Native American Stories,Legends & Folk Lore 'Siyo (Hello) I hope that you all enjoy these wonderful stories. Wado (Thank you) to Blue Panter for sharing these with us.
BRIDAL VEIL FALLS - YOSEMITE (MIWOK) TRIBE
Hundreds of years ago, in the shelter of the Yo Semite valley, lived Tu-tok-a-nula and his tribe. He was a wise Chief, trusted and loved by his people, always setting the right example by preserving crops and game for the winter.
While he was hunting one day, he saw the lovely guardian spirit of the valley for the first time. His people called her Ti-sa-yac. Tu-tok-a-nula felt she was the most beautiful creature he had ever seen. Her skin was like milk, her hair was golden as the afternoon sun, and her eyes were bluer than the sky. Her voice, as sweet as the song of the thrush, drew him toward her. But as he reached out to her she rose up toward the heavens and vanished.
From that moment, the Chief knew no peace and he no longer cared for the well-being of his people.
Without his guidance, Yo Semite became like a desert. When Ti-sa-yac came again after a long time, she broke into tears. Bushes were growing where corn had once flourished, and bears foraged where the huts had been. On a mighty dome of rock, she knelt and prayed to the Great Spirit above, asking him to restore virtue to the land.
The Great Spirit granted her pleas. Stooping from the sky, he spread new life of green on the valley floor. He struck a thunderous blow against the mountains and broke a pathway for all the melting snow to flow. The water ran and danced downward, collecting in a lake below and flowing off to gladden other land.
The birds returned with their songs, the flowering plants began to blossom once more, and corn soon grew tall. When the Yo Semite people returned to their valley, they gave the name of Ti-sa-yac to what is now called South Dome, where the guardian spirit had knelt and prayed.
Then the Chief came home again. When he heard what the beautiful spirit maiden had done, his love for her became stronger than ever. Climbing to the top of a rock that rose thousands of feet below the valley, he carved his likeness into the stone with his hunting knife. He wanted his tribe to remember him after he departed from the earth.
Tired from his work, the Chief sat at the foot of Bridal Veil Fall. Suddenly he saw a rainbow arching over the figure of Ti-sa-yac, who was shining from the water. She smiled and beckoned to him. With a cry of joy, Tu-tok-a-nula leapt into the waterfall and disappeared with his beloved.
The rainbow quivered on the cascading water, and the sun set.
Buffalo Woman, A Story of Magic Caddo Snow Bird, the Caddo medicine man, had a handsome son. When the boy was old enough to be given a man's name, Snow Bird called him Braveness because of his courage as a hunter. Many of the girls in the Caddo village wanted to win Braveness as a husband, but he paid little attention to any of them. One morning he started out for a day of hunting, and while he was walking along looking for wild game, he saw someone ahead of him sitting under a small elm tree. As he approached, he was surprised to find that the person was a young woman, and he started to turn aside. "Come here," she called to him in a pleasant voice. Braveness went up to her and saw that she was very young and very beautiful. "I knew you were coming here," she said, "and so I came to meet you." "You are not of my people," he replied. "How did you know that I was coming this way?" "I am Buffalo Woman," she said. "I have seen you many times before, from afar. I want you to take me home with you and let me stay with you." "I can take you home with me," Braveness answered her, "but you must ask my parents if you can stay with us." They started for his home at once, and when they arrived there Buffalo Woman asked Braveness's parents if she could stay with them and become the young man's wife. "If Braveness wants you for his wife, we will be pleased," said Snow Bird, the medicine man. "It is time that he had someone to love." And so Braveness and Buffalo Woman were married in the custom of the Caddo people and lived happily together for several moons. One day she asked him, "Will you do whatever I may ask of you, Braveness?" "Yes," he replied, "if what you ask is not unreasonable." "I want you to go with me to visit my people." Braveness said that he would go, and the next day they started for her home, she leading the way. After they had walked a long distance they came to some high hills, and all at once she turned round and looked at Braveness and said: "You promised me that you would do anything I say." "Yes," he answered. "Well," she said, "my home is on the other side of this high hill. I will tell you when we get to my mother. I know there will be many coming there to see who you are, and some may provoke you and try to make you angry, but do not allow yourself to become angry with any of them. Some may try to kill you." "Why should they do that?" asked Braveness. "Listen to what I am about to tell you," she said. "I knew you before you knew me. Through magic I made you come to me that first day. I said that some will try to make you angry, and if you show anger at even one of them, the others will join in fighting you until they have killed you. They will be jealous of you. The reason is that I refused many who wanted me." "But you are now my wife," Braveness said. "I have told you what to do when we get there," Buffalo Woman continued. "Now I want you to lie down on the ground and roll over twice." Braveness smiled at her, but he did as she had told him to do. He rolled over twice, and when he stood up he found himself changed into a Buffalo. For a moment Buffalo Woman looked at him, seeing the astonishment in his eyes. Then she rolled over twice, and she also became a Buffalo. Without saying a word she led him to the top of the hill. In the valley off to the west, Braveness could see hundreds and hundreds of Buffalo. "They are my people," said Buffalo Woman. "This is my home." When the members of the nearest herd saw Braveness and Buffalo Woman coming, they began gathering in one place, as though waiting for them. Buffalo Woman led the way, Braveness following her until they reached an old Buffalo cow, and he knew that she was the mother of his beautiful wife. For two moons they stayed with the herd. Every now and then, four or five of the young Buffalo males would come around and annoy Braveness, trying to arouse his anger, but he pretended not to notice hem. One night, Buffalo Woman told him that she was ready to go back to his home, and they slipped away over the hills. When they reached the place where they had turned themselves into Buffalo, they rolled over twice on the ground and became a man and a woman again. "Promise me that you will not tell anyone of this magical transformation," Buffalo Woman said. "If people learn about it, something bad will happen to us." They stayed at Braveness's home for twelve moons, and then Buffalo Woman asked him again to go with her to visit her people. They had not been long in the valley of the Buffalo when she told Braveness that the young males who were jealous of him were planning to have a foot-race. "They will challenge you to race and if you do not outrun them they will kill you," she said. That night Braveness could not sleep. He went out to take a long walk. It was a very dark night without moon or stars, but he could feel the presence of the Wind spirit. "You are young and strong," the Wind spirit whispered to him, "but you cannot outrun the Buffalo without my help. If you lose, they will kill you. If you win, they will never challenge you again. "What must I do to save my life and keep my beautiful wife?" asked Braveness. The Wind spirit gave him two things. "One of these is a magic herb," said the Wind spirit. "The other is dried mud from a medicine wallow. If the Buffalo catch up with you, first throw behind you the magic herb. If they come too close to you again, throw down the dried mud." The next day was the day of the race. At sunrise the young Buffalo gathered at the starting place. When Braveness joined them, they began making fun of him, telling him he was a man buffalo and therefore had not the power to outrun them. Braveness ignored their jeers, and calmly lined up with them at the starting point. An old Buffalo started the race with a loud bellow, and at first Braveness took the lead, running very swiftly. But soon the others began gaining on him, and when he heard their hard breathing close upon his heels, he threw the magic herb behind him. By this time he was growing very tired and thought he could not run any more. He looked back and saw one Buffalo holding his head down and coming very fast, rapidly closing the space between him and Braveness. Just as this Buffalo was about to catch up with him, Braveness threw down the dried mud from the medicine wallow. Soon he was far ahead again, but he knew that he had used up the powers given him by the Wind spirit. As he neared the goal set for the race, he heard the pounding of hooves coming closer behind him. At the last moment, he felt a strong wind on his face as it passed him to stir up dust and keep the Buffalo from overtaking him. With the help of the Wind spirit, Braveness crossed the goal first and won the race. After that, none of the Buffalo ever challenged him again, and he and Buffalo Woman lived peacefully with the herd until they were ready to return to his Caddo people. Not long after their return to Braveness's home, Buffalo Woman gave birth to a handsome son. They named him Buffalo Boy, and soon he was old enough to play with the other children of the village. One day while Buffalo Woman was cooking dinner, the boy slipped out of the lodge and went to join some other children at play. They played several games and then decided to play that they were Buffalo. Some of them lay on the ground to roll like Buffalo, and Buffalo Boy also did this. When he rolled over twice, he changed into a real Buffalo calf. Frightened by this, the other children ran for their lodges. About this time his mother came out to look for him, and when she saw the children running in fear she knew that something must be wrong. She went to see what had happened and found her son changed into a Buffalo calf. Taking him up in her arms, she ran down the hill, and as soon as she was out of sight of the village she turned herself into a Buffalo and with Buffalo Boy started off toward the west. Late that evening when Braveness returned from hunting he could find neither his wife nor his son in the lodge. He went out to look for them, and someone told him of the game the children had played and of the magic that had changed his son into a Buffalo calf. At first, Braveness could not believe what they told him, but after he had followed his wife's tracks down the hill and found the place where she had rolled he knew the story was true. For many moons, Braveness searched for Buffalo Woman and Buffalo Boy, but he never found them again.
Cornhusk dolls - Mohawk
There was a time when all corn husk dolls had faces. They were sent by the Creator to be the playmate of the children. One day when they were in the woods, the Cornhusk doll discovered a pond. Looking into the pond she saw her reflection. She knelt down and began to admire herself and forgot about the children. Soon the children were in danger and the corn husk doll was no where to be found...The Creator saw her and told her, 'You were given a job to protect the children and you forgot your instructions!'. As punishment he took away her face and said 'from now on, corn husk dolls will have no face'. The lesson to be learned is that we should not be too preoccupied with our looks. It is more important to develop our minds and have a good heart. From that point on corn husk dolls were made without faces. Tammy Tarbell,
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. Grief... It is understood that loneliness is common among the People. We all long for our mother... Mother Earth. We come from our Mother and when we shall pass on we shall return to our Mother. It is so good to know this - for when we do, we become related to all things... and we come home to Mother Earth for rest. Have you ever wondered how Mother Earth feels for her children? Well, long ago in Apache land, land that is now called Arizona something took place that a lot of people don't know about. It concerns those real small, black, shiny rocks called Apache Tears. Have you ever wondered why they are called that and where they come from? Well, here is what happened. The Apache people were under attack, they were out numbered, and most of them had fallen. The elderly, the women and children were backed up against a cliff overlooking Salt River Canyon. Rather than allow themselves to be taken captive they started jumping off to their death - one, by one, by one. After it wa! s over it wasn't long before the land... the whole cliffside started to cry, weep and morn. Those little shiny black rock-tears fell, hit bottom, and splattered into piles. To this day the rock-tears continue to fall on Apache land and through out the entire Southwest... people carry them away in bottles and in their pockets but the tears still come. Yes, the love of Mother for her children is alive... ever growing... ever evident for us to see, know, and embrace.
The Story of The Drum 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! Cro
Unity... Many, many years ago turtle was the designated "keeper of the waters." You could see him as he swam about his duties. His shell was made up of solid plates of red, black, white, or yellow color. He was very distinctive and visible. All the animals respected and honored the turtle... all except one, 'ole coyote.' One day turtle was out sunning himself and coyote came along and ate turtle up. Of course all the waters, ponds, streams, and rivers started to dry up and become stale and unclean. The animals hurriedly gathered from all four directions to coyote and pleaded, "Please, please bring back turtle... surely we will all perish... the waters... the cool clear water... please, please..." So coyote finally conceded and "threw-up" turtle. The animals immediately began to piece turtle back together the best they could. It worked. The shell came together to become a beautiful mosaic blend of many, many colors... extremely shiny and beautiful. Each plate shined with the ! remains and debris of all the colors. And sure enough turtle came back to life. And when he did, the water came back, too. The waters flowed again... tumbling down from the mountains and rippling out clear, clean, and pure.
HOW DEER GOT HIS HORNS
In the beginning, the Deer had no horns, but his head was smooth just like a doe's. He was a great runner and the Rabbit was a great jumper, and the animals were all curious to know which could go farther in the same time. They talked about it a good deal, and at last arranged a match between the two, and made a nice large pair of antlers for a prize to the winner. They were to start together from one side of a thicket and go through it, then turn and come back, and the one who came out first was to get the horns.
On the day fixed all the animals were there, with the antlers put down on the ground at the edge of the thicket to mark the starting point. While everybody was admiring the horns the Rabbit said: "I don't know this part of the country; I want to take a look through the bushes where I am to run." They thought that was all right, so the Rabbit went into the thicket, but he was gone so long that at last the animals suspected he must be up to one of his tricks. They sent a messenger to look for him, and away in the middle of the thicket he found the Rabbit gnawing down the bushes and pulling them away until he had a road cleared nearly to the other side.
The messenger turned around quietly and came back and told the other animals. When the Rabbit came out at last they accused him of cheating, but he denied it until they went into the thicket and found the cleared road. They agreed that such a trickster had no right to enter the race at all, so they gave the horns to the Deer, who was admitted to be the best runner, and he has worn them ever since. They told the Rabbit that as he was so fond of cutting down bushes he might do that for a living hereafter, and so he does to this day.
The Bat Modoc, California
Once there was war between beasts and birds. Bat was on birds' side. In the first battle, the birds were badly beaten. As soon as Bat saw that the battle was going against them, he crept away, hid under a log, and stayed there till the fight was over. When the animals were going home. Bat slipped in among them. After they had gone some distance, they saw him and asked one another: "How is this? Bat is one of the men who fought against us? "Bat heard them and he said: "Oh, no! I am one of you; I don't belong to the bird people. Did you ever see one of those people who had double teeth, you can say that I belong to the bird people. But I don't; I am one of your own people. "They didn't say anything more; they let Bat stay with them. Soon after, there was another battle; in that battle birds won. As Bat's side was getting beaten, he slipped away and hid under a log. When the battle was over and birds were going home, Bat went in among them. When they noticed him, they said: "You are our enemy; we saw you fighting against us." "Oh, no," said Bat, "I am one of you; I don't belong to those beasts. Did you ever see one of those people who had wings? "They didn't say anything more; they let him stay with them. So Bat went back and forth as long as the war lasted. At the end of the war, birds and beasts held a council to see what to do with him. At last they said to Bat: "Hereafter, you will fly around alone at night, and you will never have any friends, either among those that fly, or those that walk."
The Origin of Strawberries - Cherokee
When the first man was created and a mate was given to him, they lived together very happily for a time, but then began to quarrel, until at last the woman left her husband and started off toward "Nundagunyi" the Sun land, in the east. The man followed alone and grieving, but the woman kept on steadily ahead and never looked behind, until "Unelanunhi," the great Apportioner (The Sun), took pity on him and asked him if he was still angry with his wife. He said he was not, and "Unelanunhi" then asked him if he would like to have her back again, to which he eagerly answered yes. So "Unelanunhi" caused a patch of the finest ripe huckleberries to spring up along the path in front of the woman, but she passed by without paying any attention to them. Farther on he put a clump of blackberries, but these also she refused to notice. Other fruits, one, two, and three, and then some trees covered with beautiful red service berries, were placed beside the path to tempt her, but she will went on until suddenly she saw in front a patch of large ripe strawberries, the first ever known. She stooped to gather a few to eat, and as she picked them she chanced to turn her face to the west, and at once the memory of her husband came back to her and she found herself unable to go on. She sat down, but the longer she waited the stronger became her desire for her husband, and at last she gathered a bunch of the finest berries and started back along the path to give them to him. He met her kindly and they went home together.
>From History, Myths and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees by James Mooney (The Cherokee word for strawberry is "a-ni." The rich bottom lands of the old Cherokee country were noted for their abundance of strawberries and other wild fruits. Today strawberries are often kept in Cherokee homes. They remind us not to argue and are a symbol of good luck).
Dance of The Blue Blanket by Barbara Warren (a contemporary story based on a true incident) Nadia was four years old...and she loved Indians. Everything about Indians excited her. One day Nadia's grandmother came for a visit. Grandmother recalled those old stories the family told of Cherokee blood. So Grandmother decided to take Nadia, along with Nadia's mother and baby brother, to her first pow wow.
Little Nadia stood at the edge of the Circle. She watched with awe as the dancers passed by her dressed in their beautiful clothing. She listened intently to the drum, her knees dipping with the beat and Nadia knew she wanted to dance. But there were so many kinds of dances going on. She watched the men; then the women. She lifted one foot, then the other, puzzled about just what she should do with her feet.
Nadia felt a tap on her shoulder. Looking up she saw a smiling woman dressed in beautiful clothing holding out her hand toward Nadia. Nadia hesitated and glanced at her grandmother for approval. Grandmother's eyes smiled, "Yes."
So Nadia accepted the hand of the stranger and together they danced and danced around the Circle. After a while, Nadia began to dance on her own. As Grandmother watched, Nadia started to twirl and whirl holding her arms up high in the air in imitation of the lovely fancy shawl dancers.
Grandmother beckoned to Nadia. She gave her a small blue blanket belonging to Nadia's baby brother. Nadia placed the blanket around her shoulders and began to dance with it in the Circle, the blue blanket twirling and whirling about her like the wings of a butterfly.
She felt another tap on her shoulder, and there stood a different woman, and in her out-stretched hand she held a child-sized fringed shawl. Nadia glanced at Grandmother for approval. Grandmother's eyes smiled, "Yes."
So Nadia accepted the gift from the stranger. She placed the fringed shawl about her shoulders and then began to dance, the fringed shawl twirling and whirling about her like the wings of a butterfly.
Nadia danced in honor of all those ancestors who had come before and with the pure joy of being a little girl at her very first pow wow.
THE FORGOTTEN EAR OF CORN
An Arikara woman was once gathering corn from the field to store away for winter use. She passed from stalk to stalk, tearing off the ears and dropping them into her folded robe. When all was gathered she started to go, when she heard a faint voice, like a child's, weeping and calling:
"Oh, do not leave me! Do not go away without me."
The woman was astonished. "What child can that be?" she asked herself. "What babe can be lost in the cornfield?"
She set down her robe in which she had tied up her corn, and went back to search; but she found nothing.
As she started away she heard the voice again:
"Oh, do not leave me. Do not go away without me."
She searched for a long time. At last in one corner of the field, hidden under the leaves of the stalks, she found one little ear of corn. This it was that had been crying, and this is why all Indian women have since garnered their corn crop very carefully, so that the succulent food product should not even to the last small nubbin be neglected or wasted, and thus displease the Great Mystery.
How Mosquitoes Came To Be Tlinget Tribe
Long time ago there was a giant who loved to kill humans, eat their flesh, and drink their blood. He was especially fond of human hearts. "Unless we can get rid of the giant," people said, "none of us will be left," and they called a council to discuss ways and means. One man said, "I think I know how to kill the monster," and he went to the place where the giant had last been seen. There he lay down and pretended to be dead. Soon the giant came along. Seeing the man lying there, he said: "These humans are making it easy for me. Now I don't even have to catch and kill them; they die right on my trail, probably from fear of me! "The giant touched the body. Ah, good, he said, "this one is still warm and fresh. What a tasty meal he'll make; I can't wait to roast his heart. "The giant flung the man over his shoulder, and the man let his head hang down as if he were dead. Carrying the man home, the giant dropped him in the middle of the floor right near the fireplace. Then he saw that there was no firewood, and went to get some. As soon as the monster had left, the man got up and grabbed the giant's huge skinning knife. Just then the giant's son came in, bending low to enter. He was still small as giants go, and the man held the big knife to his throat. "Quick, tell me, where's your father's heart? Tell me or I'll slit your throat! "The giant's son was scared. He said: "My father's heart is in his left heel. "Just then the giant's left foot appeared in the entrance, and the man swiftly plunged the knife into the heel. The monster screamed and fell down dead. Yet, the giant still spoke. "Though I'm dead, though you killed me, I'm going to keep on eating you and all the humans in the world forever! "That's what you think!" said the man. "I'm about to make sure that you never eat anyone again." He cut the giant's body into pieces and burned each one in the fire. Then he took the ashes and threw them into the air for the winds to scatter. Instantly each of the particles turned into a mosquito. The cloud of ashes became a cloud of mosquitoes, and from their midst the man heard the giant's voice laughing, saying: "Yes, Ill eat you people until the end of time. "As the monster spoke, the man felt a sting, and a mosquito started sucking his blood, and then many mosquitoes stung him, and he began to scratch himself.
Taken from "American Indian Myths and Legends"
How the Fly Saved the River - Ojibway Many, many years ago when the world was new, there was a beautiful river. Fish in great numbers lived in this river, and its water was so pure and sweet that all the animals came there to drink. A giant moose heard about the river and he too came there to drink. But he was so big, and he drank so much, that soon the water began to sink lower and lower. The beavers were worried. The water around their lodges was disappearing. Soon their homes would be destroyed. The muskrats were worried, too. What would they do if the water vanished? How could they live? The fish were very worried. The other animals could live on land if the water dried up, but they couldn't. All the animals tried to think of a way to drive the moose from the river, but he was so big that they were too afraid to try. Even the bear was afraid of him. At last the fly said he would try to drive the moose away. All the animals laughed and jeered. How could a tiny fly frighten a giant moose? The fly said nothing, but that day, as soon as the moose appeared, he went into action. He landed on the moose's foreleg and bit sharply. The moose stamped his foot harder, and each time he stamped, the ground sank and the water rushed in to fill it up. Then the fly jumped about all over the moose, biting and biting and biting until the moose was in a frenzy. He dashed madly about the banks of the river, shaking his head, stamping his feet, snorting and blowing, but he couldn't get rid of that pesky fly. At last the moose fled from the river, and didn't come back. The fly was very proud of his achievement, and boasted to the other animals, "Even the small can fight the strong if they use their brains to think."
The Medicine Wheel is representative of American Indian Spirituality.
The Medicine Wheel symbolizes the individual journey we each must take to find our own path. Within the Medicine Wheel are The Four Cardinal Directions and the Four Sacred Colors. The Circle represents the Circle of Life and the Center of the Circle, the Eternal Fire. The Eagle, flying toward the East, is a symbol of strength, endurance and vision. East signifies the renewal of life and the rebirth of Cherokee unity.
East = Red = success; triumph North = Blue = defeat; trouble West = Black = death South = White = peace; happiness
There are three additional sacred directions: Up Above = Yellow Down Below = Brown Here in the Center = Green
Winter = go-la The color for North is Blue which represents sadness, defeat. It is a season of survival and waiting. The Cherokee word for North means "cold" u-yv-tlv.
Spring = gi-la-go-ge The color for East is Red which represents victory, power. Spring is the re-awakening after a long sleep, victory over winter; the power of new life. The Cherokee word for East is ka-lv-gv
Summer = go-ga The color for South is White for peace, happiness & serenity. Summer is a time of plenty. The Cherokee word for South means "warm" u-ga-no-wa.
Autumn = u-la-go-hv-s-di The color for West is Black which represents death. Autumn is the final harvest; the end of Life's Cycle. The Cherokee word for West is wu-de-li-gv.
How The Milky Way Came To Be - Cherokee retold by Barbara Shining Woman Warren Long ago when the world was young, there were not many stars in the sky.
In those days the people depended on corn for their food. Dried corn could be made into corn meal by placing it inside a large hollowed stump and pounding it with a long wooden pestle. The cornmeal was stored in large baskets. During the winter, the ground meal could made into bread and mush.
One morning an old man and his wife went to their storage basket for some cornmeal. They discovered that someone or something had gotten into the cornmeal during the night. This upset them very much for no one in a Cherokee village stole from someone else.
Then they noticed that the cornmeal was scattered over the ground. In the middle of the spilt meal were giant dog prints. These dog prints were so large that the elderly couple knew this was no ordinary dog.
They immediately alerted the people of the village. It was decided that this must be a spirit dog from another world. The people did not want the spirit dog coming to their village. They decided to get rid of the dog by frightening it so bad it would never return. They gathered their drums and turtle shell rattles and later that night they hid around the area where the cornmeal was kept.
Late into the night they heard a whirring sound like many bird wings. They look up to see the form of a giant dog swooping down from the sky. It landed near the basket and then began to eat great mouthfuls of cornmeal.
Suddenly the people jumped up beating and shaking their noise makers. The noise was so loud it sounded like thunder. The giant dog turned and began to run down the path. The people chased after him making the loudest noises they could. It ran to the top of a hill and leaped into the sky, the cornmeal spilling out the sides of its mouth.
The giant dog ran across the black night sky until it disappeared from sight. But the cornmeal that had spilled from its mouth made a path way across the sky. Each gain of cornmeal became a star.
The Cherokees call that pattern of stars, gi li' ut sun stan un' yi (gil-LEE-oot-soon stan-UNH-yee), "the place where the dog ran."
And that is how the Milky Way came to be.
Tsalagi Creation Story
Many, many moons ago, in the beginning of time, the earth was all water. There was no land. All the four-leggeds, all the animals, all the winged-ones, lived up in the sky on the clouds. They were waiting for the land to dry, but it would not dry. They would send one animal but he would come back unable to find dry land. The animals would regularly check the water below. Finally, after a dog had looked and reported back that it was still wet, they sent the water beetle. The water beetle dove into the water, grabbed a handful of mud at the bottom, brought it up and placed it on top of the water and it started to dry, started to build land. He brought more and more and still they waited for it to dry, still they waited and waited.
Finally, they sent grandfather buzzard, the mighty buzzard, down and the land was almost dry. As the buzzard flew, he'd fly down close to the land and every time he would flap his mighty wings, he would form a mountain and a valley. That's why the Cherokee land has mountains and valleys in it today. All the animals came down and settled on the earth.
After they did, they realized they had no light. So they called to Grandfather and asked would he give them light, and he did. He brought to them the sun. He put the sun down right by the ground, and it was too hot for the animals. So they pushed and pushed, till finally they got it far enough out that it would not burn all the time; but it was still so hot that the crawfish was baked. That's why, if you look at him today, he is red from the sun being too close.
Finally, they got the sun far enough out so it would not burn and we would have night. And Grandfather told them, "Now that I have done this for you, I ask that all the four-legged, and all the animals, and all the plants stay awake for seven days and for seven nights." This is why today, when a warrior goes to cross his manhood, he fasts and sweats for seven days.
All the animals and all the plants fell asleep except for some. The owl stayed awake, and that's why he has vision to hunt at night now. The plants, the Douglas fir, the cedar, the pine, and a few others stayed awake for seven nights and for seven days. That's why only these, among all the plants, are allowed to stay green all the year round. The other plants fell asleep and so must sleep part of every year.
Such was the beginning of our lands as told by a Cherokee grandmother to her grandson.
How the Red Bird Got His Color - Cherokee retold by Barbara Shining Woman Warren Cherokee Words: a.. wolf wa ya b.. raccoon gv li c.. bird tsi qua d.. brown u wo di ge e.. red gi ga ge f.. red bird to tsu wa Gv li loved to tease wa ya. One day gv li teased wa ya so much that wa ya became very angry. Wa ya began to chase gv li through the woods. Gv li, being the clever animal that he is, kept ahead of wa ya.
Gv li came to a river. Instead of jumping in the river, he quickly climbed a tall tree and peered over a branch to see what wa ya would do next.
When wa ya came to the river, he saw the reflection of gv li in the water. Thinking that it was gv li, wa ya jumped in and tried to catch him. Wa ya continued to search for gv li for such a long time that he became so tired he nearly drowned. Finally, tired and exhausted, wa ya climbed up the river bank and fell fast asleep.
After a while, gv li quietly climbed down the tree and slipped over to the sleeping wa ya. While wa ya slept, gv li began to plaster the eyes of wa ya with mud. Then when he had finished, gv li ran off through the woods laughing to himself thinking of the clever trick he had played.
After a while, wa ya woke up. He began to whine, "Oh, someone please help me. I can't see. I can't open my eyes." But no one came to help him.
Finally tsi qua u wo di ge heard the cries of wa ya. He flew over to wa ya and landed on his shoulder. He said, "What's the matter Brother Wolf? Can I help you?" Wa ya cried, "I can't open my eyes. Oh, please help me to see again." Tsi qua u wo di ge said, "I'm just a little brown bird but I will help you if I can." Wa ya said, " Tsi qua u wo di ge, if you can help me to see again, I will take you to a magic rock that oozes red paint. We will paint your feathers gi ga ge."
Tsi qua u wo di ge began pecking away at the dried mud on the eyes of wa ya. Soon wa ya could open his eyes again. True to his promise wa ya said, "Thank you, my brother; now jump up onto my shoulder." Away they ran through the woods to the rock that oozed red paint.
When they came to the rock, wa ya reached up and plucked a twig from a tree branch. He chewed the end of the twig until it was soft and pliable like the end of a paint brush. Then he dipped the end of the twig into the red paint and began to paint the feathers of tsi qua, gi ga ge.
When all of his feathers were gi ga ge, tsi qua flew off to show all of his family and friends how beautiful he was. That is why, from that day to this, you can see to tsu wa flying around the woods in Cherokee country.
Origin of the Word 'Chicago' An Ojibwa Folk Tale As told by Katharine Judson Once an Ottawa hunter and his wife lived on the shores of Lake Michigan. Then the hunters went south, toward the end of the lake, to hunt. When he reached the lake* where he had caught beaver the year before, it was still covered with ice. Then he tapped the ice to find the thinner places where the beaver families lived. He broke holes at these weaker points in the ice, and went to his wigwam to get his traps.
Now the hunter's wife chanced to pass one of these holes and saw a beaver on the ice. She caught it by the tail and called to the hunter to come and kill it quickly, before it could get back into the water.
"No," said the hunter, "if I kill this beaver, the others will become frightened. They will escape from the lake by other openings in the ice."
Then the woman became angry, and they quarreled.
When the sun was near setting, the hunter went out on the ice again, to set more traps. When he returned to his teepee, his wife had gone. He thought she had gone to make a visit. The next morning she had not returned, and he saw her footprints. So he followed her trail to the south. As he followed her trail, he saw that the footprints gradually changed. At last they became the trail of a skunk. The trail ended in a marsh, and many skunks were in that marsh.
Then he returned to his people. And he called the place, "The Place of the Skunk**."
* [Between Milwaukee and Chicago, going south where Chicago now stands.]
** Which apparently is the translation of the word Chicago... yes, the word has undergone some small changes in spelling and pronunciation... no, I don't have the original spelling on-hand.
Origin of the Thunderbird Passamaquoddy
This is a legend of long, long ago times. Two Indians desired to find the origin of thunder. They traveled north and came to a high mountain. These mountains performed magically. They drew apart, back and forth, then closed together very quickly. One Indian said, "I will leap through the cleft before it closes. If I am caught, you continue to find the origin of thunder." The first one succeeded in going through the cleft before it closed, but the second one was caught and squashed. On the other side, the first Indian saw a large plain with a group of wigwams, and a number of Indians playing a ball game. After a little while, these players said to each other, "It is time to go." They disappeared into their wigwams to put on wings, and came out with their bows and arrows and flew away over the mountains to the South. This was how the Passamaquoddy Indian discovered the homes of the thunderbirds. The remaining old men of that tribe asked the Passamaquoddy Indian, "What do you want? Who are you?" He replied with the story of his mission. The old men deliberated how they could help him. They decided to put the lone Indian into a large mortar, and they pounded him until all of his bones were broken. They molded him into a new body with wings like thunderbird, and gave him a bow and some arrows and sent him away in flight. They warned him not to fly close to trees, as he would fly so fast he could not stop in time to avoid them, and he would be killed. The lone Indian could not reach his home because the huge enemy bird, Wochowsen, at that time made such a damaging wind. Thunderbird is an Indian and he or his lightning would never harm another Indian. But Wochowsen, great bird from the South, tried hard to rival Thunderbird. So Passamaquoddies feared Wochowsen, whose wings Glooscap once had broken, because he used too much power. A result was that for a long time air became stagnant, the sea was full of slime, and all of the fish died. But Glooscap saw what was happening to his people and repaired the wings of Wochowsen to the extent of controlling and alternating strong winds with calm.
Old Man at the Beginning - Crow
A story of the Crow People of Montana and Wyoming At the beginning of the world, there was nothing but water. It was dark in the world, and no one saw the water of the world. Then the Old Man of the Crow People came into the world, and he looked all around and said, "Is there nothing in this world but water?" Off in the distance, Old Man saw that there were two little ducks swimming about. These ducks had red eyes. Old Man called them to him. They came swimming, paddling in the world of water. Old Man said to them, "Is there nothing in this world but water?" The elder duck answered, "We have never seen anything in this world but water, but we think that there may be something down under the water. We feel it in our hearts." "Dive down, Younger Duck," said Old Man, and the younger of the little ducks dove deep under the water, looking for the bottom. He was gone a long time, and Old Man said, "Oh, I am afraid Younger Duck has drowned." "No," said the Elder Duck, "we are able to hold our breath for a long time. He will come back up." At about that time, Younger Duck came up with something in his bill. It was a root. "If there is a root," said Old Man, "then there must be earth as well. Dive down Elder Duck, and see if you find some earth." The elder duck dove deep, and was gone for a very long time. When he came up, he had a ball of mud in his bill. "This is what I have been looking for," said Old Man. He took the root and put it in the ball of wet earth, and blew three times on it. Once he blew, twice he blew, and again he blew on the ball of earth. The ball began to grow and fill the world and push the water aside. It grew until there was a great land, with many plants and animals living on it. The ducks, who live in water, on land, and in the sky, brought up the earth, and Old Man made the world for the Crow People.
Rabbit and The Coyote This is a story of Uncle Rabbit and the coyote. The rabbit came to a big rock, and there he deceived the coyote. He was leaning on the rock when the coyote came by. "What are you doing, brother?" the coyote asked the rabbit. "Come here quickly, brother, the sky is falling down on top of us. Lean against the rock and hold it up while I go for a stick. We'll prop it up with that," said the rabbit to the coyote. "All right," said the coyote and began holding it up with all his might. Since the coyote was so stupid, he did exactly what the rabbit told him to. The rabbit had said that he was going to get a stick, but he went and left the coyote holding up the rock. When the rabbit didn't return the coyote shouted: "Come back, brother! The weight of the rock has made me tired." The rabbit still didn't come back. "No matter, I'm going to leave even though the sky may fall down on top of us," said the coyote. But when he ran away he fell into a ravine. The rabbit never came back to the rock and the coyote was lost. Later the rabbit came to a pond and saw the reflection of the moon in there. As the rabbit was very tricky, he was always deceiving the coyote. The dumb coyote always followed him and didn't know that the rabbit was deceiving him. The coyote came to the pond where the rabbit was. When he saw the coyote coming he began to drink the water from the pond. "What are you doing, brother? The coyote asked the rabbit. "Look, brother, there's a lot of food down there," answered the rabbit. "What kind of food?" "Look," the rabbit told the coyote. The coyote looked in the water and said: "I see it. What is it?" "There's a cheese in the water," the rabbit said to the coyote. "If we drink all the water we can get the cheese. Drink it, you're big and you can finish all the water." "All right, brother," he said, and began to drink the water. "I'm going for a walk," said the rabbit, and left. The coyote continued to drink the water, but the rabbit was gone. The coyote's stomach began to hurt him, and he got the runs. He wasn't able to finish the water, so the coyote abandoned the effort and left.
Red man and the Uktena - Cherokee
Two brothers went bunting together, and when they came to a good camping place in the mountains they made a fire, and while one gathered bark to put up a shelter the other started up the creek to look for a deer. Soon he heard a noise on the top of the ridge as if two animals were fighting. He hurried through the bushes to see what it might be, and when he came to the spot he found a great uktena coiled around a man and choking him to death. The man was fighting for his life, and called out to the hunter: "Help me, nephew; he is your enemy as well as mine." The hunter took good aim, and, drawing the arrow to the head, sent it through the body of the uktena, so that the blood spouted from the hole. The snake loosed its coils with a snapping noise, and went tumbling down the ridge into the valley, tearing up the earth like a water spout as it rolled..
The stranger stood up, and it was the Asga'ya Gi'g??the Red Man of the Lightning. He said to the hunter: "You have helped me, and now I will reward you, and give you a medicine so that you can always find game." They waited until it was dark, and then went down the ridge to where the dead uktena had rolled, but by this time the birds and insects had eaten the body and only the bones were left. In one place were flashes of light coming up from the ground, and on digging here, just under the surface, the Red Man found a scale of the uktena. Next he went over to a tree that had been struck by lightning, and gathering a handful of splinters he made a fire and burned the uktena scale to a coal. He wrapped this in a piece of deerskin and gave it to the hunter, saying: "As long as you keep this you can always kill game." Then he told the hunter that when he went back to camp he must hang up the medicine on a tree outside, because it was very strong and dangerous. He told him also that when he went into the cabin he would find his brother lying inside nearly dead on account of the presence of the uktena's scale, but he must take a small piece of cane, which the Red Man gave him, and scrape a little of it into water and give it to his brother to drink and he would be well again. Then the Red Man was gone, and the hunter could not see where he went. He returned to camp alone, and found his brother very sick, but soon cured him with the medicine from the cane, and that, day and the next, and every day after, he found game whenever he went for it.
The Myth of the Cherokee Tear Dress
By : Pitter Glinda Ladd Seabaugh
The Tear Dress is often referred to as being the style of dress that was worn on the Trail of Tears. It is said that as the women were taken to Indian Territory that after their arrival they were given cotton fabric but were not given scissors. So the material had to be torn by hand to make the dresses. I have also heard the story as to how the dresses were patterned after the prairie girls but that the Cherokee girls put patch work diamonds on the shoulders and around the bottom of the dress so the men could tell them a part from the white girls at a far glance into the fields.
As shocking as it may seem, these stories are only a myth. I was totally shocked and in disbelief when a few weeks ago as I was surfing the net and decided to see what was new on the Official Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma web site. To my amazement under the tidbit section they reported that the Cherokee Tear Dress was designed in 1975. 1975!! Why thats only about 25 years old! So I quickly called the tribal office after being directed to the right people I was told by a young man there, that yes this is about right, that the dress is very new! The dress was made the official tribal dress by proclamation by the National Council around 1975. So this really got my attention and I found myself doing some research. I read everything I could find on this dress, and let me tell you there was not much to be found! The culture Center at the Cherokee Nation tells us that the dress is believed to be the style of dress from the Trail of Tears era and that the style of dress worn today was patterned after an actual dress stored for many years in a trunk, and believed to be from the Trail of Tears era.
They go on to say that the dresses are styled from calico print material, with an appliqu?attern of diamonds on the yoke and around the skirt, just above the flounce with 3/4 length sleeves.
After checking further I found out that the original Cherokee Tear Dress actually came about after the embarrassment of a young Cherokee woman, by the name of Virginia Stroud, who had been chosen as Miss Indian American. After winning this honor she was crowned wearing a Kiowa buckskin dress she had borrowed from a college friend. A group of Cherokee ladies was embarrassed that unlike other tribes, the Cherokee did not have a traditional dress. They felt it was unacceptable for a Cherokee woman who was representing the Cherokee people in public events to be dressed as a Kiowa. So they took the problem to the Cherokee Chief of that time, which was W.W. Keeler. They quickly decided to design a dress that would be historically correct, but unlike any other tribe, not wanting it to look like a plains dress.
They all started searching for the right dress design that would be uniquely Cherokee and be acceptable to the Chief. After much research and finding nothing one of the ladies, Marie Waddle, had remembered seeing a dress in her grandmothers old trunk. After much discussion among the ladies and Chief, they thought yes this would work, so they took this dress and redesigned it somewhat and came up with the official Cherokee Tear dress. This dress would serve them well for the Miss Indian America to wear as a representative of the Cherokee people and also giving the Tribe a dress to call their own.
After much consideration, it was decided that they needed to complete the outfit so the women made two calf-length white turkey feather capes, while Cherokee artist, Willard Stone designed and made a crown of copper to represent the style and material of the ancient Cherokee and to signify the women's importance in nurturing and teaching the next generation.
Over the next ten years, each Miss Cherokee were required to wear the official copy of both the feather cape and crown in all public events for their reigning year. Eventually the feathered cape was retired to the Cherokee National Museum. The shape and style in the first cooper crown has since been copied and interpreted by many other Indian tribal groups for their Indian Princesses. These can be seen at many pow-wows today.
So to sum it all up I guess we can say that the Tear dress as lovely as it is, is not an old traditional dress, the style itself was not even worn historically until about the 1850s long after the Trail of Tears. I talked with Lisa La Rough From the Cherokee Nation Cultural Center in Oklahoma, and she again verified that the dress was indeed designed in 1975 and that the appliqu?attern of diamonds and rounded neck of the dress was added to the original square neck dress found in the trunk. Today, the dress has been modified to be worn floor length and sometimes worn with long sleeves instead of the official 3/4 length sleeves. The dress is not made with a pattern and is simply constructed of squares and rectangles.
Today you will sometimes see at pow-wows a tear dress with rows of ribbons instead of the reverse appliqu?iamonds as in the Authentic Tear Dress, this is not an authentic Tear Dress. As stated by Wendell Cochran, National Living Treasurer in the Area of traditional Cherokee Clothing and enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma stated that this dress is like the difference between a Corvette and the official lead car at the Indy 500. They both started with the same basic design and assembly method, but the Lead Car is supped-up and has a lot of racing strips and decals plus better upholstery and gadgets inside. He summed it up by saying that the Ribbons are the lazy women's way of making more money by doing less work.
As stated by Wendell, The worst Tear Dresses are those that people try to make from that wicked historical reproduction pattern company that seems to be available at every pow-wow I have ever attended. Tandy Leather Company also carried the same line. I have some choice but not printable thoughts about their other garment patterns too. Especially the mens Indian and Frontier garb. They should be sued for defective product liability and I would love to see the Cherokee Nation get damages for their fraudulent misrepresentation of the term Cherokee Tear Dress. By no stretch of the imagination could a person make a tear dress from the pattern or the instructions. Sadly, I have had to express wonder at some strange fitting garments that were proudly worn by some uninformed, but ethnically prideful Cherokee descendants who trotted them selves down to the Cherokee Nation Holiday from Kansas City or Des Moines. In not a few cases, it was maddening to find out that they paid fairly large sums to their local professional dressmakers to stitch their dresses up because they simply didn't understand the instructions after they had bought the fabric and the pattern.
Sorry Souls that they are, I have no heart to point out the inaccuracies of the miss guided intentions to appear historically authentic. My heart goes to the local Cherokees who produce beautifully made tear dresses and willing to make them for far less than the labor and attention the detail deserve.
Thank you Mr. Cochran, I couldn't have said it better!
Mr. Wendell Cochran is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. In 1989, the Tribe and the Cherokee National Historical Society awarded Mr. Cochran the title of Master Craftsman and National Living Treasurer in the Area of Traditional Cherokee Clothing.
Even though the Cherokee Tear Dress is not an Old traditional dress and has been misleading to some degree with all the glamorous stories being attached to it. We must still thank these ladies, Wynona Day, Marie Waddle and the other ladies on the Cherokee committee for giving us a much needed beautiful dress that the Cherokee ladies can wear today to be able to set us apart from all the other tribes! It is a very beautiful, durable Cherokee dress, one that we should wear with pride.
Selu the Corn Mother and the Deer
The story of Selu the Corn Mother and the Deer as the Animal representative of her are told to help us learn and personalize many of the facts in the sharings of her stories. Give and take is the principle point that it all comes to. The perfect balance and harmony. We need to see the generosity in the stories of the Deer and Selu. We need to be aware of the manner of man and how we continue to try and avoid this principal. Our generation is put to the task of dealing with all the generations of greed and insensitivity that man has evolved to. The story of Selu and the Deer help us as a people to keep our perspectives clear on the matter. Giving back is the natural order of balance; to consciously know that it works and must be maintained and no one is exempt from the principle. The old ones tell us that in the First World, Selu came with us into the Circle of Life. And as we began to move away from the Balance and Harmony of Life, we did not know her. In the last world, Selu lived with her two Grandsons in the Mountains. She was old and very wise. She sang and made the world around her very beautiful. One day, Selu watched her grandsons preparing to hunt. She thought of the days long ago when Man and the Creatures of the Forest all spoke a common language and understood each other. There was respect for all Life. It was a world of peace and happiness. There was abundance and respect. All was appreciated. Man sat in the Circle of Wisdom Keepers and was honored and loved by all. It was a good time in the Earth Mother for all Creation. Man began to have greed. The balance was lost. She remembered the Great Council of the last world where the animals had determined not to allow man to kill them all off as his hunting game. That his relentless hunger was a threat to their cycles of life. Man over-hunted and killed too many Relations in the food chain. Many, such as the Deer, put forth a punishment to all who would eat their flesh. And this was the first disease of man. And thus came Nuwati, medicine. Selu remembered how terrible it was for the animals in the forest when they could smell man and knew he had come to kill them. Selu's heart was heavy, It was a long time ago, she thought. It is time to begin again and seek the harmony and regain the balance. Man needs to return to the Wisdom Fires Above. Man needs to be honorable. Creator combined all the Creations into Mankind. Man holds all the patterns of principles within his body, mind and spirit. Selu saw how the Great Spirit had given man all the gifts and how man had lost them with all his greed. Selu saw her grandsons loading up the weapons for the kill. She knew there was more than enough food in their home to feed everyone. Hope leapt forth in her heart as she had an idea. She went to her grandson and spoke, "You are going out today?" The oldest replied, "Yes, we prepare to hunt." Selu said, "We have so much already. Let me cook you a wonderful dinner!" The younger grandson answered, "No, we must hunt. We are hunters. We will bring you many Wild Turkeys." Selu tried again, "But we have many Turkeys already and I will make you Corn and you will feel full and not have the need to hunt." The grandsons continued to get ready to hunt. "We will be back by evening and you will see, we will bring you fresh meat." Selu wished them well and asked them to respect all, and show appreciation to the animals. The grandsons laughed and went into the forest. Selu cooked and made a meal that tempted all who had senses to smell and eat. She sang and blessed the meal with her love. She waited. Soon her grandsons came into the clearing around their home. They had smelled the wonderful meal for miles and were happy to see it came from their home. Selu was happy to see them, and as she put the feast upon the table, she saw they had killed a boar pig. They ate and could not say enough about how delicious the meal was and how good it was to have the corn stuffing and spices, with the Turkeys. Again she said to them, "See, we have so much to eat, we do not need to kill the animals." They said they were tired and needed to sleep, so they could get up early and be out before the deer. Selu listened and she asked them again how they liked the food she had made. They told her they loved the food and never had they eaten so much and tasted anything as good as the corn. They asked her where she had gotten the corn, and she did not answer. She was happy they loved the meal and was planning the feast for the next day. She sang as the night moved over the lands, "Soo Looo, Sooo Looooo, Soooo Loooooo, Sai." Her grandsons dreamed of bread made of corn and honey. The next morning, very early, they were up and went for their weapons. She watched. She went to them again and said, "We have so much left from yesterday, and a fresh boar from the hunt also, we have so much. Do you really have to go hunting?" "Yes," they said, "we are hunters. Today we will bring you a big deer." Selu looked at her grandsons. She loved them very much and she knew they loved her also. She would try again. They went to hunt and she cooked. The meal was even more wonderful than the day before. The smells went throughout the forest. Everyone knew Selu was cooking a feast. Her grandsons smelled the sweetness of corn while they were hunting. They remembered the taste, and that they had never tasted anything that good ever before. Selu was smiling. As evening came, the grandsons came home with their kill. It was a fine deer. They were very good hunters, the kill had been quick and the deer did not suffer. For this, Selu appreciated the skill of her grandsons. They followed the wonderful smells of corn and sat down to a feast like none ever before. They could not tell Selu how much they loved the food, because there were not enough words to describe it all. So they gave her the deer as their token of gratitude. She knew it was an honorable act to them. She thanked them and took the deer. After dark, she returned it to the forest. All were happy. Selu sang her song as the Men drifted into dreams of laughter and play. In the dreams, they saw their grandmother as a beautiful young woman, more beautiful then any they had seen. She sang throughout the night. They awakened early and felt so good. They felt strong and youthful again. They were laughing and felt playful as they were children. The Sun came up in glorious colors. As they prepared to hunt, they realized they were not in such a hurry to go to the forest and hunt. They asked Selu to make them breakfast, and she did. Fried corn mush and sweet honey. As they ate, it tasted so good they ate more than they needed and were so full, they needed to nap. They noticed that Selu looked younger, and was so happy, she sang and sang. The Sun was high by the time they were ready to go hunt. As they were leaving, Selu asked them not to go, "We have so much food now, more than we will ever be able to eat. I will feed you. I can cook everyday and you can do many things to help," "No", they said, "We must go hunt, we are hunters. Today we will hunt Turkeys." Selu watched as they left to go hunt and called out after them to remember to appreciate the animals. She was happy and began to prepare the meal for today. While out on the hunt, the youngest brother said to the older one, where does Selu get this corn that she is cooking? Do you know where it comes from?" The older brother said he didn't and that it did not matter to him. It was delicious and Selu would only feed them what was good, that was what he knew. All that day, the young man thought about the corn. As evening came, they returned home with the wild turkeys, the smells of the feast drawing them home. They were eager to sit down and again eat the delicious corn of Selu's feast. They told her how much they loved how she prepared their meal and how beautiful she was and how happy the home was because of her beauty and grace. She beamed as a light and they were in awe of her. She sang to them and they drifted into wonderful dreams and a sleep as peaceful as ever they could remember. They dreamed of happy days and abundance for everyone. The world was more beautiful than ever. They heard the animals speak and they heard the wingeds singing and they felt in right relation to all life. The dreams were of heaven. They awakened to the soft humming of Selu as she prepared the breakfast, of grits and butter, with sweet maple syrup. Selu looked even younger and happier than yesterday. The younger grandson was very curious and kept asking Selu where she got the corn. She would smile and say, "I make the corn, it is my gift to my Grandchildren. Another time she answered, "I am the corn." He was not satisfied and he began to annoy the older brother with his questions. "Let us go hunt and stop all these questions now. She told you she makes the corn and that is enough for me. It is good and I love it." Selu beamed her heart upon her oldest Grandson and he felt her love. It gave peace to have her in his home. The younger brother was not satisfied. He said, " Yes, it is good, and yes, I have never had anything better, but I want to know where it comes from, and I will find out." Off they went to hunt and Selu sang as she cleaned and cared for the home and land. She gave appreciation for all the relations and sang to them all. While the men were hunting, the younger brother kept insisting that they needed to know where she gets the corn. The older brother ask him why and he said he just must know. "Are we not happier than ever before? Can you ask for more? Just be thankful and happy she has given this to us, and how fortunate we are to have her." The young man could not accept this, and said I will go watch and see where she goes and gets this corn. He left the older brother and sneaked back home to spy on Selu. He watched her take a huge basket and go to the root cellar. There he watched her through a small hole as she stood in the basket and slapped her sides. Each time she slapped her sides, corn would fall into the basket. She continued until her basket was filled to the top. He was terrified and ran to find his brother in the forest hunting. Selu gave some of the corn pollen to the bees for honey and to the Earth for some tasty roots and herbs and salad greens. She fed corn pollen to the birds for singing as she worked and was generous to all the relations. Everyone was happy and the world was a beauty place. She cooked for her Grandsons and sang of beauty and happiness. The Grandson ran back to the older brother and said what he saw and that the corn was Selu's body. The older brother was heavy in his heart. And he said to his brother, "If what you say is true, then it is an unsavory thing we do. We cannot eat our Grandmother. How is this that she can make her body turn to corn? This is strange and unsafe and not of this world. Something is not good here and I cannot understand this thing. We must be careful, something has taken our Grandmother." It grew dark and they started home. The smell was so tempting and they could feel their stomachs ache for the corn. They heard music all around their lands and Selu singing. Their hearts were in pain as they knew they feared her for all she was. At dinner, she heaped up their plates with all the delicious things of the lands and watched as they picked at it and ate little or nothing. She grew sad as she watched and realized they knew what they could not live with and know. The Knowledge was too much for them and it had destroyed the balance between them and the world. Selu asked them, "Do you not love me? Have I not given you all of myself? Have you not felt the peace and happiness in my Life with you? What would you ask of me?" As she spoke, Selu grew very old and became very ill and her life began to leave her body. The Earth grew cold and all was silent. A long night fell upon the Forest and the Grandsons cried for what had happened. The youngest was unhappy for his loss and asked for forgiveness. Selu asked them to come to her side and listen well. "I have much to tell you," she said, "and we have but a little time now as I am. I am as old as the soil, and first man. I am the Corn. I was given to you as your substances and as Abundance, Happiness, Health and Peace. I Am Selu, I Am the Corn Mother." She told them to take her form when she passed over to pure Spirit, place it in the soil, and make a circle around it. "I will return to you in a cycle as a plant, that grows tall and strong. I will have golden hair at the top, and I will have ears of golden seeds at my sides that will also have hair. When it turns brown, you will pick it, and peel back its sweet leaves and dry the seeds. There will be seven ears of the corn. Do not eat them, use all of them as seeds. When the spring comes, make mounds as the woman in her birthing place, and make a planting stick as your own seed planter is shaped and insert it into the mounds you cultivate and place two seeds in each hole. Go to the Old River Man and ask his children the fish, to come and bring the Water Spirits to the land, so the corn can grow. Place a fish in each hole and add the seeds. This corn you will not eat. You will use as offerings and seeds for the sacred ways of the Land and Waters." Selu told them many things to make Life good again. She told them when to plant and how to speak and hear the Moon. She told them to sing and dance and what the Ancients had given us. She told them she loved them and that they were to keep well and safe. She was given to show us how to keep the joy of life and to maintain the balance. The wisdom was much and the Grandsons were happy that Selu was their Grandmother and that her love lived in all things. When she passed to Spirit to wait for her return, they would not hunt unless they were nearly starving and they did as she had instructed. They became wise. When the Spring came after Selu had passed, the youngest brother went for a wife. When he came home, his wife was given the Wisdom of Selu, and she had memory of the Old One's Ways and they planted and harvested the corn as was given them and happiness was with their children. Selu says to us to come home and open to the Wisdoms of the First World
The Old Woman of Spring [Cheyenne]
This tale about the gifts of corn and buffalo to the Cheyenne is related to the legend about Arrow Boy. In the Cheyenne manner, a storyteller will say, "Let's tie another story to the end of this one," and go on from there. North, as it is spoken of at the beginning of both tales, is a nostalgic reference to the Cheyenne hunting grounds in north-central America, from which they were driven by invading tribes, probably the Ojibway.
When the Cheyenne were still in the north, they camped in a large circle at whose entrance a deep, rapid spring flowed from a hillside. The spring provided the camp with water, but food was harder to find. The buffalo had disappeared, and many people went hungry. One bright day some men were playing the game of ring and javelin in the center of the camp circle. They used a red and black hoop and four long sticks, two red and two black, which they threw at the hoop as it rolled along. In order to win, a player had to throw his stick through the hoop while it was still moving. A large audience had already gathered when a young man came from the south side of the camp circle to join them. He wore a buffalo robe with the hair turned outward. His body was painted yellow, and a yellow painted eagle breach-feather was fastened to his head. Soon another young man dressed exactly like the first came from the north side of the circle to watch the game. They were unacquainted, but when! the two caught sight of each other they moved through the crowd to talk. "My friend," said the man from the south side, "you're imitating my dress. Why are you doing it?" The other man said, "It's you who are imitating me. Why?" In their explanations, both men told the same story. They had entered the spring that flowed out from the hillside, and there they were instructed how to dress. By now the crowd had stopped watching the game and gathered around to listen, and the young men told the people that they would go into the spring again and come out soon. As the crowd watched, the two approached the spring. The man from the south covered his head with this buffalo robe and entered. The other did the same thing. The young men splashed through the water and soon found themselves in a large cave. Near he entrance sat an old woman cooking some buffalo meat and corn in two separate earthen pots. She welcomed them: "Grandchildren, you have come. Her, sit beside me." They sat down! , one on each side of her, and told her that the people were hungry and that they had come to her for food. She gave them corn from one pot and meat from the other. They ate until they had had enough, and when they were through the pots were still full. Then she told them to look toward the south, and they saw that the land in that direction was covered with buffalo. She told them to look to the west, and they saw all kinds of animals, large and small, including ponies, through they knew nothing of ponies in those days. She told them to look toward the north, and they saw corn growing everywhere. The old woman said to them, "All this that you have seen shall be yours in the future. Tonight I cause the buffalo to be restored to you. When you leave this place, the buffalo will follow you , and your people will see them coming before sunset. Take this uncooked corn in your robes, and plant it every spring in low, moist ground. After it matures, you can feed upon it. Take also th! is meat and corn that I have cooked," she said, and when you have returned to your people, ask them to sit down to eat in the following order: First, all males from the youngest to the oldest, with the exception of one orphan boy; second, all females, from the oldest to the youngest, with the exception of one orphan girl. When all are through eating, the rest of the food in the pots is to be eaten by the orphan boy and the orphan girl. "The two men obeyed the old woman. When they passed out of the spring, they saw that their entire bodies had turned red. They went to their people who ate as directed of the corn and meat. There was enough for all, and the contents of the pots remained full until they were passed to the orphan children, who ate all the rest of the food. Toward sunset the people went to their lodges and began watching the spring closely, and in a short time they saw a buffalo leap out. The creature jumped and played and rolled, then returned to the spring. In a! little while another buffalo jumped out, then another and another and finally they came so fast that the Cheyenne were no longer able to count them. The buffalo continued to emerge all night, and the following day the whole country out in the distance was covered with buffalo. The buffalo scented the great camp . The next day the Cheyenne surrounded them, for thought men hunted on foot, they ran very fast. For a time the people had an abundance of buffalo meat. In the spring they moved their camp to low, swampy land, where they planted the corn they had received from the medicine stream. It grew rapidly and every grain they planted brought forth strong stalks bearing two to four ears of corn . The people planted corn every year after this. One spring after planting corn, the Cheyenne went on a buffalo hunt. When they had enough meat to last for a long time, they returned to their fields. To there surprise, they found that the corn had been stolen by some neighboring tribe. No! thing but stalks remained--not even a kernel for seed. thought the theft had occurred about a moon before, the Cheyenne trailed the enemy's footprints for several days. They even fought with two or three tribes, but never succeeded in tracing the robbers or recovering the stolen crop. It was a long time before the Cheyenne planted any more corn.
Based on a story by George A. Dorsey at the turn of the century
The loss of corn described here may symbolize how the Cheyenne abandoned planting for buffalo hunting in the last half of the eighteenth century. The "wings" given the Plains tribes by the arrival of guns and horses at this time not only allowed the to move from being gatherers to being hunters (the reverse of the more common cultural evolution) but opened up the possibility of a more elaborate--and transportable--material culture--hence the term, golden age of the Plains Indians.
Why the Bat has Short Legs - Apache
Long ago, Killer-of-Enemies vowed to save his people from the terror of monster eagles that roamed the skies and carried off children. Killer-of-Enemies tricked one monster eagle into carrying him up to the eagle nest on the cliff, where he killed the monster eagle and its family. But Killer-of-Enemies did not know how to get down from the cliff. Just then, he saw an old woman approaching. It was Old Woman Bat.
"Grandmother, help me. Take me down," Killer-of-Enemies said. Old Woman Bat looked all around, but did not see him. Killer-of-Enemies called out again, and again and again. Finally, Old Woman Bat saw him high in the eagle's nest. She came over to the cliff and began to climb.
"What are you doing here?" she asked, when she reached the top.
"Monster eagle carried me up here," he said. "Please take me down."
"Climb in my basket," Old Woman Bat said. Killer of Enemies looked at the burden basket on the old woman's back. Its carrying strap was made of spider's silk.
"That strap is too fine," he said. "It will break and I shall fall."
"Nonsense! I've carried a bighorn sheep in this basket," Old Woman Bat said . "Get in and close your eyes. If you look, we will fall."
Old Woman Bat clambered down the rock, singing a strange song. Her burden basket swayed wildly from side to side. Killer-of-Enemies thought the spider thread would surely break, so he opened his eyes to look.
As soon as Kill-of-Enemies opened his eyes. He and Old Woman Bat crashed down from the cliff. Old Woman Bat landed first and broke her legs. Killer-of-Enemies fell on top of her and was safe. Old Woman Bat's broken legs soon mended but from that day on her legs were short.
Retold from a myth of the Chiricahua Apache Indians of New Mexico
The Ancient One by Bearwalker
Ancient One sat in the shade of his tree in front of his cave. Red People came to him and he said to Red People, "Tell me your vision." And Red People answered, "The elders have told us to pray in this manner, and that manner, and it is important that only we pray as we have been taught for this has been handed down to us by the elders." "Hmmmm," said the Ancient One. Then Black People came to him and he said to Black People, "Tell me your vision." And Black People answered, "Our mothers have said to go to this building and that building and pray in this manner and that manner. And our fathers have said to bow in this manner and that manner when we pray. And it is important that we do only this when we pray." "Hmmmm," said the Ancient One. Then Yellow People came to him and he said to Yellow People, "Tell me your vision." And Yellow People answered, "Our teachers have told us to sit in this manner and that manner and to say this thing and that thing when we pray. And it is important that we do only this when we pray." "Hmmmm," said the Ancient One. Then White People came to him and he said to White People, "Tell me your vision." And White People answered, "Our Book has told us to pray in this way and that way and to do this thing and that thing, and it is very important that we do this when we pray." "Hmmmm," said the Ancient One. Then Ancient One spoke to the Earth and said, "Have you given the people a vision?" And the Earth said, "Yes, a special gift for each one, but the people were so busy speaking and arguing about which way is right they could not see the gift I gave each one of them." And the Ancient One asked same question of Water and Fire and Air and got the same answer. Then Ancient One asked Animal, and Bird, and Insect, and Tree, and Flower, and Sky, and Moon, and Sun, and Stars, and all of the other Spirits and each told him the same. Ancient One thought this was very sad. He called Red People, Black People, Yellow People, and White People to him and said to them. "The ways taught to you by your Elders, and your Mothers and Fathers, and Teachers, and Books are sacred. It is good that you respect those ways, for they are the ways of your ancestors. But the ancestors no longer walk on the Face of the Earth Mother. You have forgotten your own Vision. Your Vision is right for you but no one else. Now each of you must pray for your own Visions, and be still enough to see them, so you can follow the way of the heart. It is a hard way. It is a good way.
Big Magwis and Little Magwis - Wabanaki Long ago, in a Wabanaki village, there lived two young braves, both with the name of Magwis. One was called Big Magwis, because he was big and rich and lived in a very large wigwam; the other was called Little Magwis, because he was poor and little and lived in a very small wigwam. Now Big Magwis looked down on Little Magwis because he was a pauper. Yet in spite of having so much himself, he was still envious of what little his neighbor had. In particular, he was jealous of the small Indian's wigwam, which was very well made and stood in a shadier spot than his own. In the long hot days of summer, he hated his fine big lodge and looked with envy and greed at his neighbor. If only there was some way he could have Little Magwis' wigwam as well as his own. Then, one day, he chuckled as he thought of a plan. He strolled over to Little Magwis' wigwam and kicked idly at a large log which lay near the fire. "Kwah-ee, my brother," said Big Magwis. "Tell me, could you jump over this log and land on both feet?" "Certainly," said Little Magwis in surprise. "That would be easy." "I bet you these two cakes of corn," said the larger Indian craftily, "that you can't do it and I can!" Little Magwis smiled. "That's a foolish bet, my friend. Look now--" and he jumped the log with the greatest of ease. "Well, well," said Big Magwis, appearing crestfallaid, "It's surely impossible, but I'm willing to try if you are." "Very well," said Big Magwis with a sly grin. "You go first." So Little Magwis ran very fast towards the river, took a flying leap off the bank and landed--splash--in the middle. As he swam slowly back to shore, he saw Big Magwis doubled over with laughter. "It's all very well to laugh," said Little Magwis as he came ashore, "but now let's see you try it." "Certainly," said the big fellow. "Watch me." And he jumped into his canoe and paddled rapidly across the river. "Wait!" cried Little Magwis. "That's not right!" But just then Big Magwis jumped out of his canoe, landing on one foot on the opposite shore. "You see?" he shouted. "I bet you I could land on one foot, and I did! Nothing was said about jumping over! So now your wigwam and everything in it is mine!" Poor Little Magwis. Tricked out of his home and all he owned, with nothing in the world but two small cakes of corn, he was so ashamed at being taken in by a foolish trick that he ran away from the village that same day. At sunset, weary and hungry, he sat down under a tree and prepared to make a poor supper of the two small cakes of corn. A sound made him start to his feet. There stood an old Indian in a long brown cloak, eyeing his cakes hungrily. "Oh dear," thought Little Magwis, "I haven't really enough for myself," but, being a kindhearted lad, he held out one cake saying, "You seem hungry, grandfather. Eat." The old man thanked him and eagerly devoured the food. "It is clear," sighed Little Magwis, "that he is much hungrier than I am, and he is old." So he offered the old man the other cake. Now I can tell you something the little Indian did not know. The old man was really Glooscap. And this was his way of testing Little Magwis, to see if he was the sort of person who deserved his help. He now saw that Little Magwis was an honest, generous- hearted lad, in spite of the trouble he had brought upon himself. So he said: "Follow this path. Turn off to the right at the river, go on a little way, and you will see an oak tree under which the ground is dry and hard. When the evening star is seen in the sky, you must climb that tree and stay in it overnight. If you do as I say, you will have great good fortune." And before Little Magwis could open his mouth to ask any questions, suddenly the old man was not there any more! Little Magwis guessed at once that this was big magic and resolved to do as the old man had said. He found the oak tree without difficulty and as soon as it was dark climbed up into its branches. The ground underneath looked the sort of place used by travelers to camp overnight, for the earth was packed down hard. And sure enough, just as the moon rose, two boooins, or Indian wizards, came into the clearing and set up camp for the night. Little Magwis began to shiver and shake, knowing what would happen if he were discovered. Boooins would be sure to kill anyone who spied on them. Holding himself as still and small as possible, Little Magwis watched the boooins prepare their evening meal, and heard them talking to each other. "You know that blind Chief in the village at the river's bend," said one"Yes," said the other, "what about him ?" The first one laughed in an ugly sort of way. "How stupid those medicine men are! They are trying to cure his blindness with all sorts of remedies except the right one!" The other boooin shouted so loud with laughter that Little Magwis nearly fell out of the tree. "All he needs," said the first, "is a few drops of sweat from the hide of a white caribou." When the two boooins had done laughing and eating, they fell asleep. Little Magwis was still too frightened to move, so he stayed where he was, thinking how cruel the wizards were and how sad it was that the old Chief did not know their secret. He thought to himself that if he lived through the night and escaped the wrath of the boooins, he would give the blind Chief the proper remedy. Well, Little Magwis did live through the night without harm, though when the wizards awoke and went on their way, he was so stiff at first he could hardly move. He got down from the tree at last and set out for the village at the bend of the river. There he learned that the wizards had spoken truth. The old Chief was blind and the medicine men had given up hope of curing him. Now when Little Magwis offered to restore the Chief's sight, the medicine men laughed in his face, but the Chief was desperate and willing to try any thing. "Help me," he said to the little Indian, "and I'll give you anything you ask." "I will help you if I can," said Little Magwis, "but I want nothing in return. First, bring me a white caribou." Today there are no caribou at all in the Maritime woodlands, only the deer, which were brought in some thirty or forty years ago, but in the Old Time they were very plentiful. However, the white ones were rare, and it was some time before one could be found and driven into the village. Little Magwis caught and held it by the antler while he wet his hair string in the caribou's sweat. Then he squeezed the moisture into the Chief's sightless eyes. After a long breathless moment, the Chief's staring eyes grew bright. "I can see!" he cried. "I can see!" Then all the people cheered, and the Chief ordered a large toboggan brought to him. He loaded it with venison and furs and fine weapons and decorated baskets, and gave it all to Little Magwis. When Little Magwis arrived home in his own village with all these wonderful things, Big Magwis nearly choked with jealousy. "How did you get it? Where--what--how?" Little Magwis willingly told him the whole story. "The oak by the camping ground?" cried Big Magwis. "I know it well!" That night he stole off quietly and hid himself in the tree, hoping to overhear something that would bring him a fortune like his neighbor. Crouched in the fork of the tree, hiding his big body as well as he could, he heard the boooins approach the spot underneath and listened eagerly to what they had to say. "You remember our talk not long ago about the blind Chief?" asked one. "I remember it well," said the other. "I have just learned," said the first with a scowl, "that we were overheard by someone up in this tree--someone who got rich by curing the Chief with our secret remedy!" "Perhaps," said the second in a hard voice, "perhaps he is up in that tree now, hoping to hear more of our secrets!" And he suddenly hurled a stone into the tree, knocking Big Magwis to the ground and killing him instantly. Little Magwis never went to the tree again. He had more sense! And he was content with what he had. There, once again, it is told. Cromokee summonthewolf
The Origin Of The Pleiades And The Pine" - Cherokee Long ago, when the world was new, there were seven boys who used to spend all their time down by the townhouse playing the gatay???ame, rolling a stone wheel along the ground and sliding a curved stick after it to strike it. Their mothers scolded, but it did no good, so one day they collected some gatay???tones and boiled them in the pot with the corn for dinner. When the boys came home hungry their mothers dipped out the stones and said, "Since you like the gatay???etter than the cornfield, take the stones now for your dinner." The boys were very angry, and went down to the townhouse, saying, "As our mothers treat us this way, let us go where we shall never trouble them any more." They began to dance, some say it was the Feather Dance and went round and round the townhouse, praying to the spirits to help them. At last their mothers were afraid something was wrong and went out to look for them. They saw the boys still dancing around the townhouse, and as they watched they noticed that their feet were off the earth, and that with every round they rose higher and higher in the air. They ran to get their children, but it was to late, for they were already above the roof of the townhouse, all but one, whose mother managed to pull him down with the gatay???ole, but he struck the ground with such a force that he sank into it and the earth closed over him. The other six circled higher and higher until they went up to the sky, Where we see them now as the Pleiades, which the Cherokee still call Ani'tsuts?The Boys). The people grieved long after them, but the mother whose boy had gone into the ground came every morning and every evening to cry over the spot until the earth was damp with tears. At last a little green shoot sprouted up and grew day by day until it became the tall tree that we call now the pine, and the pine is of the same nature as the stars and holds in itself the same bright light.
Grey Coat At one point in time, all wolves were white. Every-single-one. There wasn't another color. One wolf was named Tala (Native-American for wolf). Tala hated the color white and decided to be another color. She went to the nearby Native American village, snuck in quietly, and stole a pot of red paint. When she found an open area, she dumped it on the ground to make a puddle. She rolled in the puddle until she was red all over. Then she went to the river to look at her reflection and see her knew color. When she got to the river, she frowned. "I look horrible in this color," she said. "Red is not my color." So she went back to the Native American village and stole a pot of yellow paint. Tala went back to the open area and dumped the pot on the ground and rolled until she was yellow all over. She went to the river to see the results. She frowned. "I look a dead leaf in autumn," she grumbled. "Yellow is not my color." Again she went to Native American village a stole a pot of green paint. Then she walked to the open area, dumped the pot of paint on the ground and rolled in it. Again, Tala went to the river. Her reflection did not make her happy. "I look like a rotting fruit," Tala complained. "Green is not my color." She went back to the Native American village and stole a pot of blue paint. She dumped it on the open area and rolled in it until every inch of her fur was covered in blue paint. She went to the river and sat down shaking her head. "I look like a night sky," she said. The she asked the river, " River, will you wash the paint off my fur?" "Certainly", said the river. Tala jumped into the river and rolled until she was clean. "Thank you, River," she said. The River chuckled. "But you did not get all the paint off. All those colors mixed to make gray. You're whole back is covered in gray paint." "Oh, well," Tala grumbled. "It's better than white."
Creation of Summer and Winter (Acoma tribe)
The oldest tradition of the people of Acoma and Laguna indicates that they lived on some island; that their homes were destroyed by tidal waves, earthquakes, and red-hot stones from the sky. They fled and landed on a low, swampy coast. From here they migrated to the Northwest, and wherever they made a long stay they built a "White City" (Kush-kut-ret).The fifth White City was built somewhere in southern Colorado or northern New Mexico. The people were obliged to leave it on account of cold, drought and famine. The first governor of Acoma had a daughter named Co-chin-ne-na-ko; she was the wife of Shakok, the spirit of Winter. After he came to live with them the seasons grew colder, colder; the snow and ice stayed longer; the corn would no longer mature; and the people were compelled to live on cactus leaves (E-mash-chu) and other wild plants. One day Co-chin-ne-na-ko went out to gather cactus leaves and burn off the thorns so that she could take them home for food. She had a leaf singed and was eating it, when upon looking up she saw a young man coming towards her. He had on a yellow shirt, woven of corn silk, a belt, and tall pointed hat; green leggings made of the green moss which grows in the springs and ponds, and moccasins beautifully embroidered with flowers and butterflies. In his hand he carried an ear of green corn. He came up and saluted her. She replied. Then he asked her what she was eating. She told him that the people were almost starved; that no corn would grow; and that they were all compelled to live on cactus leaves."Here," he said, "take this ear of corn and eat it, and I will go and bring you an armful to take home with you." He started and soon out of sight, going towards the south. In a very short time, however, he returned, bringing a large bundle of green corn (ken-utch), which he laid at her feet. Co-chin-ne-na-ko asked him where he had found the corn, and if it grew near by. He replied that he had brought it from his home, far to the south, where the corn grows and the flowers bloom all the year. "Oh, how I would like to see your country; will you not take me with you to your home?" she said. "Your husband, Shakok, the Spirit of Winter, would be angry if I should take you away," he said. She said, he is cold; ever since he came here no corn will grow, no flowers will bloom, and the people are compelled to live on prickly pear leaves.""Well", said he, "take the bundle of corn home with you and do not throw any of the husks outside the door; then come tomorrow and I will bring you more. I will meet you here." Then, bidding her farewell, he left again for his home in the south. Co-chin-ne-na-ko took the bundle of corn he had given her and started to go home to the town. She had not gone far when she met her sisters, for becoming alarmed at her long stay they had come out to look for her. They were very much surprised on seeing her with an armful of green corn instead of cactus leaves.Co-chin-ne-na-ko told them how the young man had come to her and brought her the corn. So they helped her carry it home. When they arrived their father and mother were wonderfully surprised, but pleased to see them bringing big ears of green corn instead of cactus leaves. They asked Co-chin-ne-na-ko where she had found it, and she told them, as she had already told her sisters, that a young man, whom she minutely described, had brought her the corn, and had asked her to meet him at the same place on the following day, and that he would accompany her home. "It is Miochin," said her father, "it is Miochin." "It is surely Miochin", said her mother. "Bring him home with you by all means." The next day Co-chin-ne-na-ko went to the place she had met Miochin, for he really was Miochin, the Spirit of Summer. He was already there waiting for her. He had big bundles of corn. Between them they carried it to the town, and there was enough to feed all the people of Acoma, and Miochin was welcomed at the house of the governor. In the evening, as was his custom, Shakok, the Sprit of Winter, and husband of Co-chin-ne-na-ko, returned from the north where he spent the days playing with the north wind, and with the snow and sleet and hail. He came in a blinding storm of snow, sleet and hail. On reaching the town he knew that Miochin was there, and called out to him, "Ha, Miochin, are you here?" Miochin advanced to meet him. "Ha, Miochin, now I will destroy you." "Ha, Shakok, I will destroy you," answered Miochin. Shakok stopped, and as Miochin advanced towards him the snow and hail melted and the fierce wind turned into a summer breeze. Shakok was covered with frost, icicles hung all about him, but as Miochin advanced towards him the frost melted, the icicles dropped off, and his clothing was revealed. It was made of dry bleached rushes (Ska-ra-ska-ru-ka). Shakok said, "I will not fight you now, but will meet you here four days from now and fight you till one or the other is beaten. The winner shall have Co-chin-ne-na-ko." With that Shakok left in a rage. The wind again roared and shook the very walls, but the people were warm in their houses. Miochin was there. Next day he left for his home in the south. Arriving there he made preparations for the meeting with Shakok. He first sent an eagle to his friend Yat-chum-me Moot, who lived in the west, asking him to help him in his fight with Shakok. Then he called all the birds, insects, and four-legged animals that live in summer lands. All these he called to help him. The bat (Pick-le-ke) was his advance guard and his shield, as the tough skin of the bat could best withstand the sleet and hail that Shakok would throw at him. On the third day Yat-chum-me kindled his fires, and heated the thin flat stones that he was names after. Then big black clouds of smoke rolled up from the south and covered the sky. When Shakok left he went to the north and called to him all the bird and the four-legged animals of the winter lands. He called these all to come and help him in the coming battle. The magpie (Shro-ak-ah) was his shield and advance guard. On the morning of the fourth day the two enemies could be seen coming. In the north the black storm clouds of winter, with snow, sleet, and hail were bringing Shakok to the battle. In the south, Yatchum-me piled more wood on his fires and great puffs of steam and smoke arose and formed into clouds. These were coming fast towards Acoma, and the place where the fight was to take place, and were bringing Miochin, the Spirit of Summer. The thick smoke of Yat-chum-me's fires blackened all the animals Miochin had with him, and that is why the animals of the south are black and brown. Forked blazes of lightning shot out of the clouds that were bringing Miochin. Each came fast. Shakok from the north; Miochin form the south. At last they reached the town, and the flashes from the clouds singed the feathers and hair on the birds and animals that came with Shakok, turning them white; that is the reason why all the animals and birds that live in the north are white, or have some white about them. Shakok and Miochin were now close together. From the north Shakok threw snowflakes, sleet, and hail that hissed through the air a blinding storm. In the south the big black clouds rolled along, and from Yat-chum-me's fires still rose up great puffs of smoke and steam that heated the air and melted Shakok's snow and sleet and hail, and compelled him to fall back. At last Shakok called for a truce. Miochin agreed, and the winds stopped and the snow and rain ceased falling. They met at the wall of Acoma, and Shakok said, "I am defeated; you are the winner; Co-chin-ne-na-ko is yours." Then they agreed that Shakok should rule during half of the year, and Miochin during the other half, and that neither should trouble the other thereafter. Ever since then one half of the year has been cold and the other half warm.