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Native American Legends

Tsvdigewi (Little People)

An American Indian Legend - Nation Unknown

Several thousand winters before the first Unega set foot on our shores, some young men of the Cherokee nation set out to see what was in the world.

They traveled south until they came to a tribe of little people, called "Tsvdigewi". These people had very unusually shaped bodies and were hardly tall enough to come up to a man's knee. They did not have houses but lived in nests scooped out in the sand, which were covered with dried grass.

The little fellows were so weak and puny that they could not fight at all and were constantly afraid of the wild geese and other birds that came in great flocks from the south to make war on them.

Just at the time that the travelers got there, they found the little men in great fear because there was strong wind blowing in from the south and it blew white feathers up and down the sand so that the Tsvdigewi knew their enemies were coming, and would be there soon.

The Cherokee young men asked them why they did not defend themselves and they said they could not because they did not know how. There was no time to make bows and arrows, but the travelers told them to take up sticks and use them as clubs, and showed them where to hit the birds on their necks to kill them.

The wind blew for several days and at last the birds came; there were so many that they were like a giant cloud in the air and when they landed, the entire area was covered with birds so that no-one could walk more than a few steps without bumping into one.

The little men ran to their nests and the birds followed and stuck their long bills into the nests to pull them out and eat them. But this time the little men had their clubs, and they struck the birds on the neck the way the Cherokee young men had shown them, and managed after several hours to kill most of them.

The other birds flew away in disappointment. The little men thanked the Cherokee young men for their help and gave them the best food they had until the travelers went on to see the other tribes.

They heard afterwards that the birds came again several times, but that the Tsvdigewi always drove them off with their clubs. But one day a flock of Sandhill Cranes came. They were so tall that the little men could not reach high enough to hit them on the neck and after several hours of fighting the cranes killed them all.

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