How the Cherokee Got the First Fire
From the book TSALAGI BEGINNINGS AND CUSTOMS be Chief Hicks can be bought by sending a check or money order for $7.50 ($5.00 for the book and $2.50 S&H) send to Red Man 505 E. Mckay, Troup,Tx 75789
A young Cherokee hunter in the woods for game. He had gone high into the mountains,ans was walking along on top of a high ridge. He was extra watchful, not only for game,but for heatherns and dreadful monsters in Cherokee County.
Two of the monsters left behind when the animals went back to the Sky Rock were found in the mountains. These monsters were Uktena(Sharp-of-eye),a giant reptile-like dragon with fidh-like scales,and Nvyvnuwi(Dresses-in-stone),a man-like monster who was also a cannibal. There was only one known Nvyvnuwi,and no one knew how it kill it. Its skin ws like stone,and no arrow or lance could pierce it. Heavy Rocks could not crush it. Nothing that had been tried had stopped the man-eating monster. His appetite for human flesh was never satisfied. All the children remained in the towns and never wandered off alone from the protection of others for fear od these monsters.
There were man Uktenas in the mountains. They frequented marshy,dark places in the valleys or rocky places in the high mountian passes. The Uketena was like a huge snake,its body as large around as the largest oak tree. There were horns on its head and a huge stone on its forehead called Ulvsuti(transparent). Whoever could secure an Ulvsuti will have success in all he attempts and have Life's Prophecy. The owner od a Uktena scale has the ability to do great magicand could cure diseases. But few hunters got close to an Uktena and lived,let alone to kill it. His breath was so leathal that he could kill a man just smelling him. If a hunter came upon one asleep,the hunter did not die,but his family did.
Only a man wiht great magic and luck could come upon and kill an Uktena. People knew that the Uktena was around without seeing him for there were signs in the mountains where it had clawed large stones.
A noise from deep hollow made the young Cherokee hunter stop in alarm. He could hear the thrashing and crashing of what had to be huge beings of some type locked in mortal combat. When the two combatants rolled into a clearing, the hunter saw that an Uktena and an Ani-Hyvtiqualisgihu(People-who-make-a- sound-rolling-sound),or Thunders,were fighting. Uktena had coiled its long,snake like body around Thunders and held him in a tight grip,preventing Thunders from puffing himself up and letting loose with a bolt og Lightening. It seemed that they were evenly matched,neither giving or losing ground. Both looked up and saw the young Cherokee. Both Monster and the Thunder wished to enlist the aid of the hunter. That is why the Uktena jad not snuffed the life out of the hunter when he had first smelled him.
"Little Hunter,help me and I will be your friend forever!" called the Uktena. "No,help me and I will be friend to all your people forever!" promises Thunder. "If you help me,I will never harm your people when they come into the mountains to hunt. I will kill animals of the forest ao they will never want food!!"cried Uktena.
"help me, Young Hunter,and I will give your people something greater than food. I will give them fire to warm themselves in the cold season,and to cook food that you have been eating raw. This fire will also be a Messanger Spirit To Man Above," Thunders told the Cherokee hunter.
The hunter fitted an arrow to his bow and held three more at the ready for quick shooting. He hesitated,Both Uktena and Thunders had killed his people,for no apparent reason as he ever saw. But Uktena was a vile-looking monster and the Anidawahi had told him that to kill am Uktena,a hunter had to place his lance or arrow in the seventh vertabrae.
The hunter made a choice and let fly the first arrow. Then the second,the third and the fourth. All four arrows flew true and hit the Uktena,Thunders let out the most deafening roar that has ever been heard in the mountains. He puffed up and tore the Uktena into many small pieces with his power. Wherever a piece of the Uktena fell,no plants would ever grow,and his blood was so poisonous that it made holes in therocks where is stuck.
The hunter was knocked to the ground by the roar of Thunders. He lay stunned,both from the blast and fear. " Do not fear me,Young Hunter, I will keep my promise," Thunders told the young hunter. Thunders rose up into the sky above the tree tops and sent down a bolt of lightening. Lightening struck the stump of an old syscamore tree and caused a fire dep in its hollow. The hunter picked up pieces of the Ulvsuti and some of the Uktena scales and returned to Kituwa. He told the Anidawehi what had happened. The Anidawehi went to the buring tree stump and picked up some of the coals from the fire,using a flat piece of rock to carry them. While they were at the sycamore tree,a tundering voice came to them from above."Listen! I am Thunders. I have given your people the first fire because your young hunter saved me from the Uktena. Asgaya Gigage (Red Man of Lightning and of the East),my brother,made the sycamore burn for you. Take home coals to start the first fire. Protect it and never let it go out. Fire is the most important messanger of all things on earth and up above to the Great Creator. My four brothers,the Four Winds, are important messengers and should be honored whenever you pray. The waters of my brother Yvwe Gunahita (Long Man),the"River," is a messenger. Fire is the greatest important . Go and think,and you will learn to use Atsila Galvkawetiyu (Sacred Fire)."
The young hunter was given the name of Kanati(the people call the Lucky Hunter). All hunters as Kanati for good luck before going out to hunt.
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