Native American Legends
Blue Jays skinny legs
A Flathead Legend
It happened a long time ago, before the arrival of the White brothers
/ sisters. There was a chief who had a very beautiful daughter.
He wanted to make sure that she married a strong and healthy man.
As the young men began to come around to flirt with his daughter,
he became worried. He decided to reduce the odds by having a race.
He informed all the young men that the one with the strongest legs
could marry his daughter.
Coyote was crafty and a good runner with a lot of power, so he
came first. He showed how long his legs were and how fast he could
run. Then Deer came, a very handsome and strong buck. He showed
how powerful his legs were at jumping, although they were somewhat
knotted up. Then Grizzly Bear came along. Bear stood up and growled
so everyone could see that he had very powerful and strong legs.
So he claimed the girl.
But Blue Jay hollered that it was not fair, that others should
still be considered. While the others were showing their legs, he
hid behind an old log, where he had gathered a lot of tree moss
and used clay to pack it around his legs. They looked larger and
stronger than anyone's , even bigger than Grizzly Bears. But to
sweeten the pot, Blue Jay also offered all kinds of beautiful feathers
he had obtained from all of his different bird relations.
The old chief was fooled by this and let his daughter go with him
Blue Jay had to carry his new wife across the stream in order to
reach his tepee on the other side. As he began the hard journey,
The water softened the moss and clay, so they fell from his legs.
When he climbed up on the other side of the stream bank, everyone
began to laugh. Grizzly Bear came down and claimed his prize, and
with his strong legs carried his new wife up the side of the mountain.
Anytime he tries to come back and visit , the Blue Jay will start
squawking all over the forest, and he makes a terrible noise. He
does this because he is jealous and doesn't like to be laughed at.
Here is the same story, told slightly differently.
The chief had a daughter who was old enough to marry. He informed
the young men that one with the strongest legs could have her. Coyote
showed how long and fast he could run and claimd the girl. Bear
flexed his leg muscles to show how big and strong they were, and
he claimed the girl. Jay sneaked off into the woods where he gathered
some black moss that hangs from trees. He wrapped the moss around
his legs to make them look large. The chief was fooled by his trick
and proclaimed him the winner. Jay had to carry his new wife across
a stream in order to reach hiss teepee, and the water softened the
moss so it fell off his legs. When he climbed the bank on the opposite
side of the stream, everyone saw his little skinny legs and they
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