Native American Legends
Story of the Red Fox Clan
A Chickasaw Legend
Red Fox (Tcula) was once found in a cave asleep by a hunter. The
hunter crept up to him and saw that it was Tcula. As he lay there
asleep he looked red all over, and in consequence the hunter called
him Red Fox.
From that time on his descendants have been known as the Red Fox
Some time after this Red Fox took up with a woman belonging to
the Wildcat clan. Their descendants were known as Tcula Homa Iksa,
and they lived only in the woods. They made a living by stealing
from other people, and that was why they wanted to live in the timber
continually. If this clan had been handed down through the women,
it would have been numerous today; but since it depended on the
father's side it did not last long.
They kept on stealing until about 1880, when the other people got
tired of them and killed nearly all, so that there are now only
a few remaining among the Choctaw and Chickasaw.
A person of the Red Fox clan did whatever he liked.
Once a man of this clan went hunting. He did not return that day
nor the next day after. In fact he was gone for several days, and
presently the people thought something had happened to him and chose
three men to send in search of him.
These men at length reached a place where they expected to find
him, but when they got close to it he was not there. They discovered
that he had taken up with a woman of the Bird clan; that was why
he had not returned home. When they at length came to the place
where he was living, he told them that he did not think it was harmful
to take any woman, whether she was of the same clan or not.
Therefore, when he met this woman and found that he liked her and
that she liked him, they lived together. The men told him that it
was against the will of his people and contrary to their customs,
but he could not be persuaded and after a while they left him. Before
he left his people he had already been married. Afterwards he wanted
to go back to live with them as he had before, but they would not
listen to him.
It was the belief of the people of the Red Fox clan that one should
not marry outside, and it was their law that if one did so they
would not have anything to do with him. They would not help him
in any way but he who obeyed their customs was held in respect among
them. They believed that things moved on as was intended by the
Creator, but some people did not have any regard for this and did
not care what happened to them.
The customs and habits of the Red Fox clan are different from those
of any other, and the same was true of those of the Double Mountain
people. Anyone who wanted to learn their ways must marry one of
their women (which, judging by what was said in the last paragraph
in the case of the Red Foxes, would seem to have been difficult).
When winter was approaching and these people wanted to go on a
hunt, they began their preparations a considerable time in advance.
Some of them would get together and decide how many were to go and
how long they would be gone.
Then these persons would fast for four days and meanwhile the women
would cook food for them to take, enough to last for the time determined
upon. They made sacks into which to put cold flour (banaha). While
the men were fasting they would not sleep with their wives, for
if one did he thought that luck would abandon him and he would kill
Some would not observe these rules and in consequence they were
usually excluded from the party. If such a person were permitted
to go, the deer would see him first and run off. But those who obeyed
the regulations would have good luck and kill many deer and bear
to bring home.
When they killed a deer they dried the meat to last them through
the winter. When they went after bear they hunted about until they
discovered his lair and then one of the hunters went into it bearing
a pine torch.
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