Myths & Legends



Cherokee: When Owl Married

The importance of a good worker as a husband.
— Orly

ONCE there was a widow with only one daughter. She said often, “You should marry and then there will be a man to go hunting.”

Then one day a man came courting the daughter. He said, “Will you marry me?”

The girl said, “I can only marry a good worker. We need a man who is a good hunter and who will work in the cornfield.”

“I am exactly that sort of a man,” he said. So the mother said they might marry.

Then the next morning the mother gave the man a hoe. She said, “Go, hoe the corn. When breakfast is ready I will call you.” Then she went to call him. She followed a sound as of someone hoeing on stony soil. When she reached the place, there was only a small circle of hoed ground. Over in the thicket someone said, “Hoo-hoo!”

When the man came back in the evening, the mother said, “Where have you been all day?”

He said, “Hard at work.”

The mother said, “I couldn’t find you.”

“I was over in the thicket cutting sticks to mark off the field,” he said.

“But you did not come to the lodge to eat at all,” she answered.

“I was too busy,” he said.

Early the next morning he started off with his hoe over his shoulder.

Then the mother went again to call him, when the meal was ready. The hoe was lying there, but there was no sign of work done. And away over in the thicket, she heard a hu-hu calling, Sau-h! sau-h! sau-h! hoo-hoo! hoo-hoo! hoo-hoo! chi! chi! chi! whew!

Now when the man came home that night, the mother asked,

“What have you been doing all day?”

“Working hard,” he said.

“But you were not there when I came after you.”

“Oh, I went over in the thicket awhile,” said the man, “to see some of my relatives.”

Then the mother said, “I have lived here a long while, and no one lives in that swamp but lazy hu-hus. My daughter wants a husband that can work and not a hu-hu!” And she drove him from the house.




Source:  J. M. [1]

Culture:  Cherokee

Language Group:  Cherokee (Tsalagi Gawonihisdi) is an Iroquoian language spoken by the Cherokee people. It is the only Southern Iroquoian language and differs significantly from the other Iroquoian languages.


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