Archive for the ‘American Indian Lore’ Category
Once upon a time, when the Field-Mouse was out
gathering wild beans for the winter, his neighbor, the
Buffalo, came down to graze in the meadow. This the
little Mouse did not like, for he knew that the other
would mow down all the long grass with his prickly
tongue, and there would be no place in which to hide.
He made up his mind to offer battle like a man.
“Ho, Friend Buffalo, I challenge you to a fight! “he
exclaimed in a small, squeaking voice.
• A long time ago there were no stones on the earth. The mountains, hills, and valleys were not rough, and it was easy to walk on the ground swiftly. There were no small trees at that time either. All the bushes and trees were tall and straight and were at equal distances. So a man could travel through a forest without having to make a path.
• At that time, a large buffalo roamed over the land. From the water, he had obtained his spirit power–the power to change anything into some other form. He would have that power as long as he only drank from a certain pool.
• In his wanderings, Buffalo often travelled across a high mountain. He liked this mountain so much that one day he asked it, “Would you like to be changed into something else?”
Back in the old days, Bear had a tail which was his proudest possession. It was long and black and glossy and Bear used to wave it around just so that people would look at it. Fox saw this. Fox, as everyone knows, is a trickster and likes nothing better than fooling others. So it was that he decided to play a trick on Bear.
It was the time of year when Hatho, the Spirit of Frost, had swept across the land, covering the lakes with ice and pounding on the trees with his big hammer. Fox made a hole in the ice, right near a place where Bear liked to walk. By the time Bear came by, all around Fox, in a big circle, were big trout and fat perch. Just as Bear was about to ask Fox what he was doing, Fox twitched his tail which he had sticking through that hole in the ice and pulled out a huge trout.
Once during the autumn in the Great Smoky Mountains some dry leaves in the woods caught fire, and before the people could beat out the flames the fire spread to a big poplar tree. The tree blazed fiercely until it turned to ashes, and then the fire went down into the roots and burned a great hole in the ground. It burned and burned, and the hole grew constantly larger, until the people became frightened and were afraid it would burn the whole world. Time after time they tried to extinguish the fire, but it had gone too deep, and they did not know what to do.
At last a chief said that Ice Man was the only one who could put out the fire, and he lived in a house of ice far away to the north. The chief called the people together for a council to choose two messengers to journey northward in search of Ice Man.
After travelling a long distance the messengers found Ice Man. He was a very old person with long hair hanging down to the ground in two plaits. The messengers told him why they had come to ask his help.
In the long ago time, there was a Cherokee Clan called the Ani-Tsa-gu-hi (Ahnee-Jah-goo-hee), and in one family of this clan was a boy who used to leave home and be gone all day in the mountains. After a while he went oftener and stayed longer, until at last he would not eat in the house at all, but started off at daybreak and did not come back until night. His parents scolded, but that did no good, and the boy still went every day until they noticed that long brown hair was beginning to grow out all over his body. Then they wondered and asked him why it was that he wanted to be so much in the woods that he would not even eat at home. Said the boy, “I find plenty to eat there, and it is better than the corn and beans we have in the settlements, and pretty soon I am going into the woods to stay all the time.” His parents were worried and begged him not leave them, but he said, “It is better there than here, and you see I am beginning to be different already, so that I can not live here any longer. If you will come with me, there is plenty for all of us and you will never have to work for it; but if you want to come, you must first fast seven days.”