Myth-Folklore Unit: Myths of the Cherokee

Overview. In these stories from Myths of the Cherokee by James Mooney you will meet Rabbit, a sly and dangerous trickster, and also Terrapin, another formidable trickster figure. There are other animal stories too, such as the ball game between the birds led by Eagle and the animals led by Bear. You will also read the Cherokee stories of creation in which Dâyuni'sï, the water-beetle, builds the earth, and Amai'yëhï, the water-spider, brings the fire. Other stories tell about the origin of the spots on the moon and the stars in the sky, where strawberries come from, and why possum's tail is bare. There are also legends of the supernatural snake-monster called Uktena and the Ulûñsû'tî, the blazing jewel in its forehead which bestows wondrous powers on anyone who possesses.

Language. Mooney's stories are close in style to the oral Cherokee stories, so this unit, along with the Apache unit and the Eskimo (Inuit), would be a good option to choose if you want to read stories that have the feel of the original oral tradition.

Story Length. These are all single-page stories.

Navigation. You will find the table of contents below, and you can also use this link to see the story posts displayed on two pages total: Cherokee Myths. Click "Older Posts" at the bottom of that page to see the second page.

  1. How the World Was Made
  2. The First Fire
  3. The Journey to the Sunrise
  4. Origin of the Pleiades and the Pine
  5. The Moon and the Thunders
  6. The Deluge
  7. Tobacco and Strawberries
  8. The Rabbit Goes Duck Hunting
  9. How the Rabbit Stole the Otter's Coat
  10. Why the Possum's Tail Is Bare
  11. How the Terrapin Beat the Rabbit
  12. Flint Visits the Rabbit
  13. The Deer and the Rabbit
  1. The Terrapin's Escape from the Wolves
  2. The Ball Game of the Birds and Animals
  3. The Race Between the Crane and the Hummingbird
  4. The Owl Gets Married
  5. The Huhu Gets Married
  6. The Uktena and the Ulûñsû'tï
  7. Âgän-uni'tsï's Search For the Uktena
  8. The Red Man and the Uktena
  9. The Hunter and the Uksu'hï
  10. The Ustû'tlï
  11. The Snake Boy / The Snake Man
  12. The Rattlesnake's Vengeance
  13. The Bullfrog Lover