500 A.D. and beans sometime before 1200 A.D.  Perhaps the origin stories could be placed within that timeframe.  Walker Calhoun has said his grandmother told a tale about a "giant lizard" that could have referred to the dinosaurs or other ancient creatures.  Other stories, collected by James Mooney, refer to unknown beasts such as the giant yellow jacket that nested at Standing Indian in Macon County or the giant leech that lived near the conjunction of the Hiawassee and Valley Rivers near present-day Murphy, North Carolina.  Although references to unknown animals do not tell us the age of the story, they may suggest a much earlier time when these animals might have roamed the mountains, with stories of them living well beyond their extinction.
   Archaeologists agree that the ancestors of the Cherokee exhibited unique, identifiable cultural characteristics as early as 250 A.D., including the production of stamped pottery and the use of winter houses and blowguns.  In the Southern Appalachians, where the Cherokee lived and hunted at the time of white contact in 1542 A.D., there are sites that show signs of continuous use dating back to 9000 B.C.  These include hunting camps high in the mountains and villages like the one on Williams Island near present-day Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Archaeologists cannot say that these people were not Cherokee.  Moreover, linguistic evidence suggests that the Cherokee language began to show unique characteristics at least 3,500 years ago.  And since all cultures tell stories, we must assume that these people, living in the Southern Appalachians in villages along the rivers and hunting camps on the mountaintops near the balds, did the same.
Origin of Dance Songs and Formulas
12 years ago

Origin of Dance Songs and Formulas

According to Cherokee traditon, all tribal chanting, for whatever purpose, originated from a mythical event--the slaying and sacrifice of a monster creature called Stone Coat (in Cherokee, na yu nuwi', literally, "stone coat-on").  The same original tale accounts for the entire series of song compositions known to the people "since before the time of Christ," as West Long put it.  It accounts for the songs that govern the dances, those chanted to further the Cherokee in their dealings with game animals and birds, cultivated plants, and wild medicinal herbs; and also the man-animal opponent, or enemy, in games, in war and in peace, and in social contacts.  It is the legendary rationale in love-making, protection against witchcraft, economic competition, and even in such peripheral events as tribal or racial contacts.
                                                            Nun'Ynu'Wi, The Stone Man
Once, when all the people of the settlement were out in the mountains on a great hunt, one man who had gone on ahead climbed to the top of a high ridge and found a large river on the other side.  While he was looking across he saw an old man walking about on the opposite ridge, with a can that seemed to be made of some bright, shining rock.  The hunter watched and saw that every little while the old man would point his cane in a certain direction, then draw it back and smell the end of it.  At last he pointed it in the direction of the hunting camp on the other side of the mountain, and this time when he drew back the staff he sniffed it several times, as it it smelled very good, and then started along the ridge straight for the camp.  He moved very slowly, with the help of the cane, until he reached the end of the ridge, when he threw the cane out into the air and it became a bridge of shining rock stretching across the river.  After he had crossed over the bridge it became a cane again, and the old man picked it up and started over the mountain toward the camp.
   The hunter was frightened and felt sure that it meant mischief, so he hurried on down the mountain and took the shortest trail back to the camp, to get there before the old man.  When he got there and told his story the medicine-man said the old man was a wicked cannibal monster called Nun'yunu'wi, "Dressed in Stone," who lived in that part of the country and was always going about the mountains looking for some hunter to kill and eat.  It was very hard to escape from him, because his stick guided him like a dog, and it was nearly as hard to kill him, because his whole body was covered with a skin of solid rock.  If he came he would kill and eat them all, and there was only one way to save themselves.  he could not bear to look upon a menstrual woman, and if they could find seven menstrual women to stand in the path as he came along, the sight would kill him.
   So they asked among all the women and found seven who were sick in that way, and with one of them it had just begun.  By the order of the medicine-man they stripped themselves and stood along the path where the old man would come.  Soon they heard Nun'yunu'wi coming through the woods, feeling his way with his stone cane.  He came along the trail to where the first woman was standing, and as soon as he saw her he started and cried out: "Yu! my grandchild; you are in a very bad state!"  He hurried past her, but in a moment he met the next woman, and cried out: "Yu! my child; you are in a terrible way," and hurried past her, but now he was vomiting blood.  He hurried on and met the third and the fourth and the fifth woman, but with each one that he saw his step grew weaker until, when he came to the last one, with whom the sickness had just begun, the blood poured from his mouth and he fell down on the trail.
   Then the medicine-man drove seven sourwood stakes through his body and pinned him to the ground, and when night came they piled great logs over him and set fire to him, and all the people gathered around to see.  Nun'ynu'wi was a great ada' we-hi and knew many secrets, and now as the fire came close to him he began to talk, and told them the medicine for all kinds of sickness.  At midnight he began to sing, and sang the hunting songs for calling up the bear and the deer and all the animals of the woods and mountains.  As the blaze grew hotter his voice sank lower and lower, until at last, when daylight came, the logs were a heap of white ashes and the voice was still.
   Then the medicine-man told them to rake off the ashes, and where the body had lain they found only a large lump of red wa'di paint and a magic u'lunsu'ti stone.  He kept the stone for himself, and calling the people around him he painted them, on face and breast, with the red wa'di, and whatever each person prayed for while the painting was being done--whether for hunting success, for working skill, or for a long life--that gift was his.

The Legend of the Corn Beads
12 years ago

The Legend of the Corn Beads

Cherokee women
   wear the legendary necklace made of corn beads.
It is a gift
   from the Great Spirit
   in the shape of a teardrop.
This is the Cherokee legend of the corn beads.
In the 1800s
   during the Trail of Tears,
   the corn stalks were eight feet tall,
   and corn was twelve to eighteeen inches long.
The corn stood back and watched
   as the Indian people were getting pushed and shoved
   by the white soldiers.
And the corn cried and cried.
And the teardrop landed on the corn fodder,
   and the corn dropped down to three feet tall.
That's why it's called teardrop.
   our mother of corn.
The Cherokee women used these teardrops,
   our mother of corn,
   to make beautiful cornbeads,
   but to me this is sad.
But it is a way to remember
   the Trail of Tears.
Atagahi, the Enchanted Lake
12 years ago
Westward from the headwaters of Oconaluftee River, in the wildest depths of the Great Smoky mountains, which form the line between North Carolina and Tennessee, is the enchanted lake of "Atagahi," or "Gall Place."  Although all the Cherokee know that it is there, no one has ever seen it, for the way is so difficult that only the animals know how to reach it.  Should a stray hunter come near the place he would know of it by the whirring sound of the thousands of wild ducks flying about the lake, but on reaching the spot he would find only a dry flat, without bird or animal or blade of grass, unless he had first sharpened his spiritual vision by prayer and fasting and an all-night vigil.
     Because it is not seen, some people think the lake has dried up long ago, but this is not true.  To one who had kept watch and fast through the night it would appear at daybreak as a wide-extending but shallow sheet of purple water, fed by springs spouting from the high cliffs around.  In the water are all kinds of fish and reptiles, and swimming upon the surface or flying overhead are great flocks of ducks and pigeons, while all about the shores are bear tracks crossing in every direction.  It is the medicine lake of the birds and animals, and whenever a bear is wounded by the hunters he makes his way through the woods to this lake and plunges into the water, and when he comes out upon the other side his wounds are healed.  For this reason the animals keep the lake invisible to the hunter.
Myths and Stories of The Red Man-
12 years ago
| Blue Label
I am creating this new topic to allow the posting of some stories and myths of the Red Man that have been handed down for generations..I request that any questions or remarks be asked on the string titled ask the Indians...  I will start with a short story that was told to me by a dear Uncle, who is now deceased,  when I was a young boy.. 
 A very brave, kind and caring young warrior lived in a valley below a very high mountain where the top always had snow ..One hot Summer day he decided he would climb to the top of the mountain to the snow line and wrap some snow in some hides and bring it back down so the elders could cool off... Just before he started his climb his grandfather told the young warrior to go there as fast as possible and not stop and pick up anything there or back and the young warrior left and ran all the way to the snow level on the mountain..Once there he wrapped up as much snow as he could in the deerskins he brought with him and started his run back down the mountain.. After running a little way down from the snow line he came upon a stick lying across the trail and as he started to step over it the stick moved and he stopped and saw that it was not a stick but a rattle snake.. The rattle snake spoke to the young warrior and said he was going to die from the cold and asked the warrior if he would carry him down the mountain to a place where he could get warm.. The young warrior spoke to the snake and said no he could not carry him down the mountain because after he warmed up he would bite him and make him sick.. The snake pleaded with the warrior and said I promise you and give you my word I will not bite you because I will owe you my life..After hearing the snake plead over and over and promise upon his very life that he would not bite him the young warrior took up the snake and place it inside his shirt.. After making it almost to the bottom of the mountain with the village in sight the young warrior felt a stinging pain in his chest.. He looked inside his shirt where the snakes fangs were pouring in their venom.. Screaming in pain the warrior spoke to the snake and said but you promised me on your very life that you would not bite me..  The snake removed his fangs from the warriors chest and spoke to the warrior and said " It's your fault you got bitten because you knew I was a rattle snake when you picked me Up"...  

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