Native American Legends
A new legend for the people
A Cherokee Legend
Many, many years ago, when animals could talk, they were divided
into tribes, bands and clans, much like we are today. The Hawks
were some of the proudest of all animals. They were strong and great
in number. Each year they would hold tribal councils and dances.
The sound of their drum and wings would fill the Earth.
As time went on a great enemy came. A large and powerful bird which
they had never seen before. When this bird would fly overhead, the
whole sky would be as if it were night in the middle of the day.
This bird passed over and caused many of the Hawks to be driven
away from the land Grandfather had given them. He passed over again
and caused many of the Hawks to die. Finally, he passed over and
caused many of the Hawks to be separated from others into many different
places. Over time, these separated Hawks lost all contact with their
brothers and sisters. They began to live with the other birds; the
red birds, the blue jays and others.
As time passed, the children of the separated Hawks grew up thinking
they belonged with the other tribes. Sometimes their parents would
even tell them they belonged there. Many years passed and the great,
great grandchildren of the Hawks began to feel different from the
other birds they had called family for so long. While the other
birds wanted to search for worms, they wanted to soar in the air.
When they saw game in the fields, they would be overcome with the
desire to capture and eat it.
Slowly the separated Hawks began to know they were not the Red
Birds or Blue Jays or any of the other birds they had been living
with. Slowly they learned that they were Hawks and that there were
other Hawks like them, living in other places. They learned of the
Hawk Drums and Dances. These things stirred up the spirit of the
Hawk inside them and they knew that they had to return to their
families. One day all the separated Hawks got together and started
out on the long journey home. After a long time, they reached the
land of their Grandfathers. They found the other Hawks who had been
left behind. This was the place they belonged and they knew it.
Something inside told them so.
The Hawks who had been left behind were not interested in the new
arrivals. "Who are you?", they asked. "What makes
you think you are like us?" "We are Hawks", replied
the new arrivals. "You may say you are Hawks but you are not
part of us". Sadly, the separated Hawks left. They felt as
if they had no other place to go, so they returned to the lands
and tribes they had lived with for so long. The separated Hawks
remembered the song of the Hawks they had learned and the dance
they had seen. They began to sing the songs and dance the dances.
Yet their hearts were heavy for their brothers and sisters.
One day the separated Hawks learned the old enemy of the Hawks
had returned. He was once again making war with their brothers and
sisters. Now however, the Hawks who had remained were smaller in
number. The Hawks who had remained, it was learned, would most surely
be destroyed this time by this great bird. The war cry went out
among the separated Hawks. They gathered together. They made arrows,
they fasted, they danced; they mad ready for war.
When the time was right, the separated Hawks set ambushes for the
enemy of their fellow Hawks. The war was on. Because of the help
of the separated Hawks, the enemy was defeated and all the Hawks
once again lived together.
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