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One time three hunters, one of whom was a young man, were camping in a certain place. The older men began talking about a very deep place in a little creek where lived an ukteni. The young man heard them and went to that place, saying to himself, "I wonder what it is." One place in the stream was so deep that the water looked blue and dark. He crept up to the high bank, and, looking over, saw the ukteni sleeping near the edge of the water with its head out. The youth shot at the snake, which immediately coiled up into an immense bulk. The young man wanted to get away, but he could scarcely

p. 246

move. It had been a clear morning, but now it rained, thundered, and lightened, and the wind blew fiercely. He crept away and hid in the rocky cliffs, and he said that the snake had come near shooting him. Later on it stopped raining, but when he got back to the camp he found his comrades struggling to keep the wind from carrying away the tent which it had blown over. When the other hunters learned what their companion had done they were angry with him.

This happened to a Creek living near Braggs, named Konip ha'djo, and occurred not very long ago.

A trail left by the sharp-breasted snake is near Watt Sam's house, and there is another not far from the dance ground in the Greenleaf Mountains. Even the scent of one of these big snakes would kill a person. Going-snake, referring to this reptile, is the name of a Cherokee chief and district.

The Natchez name of the sharp-breasted snake, which is identical with the ukteni, is olo'bit, meaning literally "walking terrapin," but it is also called intsiyåcdoo'cgu, a name which refers to its sharp breast. The tie-snake is called u'låx dåxgi'ilu.


245:2 From the same man as the preceding. Ukteni is a Cherokee name.

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