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Womans healing wisdom - Sensibility without suspicion -
Guidance in unmasking talents - Psychic awareness - Faithfulness - Recovery issues - Understanding the value of playtime

In the woods a long time ago, there were animals.  They were going to have a contest to see who had the prettiest coat.  The other animals told Rabbit to go get Otter.  They wanted Otter to come because they knew that he had the prettiest coat.  It was pretty.  It was big and thick and long.  Rabbit was jealous of Otters coat.  Rabbit had a 4 day travel.  Rabbit met Otter and said, The animals want you to come to the Council.

They made a camp.  After they made the camp, Rabbit made a paddle.  Otter wondered why Rabbit was making the paddle.  Rabbit said he would have good dreams if he slept with a paddle under his pillow.  Rabbit said to stay close to the water.  Rabbit told Otter when he hollers to jump in the river cause its going to rain fire.  Rabbit said, Otter, hang up your coat because the fire might burn a hole in it.  Rabbit said,  It rains fire sometimes and it looks like its going to tonight. Rabbit waited until the fire burned down and he got the paddle and filled it with coals and threw them up in the air.  Rabbit hollered, Its raining fire!

Otter jumped up and ran in the river.  Rabbit ran away with Otters coat.  Otter was in the river, swimming.  Otter likes to swim.  Rabbit went off with Otters coat and went to the Grand Council.  He put his paw over his nose because he had a split in his nose. Otter doesnt have a split nose.  Bear knew something suspicious was going on there.  Bear knew Otter because he was his friend.   Bear danced over to Otter, but it wasnt really Otter.  It was Rabbit.  When Bear danced over to Otter, he knocked the paw off and they saw that he had a split nose.   All the animals were mad at Rabbit.  Rabbit ran.  Bear grabbed him and yanked off his tail.

Bear took Otters coat back.  Bear took Otters coat to Otter, but when Bear was trying to give it to Otter, he didnt want it because he had learned how to swim.  Bear took the coat and hung it in the council for a little while to honor Otter.  Thats why Rabbit has a little cotton tail.  Thats why Otter swims in the water.

Otter is the playful clown who works with other otters to create a peaceful and joyful life. Otters can teach us to "jump in the river" of our own emotions and go with the flow. They remind us to honor the heart, to play with the people in our lives, and to allow things to take their natural course.

The pig is a mother goddess symbol from ancient times. It uproots the soil, turning it over in preparation for new growth and so it reminds us that we become fertile ground for new ideas when we rid ourselves of the old. It is said the pig can hear things at a distance because it is so low to the ground. Take time, listen to your soul, and plow up some time in your life for the new ideas that you are receiving.

Polar Bear On Ice


Never gets lost Looking inside the self - Solitude - Expert swimmer through emotional waters - Ability to find food where none seems to exist - Strength in the face of adversity - Communication with Spirit - Dreams - Death and rebirth - Transformation - Creature of dreamers, shamans, mystics and visionaries - Defense and revenge

Inuit culture also has a high reverence for members of the bear family and their capabilities. One belief is the weather becomes foggy when the polar bear comes out of hibernation. To break a bad spell of weather, Inuit women would burn a piece of bear skin to change the weather. Bears are known to have keen hearing and when the hunters were away women were not to make their baby cry. This was done so that female bears, which have strong motherly instincts, would not come to check upon the crying baby. Also, if a polar bear arrives in a community from the front it means good luck, if it arrives from the back it means bad luck.

When a hunter has killed a bear, he has proven himself to be a true hunter/angatkuk helper. Bear teeth are used as amulets and pieces of skin were used for watering the runners of the sled; a mat for stacking seals; wind pants, pualuk, and kamiks.


Innocence - Trust in Spirit - Renewed sense of wonder -
Creating your own path - Protection of boundaries -
Defense when threatened - Allowing others their path -

Long ago when the first porcupine was placed on the earth by the Great Spirit he had no quills. Porcupine was a gift to the Menominee Tribe and he was given a beautiful coat of fur.

Porcupine's beauty made the other animals jealous. Every day the animals would come to Porcupine and tell him how much they wished their fur looked like his.

Now Porcupine knew he was beautiful but he didn't pay any attention to the other animals. As time went by and every day he heard how wonderful he looked he decided to see for himself.

While Porcupine was taking his morning walk he stopped by the stream to admire his fur.

Now the Great Spirit noticed Porcupine gazing at himself in the stream. The Great Spirit watched Porcupine for ten moons as he sat by the clear water admiring his own beauty.

The Great Spirit had a system of rewards and punishment for every creature. The Great Spirit knew that the time had come to punish Porcupine. The Great Spirit decided to take away Porcupine's beautiful fur and cover his body with ugly sharp quills.

Porcupine wears his coat of quills yet today. This is why he hides during the day and will only come out at night.

If you've ever heard the porcupine laugh you'll know he's a joyful spirit. "Heh heh heh," he says (quite literally) and you're forced to laugh along with him. If we had such good boundaries (like his sharp quills) we'd be laughing more too-- trusting and innocent--going through life knowing that if we ever need to use those boundaries they're already there!

Possum Only N. American marsupial


Proper use of deception - Use of appearances - Sensibility
Guidance to uncovering talent, psychic or physical
Gaining wisdom Recovery

In the beginning all living things - men, animals, plants and trees - spoke the same language and behaved in much the same way. Animals, like people, were organized into tribes. They had chiefs, lived in houses, held councils and ceremonies.

Many animals had characteristics which we would not recognize today. The rabbit, for example, was fierce, bold and cunning, and a great mischief maker. It was through Rabbit's tricks that the deer lost his sharp wolf-like teeth, the buzzard his handsome topknot of feathers and the opossum his long, bushy tail.

Opossum was very proud of his tail which, in those days, was covered with thick black fur. He spent long hours cleaning and brushing it and composing songs about its beauty and vigor. Sometimes, when he walked through the village, he carried his tail erect, like a banner rippling in the breeze. At other times, he swept it low behind him, like a train. It was useful as well as beautiful, for when Opossum lay down to sleep, he tucked it under him to make a soft bed, and in cold weather he folded it over his body to keep himself warm.

Rabbit was very jealous of Opossum's tail. He, too, had once had a long bushy tail but, during the course of a a fight with Bear, he had lost most of it and now had only a short fluffy tuft. The sight of Opossum strutting before the other animals and swirling his tail ostentatiously, filled Rabbit with rage and he made up his mind to play a trick on him at the first opportunity.

At this time, when the animals still lived harmoniously together, each had his appointed station and duty. Thus, Frog was leader in the council and Rabbit, because of his speed, was employed to carry messages and announcements to the others.

As was their custom from time to time, the animals decided to hold a great council to discuss important matters and Rabbit, as usual, was given the task of arranging the gathering and delivering the invitations. Councils were also occasions for feasting and dancing and Rabbit saw a way of bringing about Opossum's downfall.

When Rabbit arrived with the news of the meeting, Opossum was sitting by the door of his lodge engaged in his favorite occupation - grooming his tail.

'I come to call you to the great council tomorrow, brother Opossum,' said Rabbit. 'Will you attend and join in the dance ?'

'Only if I am given a special seat,' replied the conceited Opossum, carefully smoothing some untidy hairs at the tip of his tail. 'After all,' he went on, grinning maliciously at Rabbit, 'I have such a beautiful long tail that I ought to sit where everyone can see and admire it.'

Rabbit was almost beside himself with fury, but he pretended not to notice the jibe and said, 'But of course, brother Opossum! I will personally see to it that you have the best seat in the council lodge, and I will also send someone to dress your tail specially for the dance.'

Opossum was delighted by this suggestion and Rabbit left him singing the praises of his tail even more loudly than usual.

Next, Rabbit called on the cricket, whom Indians call the barber, because of his fame as an expert hair-cutter. Cricket listened with growing amazement as Rabbit recounted his conversation with Opossum. Like all the other animals, he found Opossum's vanity and arrogance very tiresome.

He began to protest, but Rabbit held up a paw and said, 'Wait a moment. I have a plan and I need your help. Listen...', and he dropped his voice as he told Cricket what he wanted him to do.

Early next morning Cricket presented himself at Opossum's door and said that he had been sent by Rabbit to prepare the famous tail for the council that evening. Opossum made himself comfortable on the floor and stretched out his tail. Cricket began to comb it gently.

'I will wrap this red cord round your tail as I comb it,' he explained, 'so that it will remain smooth and neat for the dance tonight.'

Opossum found Cricket's ministrations so soothing that he fell asleep, awakening just as Cricket was tying the final knot in the red cord which now completely swathed his tail.

'I will keep it bound up until the very last moment,' thought Opossum gleefully. 'How envious the others will be when I finally reveal it in all its beauty!'

That evening, his tail still tightly wrapped in the red cord, Opossum marched into the council lodge and was led to his special seat by a strangely obsequious Rabbit.

Soon it was time for the dancing to take place. The drums and rattles began to sound. Opossum stood up, loosened the cord from his tail and stepped proudly into the centre of the dance floor. He began to sing.

'Look at my beautiful tail!' he sang as he circled the floor. 'See how it sweeps the ground!'

There was a great shout from the audience and some of the animals began to applaud. 'How they admire me!' though Opossum and he continued dancing and singing loudly. 'See how my tail gleams in the firelight!'

Again everyone shouted and cheered. Opossum began to have just the merest suspicion that all was not quite as it should be. Was there possibly a hint of mockery in their voices ? He dismissed such an absurd idea and continued dancing.

'My tail is stronger than the eagle's, more lustrous than the raven's!'

At this the animals shrieked so loudly that Opossum stopped in his tracks and looked at them. To his astonishment and chagrin they were all convulsed with laughter, some leaning weakly on their neighbor's shoulders, others rolling on the ground in their mirth. Several were pointing at his tail.

Bewildered, Opossum looked down and saw to his horror that his tail, his beautiful, thick, glossy tail, was now balk and scaly like that of a lizard. Nothing remained of its former glory. While pretending to comb it, the wily Cricket had snipped off every single lair.

Opossum was so overcome with shame and confusion that he could not utter a sound. Instead he rolled over helplessly on his back, grimacing with embarrassment, just as opossums still do today, when taken by surprise.

Possum knows when to use drama and when to run. He plays dead when threatened, using an appearance of weakness as his greatest strength. Sometimes it is better for us to be quiet or to retreat or use cleverness to achieve a desired result. Possum also teaches us to get the babies off our back to allow them to grow up.

Summertime Snowshoe Rabbit/Hare


Guile - Living by wits -
Recognizing hidden teachings and intuitive messages
Quick-thinking - Humility - Moving through fear

One winter Rabbit was going along through the snow when he saw Fox. It was too late to hide, for Fox had caught Rabbit's scent.

"I am Ongwe Ias, the one who eats you!" barked Fox. "Yon cannot escape me!"

Rabbit began to run for his life. He ran as fast as he could around trees and between rocks, making a great circle in the hope that he would lose Fox. But when he looked back he saw that Fox was gaining on him. "I am Ongwe Ias," Fox barked again. "You cannot escape."

Rabbit knew that he had to use his wits. He slipped off his moccasins and said, "Run on ahead of me." The moccasins began to run, leaving tracks in the snow. Then, using his magic power, Rabbit made himself look like a dead, half-rotten rabbit and lay down by the trail.

When Fox came to the dead rabbit, he did not even stop to sniff at it. "This meat has gone bad," he said. Then, seeing the tracks that led on through the snow he took up the chase again and finally caught up with Rabbit's old moccasins.

"Hah," Fox snarled, "this time he has fooled me. Next time I will eat the meat no matter how rotten it looks." He began to backtrack. Just as he expected when he came to the place where the dead rabbit had been, it was gone. There were tracks leading away through the bushes, and Fox began to follow them.

He hadn't gone far when he came upon an old woman sitting by the trail. In front of her was a pot, and she was making a stew.

"Sit down, grandson," she said. "Have some of this good stew."

Fox sat down. "Have you seen a rabbit go by?"

"Yes," said the old woman, handing him a beautifully carved wooden bowl filled with hot stew. "I saw a very skinny rabbit go by. There was no flesh on his bones, and he looked old and tough."

"I am going to eat that rabbit," said Fox.

"Indeed?" said the old woman. "You will surely do so, for the rabbit looked tired and frightened. He must have known you were close behind him. Now eat the good stew I have given you."

Fox began to eat and, as he did so, he looked at the old woman. "Why do you wear those two tall feathers on your head, old woman?" he asked.

"These feathers?" said the old woman. "I wear them to remind me of my son who is a hunter. Look behind you--here he comes now."

Fox turned to look and, as he did so, the old woman threw off her blankets and leaped high in the air. She went right over Fox's head and hit him hard with a big stick that had been hidden under the blankets.

When Fox woke up his head was sore. He looked for the stew pot, but all he could see was a hollow stump. He looked for the wooden soup bowl, but all he could find was a folded piece of bark with mud and dirty water in it. All around him were rabbit tracks. "So, he has fooled me again," Fox said. "It will be the last time." He jumped up and began to follow the tracks once more.

Before he had gone far he came to a man sitting by the trail. The man held a turtle-shell rattle in his hand and was dressed as a medicine man.

"Have you seen a rabbit go by?" asked Fox.

"Indeed," said the medicine man, "and he looked sick and weak."

"I am going to eat that rabbit," Fox said.

"Ah," said the medicine man, "that is why he looked so afraid. When a great warrior like you decides to catch someone, surely he cannot escape."

Fox was very pleased. "Yes," he said, "I am Ongwe Ias. No rabbit alive can escape me."

"But, Grandson," said the medicine man, shaking his turtle-shell rattle, "what has happened to your head? You are hurt."

"It is nothing," said the Fox. "A branch fell and struck me."

"Grandson," said the medicine man, "you must let me treat that wound, so that it heals quickly. Rabbit cannot go far. Come here and sit down."

Fox sat down, and the medicine man came close to him. He opened up his pouch and began to sprinkle something into the wound.

Fox looked closely at the medicine man. "Why are you wearing two feathers?" he asked.

"These two feathers," the medicine man answered, "show that I have great power. I just have to shake them like this, and an eagle will fly down. Look, over there! An eagle is flying down now."

Fox looked and, as he did so, the medicine man leaped high in the air over Fox's head and struck him hard with his turtle-shell rattle.

When Fox woke up, he was alone in a small clearing. The wound on his head was full of burrs and thorns, the medicine man was gone, and all around him were rabbit tracks.

"I will not be fooled again!" Fox snarled. He gave a loud and terrible war cry. "I am Ongwe Ias," he shouted. "I am Fox!"

Ahead of him on the trail, Rabbit heard Fox's war cry. He was still too tired to run and so he turned himself into an old dead tree.

When Fox came to the tree he stopped. "This tree must be Rabbit," he said, and he struck at one of the small dead limbs. It broke off and fell to the ground. "No," said Fox, "I am wrong.

This is indeed a tree." He ran on again, until he realized the tracks he was following were old ones. He had been going in a circle. "That tree!" he said.

He hurried back to the place where the tree had been. It was gone, but there were a few drops of blood on the ground where the small limb had fallen. Though Fox didn't know it, the branch he had struck had been the end of Rabbit's nose, and ever since then rabbits' noses have been quite short.

Leading away into the bushes were fresh rabbit tracks. "Now I shall catch you!" Fox shouted.

Rabbit was worn out. He had used all his tricks, and still Fox was after him. He came to a dead tree by the side of the trail. He ran around it four times and then, with one last great leap, lumped into the middle of some blackberry bushes close by. Then, holding his breath, he waited.

Fox came to the dead tree and looked at the rabbit tracks all around it. "Hah," Fox laughed, "you are trying to trick me again." He bit at the dead tree, and a piece of rotten wood came away in his mouth. "Hah," Fox said, "you have even made yourself taste like a dead tree. But I am Ongwe Ias, I am Fox. You cannot fool me again."

Then, coughing and choking, Fox ate the whole tree. From his hiding place in the blackberry bushes, Rabbit watched and tried not to laugh. When Fox had finished his meal he went away, still coughing and choking and not feeling well at all.

After a time, Rabbit came out of his hiding place and went on his way

The rabbit can be a symbol of either abundance or fear. If he freezes in fear he gets eaten! If he takes off running he multiplies. He teaches us not to let our fears paralyze us but rather to get moving and therefore to attract great abundance into our lives.
Understanding the nature of masks Disguise - Dexterity
Seeking guidance and confidence - Questioning without fear
Balancing curiosity

The Raccoon had been asleep all day in the snug hollow of a tree. The dusk was coming on when he awoke, stretched himself once or twice, and jumping down from the top of the tall, dead stump in which he made his home, set out to look for his supper.

In the midst of the woods there was a lake, and all along the lake shore there rang out the alarm cries of the water people as the Raccoon came nearer and nearer.

First the Swan gave a scream of warning. The Crane repeated the cry, and from the very middle of the lake the Loon, swimming low, took it up and echoed it back over the still water.

The Raccoon sped merrily on, and finding no unwary bird that he could seize he picked up a few mussel-shells from the beach, cracked them neatly and ate the sweet meat.

A little further on, as he was leaping hither and thither through the long, tangled meadow grass, he landed with all four feet on a family of Skunks - father, mother and twelve little ones, who were curled up sound asleep in a soft bed of broken dry grass.

"Huh!" exclaimed the father Skunk. "What do you mean by this, eh?"

And he stood looking at him defiantly.

"Oh, excuse me, excuse me," begged the Raccoon. "I am very sorry. I did not mean to do it! I was just running along and I did not see you at all."

"Better be careful where you step next time," grumbled the Skunk, and the Raccoon was glad to hurry on.

Running up a tall tree he came upon two red Squirrels in one nest, but before he could get his paws upon one of them they were scolding angrily from the topmost branch.

"Come down, friends!" called the Raccoon. "What are you doing up there? Why, I wouldn't harm you for anything!"

"Ugh, you can't fool us," chattered the Squirrels, and the Raccoon went on.

Deep in the woods, at last, he found a great hollow tree which attracted him by a peculiar sweet smell. He sniffed and sniffed, and went round and round till he saw something trickling down a narrow crevice.

He tasted it and it was deliciously sweet.

He ran up the tree and down again, and at last found an opening into which he could thrust his paw. He brought it out covered with honey!

Now the Raccoon was happy.

He ate and scooped, and scooped and ate the golden, trickling honey with both forepaws till his pretty, pointed face wadaubed all over.

Suddenly he tried to get a paw into his ear. Something hurt him terribly just then, and the next minute his sensitive nose was frightfully stung. He rubbed his face with both sticky paws. The sharp stings came thicker and faster, and he wildly clawed the air.

At last he forgot to hold on to the branch any longer, and with a screech he tumbled to the ground. There he rolled and rolled on the dead leaves till he was covered with leaves from head to foot, for they stuck to his fine, sticky fur, and most of all they covered his eyes and his striped face.

Mad with fright and pain he dashed through the forest calling to some one of his own kind to come to his aid.

The moon was now bright, and many of the woods people were abroad. A second Raccoon heard the call and went to meet it. But when he saw a frightful object plastered with dry leaves racing madly toward him he turned and ran for his life, for he did not know what this thing might be.

The Raccoon who had been stealing the honey ran after him as fast as he could, hoping to overtake and beg the other to help him get rid of his leaves.

So they ran and they ran out of the woods on to the shining white beach around the lake.

Here a Fox met them, but after one look at the queer object which was chasing the frightened Raccoon he too turned and ran at his best speed.

Presently a young Bear came loping out of the wood and sat up on his haunches to see them go by. But when he got a good look at the Raccoon who was plastered with dead leaves, he scrambled up a tree to be out of the way.

By this time the poor Raccoon was so frantic that he scarcely knew what he was doing. He ran up the tree after the Bear and got hold of his tail.

"Woo, woo!" snarled the Bear, and the raccoon let go.

He was tired out and dreadfully ashamed.

He did now what he ought to have done at the very first - he jumped into the lake and washed off most of the leaves. Then he got back to his hollow tree and curled himself up and licked and licked his soft fur till he had licked himself clean, and then he went to sleep.

Reputation Sensuality - Understanding energy flows
Self-respect Courage - Will-power - Self-confidence
THE SCENT OF THE SKUNK-A Native American Folk Tale
Retold by Bernice Insley

The skunk was once a larger animal than he is now- he was as large as a
hill. But he became smaller and smaller and this caused him to worry. "If I grow smaller and smaller," he said, "I will lose my strength. Then how can I hunt, and kill my game, and make my living?" And so he thought and thought.

"I know," he said. "I will make a strong hunting medicine which will give me skill even when I am not so large as now." He hunted and hunted to find all the plants as he could grasp in his hand, he took them home. He ground them up very, very fine, like a powder. Then, when this medicine was all prepared, he placed it in a little pouch that he carried with him wherever he went.

Then he said, "I will test my medicine against the biggest, strongest
thing I can find."

He looked around, and there he saw a large oak tree; nothing could be
bigger or stronger than this tree, and decided to test his medicine against it. He took some powder out of his pouch - only a pinch of the powder was
needed - and put it in some water, and drank it. Then, to make still more powerful medicine, he sang, "Who is going out hunting, for I go out to hunt?" Then the skunk shot at the oak tree - not with an arrow, but with this
medicine, a foul-smelling liquid - and the tree shrank away and died, and looked as if it were burned. Nothing was left but a pile of ashes.

The hunting medicine made by that skunk was the same as that the skunk
carries today.

Skunk stinks, or so some think. But he smells awfully good to the other little skunks. He reminds us to be ourselves, put our own energy out into the world and trust we will attract those of like mind. Speak your truth, be proud of who you are. Those who like you will stay around and those who don't will run!

Ability to solve puzzles - Resourcefulness - Quick change of direction -
Storing for the future - Balance in giving and receiving -
Power of rest during times of non-movement - Warning -
Discovery - Change - Avoiding danger by climbing to a higher place
A story of the Cherokee People of Oklahoma , North Carolina , and Georgia . 
This  story tells about how the Birds won the ballgame.

Once the Animal People challenged the Bird People to a ballgame. The animals expected to win with no problems.

Bear was the captain of the animals' team. "Of course we'll win," roared Bear. "I'm stronger and heavier than any other animal." It was agreed that Bear could stop anyone that got in his way. And Deer? Deer could outrun all the other animals. And Terrapin was at that time the great, original terrapin, not the puny thing we have now. So of course the animals would beat those silly birds!

The Birds had, of course, elected Eagle as their captain. They also had the skills of the great, mythical Hawk. The birds had met to plan their strategy-they were a little afraid of all the animals, who were so large and strong. But, when the meeting was ready to begin, along came two tiny things that looked a little like field mice.

"Please," said the little creatures, "can we join your team?"

"You belong with the animals, don't you?" said Eagle.

"They laughed at us and drove us away," said the smaller, furry creature. "We want to be birds. Let us help you." Eagle felt so sorry for them that he agreed to let them play as birds.

"You need wings. We'll make you some," said Eagle. The birds decided to use the head of the drum that they used for their dances. The drumhead was made of badger skin, so they began to cut off pieces of it and attach it to the smaller creature's front legs. This is the way the birds created Bat.

Unfortunately, this used all of the drumhead leather. There was none left to make wings for the creature that looked like a tiny ground squirrel.

"Let's stretch the skin he has , said Bluebird. This sounded like a good plan, so Eagle and Red-tailed Hawk pulled from opposite sides, helped by the smaller birds. When they were done, the birds had created Flying Squirrel.

Flying Squirrel and Bat were very grateful. 'You'll see! We can help you win."

The animals and birds met on the plain by the river. The ballgame would be won by whoever first hit the ball against the poles at opposite ends of the playing field that were the goals of the birds and the beasts.

The great ballgame was very close. The animals were shocked to see what strong fliers Bat and Flying Squirrel were. The small animals who were too young to play stood at the side of the ball field and began to chant, "Beasts over Birds! Beasts over Birds!"

The hummingbirds began to lead their own chant, 'Birds over Beasts! Birds over Beasts!"

Finally, Flying Squirrel caught the ball, carried it up a tree, and then threw it to Blue Jay who flew with it high enough that the animals couldn't reach it. Then Blue Jay dropped it, and Bear rushed to try to take it away. But Bat swooped very near the ground, took the ball, and dodged and doubled so fast that even Deer couldn't catch him. He threw the ball against the pole decorated with feathers and won the game for the birds.


Squirrel scurries around gathering nuts and seeds for the long winter ahead. He builds his nest far in advance of the cold and teaches us to prepare for events ahead of time so we can avoid last minutes stress.

He also reminds us to gather what will sustain us in life and to ignore the rest. He might even symbolize that you must sort through your belongings and your beliefs. This often precedes a move or change in your life.


Stealth - Cunning Ingenuity - Revenge
Ability to see hidden reasons behind things
Power of observation   

The weasel, Sihkooseu, once played a bad trick on the Bitter Spirit, Wesukechak. That is why they are not friends.

The important chief Bright Nose, Wastasekoot, of the Swampy Cree tribe, had a lovely daughter who was admired by many chiefs who wished to marry her. Though she loved one of the chiefs, here father decided to hold a council and the first chief to guess her secret name could marry her.

She agreed because she thought that the only one who knew her name was the one she loved.

Bitter Spirit decided to enter the contest with everyone else. Since he did not know her name, he made a plan to discover it. He went to the old net maker, the spider, and asked him to call on the girl and, by some trick, discover her name. Spider agreed.

He climbed a tall tree, spun a long thread, and floated on it until he neared the camp of the chief with the beautiful daughter. Then he floated down onto the top of the chief's wigwam, peeped down, and saw the father and daughter talking about the contest, and heard the chief whisper to his daughter, "Nobody will ever guess that your secret name is For-ever-and- ever."

In this way, the Spider discovered her name. He was very pleased with himself at earning this so soon, and set off to tell his friend.

Spider walked many days through the forest because there was no suitable flying wind. He began to worry that he would arrive back too late. Then he saw the weasel and begged his help. He asked Weasel to hurry and tell Bitter Spirit the girl's secret name and Weasel agreed.

But as Weasel started running, he began to think things over and decided to use the information for himself instead of telling it to Bitter Spirit as he had promised.

The more he thought about this, the more he liked the idea.

Weasel went to the chief's camp where the guessing contest was being held. One by one, the guessers failed. Since the girl's suitor knew her secret name, he felt safe and did not go early, so Weasel was there before him. When Weasel's turn came, he told the chief that the girl's name was For-ever-and-ever.

The chief was amazed and the daughter fainted. Being honorable, the chief accepted easel as his son-in-law-to-be and set the date for the marriage.

Weasel was very happy, so happy that he forgot about his mean trick.

The spider finally reached home and asked Bitter Spirit when his wedding was to take place.

Bitter Spirit replied that he did not go to the council, since he did not have the name in time, but he had heard that Weasel had won the girl.

Spider was very angry and told Bitter Spirit what really had happened. Bitter Spirit became very angry and told the girl's father about it. Then the chief became angry with

Spider for listening and with Weasel for his trick. He decided that they were all at fault and his daughter could choose for herself.

The happy girl did so.

Weasel heard that he was to be punished, so he ran away. He ran and ran. Even today, he stops and listens and trembles, as though Bitter Spirit is still chasing him.

The weasel has a bad reputation but in spite of that can teach us that there are times when choosing to cleverly work behind the scenes is more productive than making a scene.


Wolf of the Red Skies by Monty Sloan


Facing the end of one's cycle with dignity and courage - Death and rebirth - Spirit teaching - Guidance in dreams and meditations -
Instinct linked with intelligence -Social and familial values -
Outwitting enemies - Ability to pass unseen - Steadfastness -
Skill in protection of self and family - Taking advantage of change

 Some tribes also have creation myth where wolves play an important part, for example the Kwakiutl of British Columbia. One of their myths tells how the ancestors of the people took off their wolf masks and became humans (Steinhart 1996).

According to the Ute, a tribe from the Rocky Mountain area of Colorado , the wolf played a major role in how the people came to the earth. The wolf had carried a heavy bag on his back and therefore could only move very slowly. After a while the bag became so heavy, he hardly could walk any further and decided to lay down. While doing so, the bag burst and all the people poured out and went to the different places on earth

But some tribes saw the wolf as dangerous and evil. The Navajo, for example, feared wolves as human witches in wolves' clothing, and the belief in werewolves provides them with explanations of otherwise inexplicable phenomena (Lopez 1987).


Wolf is the pathfinder and teacher who is not afraid to go off and explore the many trails in the forest before coming back to share its adventures with the pack.

At times we must honor our need for solitude. Then we come back to our friends and families wiser and ready to share. Experience life first, then teach. This is, in fact, true wisdom.



Last phantom of the wilderness - Master of the Forest - Trickster hero - Magical link between the material and the spirit worlds - Revenge Craftiness - Understands how to satisfy appetites - Ability to travel in very cold places - Understanding aggression - Protection against attackers Multi-level protection - Standing your ground Fierceness - Elusiveness - Gluttony Cleverness - Strength no retreat, no surrender - Effective attack Endurance - Courage

I grew up, as previously noted, in NW Montana .  Except that its fur was the best cold defeater in existence, I never heard words or a story that did not pose this creature as being anything but the most angry, most cantankerous, most trouble seeking, one around.  If any animal could be considered to be 4 legged walking bundle of pure spite and hatred, it was said to be this one. 

Many of the white Old Timers and Native Americans alike, in that country said that this animal carried within it, the spirit of the Devil, himself.  It was not till much later in my life that I ever heard any true admiration for it.  Grudging respect, perhaps, but not admiration.  And even that admiration, I think came from some of those people who tend to gush over the qualities of the mosquito while it is biting them on the butt!

Snow Owl


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