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Native American Legends

The Warm Wind Brothers vs. The Cold Wind Brothers

An American Indian Legend - Nation Unknown

This is a story about two tribes that lived during the last Ice Age, many years ago. One of these tribes was called the Tribe of the Warm Wind. The people lived in the Dry Falls-Vantafe area. Wherever they camped, they were in warm country. The chief of the Warm Wind people had five sons.

The second tribe was the Tribe of the Cold Wind. The chief of this tribe also had five sons. Wherever the Cold Wind people settled, cold weather followed. All the lakes and rivers froze, and snow fell.

When the Tribe of the Cold Wind tried to move south, they were stopped by the Tribe of the Warm Wind. The Cold Wind people held council and decided that if they would kill the five brothers in the Warm Wind tribe, they could go south whenever they wished.

They asked Coyote to deliver a challenge for a duel between the five brothers in the Warm Wind tribe and the five brothers in the Cold Wind tribe. The challenge was accepted, and the date was set. Then Coyote traveled around to tell all the people in both tribes about the contest.

When the day arrived, both tribes gathered at the place for the duel. Two warriors fought at a time, one Warm Wind brother against one Cold Wind brother. The young warriors of the Cold Wind people were much stronger than their rivals. Soon all the Warm Wind brothers had been killed.

The Tribe of the Cold Wind now had the power to rule, and they ruled strongly and severely. The country became cold. The rivers and lakes froze solid, and snow fell until the lodges were nearly covered. As far south as Dry Falls, the ice was piled as high as mountains.

Coyote was cruelly treated, and his work was never done. The Warm Wind people were miserable. They were made the slaves of the Cold Wind people. Any food they found was taken from them. They had to eat the scraps of food the Cold Wind people did not want.

Not long before the struggles, the youngest son of the Warm Wind chief had married a girl from a tribe farther south. She decided to go back to her people. Before she left, she told her husband's people, "I am expecting a child. Pray that it will be a boy. If I have a son, I will train him to be the greatest warrior in the world. When he is grown, I will send him to you. Watch for him. He will avenge the defeat of his father and uncles."

A few moons later the woman gave birth to a son. When he was about three months old, he was given baths in cold water to make him strong. As soon as he was old enough, his mother and her brothers had him follow a training course that would make him a strong warrior.

For years he trained. He became so strong that he could uproot trees and throw them over hills. He could throw large boulders many miles. At this time he believed himself the strongest man in the world.

Then his mother told him about the duel between the Warm Wind brothers and the Cold Wind brothers. The young man felt that he was ready to avenge the death of his father and uncles, and to set their people free. But his mother insisted that he train for one more year.

By the end of that year he could move small mountains. Then his mother told him that he was ready to go north to help his people. She told him just what he should do and what he should ask his grandparents to do to help him.

The young warrior started north, and a warm south wind went with him. As he neared the home of his grandparents, the ice on their lodge poles began to melt for the first time since they became slaves. They were glad and asked each other, "Do you think that our grandson is coming?"

Before the sun set that day, the young man reached them. They saw that he was strong, and they believed him when he said that he had come to free them and their people from the Cold Wind tribe. He was sorry that they had been treated unkindly.

Coyote was sent to the camp of the chief of the Cold Wind tribe to deliver a challenge from the grandson of the chief of the Warm Wind tribe. It was accepted. The day and the place were decided upon.

In the camp of the defeated people, the grandson asked them to follow his mother's instructions: "Boil some salmon, and put the broth in five containers."

On the morning of the duel, the people of both tribes gathered at the river at the chosen place. The grandson fought with the oldest brother from the Cold Wind tribe. The ice was very slick. But the grandson's people threw down a bucket of hot salmon broth, and the ice became rough. So the young warrior defeated the first of the five brothers.

Then the second brother stepped forth, and the grandson fought him. The Cold Wind people threw water on the ice, hoping to make it slick. Then the Warm Wind people threw another bucket of hot broth on the ice, and it became rough. So the young warrior defeated the second brother.

The third, fourth, and fifth brothers he struggled with, each in turn. Each time he was helped by the hot salmon broth. When he had defeated the youngest brother, the Warm Wind people were free. They drove the rest of the Cold Wind people so far north that they could never find their way back. Soon the warm wind came in and melted all the ice.

When the young grandson travels north in the spring, warm weather follows. If he had not defeated the five brothers of the Cold Wind tribe, we still would be living in the Ice Age.

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