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Cherokee Stories

The Wolf's Revenge

(From History, Myths, and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees, by James Mooney)


Kana'ti had wolves to hunt for him, because they are good hunters and never fail. He once set out two wolves at once. One went to the east and did not return. The other went to the north, and when he returned as night and did not find his fellow he knew he must be in trouble and started after him. After traveling on some time he found his brother lying nearly dead beside a great greensnake (salikwa'yi) which had attacked him. The snake itself was too badly wounded to crawl away, and the angry wolf, who had magic powers, taking out several hairs from his own whiskers, shot them into the body of the snake and killed it. He then hurried back to Kana'ti, who sent the Terrapin after a great doctor who lived in the west to save the wounded wolf. The wolf went back to help his brother and by his magic powers he had cured him long before the doctor came from the west, because the Terrapin was such a slow traveler and the doctor had to prepare his roots before he started.

* * * * * * *

In the beginning, the people say, the Dog was put on the mountain and Wolf beside the fire. When the winter came the Dog could not stand the cold, so he came down to the settlement and drove the Wolf from the fire. The Wolf ran to the mountains, where it suited him so well that he prospered and increased, until after a while he ventured down again and killed some animals in the settlements. The people got together and followed and killed him, but his brothers came from the mountains and took such revenge that ever since the people have been afraid to hurt a wolf.


Cherokee Stories