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Native American Legends

The Uw`tsun'ta

A Cherokee Legend

At Nûñ'däye'`lï, the wildest spot on Nantahala river, in what is now Macon county, North Carolina, where the overhanging cliff is highest and the river far below, there lived in the old time a great snake called the Uw`tsun'ta or "bouncer."

It moved by jerks like a measuring worm, with only one part of its body on the ground at a time. It stayed generally on the east side, where the sun came first in the morning, and used to cross by reaching over from the highest point of the cliff until it could get a grip on the other side, when it would pull over the rest of its body.

It was so immense that when it was thus stretched across its shadow darkened the whole valley below.

For a long time the people did not know it was there, but when at last they found out about it they were, afraid to live in the valley, so that it was deserted even while still Indian country.

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