Native American Legends
Eagle and Red Tail
An American Indian Legend - Nation Unknown
A long time ago, Eagle and Red Tail were the same size, and very
good friends. But Red Tail was very jealous of Eagle, and thought
he was better than him.
Red Tail would always make up contests for them to do, so he could
show up his friend. This really made Eagle very sad, and every night
he would pray to creator, that Red Tail would stop. It was not that
Eagle was inferior, just that competing with a friend was wrong.
They should enjoy being different, and what each other brought to
Well one day Red Tail came up with the idea that they would each
fly as high as they could, and then soar back down to the ground.
Eagle kept saying he did not want to compete with his friend, it
was wrong. But Red tail would not be put off. He kept taunting Eagle
till he finally gave in to him. They both took off, and started
flying. Eagle was ahead of Red Tail, and this made him furious.
He started playing tricks on Eagle acting like he was hurt. When
Eagle came back to help him, he took off so fast, he lost some of
Eagle decided to just let Red Tail win, then maybe the contests
would stop. So Eagle just soared around waiting for Red Tail to
come back. He soared for 3 days waiting. He was beginning to really
worry about his friend. Finally he saw Red Tail coming back. But
he looked really small to him. As Red Tail got closer Eagle noticed
that he was smaller. Eagle asked him where had he been, and what
had happened to him. Red Tail told him he went so high he saw creator.
Eagle thought he was playing a joke on him. But Red Tail told him
so seriously, that he was very sorry for all the contests, and mean
tricks he had played on him.
Eagle wanted to know after all these years why was he sorry for
them. "Well" said Red Tail, "When I saw Creator he
told me how you had prayed to him every night that I would stop
the contests and the foolish games. It made me feel so small in
character, that I began to shrink to the size you see me now.
Then Creator said as my punishment I would stay this way, and all
my descendants shall be this size as well. And I will never be able
to fly as high as the Eagle again. So my friend I truly am sorry
for being so cruel to you. You clearly were better than me."
Eagle was so touched by Red Tails words all he could do was look
at him. Then he said to Red Tail, "No my friend we are equal
yet different. Unique in our own ways. You will always be my friend.
But now we can celebrate our differences, and our new understanding
of each other." So on this they agreed, and cemented the friendship
by giving each other a feather. And that is why Red Tail is smaller
than Eagle. And why they both wear white as a sign of their continuing
respect for each other.
Native American Legends
Back to Top
Other Native American Legends