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"The Legend of the First Woman"



For a time the man was very happy on the earth.
He roamed around and ate the fruits and
berries and he visited the animals
and he saw all his homeland.



There was much to learn and
the earth was beautiful.
But before long the man grew discontented
and he became very unhappy.
He didn't know what this disease was, but it
was a disease we still have, he was bored.



When he got bored, he used his mind
and strength differently.
He shot arrows at the deer without really needing
to. He picked the plants and didn't use them.
He tore up the animal's dens just to see
if he could do it. And soon the animals
became concerned about the new creature.



The animals called a council meeting to try
to determine what to do.
They said they thought this creature was
supposed to have respect for other creatures,
that he was given a mind.



A little insect said, "Wait, you haven't
thought this out. The Great One made him;
let's ask him what to do."
This seemed to be a good idea.
They called to the Great One to help them
with the new "superior" creature.




The owl said, "You told us the man had a mind
and he is to respect us."
The deer said, " I don't want to be
disrespectful, but you told us the man would
need more of us deer than any other animal.
If he keeps killing us like he is now,
very soon there won't be any deer left."



"Oh," said the Great One, "thank you, thank you.
I had not thought about something
I left out in this man."



The bear said, "Look at him right now.
He's lying out in the sun with his face up.
No animal will sleep right out in the open.
We all know to go into a private,
guarded place to rest."



The Great One said, "Yes, there is something
missing because I was in such an excited
hurry to make him. But I know
now what is missing."



"Stand back" he said. He made a green
plant to grow up tall.
The plant grew up right over the man's heart,
up toward Galunti.



It was a plant with long, graceful leaves
and then an ear and a golden tassel.
Above the tall plant was a woman, a beautiful,
tall, brown woman growing from the stalk of corn.



The man woke up and thought he was dreaming.
He rubbed his eyes and said, "This is not true.
In a minute, I'll wake up and be just as bored
as I was before. Oh, I am so lonely." 



The Great One sort of kicked him in the behind.
"Get up you lazy thing," the Great One said.
"Be a man for your lady."



Now no one had any reason to think this man
was a mannerly individual.
Recently he had certainly not been acting
like a real gentleman.



But we don't have to be taught manners.
We need someone to expect the best from us
and we use the manners the Great One
has already given us.



So the man got up and brushed himself off
and gallantly offered his hand to the woman
who came down from the stalk of corn.

The woman said, "No, wait a minute."

The man didn't argue or huff.
He just waited until she asked.
She reached up and pulled two good ears
of corn to take with her.

Then she said, "I'm ready."

Do you know why she wanted the corn?
She couldn't have known yet that the corn
would be an important food.

She just knew that she had sprung from
the corn and she needed to take something
of her heritage with her.



The Great One remembered that although each man
will sometimes need to be alone, each man will
also need companionship to be his best.



Over a period of time, the man and
the woman built a home where they kept
the corn for planting.
The next spring she planted her corn and
it grew into a beautiful plant.



It was probably the next year that she noticed a
large bird who became sacred to the Cherokee, a
large bird who stays usually on the ground.

We call this bird a turkey.

The turkey became sacred to the Cherokee
because they could watch what he ate,
and then they would know it was safe to eat.

One morning the woman noticed the turkey
eating the tender corn.
She knew then the corn was food and it was
time to eat the corn.



That evening she set a pottery pot of corn
in the middle of her cook fire.
She covered the pot with a curve
of chestnut bark.

When the man came in to eat his fish stew,
she didn't tell him what she had cooked.

She just pulled an ear of corn from the pot
and pealed it back so he could smell it.
He thought it was the best aroma he had
ever smelled and he began to eat the
first corn of the spring.


~NOTE~
Cherokee women even now never tell their men when
they will serve the first corn of the season.

They believe if they say it, bad luck will happen.









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