Karahkwa - First Nation Tales From America’s Eastern States


These stories cover a broad range of nations and tribes from North Americas eastern and south-eastern regions. Many of the stories have been told as part of the Iroquois and Cherokee traditions.

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Table of Contents


How The World Was Made

Hi-Nuⁿ Destroying The Giant Animals

Gluskα̨bε The Transformer

Kana'ti And Selu: The Origin Of Game And Corn


The Thunderers

The Daughter Of The Sun

Great Head

Origin Of Strawberries

Tashka And Walo

The Stone Giant's Wife

The Rabbit Goes Duck Hunting

The Warrior Saved By Pigmies

How The Rabbit Stole The Otter's Coat

The Flood

The Origin Of Fire

Koto And The Bird

Origin Of The Seneca Medicine

The Gifts Of The Sky God

How The Wildcat Caught The Gobbler

Origin Of The Human Race

Rabbit And The Tar Baby

How The Terrapin Beat The Rabbit

How The Bear Lost His Tail

Origin Of The Constellations

The Rabbit And The Possum After A Wife

Rabbit And Bear

How Rabbit Snared The Sun

Infant Nursed By Bears

The Rabbit Escapes From The Wolves

The Man And His Step-Son

The Ants And The Katydids

How The Deer Got His Horns

How A Hunter Encountered Bmule´, Visited His Country And Obtained A Boon

Why The Blackbird Has Red Wings

The Dead Hunter

Why The Mole Lives Underground

Why The Birds Have Sharp Tails

The Old Man's Lessons To His Nephew

The Groundhog's Head

The Wildcat And The Turkeys

The Charmed Suit

The Wolf's Revenge

The Brant And The Otter

The Boy And The Corn

The Ball Game Of The Birds And Animals

The Tiny Frog And The Panther

A Sure Revenge

How The Man Found His Mate

Why The Opossum Plays Dead

The Moon Person

Why The Turkey Gobbles

Kingfisher And His Nephew

How The Kingfisher Got His Bill

The Wild-Cat And The White Rabbit

How The Redbird Got His Colour

How The White Man Came

The Race Between The Crane And The Hummingbird

The West Wind

The Owl Gets Married

How A Boy Was Cured Of Boasting

The Adventures Of Wesakchak

The Hunter And The Buzzard

Why 'Possum Has A Large Mouth

The Uktena And The Ulûñsû'ti

What The Ash And The Maple Learned

Âgan-Uni'tsi's Search For The Uktena

How The Woman Overcame The Bear

The Red Man And The Uktena

Why The Ice Roof Fell

The Ustû'tli

How Mice Overcame The Warriors

The Bullfrog Lover

Why Crows Are Poor

Ûñtsaiyi', The Gambler

Why Men Love Their Dogs

The Nest Of The Tla'nuwa

Greedy Fawn And The Porridge

The Hunter And The Tla'nuwa

Corn Plume And Bean Maiden

Nûñ'yunu'wi, The Stone Man

How Morning Star Lost Her Fish

The Hunter And The Alligator

Atagâ'hi, The Enchanted Lake

How The Fairies Worked Magic

The Ice Man

The Underground Panthers

The Bear Man

The Spirit Defenders Of Nikwasi'

The Man Who Married The Thunder's Sister

The Star Feathers

The Raven Mocker

Historical Notes

About The Editor

SAMPLE chapter


This adaptation is taken from a story collected by James Mooney in the book Myths of the Cherokee, which was originally published by the Bureau of American Ethnology as part of their Nineteenth Annual report, printed by the Washington Government Printing Office and dated 1902. This is a Cherokee tale.

A YOUNG MAN HAD BEEN OUT on a hunting trip and was on his way home when night came on while he was still a long distance from the settlement. He knew of a house not far off the trail where an old man and his wife lived, so he turned in that direction to look for a place to sleep until morning. When he got to the house there was nobody in it. He looked into the âsi and found no one there either. He thought maybe they had gone after water, and so stretched himself out in the farther corner to sleep.

Very soon he heard a raven cry outside, and in a little while afterwards the old man came into the âsi and sat down by the fire without noticing the young man, who kept still in the dark corner. Soon there was another raven cry outside, and the old man said to himself, "Now my wife is coming," and sure enough in a little while the old woman came in and sat down by her husband. Then the young man knew they were Raven Mockers and he was frightened and kept very quiet.

Said the old man to his wife, "Well, what luck did you have?" 

"None," said the old woman, "there were too many doctors watching. What luck did you have?"

"I got what I went for," said the old man, "there is no reason to fail, but you never have luck. Take this and cook it and let's have something to eat."

She fixed the fire and then the young man smelled meat roasting and thought it smelled sweeter than any meat he had ever tasted. He peeped out from one eye, and it looked like a man's heart roasting on a stick.

Suddenly the old woman said to her husband, "Who is over in the corner?"

"Nobody," said the old man.

"Yes, there is," said the old woman, "I hear him snoring," and she stirred the fire until it blazed and lighted up the whole place, and there was the young man lying in the corner. He kept quiet and pretended to be asleep. The old man made a noise at the fire to wake him, but still he pretended to sleep. Then the old man came over and shook him, and he sat up and rubbed his eyes as if he had been asleep all the time.

Now it was near daylight and the old woman was out in the other house getting breakfast ready, but the hunter could hear her crying to herself.

"Why is your wife crying?" he asked the old man.

"Oh, she has lost some of her friends lately and feels lonesome," said her husband, but the young man knew that she was crying because he had heard them talking.

When they came out to breakfast the old man put a bowl of corn mush before him and said, "This is all we have. We have had no meat for a long time."

After breakfast the young man started on again, but when he had gone a little way the old man ran after him with a fine piece of beadwork and gave it to him, saying, "Take this, and don't tell anybody what you heard last night, because my wife and I are always quarrelling that way."

The young man took the piece, but when he came to the first creek he threw it into the water and then went on to the settlement. There he told the whole story, and a party of warriors started back with him to kill the Raven Mockers. When they reached the place it was seven days after the first night. They found the old man and his wife lying dead in the house, so they set fire to it and burned the house and the witches together.