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Traditional and Other Choctaw Stories

The Tale of the Wind Horse, by Tipi Pinti

At the time when day and night were still deciding who comes first, there lived a Horse that will never be seen again. The Horse was not one that would become as the dying buffalo, for this Horse had no enemies. The reason that this Horse would not be seen again was because of love.

It is a story that begins this way.

The Horse, who was called Wind Horse, was the fastest and gentlest of all the Indian ponies. He felt no fear, there was not one that would harm him. If there was an Indian wounded or that needed a ride, Wind Horse was there to care and to carry the Indian. Because of the kindness of Wind Horse, there is no more.

One day, as Wind Horse was feeling the good feeling from being free, he heard a cry for help. He ran to the edge of the forest and saw an Indian child Boy caught in a trap meant for Bear. The boy's foot was cut off and the Boy could not move. Wind Horse went to the side of the Boy and as the Boy leaned against him, he bent to let the Boy get on his back.

The Boy, who had no name, could not believe that this beautiful Horse would come to him as a friend. All his life he had lived alone, for with his bad leg no one wanted him. As he rode the wind on the horse, he could feel the good feeling that Wind Horse felt. It was as if he were whole and that he was with family.

Wind Horse knew that the wound that the Boy had was one that could not be fixed or healed. He was taking the Boy to the place of the Indian Hunting Ground. This place was where all were made whole and had no fear or need. Wind Horse felt sadness that one as young as this Boy had to go to the Ground but he knew that it would be for the best.

As they traveled, the Boy noticed that the trail was always changing. First it was as it was when the Boy had been hurt, then it was as it was when he had been happy. Then it was the time when he had not been born. Soon he saw things that he did not recognize. The Boy became more close to Wind Horse, for he began to fear.

Wind Horse had seen the times and had seen the Boy and his life. He had felt the feelings of the Boy. Wind Horse knew that if he continued this ride, he would not be free any more. For the feelings that the Boy felt were now becoming the feelings of Wind Horse. For Wind Horse was the last of his race, the race of Horses that would feel the feelings of the rider.

Should the rider remain on the Horse of Wind, he would share the fate of the rider, for then a bond would be made that would not and could not be broken. Wind Horse knew of this bond, and as a result, always put off the rider before any bond was made. This time, Wind Horse knew this would be his last rider.

As they traveled, the Boy began to talk to Wind Horse and Wind Horse listened. He listened to the hopes of the Boy that someday he would run with the leaves that blew across the ground. He listened as the Boy wished for someone to care and love the Boy who had the bad leg. As Wind Horse listened, he began to feel the love for the Boy that the Boy had wanted to give a friend.

"Yes," Wind Horse thought, "This is my last ride for I have found one that needs the feelings that I can give. Since I am the last of my race, I will spend the rest of my time with the one that can and will give the feelings that I need."

Wind Horse turned his head and nuzzled the Boy's head. He began to slow, for the end of the journey was near. The Boy looked up and saw the home of those who had gone before. He realized that his journey was the last one he would ever make. He began to feel fear. But as the Horse stopped to let the Boy down, the Boy realized that he had two good legs and that all his wounds, hunger, need, and hurt were gone. The Horse made no move to leave and the Boy knew that the Horse had also made his last journey.

Wind Horse had never brought his riders to the Hunting Ground, so he was not familiar with the place. He had a new world to explore and he had a friend to explore it with. As Wind Horse and the Boy walked into their new world, the Indian People felt a great sadness. Even though the People could not know what was happening, the feeling of great loss and unhappiness was all around. Wind Horse could hear their cries of despair, but he knew that with the passing of many suns and moons, they would soon forget him and his race.

Wind Horse had made his last journey. He would miss all his travels and the friends that he had made and helped along the way. He prayed to the Great Spirit to send a reminder to the Indian People of the friendship that he and the Indian People had shared. And with Wind Horse's prayer, the Horse was given to the Indian People as friends.

The Redbird, by Tipi Pinti

Once, when time was not quite old enough to be counted, there lived a beautiful Indian maiden. This was a special maiden. She could do all the work that needed to be done to keep her lodge in order and to satisfy her mate. But this maiden did not have what she longed for - her mate. As she sat under the large tree one day, she heard the Redbird.

"Redbird, is it so strange for me to wish to have someone to care for, who will care for me?", asked the maiden."If it is not so strange, why have I not found that one meant for me?"

The redbird had no answer for the Indian maiden, but he sat and listened to her because he could hear the lonely in her voice. Every morning for the passing of seven suns, the Redbird came and listened to the maiden's story. As each day passed, the lonliness felt by the maiden began to fill the Redbird.

One day in the Redbird's far travels, he came to a handsome Indian brave. The brave saw the Redbird and called to him. As he began to talk, the Redbird felt the lonliness in his voice that the maiden had shown. Soon the Redbird began to see that these two lonely people had the same wish, to find another who would love and care for them as they would care for their mate.

On the fifth day of listening to the brave, the Redbird became as a bird that is sick. The brave became concerned, for the Redbird had become his friend. As the brave walked toward him, the Redbird began hopping, leading the brave to the lodge of the Indian maiden. Because the brave was wanting to see if the Redbird was all right, he did not notice that he was going from his home. The Redbird saw the Indian maiden sitting outside of her lodge and when he came very close to her (to where the brave would see the Indian maiden) he flew away. The brave saw the Indian maiden and realized that he had wandered far from his home. He went to the Indian maiden to ask where he was.

The Redbird sat in the tree and watched the brave and the maiden. At first the brave was shy and the maiden would not talk, but soon they were talking and laughing like old friends.

Redbird saw this and thought that it was good. He had done as he could and now it was up to the brave and maiden. As Redbird flew to his home he thought of how Great Spirit had known that someday the two would find each other. Now it was good, thought Redbird, that maiden had someone who would see for her and Brave had someone that would hear for him and that they finally had someone who would care.

The 'Possum And The Raccoon

The Choctaws knew 'Possum when he had hair on his tail. 'Possum's tail was gray with white hair mixed in and it was very nice to look at. When 'Possum met Raccoon he looked and looked at Raccoon's tail. Raccoon's tail had stripes on it and 'Possum wished that he had stripes on his tail too.

'Possum asked Raccoon, "Raccoon, how did you get those stripes on your tail?" Raccoon said, "All raccoons have stripes on their tails." 'Possum told Raccoon, "I want stripes on my tail too!" Raccoon said, "You are a 'possum and you should have a 'possum tail." "But I want stripes", 'Possum pouted.

So Raccoon said, "Someone told me that you could wrap bark from a tree around your tail, then cook your tail over a fire. When your tail is cooked, it will have stripes." 'Possum ran to a tree and took some bark and wrapped his tail. Then 'Possum built a fire and cooked his tail.

When 'Possum unwrapped his tail there were no rings. 'Possum looked again and saw that there was no hair. 'Possum began to cry. Then 'Possum said, "I was so silly. I will always like my tail, no matter how it looks." But the hair never grew back.

The Story Of Tanchi

A long time ago, before there were grocery stores, two Choctaw boys went hunting with bows and arrows. The two Choctaw boys hunted a long time, but did not find a squirrel or deer to kill and eat. The boys did shoot a blackbird. Then the Choctaw boys made a fire with sticks and cooked the bird so they could eat it.

When the bird was cooked, the two boys sat down on the ground to eat. Before they could eat any of the bird, a woman came to them. The woman said, "I am very hungry." The Choctaw boys were respectful so they gave the bird to the woman and she ate it all up. The boys were still hungry, but there was nothing left to eat. They did not tell the woman how hungry they were. The woman said, "Thank you", and the boys said, "You're welcome."

The woman said, "Because you know how to share, I'm going to give you a surprise." Then she told the boys to go home and to come back tomorrow.

The next day, the two Choctaw boys went back to the place where they gave the cooked bird to the woman to eat.

There, where the fire had been built, was something growing that looked like a tree. The skinny tree had yellow things growing on it. The boys did not know what the surprise was. They pulled off one of the yellow things and smelled it. It smelled good. They ate some of it and it tasted good. "Let's take this home and ask somebody what it is", the boys said.

Mother didn't know what it was. Father didn't know what it was. Nobody in the whole town knew what it was, but they liked the way it tasted. Someone said, "What will we call this delicious present the boys have shared with us?" The boys said, "Let's call it tanchi."

And the Choctaws still call the woman's present "tanchi".

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