Myths and Tales of the Southeastern Indians

By John R. Swanton | Go to book overview

HITCHITI STORIES

1. BEAR, TIGER, RATTLESNAKE, AND FIRE (12)

Fire was going to teach Bear, Tiger,1 and Rattlesnake together while they fasted.2 While Fire was teaching them, all were to stay in one place, but Bear got tired and ran away. They had said Bear was to receive a rattle, and when he ran away Bear took the rattle with him and disappeared.

Next day Fire said, "Bear started off, but did not get far from us; he is lying asleep near by." The rest had remained together.

He taught Tiger, Bear, and Rattlesnake together for three years. Bear, who was to have received the rattle, had it taken away from him, and it was given to Rattlesnake. Fire said to the latter, "You must always carry this." Fire gave him the rattle and to him and the other two all kinds of knowledge.

Then Fire went away. He set out fires and scattered the fire. The rain fell to put it out, but could not do so, and it spread. It continued raining, but in vain, and when it stopped all men received fire. The fire was distributed. When the red men received knowledge it is said that it was through the fire that they received it. So it is said.


2. THE ORIGIN OF TOBACCO (15)

A man had lost his horses and was looking for them. A woman was also hunting for horses. They, the man and the woman, met and talked to each other. They sat talking together under a hickory tree which cast a good shade. The woman said, "I am hunting for some horses that have been hidden away." The man said, "I am also hunting for horses." As they sat talking something occurred to the man and he spoke to his companion as follows, "I am hunting about for horses; you too are hunting about for horses. Let us be friends, and lie here together, after which we will start on." The woman considered the matter and said, "All right." Both lay down, and when they got up the man went on his way and the woman went on hers.

Next summer the man was looking for horses again and happened to pass near the place where he and the woman had talked. The man thought, "I will go by that place just to look at it." When he got there he saw that a weed had grown up right where they had lain, but he did not know what it was. He stood looking at it for a while and then started off. He traveled on and told the old men about it.

____________________
1
Meaning Panther.
2
This is in accordance with the old usage when youths were initiated into the secrets of medicine.

-87-

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Myths and Tales of the Southeastern Indians
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Letter of Transmittal iii
  • Contents v
  • Myths and Tales of the Southeastern Indians 1
  • Creek Stories 2
  • Hitchiti Stories 87
  • Alabama Stories 118
  • Koasati Stories 166
  • Natchez Stories 214
  • Comparison of Myths 267
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