Story of the Day: Why the Skunk Walks Alone

Here is today's story: Why the Skunk Walks Alone. This is a story of the Hasinai people (Caddo), who live in what is now Texas. You can read more Hasinai legends, and also more legends about skunks.



WHY THE SKUNK WALKS ALONE

When the Great Spirit made the first skunk he gave him fur spotted with black and white to help hide him from his enemies. If the skunk stood still in the shadows at night nothing could see him, and he was safe.

But he was not satisfied. He was still afraid, and he asked the Great Spirit for something more. This time the skunk was given sharper teeth and longer claws.

Now he was a truly terrible little fellow. Nobody could see him in the dark, and nobody knew the skunk was around until he felt sharp teeth and long claws biting and scratching. The other creatures of the woods and prairie began to fear the skunk, the animal which wanders around looking for his food when the sun has gone to bed and the stars have come out.

But still the skunk complained. He wanted something more, something that would make everything run from him.

This made the Great Spirit angry. He had done much for the little black and white animal, but the skunk was not satisfied. What the Great Spirit did now was to give the skunk a powerful smell. This smell was so strong that when the skunk's friends found out he had it they ran from him as quickly as his enemies did.

That is why the skunk goes alone today. Dogs and birds and snakes and men all dislike his smell, and so they leave him by himself.



Story Title: Why the Skunk Walks Alone
Book Title: When the Storm God Rides: Tejas and Other Indian Legends
Author: Florence Stratton (as collected by Bessie M. Reid)
Published: 1936
Rights: CC0 Public Domain
Online Source: Sacred Texts
Process: Light editing for paragraphing and punctuation.


Story of the Day: Why Arrows Have Feathers

Here is today's story: Why Arrows Have Feathers. This is a story of the Hasinai people (Caddo), who live in what is now Texas. You can read more Hasinai legends, and also more Native American legends about hawks.


WHY ARROWS HAVE FEATHERS

A baby hawk once fell from its nest in a high tree and lay on the ground, too young to fly. The little bird would have soon died from lack of food, or it would have been caught by an animal and eaten, if an Indian boy had not found it.

The boy took the young hawk home with him and cared for the bird. He made it a nest on the top of a stump and fed the bird day after day until it at last was ready to fly, but the hawk did not leave. It liked the Indian boy who had saved its life. When the boy was playing around in the village the hawk sat on the stump where it had been raised and watched him.

One day the young Indian was making arrows from slim branches of trees and shooting them from his bow. At that time Indians did not put feathers on their arrows. Each time the boy shot an arrow it would fly straight for a little way and then turn over and over.

The hawk saw this and had an idea. Why could not one of its wing feathers make an arrow fly straight? The bird could not talk to the boy, but it pulled out a long feather and dropped it at the boy's feet upon one of the arrows that lay on the ground. The boy paid no attention to the feather. Then the hawk dropped another and whistled. So the young Indian saw that the hawk was trying to tell him something about the feathers. He picked up one that lay on the arrow at his feet, fastened it to the blunt end of the arrow and aimed at a tree far away. This time the arrow flew straight as the hawk.

The Indians in the village gave a great shout, for at last they had found out how to make their arrows fly straight through the air.



Story Title: Why Arrows Have Feathers
Book Title: When the Storm God Rides: Tejas and Other Indian Legends
Author: Florence Stratton (as collected by Bessie M. Reid)
Published: 1936
Rights: CC0 Public Domain
Online Source: Sacred Texts
Process: Light editing for paragraphing and punctuation.


Story of the Day: Why Dogs Growl

Here is today's story: God Punishes the Dog. This is an African American folktale collected by Richard Dorson. You can read more African American folktales collected by Dorson, and also more stories about dogs and cats.



WHY DOGS GROWL

When the Lord made Adam, he put him in the Garden of Eden. And he made all beasties, and put every kind of foul dirt in there. And Adam he named them.

So the Lord put him to sleep, made them all helpmeet.

Well, Adam didn't have no helpmeet, so he put him to sleep, and cut out of his ribs.

Cat and dog was standing around there growling.

So he laid the rib down to close up the room. Dog grabbed her rib and lit out with her.

So the Lord couldn't catch him, he cut the dog's tail off, and they been growling ever since.



Story Title: God Punishes the Dog
Storyteller: James Douglas Suggs
Book Title: Negro Tales from Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and Calvin, Michigan
Author: Dorson, Richard M.
Published: 1958
Rights: CC Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives
Online Source: Hathi Trust
Process: Light editing for paragraphing and punctuation.
Story Notes from Author (Dorson): A variant from Tommy Carter is in NFIM 162, "God Names the Dog," Motifs A2234, "Animal characteristics: punishment for disobedience," and A2494.1.2, "Enmity between cat and dog," apply here.