Happy Thanksgiving! I’ve been sharing Native American tales this month and I have another one today, a story that ends with a reminder to give thanks for all that we have and to teach our children to do the same.
“The Corn Spirit” is a tale from the Tuscarora people. Long ago, there was a village that was always blessed with abundant corn harvests, so much so that the people began to take the corn for granted. They stopped weeding the field, the children trampled on the stalks, they threw the corn to their dogs and even failed to store it properly for the witer, figuring they could always hunt if the corn spoiled. Only one man, Dayohagwenda, continued to show respect and give thanks for the corn.
That autumn, the people went hunting but had bad luck. It was as if all the animals had left the forest, and all the fish had left the streams. The people had to dig up the stored corn, but the baskets had fallen apart, the corn the hadn’t been eaten by mice and rotted. They were worried they would starve before spring.
Meanwhile, Dayohagwenda was walking in the forest and came across an old man weeping in front of a run down lodge. The man was Corn Spirit and he was weeping because the people had forgotten him and no longer took care of him. He stated he had to leave and never return. Dayohagwenda begged him to stay, promising to remind the people how to treat him. Corn Spirit agreed to stay if the people showed him respect.
Dayohagwenda returned to the village and told his story. The people understood. When Dayohagwenda dug up his stored corn, there was more than he tremembered, enough to feed the village fro the winter and still have seed corn to plant in the spring.
From then on, the villagers always showed respect for the corn, weeding the fields, signing songs at the harvest, making strong baskets and deep pits for storage.
“Most of all, they remembered to give thanks for the blessing of corn and all of the other good things they had been given. They taught their children and their children’s children to do the same.
So it is to this day.”
You can read the story a couple of places on-line, including here.
Today, I’m have many blessings to be thankful for, family and friends, health and happiness. I hope you all have a wonderful day.
Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all.