Native American Legends
Origin of the Buffalo
A Cheyenne Legend
Long ago, a tribe of Cheyenne hunters lived at the head of a rushing
stream, which eventually emptied into a large cave.
Because of the great need for a new food supply for his people,
the Chief called a council meeting.
"We should explore the large cave," he told his people.
"How many brave hunters will offer to go on this venture? Of
course, it may be very dangerous, but we have brave hunters."
No one responded to the Chief's request.
Finally, one young brave painted himself for hunting and stepped
forth, replying to the Chief, "I will go and sacrifice myself
for our people." He arrived at the cave, and to his surprise,
First Brave found two other Cheyenne hunters near the opening, where
the stream rushed underground.
"Are they here to taunt me," First Brave wondered? "Will
they only pretend to jump when I do?"
But the other two braves assured him they would go.
"No, you are mistaken about us. We really do want to enter
the cave with you," they said.
First Brave then joined hands with them and together they jumped
into the huge opening of the cave. Because of the darkness, it took
some time for their eyes to adjust. They then discovered what looked
like a door.
First Brave knocked, but there was no response. He knocked again,
"What do you want, my brave ones?" asked an old Indian
grandmother as she opened her door.
"Grandmother, we are searching for a new food supply for our
tribe," First Brave replied. "Our people never seem to
have enough food to eat."
"Are you hungry now?" she asked.
"Oh, yes, kind Grandmother, we are very hungry," all
three braves answered.
The old grandmother opened her door wide, inviting the young braves
"Look out there!" she pointed for them to look through
A beautiful wide prairie stretched before their eyes. Great herds
of buffalo were grazing contentedly. The young hunters could hardly
believe what they saw!
The old grandmother brought each of them a stone pan full of buffalo
meat. How good it tasted, as they ate and ate until they were filled.
To their surprise, more buffalo meat remained in their stone pans!
"I want you to take your stone pans of buffalo meat back to
your people at your camp," said the old grandmother. "Tell
them that soon I will send some live buffalo."
"Thank you, thank you, thank you, kind Grandmother,"
said the three young Cheyenne braves.
When the young hunters returned to their tribe with the gifts of
buffalo meat, their people rejoiced over the new, good food. Their
entire tribe ate heartily from the old grandmother's three magic
pans, and were grateful.
When the Cheyenne waked at dawn the next day, herds of buffalo
had mysteriously appeared, surrounding their village! They were
truly thankful to the old Indian grandmother and to the Sky Spirits
for their good fortune.
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