Hummingbird brings back Tobacco
A Cherokee Legend
Long ago, when all people and animals spoke the same tongue, there was only one tobacco plant in all the world. From far and wide, did they come for their tobacco. All was well, until the greedy Dagul'ku geese stole the plant and flew far to the south with it, where they guarded it with all their might. Before long, all of the people and the animals began to have great sufferings because they had no tobacco.
One old woman, who had long suffered, had became so thin and weak that it was held by all that she would die soon, and could only be saved by tobacco. Now this old woman was loved by all of the people and the animals and this disturbed them greatly.
So it was decided that they should hold a council, which they did, and make a plan on how to return the tobacco than had been taken from them. They decided to seed the animals to retrieve it.
One by one, the animals all tried to get the plant, but each time they were seen by the Dagul'ku geese and killed them all before they could reach the plant. From the largest to the smallest, the four footed animals failed. Now, the Mole spoke up and said that he would go. Everyone thought this to be a good idea, as he could tunnel under the ground to the plant and steal it away.
So, off he went and as he approached the plant, his track was scene by the Dagul'ku, who waited at the plant for him to come out. When at last, out he did come, he suffered much the same outcome.
Much disparity was heard in the council after that. No one could think of any way to get the tobacco plant away from the greedy Dagul'ku. No other animals wanted to go.
The Hummingbird had been listening to all of the plans had come up with one of his own. At last told the council that he could retrieve the plant. They look at him as said how could this be, you are so small? How could you get to the plant past the Dagul'ki?
He told them that he could do it and that if they wanted they could test him. So out in the middle of the meadow, they showed him a plant that all could see. They said to him, "Go, sit on that plant, but do not let us see you getting there."
No sooner than the words had been spoken, did all of the people see the Hummingbird sitting atop the plant in the meadow. And right before there eye did he disappear again and reappear in the council circle. Not one person having seen him go or return.
Stunned at the feat, it was decided to give him a chance.
Now he wasted no time. Off, he dashed straight to the plant, right under the noses of the Dagul'ki. Right up to the plant without them even suspecting him being there. Quick as a wink, he used his long beak to cut off the top of the plant that had a few leaves and the seeds. Then, off he dashed straight back to the council circle.
By this time the old woman was thought to have died, but smoke was blown into her nostrils and with a cry of "Tsa'lu", she opened her eyes and regained her strength.
Return to Cherokee Legends