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Sayadio in the land of the Dead

An Iroquois Legend

Sayadio was a warrior who had a younger sister who died. He grieved for her so much that he resolved to find her and bring back to life from the land of the spirits. The search took him yeas, and just when he was about to give up he encountered a wise man who knew the secrets of the spirit world. This old man gave him a magic gourd in which he might catch the spirit of his sister. Upon further conversation, Sayadio learned that this old man was the guide on the path to the part of the spirit world where his sister now was.

When Sayadio arrived in the land of the spirits, the spirits fled from him in fear. He recognized Tarenyawagon, who had lived on earth as Hiawatha, the great teacher of the Five Nations. Tarenyawagon now was the spirit master of ceremonies, and he was as compassionate as he was when he was on earth. Tarenyawagon told Sayadio that the spirits of the dead were about to have a great dance festival, in which his sister would take part. As soon as the formed the dance line, Sayadio recognized the spirit of his sister. When he went to embrace her, however, she disappeared.

He turned again to Tarenyawagon for advice. The teacher gave him a magic rattle. His sister was so entranced by the dance music and the magic sound of the rattle that Sayadio captured her spirit with ease, placing it in the magic gourd.

Sayadio returned to the village with his sister's spirit in the gourd. Just when the ceremony to reunite the spirit with her body had begun, a foolish curious girl opened the gourd and the sister's spirit vanished.

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