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image firewalker
native.folklore.peperonity.net

Origin of Fire

from
the
Cherokee ppl

In the beginning the world was often cold because the people and animals had no fire.
Only the Thunders who lived in the world beyond the sky arch had fire.
Finally they sent down Lightning who lit a fire on an island, in a hollow sycamore tree.
The animals and people knew the fire was in the tree because they could see smoke rising from the top.
However, they had no way to cross the water to get the fire.
The animals and people held a council to decide what to do.
All the animals who could fly or swim eagerly volunteered.
Raven said, "Let me go, i am big and strong."
At this time Raven was white.
He flew to the top of the sycamore tree and perched there thinking of how to bring the fire back with him.
As he sat there the smoke turned his feathers black.
Frightened, he flew home without fire.
Next the Screech Owl flew over to the island, but as he flew over the top of the tree a blast of hot air nearly burned his eyes out.
He flew home and to this day Screech Owl's eyes are red.
Hooting Owl and Horned Owl were sent together and their eyes too were nearly burned out, but the ash blown up from the hot air made permanent white rings around their eyes.
At last Water Spider said that she would go retrieve fire.
Water Spider has downy hair and red stripes.
She can run on top of the water and dive down into it.
"But you are so small, how will you get fire", someone asked.
"I'll manage it alright", Water Spider replied, and used her silk to spin a little bowl which she secured to her back.
She crossed the water and brought back with her a small burning coal.
Ever since people and animals have had fire and Water Spider a bowl on her back.


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