MS/Lakes: Tashka and Walo

Notice the prohibition which the Sun places on the Tashka and Walo when they make their journey from the other world back to their home; it may remind you of the story of Orpheus and Eurydice and the prohibition imposed on Orpheus as he sought to bring Eurydice back home: Orpheus and Eurydice.

[Notes by LKG]

This story is part of the Mississippi Valley / Great Lakes unit. Story source: Myths and Legends of the Mississippi Valley and the Great Lakes, edited by Katharine Berry Judson (1914).

Tashka and Walo
Choctaw (Bayou Lacomb)

TASHKA and Walo were brothers. They lived a long while ago, so they say. Every morning they saw Sun come up over the edge of the earth. Then he followed the trail through the sky.

When they were four years old, they started to follow Sun’s trail. They walked all day, but that night when Sun died, they were still in their own country. They knew all the hills and rivers. Then they slept.

Next morning they began again to follow Sun, but when he died at the edge of the earth, they could still see their own land.

Then they followed Sun many years. At last they became grown men.

One day they reached a great sea-water. There was no land except the shore on which they stood. When Sun went down over the edge of the earth that day, they saw him sink into the waters. Then they crossed the sea-water, to the edge. So they came to Sun’s home.

All around there were many women. The stars are women, and Moon also. Moon is Sun’s wife.

 Moon asked them how they had found their way. They were very far from their own land. They said, “For many years we have followed Sun’s trail.”

Sun said, “Do you know your way home?”

They said, “No.”

So Sun took them up to the edge of the water. They could see the earth, but they could not see their own land.

Sun asked, “Why did you follow me?”

They said, “We wished to see where you lived.”

Sun said, “I will send you home. But for four days you must not speak a word to any person. If you do not speak, you shall live long. You shall have much wealth.”

Then Sun called to Buzzard.

He put the two brothers on Buzzard’s back. He said, “Take them back to earth.” So Buzzard started for the earth.

Now the clouds are halfway between heaven and earth. The wind never blows above the clouds, so they say.

Buzzard flew from heaven to the clouds. The brothers could easily keep their hold. Then Buzzard flew from the clouds to the earth. But now Wind blew them in all directions. Then at last they came to earth. They saw the trees around their own village. They rested under the trees. An old man passing by knew them. So he went down the trail and told their mother. She at once hastened to see them.

When she met them, she began to talk. She made them talk to her. They told her. So they spoke before the four days were ended. Therefore Sun could not keep his promise.

(500 words)

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