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
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
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
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
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
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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