Once in a forest there gushed from the hollow of a rock, a wonderful spring known to all Red Men.  It possessed mysterious power and was watched
over by two Spirits.

From sunrise until noon Ohsweda the Spirit of the Spruce Tree was its guardian.  And during those hours, all who drank of its sparkling water were
cured of sickness, and filled with a nameless joy.

But when the slanting shadow of the afternoon touched the spring, Ochdoah the Bat swooped down on his leathery wings and brooded over its water.  
Then the sparkle died out of its tide, and a sluggish poison ran forth from the rock, killing all men and beasts who drank.   

Ahneah the Rose Flower, the loveliest of Indian maids, went, one Summer morning, from her lodge to the spring to fetch water in her elm-wood bowl.
 She sat the bowl down by the rock, and sitting in the cool shade of the trees, wove sweet-smelling grass into baskets.  And while she braided the
strands, she sang the Firefly song of her people.  She was as happy as she was lovely, and forgot the passing hours.  She did not see that the slanting
shadow of the afternoon was nearing the spring.  It glinted on the rock just as she finished her weaving.

Then leaning over the spring, she plunged her elm-wood bowl into the sparkling water.  But something held the bowl fast, and the beautiful face of a
youth smiled up at her from the ripples.  It smiled and nodded as it floated from side to side.  Then it vanished for a moment, only to return, and with
its enchanting smile woo the fast-beating heart of the maid.

And while she was gazing entranced, lo, the slanting shadow of afternoon passed over the spring.  Then the beautiful face of the youth faded away,
and Ochdoah the Bat, who had been hovering in the shadow, swooped down and seized the trembling maid.  He bore her swiftly upward, and with
fast wing left even the wind behind.  Onward he flew, then he suddenly descended and plunged into a roaring cataract.  And there Ahneah the Rose
Flower was nearly lost in the swirl of the mad torrent.  And there she saw near her a face terrible and frowning.  And as she turned from it with a
shudder, the fierce water cast her up on the shore.

The horrible face appeared again, and led her down beneath the Earth.  Into a cavern it led her, glaring with flames, around which danced many
Witches.  Something pushed her into the circle of dancers, and she fell fainting to the ground.

But suddenly she felt herself breathe new air, and she opened her eyes.  And, lo, it was sunrise, and she stood by the spring in the hollow of the rock.  
And by her side was a young warrior clad for the hunt.  He bore in his hand a branch of the Spruce Tree, and on his head were two wings, one of the
Eagle and the other of the Owl.

And as Ahneah gazed on the young warrior, she saw the face of the beautiful youth who had smiled at her from the spring.  He took her hand, and told
her his story.  He was Ohsweda the Spirit of the Spruce Tree, who guarded the spring from sunrise to noon.  With his Eagle wing he could fly to the
Sun, and with his Owl wing he wandered through the whole forest in the night.  He had seen the evil Ochdoah the Bat hovering in the shadow, as he
waited to seize the maid.  So Ohsweda had held fast her bowl, and tried to warn her.  But all too late, for the slanting shadow of afternoon had passed
over the spring, and Ochdoah the Bat, swooping down, had borne away the trembling maid.

Then Ohsweda the Spirit of the Spruce Tree, on his Eagle wing, had followed swiftly after.  He had entered the dread cavern beneath the Earth, and
snatched Ahneah the Rose Flower from the Fire Dance of the Witches.  In his arms he had carried her back to the spring, and at sunrise, with the
healing water, had caused her to open her eyes.

All this did Ohsweda the Spirit of the Spruce Tree relate to the maid.  Then with a happy heart she filled her elm-wood bowl, and sped quickly to her
lodge.

But as day by day passed, Ahneah the Rose Flower faded.  And one Summer morn, at the vanishing of the dew, her lodge was empty.  When her people
entered its door, they heard the rustle and whirr of wings, then a strange silence filled the lodge.  And by the side of the couch, where Ahneah the Rose
Flower had lain, were two fallen feathers.  One was of the Eagle, and the other of the Owl.
Ahneah the Rose Flower

An Iroquois Legend
All Rights Reserved
Music:  Cliff Palace by AH-NEE-MAH
Ancient Clan System

An Iroquois Legend
At a time when the population of the Haudenosaunee increased so did the incidents of death.  Tradition dictates that we grieve family members for a
period of one year.  However, the population grew so rapidly that our people found themselves constantly grieving.  One family member would die
before the one year mourning period was over.  The people were not functioning because the grieving never seemed to end.

The Elders of the villages became deeply concerned because they realized that our ceremonies were not being attended.  Those who recited and
performed the ceremonies were not even attending.  Other members tried to conduct the ceremonies but had difficulty doing them properly.  Because
of this, the Elders called a meeting of all the villages.  The village members were told of the problem and asked for ideas on how to restore peace in the
people.

After many meetings of not finding a solution, a young man finally stood up and spoke.  He told them that they should follow the example of nature.  
The Creator created water; there are oceans, lakes, rivers, and seas, yet they are all water:  the birds are divided into eagles, robins, cardinals, etc.,
yet they are all birds; and that they should divide themselves in such a manner.

The Elders were very impressed at what the young man had to say that they gave him a special name.  They called him Ro'nikonhrowa:nen, which
means, "He who has great ideas."

Early the next morning he traveled with the people along the river.  After awhile, he saw a grapevine hanging from a tree.  He grabbed the grapevine
and threw one end across the river where it hooked on something.  Then holding on to the other end of the grapevine, he crossed the river to the other
side.  He instructed the people to cross in the same manner.  When only half of the people had crossed, the grapevine let go.  He told the people that
were left that he'd be back for them.

On his side of the river he instructed the people to make camp and to pay very close attention to their surroundings and to things.  Early the next
morning the eldest woman of the camp, after giving thanks to the Creator, went to the river to fetch water for their morning meal.  As she was  
retrieving water, she heard a noise and when she looked up she saw a deer standing there staring right at her.  She reported this back to
Ro'nikonhrowa:nen and he then informed her that the deer was to be the Clan that she and all of her offspring would belong to forever.  And so it
went with eldest women of the camp and they saw the Bear, the Snipe, and the Eel.  So now, this one side of the river was one united group known as
the Deer, the Bear, the Snipe and the Eel Clans.

The next morning Ro'nikonhrowa:nen crossed the river to the other camp where the people there were anxiously awaiting his return.

When all the people were gathered he explained what he wanted them to do.  He instructed them to pay close attention to all their surroundings,
especially the unusual and to remember to give thanks to the Creator, who is the creator of all things.

The next morning, as in the other camp, the eldest woman after giving thanks to the Creator, went to the river to fetch water for their morning meal.  
When she got her water and as she stood up, she heard a noise.  When she looked in the direction of the noise she heard she saw a Wolf staring right at
her.  When she told Ro'nikonhrowa:nen all she had seen, he told her that she and all her offspring were now and forever of the Wolf Clan.

So it went on the following days that the eldest women from the big families experienced the same incidents.  In this way, the people on that side of the
river received the Wolf, the Beaver, the Turtle, and the Hawk Clans.  So now, the people of that side of the river is one united group.

This is why all Iroquois communities who still hold and follow the Clans will have this dual system.

If someone dies from the Deer, the Snipe, the Bear or the Eel, all the people from that side of the house would be in mourning.  The people on the other
side of the house, the Wolf, the Turtle, the Beaver, and the Hawk would do all the cooking, all the speaking at the wake and funeral, and grave
digging, and whatever else was necessary to bury the dead.  They were obligated to perform all the duties for death for a period of nine days.  On the
tenth day they were released of their obligation and duties.

There are probably many other recorded histories of the establishment of the Ancient Clan System, this is only one of the earlier versions.  This
recording as we know, is said to have been before the Great Law of Peace was established.
Battle With the Snakes

An Iroquois Legend
There was a man who was not kind to animals.  One day when he was hunting, he found a rattlesnake and decided to torture it.  He held its head to
the ground and pierced it with a piece of bark.  Then as it was caught there, he tormented it.

"we shall fight," he said and then burned the snake until it was dead.  He thought this was a great jest and so, whenever he found a snake, he would do
the same thing.

One day another man from his village was walking through the forest when he heard a strange sound.  It was louder than the wind hissing through
the tops of tall pine trees.  He crept closer to see.  There, in a great clearing, were many snakes.  They were gathered for a war council and as he
listened in fright he heard them say:

"We shall now fight with them.  Djisdaah has challenged us and we shall go to war.  In four days we shall go to their village and fight them."

The man crept away and then ran as fast as he could to his village to tell what he had heard and seen.  The chief sent other men to see if the report was
true.  They returned in great fright.

"Ahhhh," they said, "it is so.  The snakes are all gathering to have a war."

The chief of the village could see that he had no choice.  "We must fight," he said and ordered the people of the village to make preparations for the
battle.  They cut mountains of wood and stacked it in long piles all around the village.  They built rows of stakes close together to keep the snakes out.  
When the fourth day came, the chief ordered that the piles of wood be set on fire.  Just as they did so they heard a great noise, like a great wind in the
trees.  It was the noise of the snakes, hissing as they came to the village to do battle.

Usually a snake will not go near a fire, but these snakes were determined to have their revenge.  They went straight into the flames.  Many of them
died, but the living snakes crawled over the bodies of the dead ones and continued to move forward until they reached the second row of stakes.

Once again, the chief ordered that the piles of wood in the second row of defense be set on fire.  But the snakes crawled straight into the flames, hissing
their war songs, and the living crawled over the bodies of the dead.  It was a terrible sight.  They reached the second row of stakes and, even though
the people fought bravely, it was no use.  The snakes were more numerous than fallen leaves and they could not be stopped.  Soon they forced their
way past the last row of stakes and the people of the village were fighting for their lives.  The first man to be killed was Djisdaah, the one who had
challenged the snakes to battle.

It was now clear that they could never win this battle.  The chief of the village shouted to the snakes who had reached the edge of the village:  "Hear
me, my brothers.  We surrender to you.  We have done you a great wrong.  Have mercy on us."

The snakes stopped where they were and there was a great silence.  The exhausted warriors looked at the great army of snakes and the snakes stared
back at them.  Then the earth trembled and cracked in front of the human beings.  A great snake, a snake taller than the biggest pine tree, whose head
was large than a great log house, lifted himself out of the hole in the earth.

"Hear me," he said.  "I am the chief of all the snakes.  We shall go and leave you in peace if you will agree to two things."

The chief looked at the great snake and nodded his head.  "We will agree, Great Chief," he said.  "It is well," said the Chief of the Snakes.  "These are the
two things.  First, you must always treat my people with respect.  Secondly, as long as the world stands, you will never name another man Djisdaah."

And so it was agreed and so it is, even today.
Birch Bark Legends of Niagara

An Iroquois Legend
Within sound of the thundering cataract's roar once worshipped the roaming sons of the forest in all their primitive freedom.  They recognized in its
thunder the voice, in its mad waves the wrath, and in its crashing whirlpool the Omnipotence of the Great Spirit -the Manitou of their simple creed.

Also in the rising mist, the flight of the soul, and in the beautiful bow, the brilliant path followed by the spirits of good Indians to their Happy Hunting
Ground.

With this belief came the custom of yearly offering a sacrifice to the Great Spirit, or whenever any particular blessing was to be acknowledged, or for
some wrong perpetrated, to propitiate the righteous anger of their Deity of the roaring waters.

The sacrifice, or offering, consisted of a boat filled with fruit, flowers and any precious gift, which was to be paddled over the foaming cataract by one
either drawn by lot or selected by the chiefs; or, as often happened, a voluntary offering of life, as it manifested heroism beyond their usual test of
torture.  Martyrs thus sacrificed had this consolation;  that their spirits were sure to rise in the mist and follow the bright path above, while bad
Indians' spirits passed down in the boiling, crashing current, to be torn and tossed in the whirlpool, there to linger in misery forever.

With all thy present loveliness -smooth paths cut round thy rocky banks, covered with trailing vines and bright, soft mosses, nature's beautiful
tapestry; flights of steps, half hidden with gay foliage, displaying at almost every turn majestic scenery; bridges thrown over the bounding, foaming
rapids, from island to island, opening bower after bower with surprises of beauty at every step.  Scattered here and there the nut-brown Indian maids
and mothers; among the last of the race-still lingering around their fathers' places and working at the gray embroidery-soon to pass away forever.

Yes, with all they loveliness, the circle of mirth and gaiety, reflecting happy faces of thy present worshippers, tame is the scene compared with the
traditions of a by-gone race, which, notwithstanding the simplicity in forms of customs that governed them, were among the brightest pictures of
American life-always associated with the beautiful forest, which together are passing away, and oblivion's veil fast gathering around them.

Thy rocks, now echoing the gay laugh of idlers, first rang with the wild war-whoop, or sent back the Indian's low, mellow songs of peace, or mingled
with the heavy roar of thy failing waters the mournful dirge of the doomed one, to the great Manitou.
Chipmunk and Bear

An Iroquois Legend
Long ago when animals could talk, a bear was walking along.  Now it has always been said that bears think very highly of themselves.  Since they are
big and strong, they are certain that they are the most important of the animals.

As this bear went along turning over big logs with his paws to look for food to eat, he felt very sure of himself.  "There is nothing I cannot do," said this
bear.

"Is that so?" said a small voice.  Bear looked down.  There was a little chipmunk looking up at Bear from its hole in the ground.

"Yes," bear said, "that is true indeed."  He reached out one huge paw and rolled over a big log.  "Look at how easily I can do this.  I am the strongest of
all the animals.  I can do anything.  All the other animals fear me."

"Can you stop the sun from rising in the morning?" said the Chipmunk.  Bear thought for a moment.  "I have never tried that," he said.  "Yes, I am sure
I could stop the sun from rising."

"You are sure?" said Chipmunk.

"I am sure," said Bear.  "Tomorrow morning the sun will not rise.  I, Bear, have said so."  Bear sat down facing the east to wait.

Behind him the sun set for the night and still he sat there.  The chipmunk went into its hole and curled up in its snug little nest, chuckling about how
foolish Bear was.  All through the night Bear sat.  Finally the first birds started their songs and the east glowed with the light which comes before the
sun.

"The sun will not rise today," said Bear.  He stared hard at the glowing light.  "The sun will not rise today."

However, the sun rose, just as it always had.  Bear was very upset, but Chipmunk was delighted.  He laughed and laughed.  "Sun is stronger than
Bear," said the chipmunk, twittering with laughter.  Chipmunk was so amused that he came out of his hole and began running around in circles,
singing this song:

"The sun came up,
The sun came up.
Bear is angry,
But the sun came up."

While Bear sat there looking very unhappy, Chipmunk ran around and around, singing and laughing until he was so weak that he rolled over on his
back.  Then, quicker than the leap of a fish from a stream, Bear shot out one big paw and pinned him to the ground.

"Perhaps I cannot stop the sun from rising," said Bear, "but you will never see another sunrise."

"Oh, Bear," said the chipmunk.  "Oh, oh, oh, you are the strongest, you are the quickest, you are the best of all of the animals.  I was only joking."  But
Bear did not move his paw.

"Oh, Bear," Chipmunk said, "you are right to kill me, I deserve to die.  Just please let me say one last prayer to Creator before you eat me."

"Say your prayer quickly," said Bear.  "Your time to walk the Sky Road has come!"

"Oh, Bear,: said Chipmunk, "I would like to die.  But you are pressing down on me so hard I cannot breathe.  I can hardly squeak.  I do not have
enough breath to say a prayer.  If you would just lift your paw a little, just a little bit, then I could breathe.  And I could say my last prayer to the
Maker of all, to the one who made great, wise, powerful Bear and the foolish, weak, little Chipmunk."

Bear lifted up his paw.  He lifted it just a little bit.  That little bit, though, was enough.  Chipmunk squirmed free and ran for his hole as quickly as the
blinking of an eye.  Bear swung his paw at the little chipmunk as it darted away.  He was not quick enough to catch him, but the very tips of his long
claws scraped along Chipmunk's back leaving three pale scars.

To this day, all chipmunks wear those scars as a reminder to them of what happens when one animal makes fun of another.
Creation by Women

An Iroquois Legend
In the beginning there was no Earth to live on, but up above, in the Great Blue, there was a woman who dreamed dreams.

One night she dreamed about a tree covered with white blossoms, a tree that brightened up the sky when its flowers opened but that brought terrible
darkness when they closed again.  The dream frightened her, so she went and told it to the wise old men who lived with her, in their village in the sky.

"Pull up this tree," she begged them, but they did not understand.  All they did was to dig around its roots, to make space for more light.  But the tree
just fell through the hole they had made and disappeared.  After that there was no light at all, only darkness.

The old men grew frightened of the woman and her dreams.  It was her fault that the light had gone away forever.

So they dragged her toward the hole and pushed her through as well.  Down, down she fell, down toward the great emptiness.  There was nothing
below her but a heaving waste of water and she would surely have been smashed to pieces, this strange dreaming woman from the Great Blue, had not
a fish hawk come to her aid.  His feathers made a pillow for her and she drifted gently above the waters.

But the fish hawk could not keep her up all on his own.  He needed help.  So he called out to the creatures of the deep.  "We must find some firm ground
for this poor woman to rest on," he said anxiously.  But there was no ground, only the swirling, endless waters.

A helldiver went down, down, down to the very bottom of the sea and brought back a little bit of mud in his beak.  He found a turtle, smeared the mud
onto its back, and dived down again for more.

Then the ducks joined in.  They loved getting muddy and they too brought back beakfuls of of the ocean floor and spread it over the turtle's shell.  The
beavers helped --they were great builders --and they worked away, making the shell bigger and bigger.

Everybody was very busy now and everybody was excited.  This world they were making seemed to be growing enormous!  The birds and the animals
rushed about building countries, the continents, until, in the end, they had made the whole round Earth, while all the time the sky woman was safely
sitting on the turtle's back.

And the turtle hold the Earth up to this very day.
Four Iroquois Hunters

An Iroquois Legend
Once, not long ago, four Iroquois hunters spent the winter together trapping in the north.  They had good luck.  When they brought their furs to the
trading post at the end of the season, they had more than enough to buy all the things they needed for their families.  In fact, there was just enough left
over to buy a new rifle.

They had a problem.  Although they hunted and trapped together as brothers, for all of them belonged to the Bear Clan, they did not live together.  One
hunter was from the Nundawaono, the People of the Great Hill, the Seneca.  His home was to the west.  One was from the Gueugwehono, the People of
the Mucky Land, the Cayuga.  His home was to the south near the marshes by the long lakes.  One was from the Onundagaono, the People of the Hills,
the Onondaga.  His place was in the very center of the lands of the Great League.  One was from the Ganeagaono, the People of the Flint, the Mohawks.
 His home was to the east.  Now that they had finished trapping, each would be returning home.  It was easy to divide provisions among four people,
but how could they divide the rifle?  Finally it was decided.  The man who told the tallest story about hunting would take the gun home.

The Mohawk hunter spoke first.  "A man was walking along.  He had been hunting all day, but his mind wasn't on his hunting.  He'd used up all of the
bullets for his old muzzle loader without hitting anything.  As he walked, he ate some cherries he had picked.  Eat one, spit the stone into his hand.  Eat
one, spit the stone into his hand.  Then he saw, right in front of him, a big, big deer.  But he had no bullets left.  He thought quickly.  He poured powder
into the gun, took the cherry seeds, loaded them and fired at the deer's head.  The deer fell down, but it got right up again and ran away.

"Some years later that same hunter went out again hunting in the same place.  Again he had no luck.  Near the end of the day he saw at the edge of a
clearing a tall cherry tree covered with ripe cherries.  Ah, this man thought.  At least I can eat some cherries.  So he put his gun down and began to
climb up into the tree.  He had reached the lower branches when the tree began to shake back and forth and the hunter had to hold on with both hands.  
Then the tree lifted straight up into the air and he was thrown out.  He looked up from the ground and saw that the tree was growing from between the
antlers of a huge deer which shook its head one more time and then ran away into the forest.  And that," said the Mohawk hunter, "is my story."

Now it was the turn of the Onondaga hunter.  "One time my uncle was out hunting.  He had only one shot left in his gun and he wanted to make it
count.  He came to a stream where he saw a duck swimming back and forth, back and forth.  Just in front of the duck there was a large trout and it
was leaping from the water to catch flies, leaping, leaping, leaping.  On the other side of the stream there stood a deer.  It had its head up and it was
standing still, sniffing the wind.  Further back on a small hill was a bear up on its hind legs, scratching its paws on a tree, up and down, up and down.  
My uncle got down on his belly.  He crawled close to the stream, took careful aim and waited.  When everything was just right and the trout jumped
again he pulled the trigger.  His bullet went through the trout and killed the duck.  It ricocheted off the water and struck the deer.  It went through the
deer and killed the bear.  My uncle was a good shot.  The amazing thing --I know you will find this hard to believe --is that when he went to skin the
bear he turned it over and found it had fallen on a fox and killed it."  The Onondaga hunter paused for breath.  "And that fox had a fat rabbit in its
mouth."

The Cayuga hunter was next.  "Many seasons ago my grandfather was out hunting and saw a deer.  He started to chase it so he could get closer for a
better shot, but he ran so fast he went right past the deer.  When the deer saw my grandfather go by him, it got scared.  It turned around, jumped as
hard as it could and sailed right over a stream.  My grandfather jumped too but when he got halfway over the stream he saw he couldn't make it to the
other side so he turned around in mid air and jumped back. By now the deer hid behind a hill on the other side of the stream so my grandfather couldn't
see it anymore.  Now my grandfather was angry.  He wasn't going to let that deer get away!  He put his gun down between little maple trees and bent
the barrel.  Then he aimed and shot.  The bullet curved right around the hill and struck the deer.

"When my grandfather saw the fallen deer he got real excited.  It was as if it was the first deer he'd ever shot.  He started to skin it right away.  But the
deer wasn't dead.  Just when my grandfather reached the horns and was about to pull the skin off, the deer jumped up and began to run around.  My
grandfather tried to grab the deer, but it was too slippery.  He chased it around and around.  Then the skin got caught on the bark of a hickory tree.  
The deer backed off and pulled real hard and the skin came right off over its horns!  The deer ran away, leaving my grandfather with nothing but its
skin."  The Cayuga hunter looked up and took a deep breath.  "And it you don't believe my story, you can just go to my grandfather's lodge.  That skin
is still hanging there."

Now only the Seneca hunter was left.  He looked around at the other three.  Then he smiled and shook his head.  "Wah-ah," he said, "I am sorry.  None
of us Senecas ever tell tall stories about hunting."

The other three hunters looked at each other.  Then, without another word, they handed him the gun."    
Hannah the Rose Flower

An Iroquois Legend
Once in a forest there gushed from the hollow of a rock, a wonderful spring known to all Red Men.  It possessed mysterious power and was watched
over by two spirits.

From sunrise until noon Ohsweda the Spirit of the Spruce Tree was its guardian.  And during those hours, all who drank of its sparkling water were
cured of sickness, and filled with a nameless joy.

But when the slanting shadow of the afternoon touched the spring, Ochdoah the Bat swooped down on his leathery wings and brooded over its water.  
Then the sparkle died out of its tide, and a sluggish poison ran forth from the rock, killing all men and beasts who drank.

Ahneah the Rose Flower, the loveliest of Indian maidens, went, one Summer morning, from her lodge to the spring to fetch water in her Elmwood
bowl.  She set the bowl down by the rock, and, sitting in the cool shade of the trees, wove sweet-smelling grass into baskets.  And while she braided the
strands, she sang the Firefly song of her people.  She was as happy as she was lovely, and forgot the passing hours.  She did not see that the slanting
shadow of afternoon was nearing the spring.  It glinted on the rock just as she finished her weaving.

Then leaning over the spring, she plunged her Elmwood bowl into the sparkling water.  But something held the bowl fast, and the beautiful face of a
youth smiled up at her from the ripples.  It smiled and nodded as it floated from side to side.  Then it vanished for a moment, only to return, and with its
enchanting smile woo the fast-beating heart of the maid.

And while she was gazing entranced, lo, the slanting shadow of afternoon passed over the spring.  Then the beautiful face of the youth faded away, and
Ochdoah the Bat, who had been hovering in the shadow, swooped down and seized the trembling maid.  He bore her swiftly upward, and with fast
wing left even the wind behind.  Onward he flew, then suddenly descended and plunged into a roaring cataract.  And there Ahneah the Rose Flower
was nearly lost in the swirl of the mad torrent.  And there she saw near her a face terrible and frowning.  And as she turned from it with a shudder, the
fierce water cast her up on the shore.

The horrible face appeared again, and led her down beneath the Earth.  Into a cavern it led her, glaring with flames, around which danced many
Witches.  Something pushed her into the circle of dancers, and she fell fainting to the ground.

But suddenly she felt herself breathe new air, and she opened her eyes.  And, lo, it was sunrise, and she stood by the spring in the hollow of the rock.  
And by her side was a young warrior clad for the hunt.  He bore in his hand a branch of the Spruce Tree, and on his head were two wings, -one of the
Eagle and the other of the Owl.

And as Ahneah gazed on the young warrior, she saw the face of the beautiful youth who had smiled at her from the spring.  He took her hand, and told
her his story.  He was Ohsweda the Spirit of the Spruce Tree, who guarded the spring from sunrise to noon.  With his Eagle wing he could fly to the Sun,
and with his Owl wing he wandered through the whole forest in the night.  He had seen the evil Ochdoah the Bat hovering in the shadow, as he waited
to seize the maid.  So Ohsweda had held fast her bowl, and tried to warn her.  But all too late, for the slanting shadow of afternoon had passed over the
spring, and Ochdoah the Bat, swooping down, had borne away the trembling maid.

Then Ohsweda the Spirit of the Spruce Tree, on his Eagle wing, had followed swiftly after.  He had entered the dread cavern beneath the Earth, and
snatched Ahneah the Rose Flower from the Fire Dance of the Witches.  In his arms he had carried her back to the spring, and at sunrise, with the
healing water, had caused her to open her eyes.

All this did Ohsweda the Spirit of the Spruce Tree relate to the maid.  Then with a happy heart she filled her Elmwood bowl, and sped quickly to her
lodge.

But as day by day passed, Ahneah the Rose Flower faded.  And one Summer morn, at the vanishing of the dew, her lodge was empty.  When her people
entered its door, they heard the rustle and whirr of wings, then a strange silence filled the lodge.  And by the side of the couch, where Ahneah the Rose
Flower had lain, were two fallen feathers.  One was of the Eagle, and the other of the Owl.
Hiawatha the Unifier

An Iroquois Legend
Hiawatha (Haion-Hwa-Tha/He-Who-Makes-Rivers) is thought to have been a statesman, lawgiver, shaman, and unifier who lived around 1570.

According to some sources, he was born a Mohawk and sought refuge among the Onondaga when his own tribe at first rejected his teachings.

His efforts to unite the Iroquois tribes were opposed by a formidable chieftain, Wathatotarho, whom he eventually defeated and who killed Hiawatha's
daughter in revenge..............But this is the legend.

The slumber of Ta-ren-ya-wa-gon, Upholder of Heavens, was disturbed by a great cry of anguish and woe.

He looked down from his abode to earth and saw human beings moaning with terror, pursued by horrifying monsters and cruel, man-devouring
giants.

Turning himself into a mortal, Ta-ren-ya-wa-gon swiftly descended to earth and, taking a small girl by the hand, told the frightened humans to follow
him.

By trails known only to him, he led the group of shivering refugees to a cave at the mouth of a great river, where he fed them and told them to sleep.

After the people had somewhat recovered under his protection, Ta-ren-ya-wa-gon again took the little girl by the hand and led them toward the rising
sun.

The band traveled for many days until they came to the confluence of two mighty rivers whose waters, white with spray, cascaded over tremendous
rocks.  There Ta-ren-ya-wa-gon halted and built a long-house for himself and his people.

For years they lived there, content and growing fat, their children turning into strong men and handsome women.  Then Ta-ren-ya-wa-gon, the Sky
Upholder became mortal, gathered the people around him and spoke:  "You, my children, must now spread out and become great nations.  I will make
your numbers like the leaves of a forest in summertime, like pebbles on the shore of the great waters."

And again he took one little girl by the hand and walked toward the setting sun, all the people following him.

After a long journey they came to the banks of a beautiful river.  Ta-ren-ya-wa-gon separated a few families from the rest and told them to build a
long-house at that spot and found a village.  "You shall be known by the name of Te-ha-wro-gah, Those-of-Divided-Speech," he told them, and they
grew into the Mohawk tribe.

And from the moment he had named them, their language changed and they could no longer understand the rest of the people.

To the Mohawks Ta-ren-ya-wa-gon gave corn, beans, squash, and tobacco, together with dogs to help them hunt game.  He taught them how to plant
and reap and pound corn into meal.  He taught them the ways of the forest and the game, for in that long-ago time, people did not yet know all these
things.

When he had fully instructed them and given them the necessities of life, Ta-ren-ya-wa-gon again took one little girl by the hand and traveled with the
remaining people toward the sunset.

After a long journey they halted in a beautiful well-watered valley surrounded by forests, and he commanded another group to build their village at that
spot.  He gave them what was necessary for life, taught them what they needed to know, and named them Ne-ha-wre-ta-go, the Big-Tree people, for the
great forests surrounding them.

And these people, who grew into the Oneida nation, also spoke a tongue of their own as soon as he had named them.

Then once more Ta-ren-ya-wa-gon took a little girl's hand and wandered on, always toward the setting sun, and the rest of the people followed him.

They came to a big mountain which he named O-nun-da-ga-o-no-ga.  At its foot he commanded some more families to build a long-house and he gave
them the same gifts and taught them the same things that he had the others.  He named them after the mountain towering above them and also gave
them a speech of their own.  And these people became the Onondaga nation.  

Again with a small girl at his side, Ta-ren-ya-wa-gon wandered on, leading the people to the shores of a lake sparkling in the sun.  The lake was called
Go-yo-gah, and here still another group built their village, and they became the Cayugas.

Now only a handful of people were left, and these Ta-ren-ya-wa-gon led to a lake by a mountain called Ga-nun-da-gwa.  There he settled them, giving
them the name of Te-ho-ne-noy-hent - Keepers of the Door.

They too received a language of their own and grew into the mighty Seneca nation.

There were some among the people who were not satisfied with the places appointed to them by the Upholder of Heavens.  These wandered on toward
the setting sun until they came to a river greater than all others, a river known as the Mississippi.

They crossed it on a wild grapevine that formed a bridge from bank to bank, and after the last of them had crossed over, the vine tore asunder.  None
could ever return, so that this river divided the western from the eastern human beings.

To each nation the Upholder of Heavens gave a special gift.

To the Senecas he gave such swift feet that their hunters could outrun the deer.

To the Cayugas he gave the canoe and the skill to guide it through the most turbulent waters.

To the Onondagas he gave the knowledge of eternal laws and the gift to fathom the wishes of the Great Creator.

To the Oneidas he gave skills in making weapons and weaving baskets.

To the Mohawks he gave bows and arrows and the ability to guide the shafts into the hearts of their game and their enemies.

Ta-ren-ya-wa-gon resolved to live among the people as a human being.  Having the power to assume any shape, he chose to be a man and took the
name of Hiawatha.

He chose to live among the Onondagas and took a beautiful young woman of that tribe for his wife.  From their union came a daughter, Mni-haha,
who surprised even her mother in beauty and womanly skills.

Hiawatha never ceased to teach and advise, and above all he preached peace and harmony.

Under Hiawatha the Onondagas became the greatest of all tribes, but the other nations founded by the Great Upholder also increased and prospered.  
Traveling in a magic birch-bark canoe of dazzling whiteness, which floated above waters and meadows as it on an invisible bird's wings, Hiawatha
went from nation to nation, counseling them and keeping man, animal, and nature in balance according to the eternal laws of the manitous.  So all
was well and the people lived happily.

But the law of the universe is also that happiness alternates with sorrow, life with death, prosperity with hardship, harmony with disharmony.

From out of the north beyond the Great Lakes came wild tribes, fierce, untutored nations who knew nothing of the eternal law; people who did not
plant or weave baskets or fire clay into cooking vessels.  All they knew was how to prey on those who planted and reaped the fruits of their labor.

Fierce and pitiless, these strangers ate their meat raw, tearing it apart with their teeth.  Warfare and killing were their occupation.

They burst upon Hiawatha's people like a flood, spreading devastation wherever they went.  Again the people turned to Hiawatha for help.  He advised
all the nations to assemble and wait his coming.

And so the five tribes came together at the place of the great council fire, by the shores of a large and tranquil lake where the wild men from the north
had not yet penetrated.

The people waited for Hiawatha one day, two days, three days.  On the fourth day his gleaming-white canoe appeared, floating, gliding above the
mists.  Hiawatha sat in the stern guiding the mystery canoe, while in the bow was his only child, his daughter.

The sachems, elders, and wise men of the tribes stood at the water's edge to greet the Great Upholder.  Hiawatha and his daughter stepped ashore.  He
greeted all he met as brothers and spoke to each in his own language.

Suddenly there came an awesome noise, a noise like the rushing of a hundred rivers, like the beating of a thousand giant wings.  Fearfully the people
looked upward.

Out of the clouds, circling lower and lower, flew the great mystery bird of the heavens, a hundred times as big as the largest eagles, and when ever he
beat his wings he made the sound of a thousand thunderclaps.

While the people cowered, Hiawatha and daughter stood unmoved.  Then the Great Upholder laid his hands upon his daughter's head in blessing, after
which she said calmly, "Farewell, my father."

She seated herself between the wings of the mystery bird, who spiraled upwards and upwards into the clouds and at last disappeared in to the great
vault of the sky.

The people watched in awe, but Hiawatha, stunned with grief, sank to the ground and covered himself with the robe of a panther.

Three days he sat thus in silence, and none dared approach him.  The people wondered whether he had given his only child to the manitous above as a
sacrifice for the deliverance of his people.  But the Great Upholder would never tell them, would never speak of his daughter or of the mystery bird who
had carried her away.

After having mourned for three days, Hiawatha rose on the morning of the fourth and purified himself in the cold, clear water of the lake.  Then he
asked the great council to assemble.

When the Sachems, elders, and wise men had seated themselves in a circle around the sacred fire, Hiawatha came before them and said:  "What is past
is past; it is the present and the future which concern us.  My children, listen well, for these are my last words to you.  My time among you is drawing to
an end.

"My children, war, fear, and disunity have brought you from your villages to this sacred council fire.  Facing a common danger, and fearing for the
lives of your families, you have yet drifted apart, each thinking and acting only for itself.  Remember how I took you from one small band and nursed
you up into many nations.  You must reunite now and act as one.  No tribe alone can withstand our savage enemies, who care nothing about the
eternal law, who sweep upon us like the storms of winter, spreading death and destruction everywhere.

"My children, listen well.  Remember that you are brothers, that the downfall of one means the downfall of all.  You must have one fire, one pipe, one
war club."

Hiawatha motioned to the five tribal firekeepers to unite their fires with the big sacred council fire, and they did so.  Then the Great Upholder sprinkled
sacred tobacco upon the glowing embers so that its sweet fragrance enveloped the wise men sitting in the circle.  He said:  "Onondagas, you are a tribe
of mighty warriors.  Your strength is like that of a giant pine tree whose roots spread far and deep so that it can withstand any storm.  Be you the
protectors.  You shall be the first nation.

"Oneida, your men are famous for their wisdom.  Be you the counselors of the tribes.  You shall be the second nation.

"Seneca, you are swift of foot and persuasive in speech.  Your men are the greatest orators among the tribes.  Be you the spokesmen.  You shall be the
third people.  Cayuga, you are the most cunning.  You are the most skilled in the building and managing of canoes.  Be you the guardians of our rivers.  
You shall be the fourth nation.

"Mohawk, you are foremost in planting corn and beans and in building long-houses.  Be you the nourishers.

"You tribes must be like the five fingers of a warrior's hand joined in gripping the war club.  Unite as one, and then your enemies will recoil before you
back into the northern wastes from whence they came.  Let my words sink deep into your hearts and minds.  Retire now to take counsel among
yourselves, and come to me tomorrow to tell me whether you will follow my advice."

On the next morning the sachems and wise men of the five nations came to Hiawatha with the promise that they would from that day on be as one
nation.

Hiawatha rejoiced.  He gathered up the dazzling white feathers which the great mystery bird of the sky had dropped and gave the plumes to the leaders
of the assembled tribes.

"By these feathers," he said, "you shall be known as the Ako-no-shu-ne, the Iroquois."

Thus with the help of Hiawatha, the Great Unifier, the mighty League of the Five Nations was born, and its tribes held sway undisturbed over all the
land between the great river of the west and the great sea of the east.

The elders begged Hiawatha to become the chief of the united tribes, but he told them:  "This can never be, because I must leave you.  Friends and
brothers, choose the wisest women in your tribes to be the future clan mothers and peacemakers, let them turn any strife arising among you into
friendship.  Let your sachems be wise enough to go to such women for advice when there are disputes.  Now I have finished speaking.  Farewell."

Note:
The finishing part of this legend was lost and destroyed in an accident, but was only a sentence or two more, literally.  However, it is said by many that
Hiawatha died and was buried on the shores of that lake.
How bear Lost His Tail

An Iroquois Legend
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.

"Greetings, Brother," said Fox.  "How are you this fine day?"

"Greetings," answered Bear, looking at the big circle of fat fish.  "I am well, Brother.  But what are you doing?"

"I am fishing," answered Fox.  "Would you like to try?"

"Oh, yes," said Bear, as he started to lumber over to Fox's fishing hole.

But Fox stopped him.  "Wait, Brother," he said.  "This place will not be good.  As you can see, I have already caught all the fish.  Let us make you  a new
fishing spot where you can catch many big trout."

Bear agreed and so he followed Fox to the new place,  a place where, as Fox knew very well, the lake was too shallow to catch the winter fish --which
always stay in the deepest water when Hatho has covered their ponds.  Bear watched as Fox made the hole in the ice, already tasting the fine fish he
would soon catch.  "Now," Fox said, "you must do just as I tell you.  Clear your mind of all thoughts of fish.  Do not even think of a song or the fish will
hear you.  Turn your back to the hole and place your tail inside it.  Soon a fish will come and grab your tail and you can pull him out."

"But how will I know if a fish has grabbed my tail if my back is turned?" asked Bear.

"I will hide over here where the fish cannot see me," said Fox.  "When a fish grabs your tail, I will shout.  Then you must pull as hard as you can to catch
your fish.  But you must be very patient.  Do not move at all until I tell you."

Bear nodded, "I will do exactly as you say."  He sat down next to the hole, placed his long beautiful black tail in the icy water and turned his back.

Fox watched for a time to make sure that Bear was doing as he was told and then, very quietly, sneaked back to his own house and went to bed.  The
next morning he woke up and thought of Bear.  "I wonder if he is still there," Fox said to himself.  "I'll just go and check."

So Fox went back to the ice covered pond and what do you think he saw?  He saw what looked like a little white hill in the middle of the ice.  It had
snowed during the night and covered Bear, who had fallen asleep while waiting for Fox to tell him to pull his tail and catch a fish.  And Bear was
snoring.  His snores were so loud that the ice was shaking.  It was so funny that Fox rolled with laughter.  But when he was through laughing, he
decided the time had come to wake up poor Bear.  He crept very close to Bear's ear, took a deep breath, and then shouted:  "Now, Bear!!!"

Bear woke up with a start and pulled his long tail hard as he could.  But his tail had been caught in the ice which had frozen over during the night and as
he pulled, it broke off -- Whack! --just like that.  Bear turned around to look at the fish he had caught and instead saw his long lovely tail caught in the
ice.

"Ohhh,"  he moaned, "ohhh, Fox, I will get you for this."  But Fox, even though he was laughing fit to kill, was still faster than Bear and he leaped aside
and was gone.

So it is that even to this day Bears have short tails and no love at all for Fox.  And if you ever hear a bear moaning, it is probably because he remembers
the trick Fox played on him long ago and he is mourning for his lost tail.
How Chipmunks Got Their Stripes

An Iroquois Legend
A grandmother and granddaughter were living together.  They had a skin blanket, but it was old and a good deal of the hair was worn off.

The two women went to the forest to camp and cut wood, and they carried the blanket to cover themselves with at night.  They had been in the forest
only a few days when they found that their skin blanket was alive and was angry.  They threw the blanket down and ran towards home as fast as they
could go.  Soon they heard the skin following them.

When it seemed very near the grandmother began to sing and her song said, "My granddaughter and I are running for our lives."

When the song ended, the women could scarcely hear the skin following them, but not long afterward they heard it again.  When they reached home, the
skin, now a bear, was so near that as they pushed open the door it clawed at them and scratched their backs, but they got in.

The old woman and her granddaughter were chipmunks.  Since that time chipmunks have stripes on their backs, the result of the scratches given by the
bear.
How Rabbit and Owl Were Created

An Iroquois Legend
Raweno, the Everything-Maker, was busy creating all the types of animals.  One day he was hard at work on Rabbit.  Rabbit said to him, "I want long,
strong legs and long ears like the Deer, and sharp teeth and claws like the Panther."

"I do them the way they ask for them to be," said Raweno.  He made Rabbit's hind legs very long, just the way Rabbit had described.

Owl, still not formed, was sitting on a tree nearby waiting his turn.  "Whoo, whoo," he sang, "I want a long graceful neck like Swan's, and bright red
feathers like Cardinal's, and a nice long beak like Egret's, and a beautiful crown of plumes like Heron's.  I want to be the most beautiful, fastest and
wondrous of all birds."

"Hush," said Raweno.  "Turn around and look somewhere else.  Close your eyes too.  Don't you know that you are not allowed to watch me while I
work?"  Just at that moment Raweno was making Rabbit's ears quite long, just as Rabbit had asked him for.

Owl refused to turn away.  "Whoo, whoo," he sang again.  "Nobody can forbid me to watch.  Nobody can tell me to close my eyes.  I'm going to keep
watching you, because I want to."

This made Raweno angry.  He grabbed Owl and pulled him off the branch, stuffed his head deep into his body and shook him until Owl's eyes were wide
with fright.  He pulled at Owl's ears until they stuck out from both sides of his head.

"that will teach you," said Raweno.  "Now you won't be able to crane your neck to watch things you are not suppose to watch.  Now you have big ears to
hear when someone tells you what not to do.  Now you have big eyes - but not so big you can watch me, because you will be awake only at night.  And
your feathers will not be red like Cardinal's but gray like mud.  This is your punishment for disobeying me."

Owl went off pouting.

Then Raweno went back to finish Rabbit, but Rabbit had been so frightened by Raweno's anger that he ran off half-done.  As a consequence, only
Rabbit's hind legs are long, and he has to hop instead of run.  And since he was frightened before the work was complete, Rabbit has remained scared of
almost everything, and never got the claws and harp teeth he asked for.  Had he not run away then, Rabbit would have been a very different animal.

As for Owl, he remained as Raweno shaped him in anger - with big eyes, a short neck and ears that stick out the sides of his head.  To make matters
worse, he has to sleep during the day and only come out at night.   
How the Four Winds Were Named

An Iroquois Legend
When the world was first made, says the old Iroquois Grandmother, Gaoh, the mighty Master of the Winds dwelt in his lodge in the western Sky.  So
fierce was he and so strong that had he wandered freely through the heavens, he would have torn the world in pieces.  So he stayed in the Western Sky,
and, blowing a loud blast, summoned the creatures of Earth to ask them for help.

And when his call had ceased, and its thundering echoes had died away, Gaoh opened the north door of his lodge wide across the Sky.  Immediately the
thick snow fell, and a fierce wind tore around the lodge.  And lo! There came lumbering up the Sky, Yaogah, the bulky Bear.  Battling with the storm and
growling loudly, the Bear took his place at Gaoh's north door.

"O Bear, you are strong," said Gaoh.  "You can freeze the waters with your cold breath.  In your broad arms you can carry the mad tempest, and clasp the
whole Earth when I bid you destroy.  Therefore you shall live in the North, and watch my herd of Winter Winds when I let them loose upon the Earth.  
You shall be the North Wind.  Enter your house."

And straightway the bear bent his head, and Gaoh bound him with a leash, and placed him in the Northern Sky.

Then Gaoh trumpeted a shrill blast, and threw open the west door of his lodge, summoning the creatures.  Clouds began to cover the Sky.  An ugly
darkness filled the world.  Strange voices shrieked and snarled around the lodge.  And with a noise like great claws tearing the heavens, Dajoji, the
Panther, sprang to Gaoh's west door.

"O Panther, you are ugly and fierce," said Gaoh.  "You can tear down the forests.  You can carry the whirlwind on your strong back.  You can toss the
waves of the sea high into the air, and snarl at the tempests if they stray from my door.  You shall be the West Wind.  Enter your house."

And straightway the Panther bent his head, and Gaoh bound him with a leash, and placed him in the Western Sky.

Then Gaoh sent forth a sighing call, and threw open the east door of his lodge, summoning the creatures.  There arose a sobbing and a moaning.  The Sky
shivered in the cold rain.  The Earth lay in gray mist.  There came a crackling sound like the noise of great horns crashing through forest trees, and
Oyandone, the might Moose, stood stamping his hoofs at Gaoh's east door.

"O Moose," said Gaoh, "your breath blows the gray mist and sends down the cold rain upon the Earth.  Your horns spread wide and can push back the
trees of the forests to widen the paths for my storms.  With your swift hoofs you can race with the winds.  You shall be the East Wind.  Enter your house."

And straightway the Moose bent his head, and Gaoh bound him with a leash, and placed him in the Eastern Sky.

Yet Gaoh was not content, for there remained still one door to open.  He threw it wide to the south, and in gentle tones like sweetest music summoned the
creatures.  A caressing breeze stole through the lodge, and with it came the fragrance of a thousand sweet flowers, the soft call of babbling brooks, and
the voices of birds telling the secrets of Summer.  And daintily lifting her feet, ran Neoga, the brown-eyed Fawn, and stood timidly waiting at Gaoh's
south door.

"O gentle Fawn," said Gaoh, "you walk with the Summer Sun, and know its most beautiful paths.  You are kind like the Sunbeam, and feed on dew and
fragrance.  You will rule my flock of Summer breezes in peace and joy.  You shall be the South Wind.  Enter your house."

And straightway the Fawn bent her head, and Gaoh bound her with a leash, and placed her in the Southern Sky.

And now, when the North Wind blows strong, the old Iroquois Grandmother says, "The Bear is prowling in the Sky."  And if the West Wind snarls
around the tent door, she says, "The Panther is whining."  When the East Wind chills the tent with mist and rain, she says, "The Moose is spreading his
breath."  But when the South Wind caresses her cheek, and wafts soft voices and sweet odors through the tent, she smilingly says, "The Fawn is going
home to her mother, the Doe."
Jowiis and the Eagles

An Iroquois Legend
One day in the long time ago, Jowiis, an Indian lad, was hunting in the woods.  It was cold and rainy weather, and the floods had wiped out all the trails.  
There was no Sun or Moon in the black Sky to guide him, and soon he lost his way.  So he wandered for days, until hungry and faint, he fell upon a
river-bank to die.

Then Donyondo, the Bald Eagle, swift of flight and keen of eye, saw, the lad lying on the bank.  Though the bird was proud, his heart throbbed with pity at
the sight of the dying Jowiis.  Dropping down, and lifting him, he flew away to search for an Indian village.  As he looked down toward the Earth he
discovered smoke rising from some lodges.  Alighting near them, he laid Jowiis on the ground, and slowly winged away.

But the rain was still falling, and no one saw the dying boy.  Then Sagodaoh, the Hunting Vulture, as he flew close to the Earth looking for prey, saw and
pitied Jowiis.  The bird's heart was tender and his talons strong, and he gently lifted the lad, and soared with him into the Land of the Sky Birds.  And he
carried him to the lodge of Gadojih, the Golden Eagle, who was the Chief of all the birds.

Gadojih gave Jowiis food and warmed his body, and grew to love him.  And when the lad was restored to health, Gadojih took him to the Council House
of the Sky where all the birds were celebrating the New Year feast.

They taught Jowiis their dances, and the bird songs, and they instructed him in the laws of the birds -how to protect them in nesting-time, how to shelter
and feed them during the cold Winter when the snow lies deep on the ground.  All this they taught Jowiis while the Seven Star Brothers danced their New
Year Dance above the Council House of the Sky.  And after that Gadojih, the Golden Eagle, bade Sagodaoh, the Hunting Vulture, return Jowiis to the
Earth.  And the lad nestled close under the wing of the bird while it flew swiftly downward.

Earth was sleeping beneath her snow blanket when Jowiis returned.  Her streams were frozen, and her forests silent, except for the shrill voice of the
wind s it moaned through the bare branches.  And the Indians were holding a feast in their Council House, when Jowiis entered it.

They welcomed him with joy, and he told them all his adventures.  Then he taught them the dances of the birds and all their laws.  And while the white
snow lay deep upon the Earth, Jowiis and the Indian lads daily scattered corn and grains for the hungry birds.  And when Summer came, Jowiis sang the
joyous bird-songs in the forest.
Sayadio in the Land of the Dead

An Iroquois Legend
Sayadio was a warrior who had a younger sister who died.  He grieved for her so much that he resolved to find her and bring back to life from the land of
the spirits.  The search took him years, and just when he was about to give up he encountered a wise man who knew the secrets of the spirit world.  This
old man gave him a magic gourd in which he might catch the spirit of his sister.  Upon further conversation, Sayadio learned that this old man was the
guide on the path to the part of the spirit world where his sister now was.

When Sayadio arrived in the land of the spirits, the spirits fled from him in fear.  He recognized Tarenyawagon, who had lived on earth as Hiawatha, the
great teacher of the Five Nations.  Tarenyawagon now was the spirit master of ceremonies, and he was as compassionate as he was when he was on
earth.  Tarenyawagon told Sayadio that the spirits of the dead were about to have a great dance festival, in which his sister would take part.  As soon as
they formed the dance line, Sayadio recognized the spirit of his sister.  When he went to embrace her, however, she disappeared.

He turned again to Tarenyawagon for advice.  The teacher gave him a magic rattle.  His sister was so entranced by the dance music and the magic sound
of the rattle that Sayadio captured her spirit with ease, placing it in the magic gourd.

Sayadio returned to the village with his sister's spirit in the gourd.  Just when the ceremony to reunite the spirit with her body had begun, a foolish curious
girl opened the gourd and the sister's spirit vanished.
The Boy Who Lived With Bears

An Iroquois Legend
There was once a boy whose father and mother had died and he was left alone in the world.  The only person he had to take care of him was his uncle, but
his uncle was not a kind man.

The uncle thought that the boy was too much trouble and fed him only scraps from the table and dressed him in tattered clothing and moccasins with soles
that were worn away.  When the boy slept at night, he had to sleep outside his uncle's lodge far away from the fire.

But the boy never complained because his parents had told him always to respect people older than himself.

One day the uncle decided to get rid of the boy.  "Come with me," he said.  "We are going hunting."

The boy was very happy.  His uncle had never taken him hunting before.  He followed him into the woods.  First his uncle killed a rabbit.  The boy picked it
up to carry it for the uncle and was ready to turn back to the lodge, but his uncle shook his head.  "We will go on.  I am not done hunting."

They went further and the uncle killed a fat grouse.  The boy was very happy, for they would have so much to eat that surely his uncle would feed him well
that night and he began to turn back, but the uncle shook his head again.  "No," he said, "we must go on."

Finally, they came to a place very, very far in the forest where the boy had not been before.  There was a great cliff and at its base a cave led into the rock.  
The opening to the cave was large enough only for a small person to go into.  "There are animals hiding in there," the uncle said.  "You must crawl in and
chase them out so that I can shoot them with my arrows."

The cave was very dark and it looked cold inside, but the boy remembered what his parents had taught him.  He crawled into the cave.  There were leaves
and stones, but there were no animals.  He reached the very end of the cave and turned back, ashamed that he had not fulfilled his uncle's expectations.  
And do you know what he saw?  He saw his uncle rolling a great stone in front of the mouth of the cave.  And then everything was dark.

The boy tried to move the stone, but it was no use.  He was trapped!  At first he was afraid, but then he remembered what his parents had told him.  The
orenda of those who are good at heart is very strong.  If you do good and have faith, good things will come to you.  This made the boy happy and he began
to sing a song.

The song was about himself, a boy who had no parents and needed friends.  As he sang, his song grew louder, until he forgot he was trapped in a cave.  
But then he heard a scratching noise outside and stopped singing, thinking his uncle had come back to let him out of the cave.

However, as soon as he heard the first of many voices outside the cave, he knew that he was wrong.  That high squeaking voice was not the voice of his
uncle.  "We should help this boy," said the high squeaking voice.

"Yes," said a very deep voice which sounded warm and loving.  "He is all alone and needs help.

"There is no doubt that we should help him."

"One of us," said another voice, "will have to adopt him."

And then many other voices, voices of all kinds which seemed to speak in many languages agreed.  The strange thing was that the boy could understand
all these voice, strange as they were.

Then the stone began to move and light streamed into the cave, blinding the boy who had been in the darkness for a long time.  He crawled out, very stiff
and cold, and looked around him.  He was surrounded by many animals.

"Now that we have rescued you,: said a small voice from near his feet, "you must choose which of us will be your parents now."  He looked down and saw
that the one who was speaking was a mole.

"Yes," said a great moose standing in the trees.  "You must choose one of us."  

"Thank you," said the boy.  "You are all so kind.  But how can I choose which one of you will be my parents?"

"I know," said the mole.  "Let us all tell him what we are like and what kind of lives we lead and he can decide."  There was general agreement on that, and
so the animals began to come up to the boy one by one.

"I'll begin," said the mole.  "I live under the earth and dig my tunnels through the Earth Mother.  It is very dark and cozy in my tunnels and we have plenty
of worms and grubs to eat."

"That sounds very good," said the boy, "but I am afraid that I am too big to go into your tunnels, friend Mole."

"Come and live with me," said the beaver.  "I live in a fine lodge in the midst of a pond.  We beavers eat the best bark from the sweetest trees and we dive
under the water and sleep in our lodge in the winter time."

"Your life is very interesting too," said the boy, "but I cannot eat bark and I know that I would freeze in the cold waters of your pond."

"How about me?" said the wolf.  "I run through the woods and fields and I catch all the small animals I want to eat.  I live in a warm den and you would
do well to come with me."

"You too are very kind," said the boy, "but all of the animals have been so kind to me I would not feel right eating them."

"You could be my child," said the deer.  "run with us through the forest and eat the twigs of the trees and the grass of the fields."

"No, friend deer," the boy said, "You are beautiful and good, but you are so fast that I would be left far behind you."

Then an old bear-woman walked over to the boy.  She looked at him a long time before she talked and when she spoke her voice was like a growling song.

"You can come with us and be a bear," she said.  "We bears move slowly and speak with harsh voices, but our hearts are warm.  We eat the berries and the
roots which grow in the forest and our fur would keep you warm in the long season cold."

"Yes," said the boy, "I would like to be a bear.  I will come with you and you will be my family."  So the boy who had no family went to live with the bears.  
The mother bear had two other children and they became brothers to the boy.  They would roll and play together and soon the boy was almost as strong
as a bear.

"Be careful, though," the old bear-woman cautioned him.  "Your brothers' claws are sharp and wherever they scratch you, you will grow hair just like
them."  They lived together a long time in the forest and the old bear-woman taught the boy many things.

One day they were all in the forest seeking berries when the bear-woman motioned them to silence.

"Listen," she said.  "There is a hunter."  They listened and, sure enough, they heard the sounds of a man walking.  The old bear-woman smiled.  "We have
nothing to fear from him," she said.  "He is the heavy-stepper and the twigs and the leaves of the forest speak of him wherever he goes."

Another time as they walked along, the old bear-woman again motioned them to silence.  "Listen," she said.  "Another hunter."  they listened and soon they
heard the sound of singing.  The old bear-woman smiled.  "That one too is not dangerous.  He is the flapping-mouth, the one who talks as he hunts and
does not remember that everything in the forest has ears.  We bears can hear singing even if it is only thought, and not spoken."

So they lived on happily until one day when the old bear-woman motioned them to silence, a frightened look in her eyes.  "Listen," she said, "the one who
hunts on two-legs and four-legs.  This one is very dangerous to us, and we must hope he does not find us, for the four-legs who hunts with him can follow
our tracks wherever we go and the man himself does not give up until he has caught whatever it is that he is hunting for."

Just then they heard the sound of a dog barking.  "Run for your lives," cried the old bear-woman.  "The four-legs has caught our scent."

And so they ran, the boy and the three bears.  They ran across streams and up hills, but still the sound of the dog followed them.  They ran through
swamps and thickets, but the hunters were still close behind.  They crossed ravines and forced their way through patches of thorns, but could not escape
the sounds of pursuit.  Finally, their hearts ready to burst from exhaustion, the old bear-woman and the boy and the two bear-brothers came to a great
hollow log.  "It is our last hope," said the old bear-woman.  "Go inside."

They crawled into the log and waited, panting and afraid.  For a time, there was no sound and then the noise of the dog sniffing at the end of their log
came to their ears.  The old bear-woman growled and the dog did not dare to come in after them.  Then, once again, things were quiet and the boy began to
hope that his family would be safe, but his hopes were quickly shattered when he smelled smoke.  The resourceful hunter had piled branches at the end of
the log and was going to smoke them out!

"Wait," cried the boy in a loud voice.  "Do not harm my friends."

"Who is speaking?" shouted a familiar voice from outside the log.  "Is there a human being inside there?"  There came the sound of branches being kicked
away from the mouth of the log and then the smoke stopped.  The boy crawled out and looked into the face of the hunter --it was his uncle!!

"My nephew!" cried the uncle with tears in his eyes.  "Is it truly you?  I came back to the cave where I left you, realizing that I had been a cruel and foolish
man...but you were gone and there were only the tracks of many animals.  I thought they had killed you.

And it was true.  Before the uncle had reached home, he had realized that he had been a wicked person.  He had turned back, resolved to treat the son of his
own sister well from then on.  His grief had truly been great when he had found him gone.

"It is me," said the boy.  "I have been cared for by the bears.  They are like my family now, Uncle.  Please do not harm them."

The uncle tied his hunting dog to a tree as he nodded his agreement.  "Bring out your friends.  I will always be the friend of bears from now on if what you
say is true."

Uncertain and still somewhat afraid, the old bear-woman and her two sons came out of the log.  They talked to the boy with words which sounded to the
uncle like nothing more than animals growling and told him that he must now be a human being again.

"We will always be your friends," said the old bear-woman and she shuffled into the fores after her two sons.  "And you will remember what it is to know
the warmth of an animal's heart."

And so the boy returned to live a long and happy life with his uncle, a friend to the bears and all the animals for as long as he lived.
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Iroquois (Haudensaunee) Legends