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Native American Legends

Twisted Hair

An American Indian Legend - Nation Unknown

"Twisted Hair" is the Native American term of honor given to the storyteller. Their spirit could hear the heartbeat of Mother Earth and Father Sky.

To become a storyteller you had to be recognized by an elder Twisted Hair. The Twisted Hair was the bearer of news from one village to the next and the source of gossip for the women of the tribe. They were the light spirit among all the people and made all the people one because the history of the people was kept by the Twisted Hair and passed down from generation to generation.

The Twisted Hair carried very little with him as he wandered, for the people of the village he was visiting would gift him with food and shelter. He always carried a warm robe, his pipe and his storytellers' bag.

Stories are usually only told when the weather is a bit nippy because everyone knows that bugs are terrible gossips. If one of them were to overhear a story, they would spread rumors and the story that the spirit is about might be offended. The Twisted Hairs knew so many stories that, in a sacred manner, they would gather clay from Mother Earth and make story tiles. The tiles were put in a leather bag and one of the children would be asked to pick one out. The symbol on the tile would remind him of a particular story.

The Twisted Hair's pipe was wrapped in a skin given to him by his mother. This gift kept his family close by as he spent little time at home.

When a Twisted Hair came into a village the children would run to greet him and all the people would stop their work, for they knew it was time to listen and learn. All the people would get their robes and gather in a circle around the Twisted Hair. The children would always be in the front of the circle. When anyone got cold they would pull their robes up around themselves, because unless it was an extreme emergency - no one ever left the circle of the Twisted Hair in the middle of a story, for to do so was a great dishonor.

Before he told stories, the Twisted Hair always made a prayer fire. He offered tobacco to Great Mystery and all our relations. Then he first honored the chief, then the elder men and women by offering them to share his pipe. Then he offered it to all others.

When the storytelling was over, they would feast. The Twisted Hair would stay in the village from one to two weeks. Of all the people that traveled from village to village, he was the most beloved. So remember, when you hear a story - you know that a Twisted Hair is nearby, either physically or in spirit.

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