Myths and Legends of the Mississippi Valley and the Great Lakes

Page: 6

He gave them laws but the people did not follow the laws. Therefore many troubles came, so that the Creator could not rest. Therefore the Creator made tobacco. Then men could become quiet and rest. Afterwards he made women, but at first they were like wood. So he directed a chief to teach them how to move, and how to cook, and to sew skins.

[6] Now when the animals met the Chitimachas, they ridiculed them. For these men had no fur, and no wool, and no feathers to protect them from storms, or rain, or the hot sun. The Chitimachas were sad because of this.

Then the Creator gave them bows and arrows, and taught them how these things should be used. He told them that the flesh of the animals was good for food, and their skins for covering. Thus the animals were punished.

The Creator taught them also how to draw fire from two pieces of wood, one flat and the other pointed; thus they learned to cook their food. The Creator taught them also to honor the bones of their relatives; and so long as they lived, to bring them food.

Now in those days, the animals took part in the councils of men. They gave advice to men, being wiser. Each animal took especial care of the Chitimachas. Therefore the Indians respect the animals which gave good advice to their ancestors, and this aids them even today in time of need.

The Creator also made the moon and the stars. Both were to give life and light to all things on earth. Moon forgot the sacred bathing, therefore he is pale and weak, giving but little light to man. But Sun gives light to all things. Sun often stops on her trail [7] to give more time to the Indians when they are hunting, or fighting their enemies. Moon does not, but always pursues his wife over the sky trail. Yet he can never catch up with her.

The mounds in the Chitimacha country are the camping places of the spirit sent down by the Creator to visit the Indians. This spirit taught the men how to cook their food and to cure their wounds. He is still highly honored.




THERE was, in olden days, something the matter with the earth. It has changed. We think so. We think the Great Mystery made it and made men also. He made them at a place called Mountains. It was eastward. When he had made the earth and these mountains, he covered the earth over with something. He did it with his hands.

Under this, he put men. All the different tribes were there. One of the young men climbed up and found his way to the surface. It was very beautiful. Then a deer ran past, with an arrow in its side. He followed it to where it fell and died. He looked back to see its tracks, and he soon saw other tracks. They were the footprints of the person who shot the deer. He soon came up. It was the Maker of Men. Thus he taught the Indians what they must do when they came out of the earth. The creator showed the Indian how to skin the deer, and prepare it for food, and how to use the skin for dress.