Native American Legends
The Little People
A Choctaw Legend
A long time ago in ancient time, while the Choctaw Indians were
living in Mississippi, the Choctaw legends say that certain supernatural
beings or spirits lived near them. These spirits, or "Little
People," were known as Kowi Anukasha or "Forest Dwellers."
They were about two or three feet tall.
These pygmy beings lived deep in the thick forest, their homes
were in caves hidden under large rocks. When a boy child is two,
three, or even four years old, he will often wander off into the
woods, playing or chasing a small animal. When the little one is
well out of sight from his home, "Kwanokasha", who is
always on watch, seizes the boy and takes him away to his cave,
his dwelling place. Many times his cave is far away and Kwanokasha
and the little boy must travel a very long way, climbing many hills
and crossing many streams. When they finally reach the cave Kwanokasha
takes him inside where he is met by three other spirits, all very
old with long white hair.
The first one offers the boy a knife; the second one offers him,a
bunch of poisonous herbs; the third offers a bunch of herbs yielding
good medicine. If the child accepts the knife, he is certain to
become a bad man and may even kill his friends. If he accepts the
poisonous herbs he will never be able to cure or help his people.
But, if he accepts the good herbs, he is destined to become a great
doctor and an important and influential man of his tribe and win
the confidence of all his people. When he accepts the good herbs
the three old spirits will tell him the secrets of making medicines
from herbs, roots and barks of certain trees, and of treating and
curing various fevers, pains and other sickness.
That is the reason the "'Little People" take the boy
child to their home in the wilderness, in order to train Indian
doctors, transmitting to them their special curative powers and
to train them in the manufacture of their medicines. The child will
remain with the spirits for three days after which he is returned.
He does not tell where he has been or what he has seen or heard.
Not until he becomes a man will he make use of the knowledge gained
from the spirits, and never will he reveal to others how it was
acquired. It is said among the Choctaws that few children wait to
accept the offering of the good herbs from the third spirit, and
that is why there are so few great doctors and other men of influence
among the Choctaws.
It is also said that the "Little People" are never seen
by the common Choctaws. The Choctaw prophets and herb doctors, however,
claim the power of seeing them and of holding communication with
them. During the darkest nights in all kinds of weather you can
see a strange light wandering around in the woods. This light is
the Indian doctor and his little helper looking for that special
herb to treat and cure a very sick tribesman.
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