Reading Notes: Cherokee Myths Part A

-The earth is floating in a sea of water, suspended by cords hanging down from the sky vault
-When the earth grows worn out, everyone will die and the cords will break
-The earth will sink into the sea
-The animals once lived above the sea, but were crowded
-They sent a beetle to explore what was below the ocean to see if they could find a new place to live
-When beetle disturbed the mud on the ocean floor it grew into earth
-The land was soft and wet, so the animals sent birds to investigate where they could go
-When buzzard went down, the swooping of his wings along the muddy ground created mountains and valleys
-That is why Cherokee country is so mountainous
-When the animals came down it was dark, so they set the sun on a track to go around the earth every day under the sky arch 
-At first the sun was too close and scorched the animals
-They raised it until it was seven hand breadths above the earth 
-The mountain streams lead to the underworld 
-The plants and animals were told to keep awake for seven days
-In the end, the only animals that made it through were the panther and owl
-They were granted the unique ability to see in the dark, to be able to hunt those who must sleep in the dark
-The cedar, the pine, the spruce, the holly, and the laurel trees all stayed awake, so they were granted the power of always staying green
-The other trees would be forced to "lose their hair" every winter

-The first man had a mate created for him
-At first they got along, but then they began to quarrel incessantly 
-The woman set off for the sun land with the man trailing behind
-The sun asked if he would like his wife back and offered to help him
-The sun proceeds to lay different fruit trees in her path to tempt her
-She passes by the huckleberries, the blackberries, and the red berry trees without a second thought
-When she came upon the first known strawberry patch she stopped
-Turning back west, she realized she missed her husband 
-She gathers some of the strawberries and turns around to go back down the path from which she came
-She meets up with her husband and the two embrace joyfully



Fresh strawberries. Source: flickr

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