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CHEROKEE

LEGENDS

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This is some of the Legends I have collected from around the net..

if any of these works belong to you...please let me know and i will give you credit or take them down..whatever you wish..

Dakotasnow '99

How the Earth was made.

The animals of sky vault sent Water Beetle to the ocean. He swam, but found no land. so he swam to the bottom of the ocean. He piled up mud that dried and made land.

  The First Fire
In the beginning there was no fire, and the world was cold, until the
Thunders  (Ani'-Hyun'tikwala'ski), who lived up in Galun'lati, sent
their lightning and put fire into the bottom of a hollow sycamore tree
which grew on an island. The animals knew it was there, because
they could see the smoke coming out at the top, but they could not
get to it on account of the water, so they held a council to decide
what to do.  This was a long time ago. Every animal that could fly
or swim was anxious to go after the fire. The Raven offered, and
because he was so large and strong they thought he could surely
do the work, so he was sent first. He flew high and far across the water
and alighted on the sycamore tree, but while he was wondering what
to do next, the heat had scorched all his feathers black, and he was
frightened and came back without the fire. The little Screech-owl
(Wa'huhu') volunteered to go, and reached the place safely, but while
he was looking down into the hollow tree a blast of hot air came up
and nearly burned out his eyes. He managed to fly home as best he
could, but it was a long time before he could see well, and his eyes
are red to this day. Then the Hooting Owl (U'guku') and the Horned
Owl (Tskili') went, but by the time they got to the hollow tree the fire
was burning so fiercely that the smoke nearly blinded them, and the
ashes carried up by the wind made white rings about their eyes. They
had to come home again without the fire, but with all their rubbing
they were never able to get rid of the white rings.  Now no more of
the birds would venture, and so the little Uksu'hi snake, the black racer,
said he would go through the water and bring back some fire.  He swam
across to the island and crawled through the grass to the tree, and when
in by a small hole at the bottom. The heat and smoke were too much for
him, too, and after dodging about blindly over the hot ashes until he was
almost on fire himself he managed by good luck to get out again at the
same hole, but his body had been scorched black, and he has ever since
had the habit of darting and doubling on his track as if trying to escape
from close quarters. He came back, and the great blacksnake, Gule'gi,
"The Climber," offered to go for fire. He swam over to the island and
climbed up the tree on the outside, as the blacksnake always does, but
when he put his head down into the hole the smoke choked him so that
he fell into the burning stump, and before he could climb out again he
was as black as the Uksu'hi. Now they held another council, for still there
was no fire, and the world was cold, but birds, snakes, and four-footed
animals, all had some excuse for not going, because they were all afraid
to venture near the burning sycamore, until at last Kanane'ski Amai'yehi
(the Water Spider) said she would go. This is not the water spider that
looks like a mosquito, but the other one, with downy hair and red stripes
on her body. She can run on top of the water or dive to the bottom, so
there would be no trouble to get over to the island, but the question was,
How could she bring back the fire? "I'll manage that," said the Water
Spider; so she spun a thread from her body and wove it into a tusti bowl,
which she fastened on her back. Then she crossed over to the island and
through the grass to where the fire was still burning. She put one little coal
of fire into her bowl, and came back with it, and ever since we have had
fire, and the Water Spider still keeps her tusti bowl.

  ORIGIN OF STRAWBERRIES

from James Mooney's "History, Myths, and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees"

  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 the Sun land, in the east. The man followed alone and grieving, but the woman kept on steadily ahead and never looked behind, until 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 the Sun then asked him if he would like to have her back again, to which he eagerly answered yes.

  So the Sun 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 still 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.

  The Legend of the Cherokee Rose No better symbol exists of the pain and suffering of the "Trail Where They Cried" than the Cherokee Rose. The mothers of the Cherokee grieved so much that the chiefs prayed for a sign to lift the mother's spirits and give them strength to care for their children. From that day forward, a beautiful new flower, a rose, grew wherever a mother's tear fell to the ground. The rose is white, for the mother's tears. It has a gold center, for the gold taken from the Cherokee lands, and seven leaves on each stem that represent the seven Cherokee clans that made the journey. To this day, the Cherokee Rose prospers along the route of the "Trail of Tears". The Cherokee Rose is now the official flower of the State of Georgia.

  How the Bluebird and Coyote Got Their Color

The bluebird is very blue, as blue as a brilliant lake. Many moons ago the bluebird used to be white. One day he was flying and came upon a lake and saw how blue and beautiful it was. He stopped and asked Grandfather, "Grandfather, can I be as blue as that lake?" So Grandfather gave him a song to sing. He told him what to do. Every morning for five mornings the bluebird would dive down into the lake singing the song taught to him by Grandfather then come back up. The whole time he was doing this the coyote was watching him. On the fifth day, the bluebird dove into the lake, and when he came back out, he was as blue as he is today.

 

The coyote saw this and thought to himself, "Hmmmm... I'd like to be as blue as that bluebird." So he said to the bluebird, "Teach me your song." So every morning for the next five days the coyote would take a bath and sing the song from Grandfather. And on the fifth day the coyote came out and was just as blue as the bluebird. The coyote looked at himself in the reflection of the water and thought, "My, I'm the prettiest coyote there is. There is none prettier than me." So he strutted down the road, not unlike a peacock, looking around to make sure all the other animals could see him and see how truly beautiful was his color. He was so intent on having everyone know how colorful and beautiful he was that he paid no attention to where he was going in the road. He ran into a tree, fell down into a dirt road, rolled around and came up. That's why, when you look today, he's brown and dirty. That's how he got the color of his fur.


moon wolf by D.Gordon