Sacred Texts  Native American  Southeast  Index  Previous  Next 


Six Indians went out to hunt bear. One of them said, "Here stands a hollow tree," but he did not think there was a bear in it. Then an Indian climbed to the top and they tied up spunk and gave it to him. He set it on fire and put it into the hollow. As he did so there was a roaring sound and the tree shook. Then those who had remained on the ground were frightened and fled in all directions. Then the thing came out, jumped down upon the ground, and pursued one of them, whom it soon caught. It trailed another and seized him. It caught another in the same manner and returned with him. It kept on thus, and just as it was starting after the last one the Indian who had thrown the spunk came down and ran to a skiff. When he had nearly reached it he fell down, but he pulled himself along by means of the grass until he got into the skiff. He pushed off quickly and went down with the current. The big lizard (hanabia tcoba) pursued him, howling. It kept on and jumped into the stream, which it crossed. It hunted about on the other side and then crossed back. It went back and forth several times, but, not finding him, turned about and disappeared. The Indian crossed to the other shore in his skiff, got out, and traveled on. He traveled on until he came to where some Shawnee lived and he informed them what had happened. They told him to show them the place, but he was afraid. However! they told him that they wanted to go to the place so that they might kill the monster. "Tell us where that tree stands and we will kill it," they said. So the man guided them. He went with them and showed them where the tree stood. They said, "Do as you did before." He climbed up into the tree and they set fire to some spunk and gave it to him. When he climbed up they made it boggy underneath. And then he threw the spunk into the tree. Just as he did so the big lizard made a roaring sound and came out. It came down, made a jump while still far up from the ground and stink into the boggy place. Then the Shawnee ran upon the lizard and chopped at it. They chopped it up and killed it. Then they went back and the Indian was very happy.

Next: 37. The Story of Life-Eater