Native American Legends
Why the leaves have many colors in Autumn
A Wyandot (Huron) Legend
The wise men turned to him who wrote, Then they looked at the trees
on many hills. It was the autumn. The leaves had many colors.They
said, " We will tell you the story of the battle fought by
the deer and the bear in the land of the sky."
The bear was selfish and proud. He often made trouble among the
Animals of the Great Council. When he heard that the Deer had walked
over the rainbow Bridge into the sky land he was angry. "I
WILL PUNISH THE DEER " he said.
The Bear went to the Rainbow Bridge He leaped along its beautiful
way of glowing colors. He came into the sky land. There he found
the deer and said to him; This sky land is the home of the Little
turtle, Why did you come into this land? Why did you not come to
meet us in the Great Council? Why did you not wait until all the
Animals could come to live here?
Then the Deer was angry, Only the Wolf might ask him such questions.
The Bear had no right to speak like that to the Deer.
The Deer said to the bear, you have gone about making trouble among
the Animals long enough You shall never do that again.
The Deer said he would kill the Bear he arched his neck. He tossed
his head to show his long sharp horns. The hair along his back stood
up. His eyes blazed as if a fire burned in them. He thought to slay
the bear with a single stroke of his terrible horns.
The Bear was not afraid. His claws were very strong. He stood erect
for the mighty conflict. His deep growls shook the sky like rolling
thunder. The struggle was terrific and long. The Bear was torn by
the cruel horns of the Deer.
When the remaining Animals of the great Council heard the awful
noise, the Wolf went up into the sky to stop the dreadful battle.
All the animals had to obey the Wolf, So the Deer turned and ran
away. And the Bear fled along the paths of the sky. As the Deer
ran, the Blood of the Bear dropped from his horns. It fell down
to the Lower World and made the leaves of the trees many colors.
Some were Red, some Yellow, Some were Brown. Some Scarlet, and some
Now each year when the Autumn comes the leaves of the trees take
on these many colors. The forests are flooded with soft and glowing
beauty. The Wyandots then say the blood of the Bear has again been
thrown down from the sky upon the trees of the Great Island.
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