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NATIVE AMERICAN FOLKLORE

WHY OWLS HAVE BIG EYES

raweno- the everything maker, was busy creating various animals. he was working on the rabbit, and the rabbit said: "i want nice long legs and ears like a deer, and sharp fangs and claws like a panther"

"i do them up they way they want to be , i give what they ask for!" said raweno

he was working on rabbithind legs, making them long, the way the rabbit ordered them.

owl, still unformed, was sitting on a tree branch nearby, and was waitng his turn. he was saying:

"whooo whooo, i want a nice long neck like a swan, and beautiful red feathers like the cardinal, and a nice long beak like the egrets, and a nice plume like the heron. i want you to make me into the mostiful, the fastest, most wonderful of all birds."

raweno said "be quiet, turn around and look the other way, even better close ur eyes, don't you know that no one is allowed to watch me work?" raweno was just making the rabbit ears long, the way the rabbit had requested.

well, the owl refused to do what raweno asked,

"whooo whooo" he replied, "nobody can forbide me to watch, nobody can order me to close my eyes, i like watching you, and i will watch you!!"

then raweno became angry, he grabbed owl, pulling him down from his branch,stuffing his head dep into his body, shaking him untill his eyes grew with fright, pulling his ears until they where sticking on the side of his head,

"there" said raweno "that teach you. now you won't be able to crane your neckto watch things you shouldn't, now you have big ears to listen to someone tells you what not to do, now you have big eyes-but not so big that you can watch me, because you will be awake at nites, and i work by day. and ur feathers will not be red like cardinals, but gray like this-" and raweno rubbed owl all over with mud as punishment for his disobedience. so owl flew off" whooo whooo whooo" pouting

then raweno turn back to finish rabbit, but rabbit was terrified of raweno anger, even thou it was not directed towards rabbit, that he ran off half done. as a consequence, only rabbit's hind legs are long, and he has to hop about instead of walking and running. also because rabbit took fright, he remained fright and afraid of everything, and he never got the claws and fangs as he asked for, had he not run away, he be a different animal altogether,......endi

(story originated from IROQUOIS tribe. story recorded and documented early 19th century.)

Iroquios where referred to as WE WHO ARE OF EXTENDED LODGE, they where not a tribal group, but a allainace of tribes that dominated the vast area of stretching from the atlantic coast to lake erie, and ontario down to south carolina. there league was formed in 1570. they where made up of the following tribes, MOHAWK, ONEIDA,ONONDAGA,CAYUGA,SENECA.in 1715 the TUSCARORA joined the league, and they where called league of 6 nations. they had formed a democratic tribal republic with councils of elected officials. interesting footnote, the chiefs where elected by the child bearing age matrons of the tribes, and they said they where savages ??!!

story was compiled from "AMERICAN INDIAN, MYTHS AND LEGENDS" selected and edited by RICHARD ERDOES and ALFONSO ORTIZ, published by PANTHEON BOOKS