Topic: Legends

Tales of Slaying The Monsters By Fire

In the olden time the world was full of all kinds of wild animals who ate people and tame animals. In those times Coyote called all the people together to a council to see what could be done with the wild animals, because they were getting so bad that the people could not go away from their homes to hunt food or to visit each other. At the council they decided to set fire to all the grass, which was as high as trees, and so burn the wild animals and everything on the earth. They chose White-Headed-Hawk and Crow, because they were the swiftest of all the people, to fly to some bright Star and tell the Star that they were coming to his home to live. The Star told them that there was room for the people in the heavens if they could get up there. The messengers returned and reported to the people. They decided to make a long rope out of soap weed and go to heaven on that. They began to gather the soap weed and twist it into a strong rope. The rope was finished; then White-Headed-Hawk and Crow took it and again flew to the heavens. They gave the end of the rope to the Star, who put one end of it under a big stone and let it hang down. It...

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Tale of Rabbit And The Dancing Turkeys

One time while Wild-Cat was out hunting he came upon Rabbit in the tall grass. Rabbit and Wild-Cat were enemies, and so they began to fight. Soon Wild-Cat had Rabbit down and was about to kill him, when Rabbit said: “How would you like some nice Turkeys to eat?” “That is just what I have been looking for,” said Wild-Cat. “Well, I know where there are some, and I was just about to catch some when I met you. Now, if you kill me they will all get away. You had better spare my life until I show you how to catch the Turkeys; then you may do what you please with me.” Wild-Cat agreed, and so Rabbit told him to stand still while he sang the Turkey dance song. After he had sung a little, he told Wild-Cat to lie down and pretend to be dead; that he would tell the Turkeys that he had killed Wild-Cat, and wished them to dance around him with closed eyes. While they danced, Wild-Cat was to jump up and grab all he wanted. Soon the Turkeys heard the song and came to see what it was about. Rabbit told them that he had killed the great turkey-eater, Wild-Cat, and that he wanted them to dance a victory dance around him. Rabbit continued his song, and as he sang the Turkeys danced....

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Tales of Medicine-Screech-Owl

Medicine-Screech-Owl was born at Long-Timber-on-the-Top-of-the-Hill. His father and mother were very old and lived near the center of the village. When his first birthday came he was given bow and arrows. His father and mother were asking each other what name they should give to their child, but before they could name him he spoke and said, “My name shall be Medicine-Screech-Owl.” His mother scolded him, because at this time there was also a man by the name of Medicine-Screech-Owl, and he was an ex-chief; but he said that he would have no other name, and so his parents named him Medicine-Screech-Owl. One night some one passed near the village and heard the child’s mother calling him by the name of the ex-chief. When the man came to the ex-chief’s place he told him that the child’s name was the same as his. When the ex-chief heard this he was angry, and told the people that he was going to kill the boy if he did not do as he should tell him to do. He sent for him, and when the boy came to his lodge he gave him watermelon seed and said: “Go back and plant this watermelon seed this evening. In the morning go and bring to me a great big watermelon to eat.” “All right,” said young Medicine-Screech-Owl. He took the seed, went back to...

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Tale of Lightning And The People

In the beginning Lightning lived upon the earth with the people, but he became so powerful and killed so many of the people that they feared and hated him. One time after he had become angry and killed a number of the people, the chiefs of the tribe called a council to determine what to do with him. They decided that he could no longer live with the people, but would have to go away. Lightning pleaded to stay, but the chiefs would not change their decision and told him that he would have to go. Not long after Lightning had gone a great monster that lived underground among the rocks began to carry away the people. They tried in every way to kill him, but could not, for he always disappeared under the ground where they could not reach him. Lightning appeared to them and told them that he would kill the monster if they would let him come back and live with them. He said that he wanted to come back to earth, and that he would kill all monsters and make the earth a safe place for the people to live on, and would not do any more harm himself if they would let him come back. The people decided to let Lightning come, because there was no one else powerful enough to kill the great...

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Tale of How The Cannibal Was Destroyed

In the beginning of this world there lived many kinds of fierce animals. Among these animals was one especially that was called by the people living in those times the cannibal. One time there were three men who went out hunting. They went a long way from home and kept on going farther and farther in search of game. One day they came to a country timbered with many large trees. They came to one of these trees and saw that something had been climbing on the tree, and near the base there was a large hole. The men thought that a bear must have made the hole, and that the bear was in the hole. They gathered dry leaves and grass and made it up into a small bundle, and they set the bundle on fire and tied it to the end of a long pole and thrust the burning bundle into the hole. They kept on dropping bundles into the hole until they thought it about time the bear should come out. One of the bundles which was put into the hole dropped out from the hole, and then they knew that the bear was coming out. Finally some strange animal came and peeped out from the hole, and it was not a bear, but a cannibal. As soon as they saw and knew what kind of...

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Tale of How Owl Fooled The Girls Who Wanted To Marry The Chief

One time there lived an old man and woman who had two beautiful twin daughters. These girls heard of a chief who lived in another village, and rumors of his great wealth and his fame as a great chief had traveled far. The girls asked their parents if they might not go to the chief and offer themselves in marriage. Their parents consented, and so the girls started to the chief’s village. They did not know just where the village was, but they started in the direction that they thought it was, and decided to ask the first person they met to direct them. They traveled along for a time and then met a man with a turkey in his hand coming down the road. They stopped him and began to talk to him. “We want to marry this famous chief, for we hear that he is good and very wealthy, but we do not know him. We have never seen him, we have not even been to his village, and perhaps we would not know him if we should see him.” The man grinned to himself and said: “I am the chief and I live just a little way from here; I have been away attending a council. Well, I must say that I am willing, but wait here while I run on home and tell my grandmother.”...

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Tale of How The Buffalo Ceased To Eat Human Beings

When the world was new there were many wild and fierce animals, and the buffalo were among the fiercest, for they ate human beings. In those days the buffalo were many-colored and roamed the plains in great herds, and were so numerous that men could not go out on the plains alone for fear of being caught by them. There was one great man who received power from the Father, and he had the power to go right into the midst of these terrible animals and kill them without being hurt. That man was Buzzard, and he was the only man who possessed such power. All the other people had to live in villages together that they might protect each other and hunt together. One time some men went out in the timber alone to hunt turkey and deer. They wandered far, and when they started home they found that they had to cross a long stretch of lonely prairie. While they were hurrying across the vast stretch of country they saw a black cloud arise in the west and come nearer and nearer, until at last they knew that a great herd of buffalo was sweeping down upon them. They threw the game from their backs, threw away their bows and arrows, and ran as fast as the wind. The buffalo, dangerous as they were, were not good...

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Tale of Evening-Star And Orphan-Star

A poor orphan boy lived with a large family of people who were not kind to him and mistreated him. He could not go to play or hunt with the other boys, but had to do all of the hard work. Whenever the camp broke up the family always tried to steal away and leave the boy behind, but sooner or later he found their new camp and went to them because he had no other place to go. One time several families went in boats to an island in a large lake to hunt eggs, and the orphan boy went with them. After they had filled their boats with eggs they secretly made ready to go back to the mainland. In the night, while the orphan boy was asleep, they stole away in their boats, leaving him to starve on the lonely island. The boy wandered about the island, eating only the scraps that he could find around the dead camp fires, until he was almost starved. As he did not have a bow and arrows, he could not hunt, but he sat by the water’s edge and tried to catch fish as they swam past him. One day as he sat on the lonely shore he saw a large animal with horns coming to him through the water. He sat very still and watched the animal, for...

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Tale of Coyote, Wild-Cat, And The Old Woman

An old, blind woman lived all alone. Her home was far away, and no one ever came to see her and few people even passed by. Though she was blind and old she somehow always had plenty to eat and seemed to get along as well as any one else. She always had her pot full of meat, and those who passed could smell it cooking, and they wondered who brought the meat to her. Whenever she sat down to eat she would always say, “All ready for dinner,” just as though she were calling some one to come and eat with her; then she would say, “Orphan, I was only talking to myself.” One day Wild-Cat happened to come to her house while he was out looking for something to eat. He smelled the cooking meat, and so decided to stop a while. When he went in he saw that the old woman was blind. He slipped quietly to a corner and sat with one eye on the boiling pot and the other on the old woman while he tried to make a plan to steal the meat. After a while the old woman took the pot off of the fire and sat down to eat, but first she called, “All ready for dinner. Orphan, I was only talking to myself.” Wild-Cat sprang up ready to run, for...

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Tale of Coyote, The Geese, And The Woodpeckers

Coyote was returning home after an unsuccessful hunt. He was going along sad and discouraged, when he heard some one laughing and playing. He listened for a while, then decided to go and enter into the fun, so that he might be cheered up. He ran over a little hill, and there on the other side was a big lake, and on the surface several white Geese were playing. He sat down behind some brush to watch them. They were trying to see which was the strongest. One would get on the back of another and fly, trying to see which could fly the farthest. Coyote decided not to enter into their play, but to try to catch them and take them home to his family. The Geese had seen Coyote coming, for they have power to see a long distance, but they pretended that they had not seen him and did not know that he was hiding behind the brush. Coyote watched them for a long time, trying to think of some plan whereby he could catch all of them. Finally he began to grin to himself, for he had thought of a plan that he thought would work splendidly. He limped out from the bushes, pretending that he had been hurt and was almost dead. The Geese, hearing him crying, turned and saw him come limping toward...

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Tale of Coyote, The Deer, And The Wind

One time when Coyote was out hunting something to eat he met Deer. Deer asked Coyote where he was going, and Coyote told him that he was going out hunting. Deer asked Coyote how he killed his game, for he noticed that he carried no bow and arrows. “I can kill anything I can get my hands on,” said Coyote. “But how do you get close enough to get your hands on your game?” Deer asked. “Sometimes I run the game down, sometimes I catch them asleep.” Deer said: “I am considered good food; even the human beings are very fond of my flesh. If you can catch me I will let you kill me and eat me.” Deer started to run, and Coyote started after him, but soon lost sight of him and gave out. He went on home, but he could not help thinking of Deer’s offer, and wondering how he could catch him. He wandered about trying to find him asleep, but never did. One time, after Coyote had been out searching to find Deer asleep, he grew very tired and lay down in the tall grass to take a nap. When he awoke he heard some one singing near by. He was badly frightened and sat up straight and rubbed his eyes and peeped about. He saw no one, but as he sat still and...

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Tale of Coyote’s Eyes Are Replaced By Buckeyes

One time Coyote was out hunting something to eat, and on his way he heard a noise and he said to himself, “I think those are some Turkeys that escaped from me some time ago. They will not get away this time, for I will kill them before I get home.” And so he made up his mind to go and see what they were doing, and to catch them. When he went to the place, he found Ducks playing about in the water. When they saw Coyote coming they knew him at once, for they had often heard about him. They came out of the water and stood on the bank, and when he came up they asked him if he would like to play with them. He said, “Yes, that is just what I want to do, and I will show you some of my tricks after you show me some of yours.” They debated what to play, and one of the Ducks spoke up and said: “We will play in the water. We will take one man and take his eyes out and let him dive into the water just as long as he can hold his breath, and as soon as he goes under the water we will throw his eyes into the water after him, and when he comes out from under the water...

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Tale of Coyote Turns Into A Corn Mill

The women made their corn mills from the trunk of an old tree. They cut a piece about two feet through and three or four feet high and hollowed it about twelve inches deep in one end. There they placed their corn and ground it to meal with a pounder. There were many of these mills, but one that was very old and smooth the women liked best. One day a woman went to use the old corn mill, and as she pounded her corn she saw that it was diminishing too fast, and when she had it ground she saw that she had only a little. She gathered up her meal and said nothing, but watched the next woman pound her corn. It disappeared in the same way, and so did the corn of the third and the fourth women who came to use the mill. They all wondered what could be the matter with the mill, and they examined it carefully and saw that it was not the old mill that they had always used. One of the women cried out to get an axe and cut it and see where their corn had disappeared. As one of the women ran to get an axe the mill fell over and began to roll about, and Coyote jumped up from the place where the mill had been and...

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Tale of Coyote Regulates Life After Death

The people had many councils from time to time. The errand man went all round to call the people to these councils. At one council Coyote arose and said: “First, we must change our rule about death, because all are not being treated alike. Now when some die they come back to their people, and then others die and never see their people again. I propose to make another rule, so that we may all be treated alike after death. This is the rule that I wish to propose: When any one dies let him be dead forever, and let no living person ever see him again. Our Great-Father-Above made a place there where every one of us may go after death. Now when any one dies he shall go from the living forever, but we shall still keep up the fire for six days.” All the people were well pleased with Coyote’s rule, and so from that time on, even to the present day, the same rule is kept, and when anybody dies he is gone forever, never to return again. The people are taken to the sky when they die and become the stars that we see at night. Morning Star, who freed the earth from bad animals, had three brothers, and he was the oldest one and the leader of all the tribe. In the beginning...

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Tale of Coyote Hunts Geese

Coyote was once a man and lived with the people. His great-grandfather named him Coyote, but because he did wrong the people came to dislike him and began to call him coward. The reason the people did not like him was because he was always scheming and trying to cheat some one. One time he went out to visit his best friend, and when he arrived at his friend’s lodge he found that his friend had been feasting on white geese. “Where did you get these white geese?” “Well,” said his friend, “I catch them every evening near the lake. Would you like to go with me this evening to catch a few of them?” “Yes,” said Coyote. His friend then said: “You go on home and come back this evening. We will then go together and I will show you where the geese always come in the evening, and I will see that you have a good time, too. “Oh, you do not have to show me how to get them; I can get them all right. All you have to do is just to show me where they are,” said Coyote. “All right,” said his friend, and Coyote was pleased, for he thought he was going to have a very fine, fat bird for supper that evening. He danced all the way from his friend’s home to...

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