Myth Monday: The Princess Who Cried, or The Creation of Scargo Lake (Native American Legend)

Myth Monday: The Princess Who Cried, or The Creation of Scargo Lake (Native American Legend)

By Kara Newcastle

Holy crap, I actually have time to write?!

That aside, this is a story I’ve been dying to get to ever since I found out about it at the end of this past summer. I really love the beaches in Dennis, and in order to get to my favorite ones, you have to drive past a place called Scargo Hill. At the top of said hill, there’s a big thirty-foot tall tower, built out of old cobblestones, looking like something the Templar Knights built (it’s not, though as a child I had fun pretending it was.) If you can stomach climbing up the winding metal staircase, at the top you can get a great view of the area, particularly of the freshwater Scargo Lake.

Scargo Lake has two beaches that you can visit, one of which is called “Princess Beach.” For years, I wonder why it was called that, and this past summer I decided I was going to find out. And I’m so glad I did! This is a great story, and, as happens so freakin’ often in mythology, there are many different versions of the legend. I choose the one I liked the best to share with you. (There’s only one version I found that named both her father and her lover. I was a little skeptical about the authenticity of the names, so I kept her father’s name the same but changed Scargo’s lover’s. If I find out anything, I’ll change them to the correct names.)

Scargo Lake, by Costoa, Wikimedia commons

Hundreds of years ago, the sachem Mashantam ruled over his tribe, the Nobscussett, in the woodlands not far from Cape Cod Bay. The tribe at that time was small, just about one hundred people and the most beautiful of them was the sachem’s only child, his daughter Scargo. She was flawless both in visage and character, exceedingly sweet and kind, and because she felt such duty for her people, Scargo was placed as the caretaker of the freshwater spring that provided her village with drinking water.

Eagle of Delight, from the National Museum of Denmark

Late in the spring, warriors from neighboring villages came to visit, sent by the great chief Massasoit of the Wampanoag Nation to bring words of peace. One of these warriors, a bold and dashing young hunter named Megedagik, parted from his company just long enough to visit the freshwater spring by the Nobscussett village. As he came upon the little pond, he froze in place, struck dumb by the sight of a beautiful young woman kneeling down by the spring, collecting water to bring to her father. The girl glanced up as he approached, and she smiled at his stunned expression.

“Here for a drink?” she asked.

It took the warrior a second to remember that he had a voice. “Uh … yes. Yes, I am.” He cleared his throat and thrust out his chest, hoping to regain his composure after being caught gawking at the girl. “I am Megedagik I come with my brothers to bring greetings from Great Massasoit.”

The girl’s smile grew even brighter. “Then you met my father?”

Megedagik felt his heart falter for a moment. “Your … father? The sachem Mashantam?”

“That’s the one.” The girl stood up. “I’m Scargo.”

“I’m Megedagik.”

Scargo giggled. “You said that already.”

Any other time Megedagik would have turned himself inside out over making such a flub in front of a girl as lovely as Scargo, but he found himself smiling at her sweet laugh. Forgetting all about his drink, Megedagik walked with Scargo back to her village, talking and laughing with her the entire way. By that night, the pair were smitten, and by the next day, they were hopelessly in love.

Much to the princess and the warrior’s dismay, Megedagik could only stay a short time, as he and his fellow warriors had to continue their mission. The morning that he had to leave, Megedagik wrapped the trembling Scargo in his arms and pulled her tight against him.

“I promise I’ll come back,” he whispered into her silken black hair, “and when I do, we’ll marry right away. Until then, just stay strong. I’ll send you a present soon.”

Bitter though she was at the thought of letting him go, Scargo was brave, and she held back her tears, waving goodbye to Megedagik and his men until they vanished deep into the woods. Her father Mashantam and the other villagers comforted Scargo as much as they could, for they all knew how much she loved Megedagik.

Less than a day later, two strangers arrived in Scargo’s village. People emerged from their wigwams, staring dumbstruck as the two men, puffing and muttering mightily, staggered to carry the bright orange object up to Mashantam and Scargo’s home.

Alerted by their bemused warriors, the chief, and his daughter hurried out of their house, stopping short as the two men, wheezing in exhaustion, very carefully lowered a massive pumpkin down to the ground.

Groaning, one of the strangers straightened up, planting his hands on the small of his back and flexing his spine back. “Princess Scargo,” he panted, “this is a gift for you, sent by Megedagik. He says—agh, sorry, something just popped—that as long as the fish are alive, he will be protected and come back to you soon.”

Jumping at the sound of her true love’s name, Scargo hurried forward to inspect the pumpkin—and she cried out in delight. The massive gourd had been hollowed out and filled to the brim with clear water. Swirling around inside were four gorgeously shimmering fish, the likes of which no one had ever seen before.

“I will do everything I can to keep them alive,” Princess Scargo said as her father and their people bent to watch the fish. “If they are safe, then Megedagik will be safe.”

The villagers and the sachem were all charmed by the unusual gift, and over the days many people would visit Scargo and ask her how her pretty fish fared. Scargo would answer happily that the fish were healthy and that she couldn’t wait to show Megedagik when he returned.

As the weeks passed, summer arrived, promising to be brutally hot and dry. Scargo and the villagers moved the hollowed pumpkin to the shade of the trees to protect the fish, but soon the fish grew larger, and larger, taking up more and more room in the pumpkin. Seeing that her beloved pets were uncomfortable, Scargo decided to move them to the little pond by the spring. There they thrived … for a little while.

As the summer progressed with no rain and days of intensely blazing sun, the spring began to dry up. Scargo watched in horror as the little pond began to shrink, and her dear fish began to die, one after the other, until only one was left. This one was very big, and every day that passed, there was less water for it to swim in. It would not have long.

Scargo was devastated. Try as she might, there was nothing she could do to help her pet. Overcome with grief at her loss, shame that she had not fulfilled her promise, the realization that her people were running out of water to drink, and a growing fear that Megedagik would not return, Scargo collapsed by the dying spring and sobbed. She cried for so long and for so hard, that her father Mashantam’s heart broke for her, and he called his people together.

“My friends,” the sachem said, “my daughter is weeping. Yes, she weeps for her pets, she weeps for her lover, but she also weeps for all of us. We must find more water.”

The Nobscusset all winced, all feeling sorry for the sweet girl, but not knowing how to solve the problem of lost water. When they voiced this, Mashtantam held up his hands for silence.

“I have an idea,” he said. “We will dig a lake. Our finest hunter will shoot arrows in four directions. Where the arrows land, that will be as far as the lake goes. We will all dig out the land using clam shells.”

The people were perplexed. “That seems like a good idea,” they said cautiously. “But where will we get water to fill it?”

The sachem nodded. “Scargo’s tears will fill it.”

The village immediately went to work. Their best hunter shot arrows into four directions, and everyone immediately began digging, scooping out earth with clamshells, piling it up to form the hill overlooking the lake. They fashioned the shape of the new lake in the form of a great fish, to honor the creatures that Megedagik had sent their beloved princess.

The only person who did not work was the poor Princess Scargo, who lay there, weeping. As soon as the land was carved away, Scargo’s tears poured into the lake, filling it within hours with crystal clear, fresh water. When the princess saw what her people had worked to achieve, her tears finally stopped, and they released her last fish into the water. As soon as it slid beneath the surface, the fish magically spawned, creating hundreds more just like itself.

Realizing that calamity had been averted, Scargo was at last comforted and happy again. Before that fiery summer ended, Megedagik returned and he and Scargo were married, much to the joy of her people. Together they built their home and raised their children on the shores of the lake that now bears her name—Scargo.

Like I said, there are many versions of this story. Some have Scargo herself and her friends digging out the lake, some have her just sitting at the top of Scargo Hill, with her tears pooling down at the bottom. Sometimes it’s one fish that rapidly outgrows the pumpkin, sometimes Scargo finds out that her lover was killed in battle and that’s why she cries so much. Some stories say that Scargo cried so many tears that she eventually drowned in them, and transformed into the lake fish that fed her people. Another storyteller mentioned that “Scargo” actually means “skunk,” and the lake is supposed to be in the shape of a skunk. Obviously, I chose the nicer of the many versions. (There’s also one about the giant Maushop—known as Moshop around here, based on what I found—digging out the land to build a hill for him to sit on, and when he lights his pipe, the smoke causes a thunderstorm to fill the lake. You can read a bit more about Maushop in my blog about Granny Squannit here!) There are other, modern stories about the lake, including one about the ghost of a woman with long dark hair seen crying at the water’s edge at dusk … could it be Princess Scargo?

If you’re ever in the area, stop by Scargo Lake or Scargo Hill Tower. It’s a really beautiful location—just follow all the rules, please!

Myth Monday: The Wendigo (Native American Mythology)

Accurate Wendigo by SpongePP, wikimedia commons

Myth Monday: The Wendigo (Native American Mythology)

By Kara Newcastle

Okay, it’s finally time to write about it, after avoiding it for a few years … recently, I saw an ad for the movie Antlers, and I was pretty sure I knew what it would be about before I saw the actual trailer.

Yup. It’s about the Wendigo, one of the evilest creatures in all of mythology, and one on a list of things that creeps me out big time. I knew I was going to have to do a deep dive sooner or later because it’s gotten to be a popular monster in media, and whenever I watch a show about the paranormal there’s always one guy that brings up the Wendigo. You know the one. The guy that watches a blurry CCTV capture of a something-or-other poking around a bunch of trash cans and proclaims, “Even though this video comes from Australia and the creature we’re watching is about the size and shape of a wombat, I can say without a doubt that it is in fact a Wendigo.”

Yeah, okay.

The Wendigo (among other spellings: Windigo, Windlgo, Witiko, Witiku, Weetigo and many more) is a cannibal monster from the mythology of the Native American tribes of the northern United States and Canada. Most of the legends we know about it come from the Algonquin-speaking tribes (i.e., Ojibway, Cree and Chippewa), and while their descriptions of it vary somewhat, they all agree that it is a giant creature with a heart of ice, that emerges in the wintertime to hunt humans, and, given the chance, possess human beings to turn them into cannibals. The Wendigo is believed by researchers to be more of a boogeyman to scare children from wandering off into the wilds, an ancestral memory of a time of starvation when people turned to cannibalism, a metaphor for greed and insatiability or even psychosis, but to many people, it’s a real entity.

The Wendigo is a manitou, which is best described as being an elemental spirit that is not as strong as a god (as with all of mythology, there are variations on this belief), and while a manitou can be either benevolent or evil, the Wendigo always falls into the later category. (The root word for “Wendigo” in Algonquin actually means “evil spirit” and “cannibal.”) The Algonquins believed that the Wendigo was created when a hunter became lost in the forest and, rather than die of starvation, he would attack and eat other humans to survive. The second he tasted human flesh, he was forever doomed to become a monster.

While the Ojibway tribe around Berens Lake, Ontario, believed that their version of the Wendigo was an amphibious, crocodile-like monster with bear or deer feet, nearly all other tribes describe the Wendigo as being anywhere from fifteen to twenty or more feet tall. It was so big it would use trees for snowshoes as it traveled through the forests, prairies, and swamps. Sometimes it was hairy, but most times it had bright white skin stretched tightly over a severely emaciated body. It had bulging eyes, and often wore deer antlers on top of its head. Because of the Wendigo’s insatiable hunger, it eats the flesh of its fingers down to the bone, and chews off its own lips. Some tales state that it had a white star emblazoned on its forehead. Its heart was made entirely of ice.

Wendigo Wintery Forest by DracoLumina17, wikimedia commons

The Wendigo would hibernate in the summer and awake to hunt in the winter, often traveling in a whirlwind or blizzard. They would lurk silently in the forest until they came upon a wandering human, then release a shriek that would paralyze their victim. Most people who are stalked by the Wendigo die of fright once they see it, though others aren’t so lucky; they’re eaten alive in their paralyzed state. If you’re ever by yourself in the woods and you feel a sudden, unusual chill go up your spine, turn around and run—a Wendigo’s nearby! (When do you go? When there’s a Wendigo!)

Wendigos tend to be solitary, but it’s not unheard of them to roam in packs, and then use the skulls of their victims to play catch or soccer (really.) However, Wendigos don’t often band together, because they’re just as likely to attack and eat each other as they are to eat a human.

Wendigos are particularly evil for their ability to turn ordinary humans into other Wendigos; they love to possess people and turn them into cannibalistic murder machines. A human can be turned into a Wendigo if they resorted to cannibalism to survive, as mentioned before, but they could also become a Wendigo if they were cursed by a shaman, if they survived a physical attack by a Wendigo (especially if they were bitten but escaped, which is rare), if they dreamed about the Wendigo, or if they invoked it in a ritual and willingly offered themselves up as an avatar.

Let’s take a moment to talk about the ritual thing; why in the hell would somebody want to become a soulless, ice-hearted cannibal beast? For power, that’s one reason. Another would be to destroy their enemies, although they’re more likely to eat their own family first before going after anybody else. Also, Wendigos were thought to be very wise and knowledgeable, so some dumbasses might want to obtain that knowledge, but thinking that they could overcome the urge to eat people. These psychos would go deep into an area where the Wendigo had been sighted, fast for several days, then offer themselves up to the Wendigo. If the Wendigo liked them, the monster would adopt the devotee as their own child. More often than not, the Wendigo would just eat them.

Skeleton by the Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington State, wikimedia commons

If a person is possessed by a Wendigo, they won’t change in size or appearance, but their skin will become cold, and they might become hairy. The biggest change comes in their personality, as they become aggressive and deranged, and develop a craving for human meat. Canadian fur trapper George Nelson wrote back in 1812 or 1813 of a case of an older man living with his daughter and son-in-law who suddenly began acting strangely. The man would stare at his daughter for long periods and say that he loved her so much he could eat her. The old man began to sleep naked outside on the woodpile, and he would only eat his meat raw. In time his condition improved, though no one could explain what had happened.

Another case Nelson recorded was of a young man who began to dream of the Wendigo. He was so worried about the dreams that he told his friends that if he ever started to act strangely, then they must kill him. His friends initially shrugged it off, but when the man began to alarm them with his behavior, they and his own brother ambushed him and shot him through the heart. To their horror, even though the bullet had gone straight through the body, the young man sat up, not spilling a drop of blood, and began to laugh maniacally. They were too late; his heart had already turned to ice. They eventually managed to overpower the man, kill him, cut his body up and burn the pieces. Every time they threw the ice-lump of his heart into the fire, it would jump back out. They eventually had to smash it with their icepicks to finally kill it.

Photo of Swift Runner, taken shortly after his arrest at Fort Saskatchewan

In 1878, possibly the most famous human Wendigo case occurred. After a harsh winter, Swift Runner, a Plains Cree member, emerged out of the forest and into civilization, grieving the loss of his wife and children (some stories include his mother and brother.) He told all who would listen that they all died from starvation, and he had to bury each one himself. This was not an unusual story for the place and time, but people were instantly suspicious; Swift Runner said that his family starved to death, but he himself looked healthy. Too healthy. Investigators went to his cabin and were horrified to find the butchered bodies of his family members. When confronted with the evidence, Swift Runner admitted that he had killed them, but said that he was starving and needed to eat. The authorities pointed out that he was only twenty-five miles away from the nearest town and could have easily gotten help. Swift Runner responded that he was under the control of a Wendigo at the time. The authorities didn’t believe him and had him executed for murder at Fort Saskatchewan.

Not every story ended like the one above. It was possible for a shaman to cure a person of the Wendigo possession if they were treated quickly (interesting side note: the Delaware tribes had their own version of the Wendigo called a Mhuwe. One legend stated that a Mhuwe was captured by the tribe and fed cooked meat, vegetables and fruits until he turned back into a human.) The best way to cure a person of possession was to find the original Wendigo, kill it, cut up the body and burn the pieces (as mentioned above.) Once the original Wendigo was dead, anyone it had afflicted would return to normal. However, it didn’t always work out that way, and it was common for possessed people to beg to be killed before they hurt anyone. Algonquins would frequently decapitate the bodies of supposed human Wendigos to keep them from returning from the grave, much like vampires. In addition, some say that a silver bullet was sufficient to kill a Wendigo (this could be a mix-up between legends, as some people tend to think of the Wendigo as a kind of werewolf, but I need more research into it.) Some legends advise feeding the afflicted pure animal fat. If the possessed person vomited ice, then the treatment was working.

One famous slayer of Wendigos was a Cree shaman named Zhauwuno-geezhigo-gaubow, better known as Jack Fiddler to the white man. He and his father were renowned for their ability to track down, identify and slay human Wendigos—including Jack’s brother Peter Flett, who resorted to cannibalism on an ill-fated trapping trip, and his brother Joseph’s daughter-in-law, who was very sick. In total, Jack Fiddler claimed he killed fourteen Wendigos, a boast which soon got him and his brother Joseph, another Wendigo hunter, arrested by the Mounties in 1907. Charged with murder, Jack Fiddler managed to escape, but he hung himself shortly afterwards. Many people, including missionaries and Hudson Bay Company fur trappers pleaded for Joseph’s release, but by the time the appeals came through, he had already been executed.

Which now brings us to the horrific events of July 30, 2008—and I’ll spare you the worst of the details because it really is stomach churning. On a full Greyhound bus from Winnipeg, Manitoba to Edmonton, Alberta, 40 year old Vincent Weiguang Li inexplicably drew a knife and attacked 22-year-old Tim McLean as he slept in the seat next to him. The bus driver stopped the bus and terrified passengers fled as Li began to cannibalize McLean. Why he chose to attack McLean on the bus isn’t certain, but Li told police that he did it because McLean was an “alien,” and that God told him to do it.

Many paranormal researchers like to jump on this case as proof of Wendigo possession, but they frequently neglect to mention that Li was a schizophrenic who worked as a newspaper carrier. A week and a half prior to the attack, the paper Toronto Sun, which Li delivered, had an article in it discussing the Wendigo. Li likely read the article and was influenced by it. Furthermore, the historian who was quoted in the original article about the Wendigo, Nathan Carlson, later stated that Li’s attack on McLean was very similar to other attacks made by people believed to be possessed by the Wendigo, which only added fuel to the cannibal monster fire. (In case you’re wondering, Li was found not guilty by reason of insanity. He changed his name and is a free man.)

So it sounds more and more like the Wendigo is really just an explanation for insane behavior, and there’s even an unofficial clinical term for people who are under the delusion that they are these cannibal monsters: Wendigo psychosis. But that doesn’t explain why that to this day people still claim to see a Wendigo, or something they assume is a Wendigo. Sightings of alleged Wendigos were made by Jesuit missionaries back in the 1600s. Early Minnesotan settlers claimed that a spate of Wendigo encounters occurred from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, and the creature came to be treated as a harbinger of death. In fact, in the town of Roseau, just 11 miles south of the Canadian border, reported that after every Wendigo sighting, someone in town would die.

Modern day cryptozoologists have speculated that the Wendigo is actually a type of particularly aggressive Bigfoot, and that legends of the Wendigo are really rooted in partly-remembered encounters between humans and Bigfoot that ended badly—for the humans. That would hold up to the descriptions of the Wendigo being tall and hairy, but most of the indigenous Canadians were pretty adamant that Wendigo and Sasquatch were two separate beings.

As for modern day depictions, the Wendigo has appeared most famous in Algernon Blackwood’s novella The Wendigo, in Stephen King’s Pet Sematary, comic book hero Wolverine frequently crosses paths with the monster, appeared in the TV shows Charmed, Sleepy Hollow, Supernatural, and Teen Wolf, pop up in tabletop games such as Dungeons and Dragons, menace characters in cartoons like My Little Ponies: Friendship is Magic and DuckTales (2017 version), and is no stranger to video games such as Fallout. Outside of the media, there’s Lake Windigo, a lake inside Star Island in Cass Lake, Minnesota named after the monster, where the local tribes would perform ceremonies to keep the spirit at bay. There’s also a Wendigo Lake  north of Toronto, Ontario, famed for its residential programs for troubled boys. And there’s the resort Le Village Windigo on the shores of Baskatong Lake … no, I don’t know why they chose that name just yet. Looks like a nice place though.

Lake Wendio by Paul LaRocque, wikimedia commons
Wendigo Lake

Oh, and God forbid you ever come face to face with a Wendigo, but if you do, there’s a surefire way to escape it: throw feces in its face. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know, but if you lob a handful of crap at a Wendigo, it becomes confused, giving you a chance to run away. Seeing as how you likely have messed your pants upon seeing one, you’ll have enough ammo to channel your inner chimpanzee and stun the Wendigo long enough to save your life.

Myth Monday: The Scariest Monsters from Native American Mythology, Part 1

Myth Monday: The Scariest Monsters from Native American Mythology, Part 1

By Kara Newcastle

Before we delve into this list of some of the most evil, most vile, most freaky beasts ever to roam the mythological world, I would just like to apologize for disappearing the entire month of September and most of October; I recently got my job back (yay!) but that was causing a lot of extra tension at home (eeeeerrrrrraaaaaggghhhh!) Without meaning to, I let the blogs slip. I’m going to try to get as many blogs as I can pre-written so I post a little more consistently, but I still want to thank my readers for being patient while I try to get my crap together. SO … thank you!

Okay, now on to the list … which is labeled Part 1, because there are just too many monsters to include in a single list!

Raven_2 by ken thomas via wikimedia commons

RAVEN MOCKER (Cherokee): Said to be the evilest creature in Native American mythology, the Raven Mocker was a spirit of death. Generally, it was invisible, but it could manifest itself physically whenever it needed to, and that was generally when it wanted to bring death to humans. The Raven Mocker, so called because of its ability to mimic the cry of a raven (a bird long associated with death in many world cultures), would frequently take on the guise of a person that its chosen victim would know and trust, such as a grandmother. The victim would allow the disguised Raven Mocker into their home, where the creature would anguish their victim, kill them by cutting a slit in the person’s head and then eating their heart. Medicine men could see a raven mocker even when it was invisible, and their ability to perceive the monster would cause it to die within a week. Fans of Mountain Monsters (and before anybody can start whining, YES, I KNOW the show’s fake, the entire world knows that it’s fake, nobody cares that it’s fake, get over it already!) will remember the Raven Mocker as a frequent adversary for the AIMS guys.

THE BASKET WOMAN (Northwest tribes): The Basket Woman is a particularly nasty type of Bigfoot; very tall and hairy, she roams the forest with a basket strapped to her back. If she comes across a lone child wandering about the woods, she will scoop them up, place them in her basket, carry them back to her cave, and then eat them. Her favorite prey was human children, so tribal mothers frequently warned their children not to stray into the forest alone, lest the Basket Woman find them. Luckily, the Basket Woman is pretty dumb, so there are many stories of children outwitting her and escaping.

THE FLYING HEAD (Iroquois): The Flying Head was just that: a giant, flying head. Sometimes described as having bat wings sprouting from its temples, other times as a kind of fireball, this indescribably hideous demon would fly into Iroquois villages and gobble up any humans it found. The myth of the Flying Head appears to be quite old, and there are several different stories about how it was created. It was finally defeated by a young mother who tricked it into eating hot coals (read it here.)

PUKWUDGIES (Wampanoag): The name might be goofy, but these little bastards are anything but. The Pukwudgies (also spelled Pudwudgies) are a type of small humanoid from the mythology of the Massachusetts tribes. Typically less than three feet tall, usually hairy and big-nosed, the Pukwudgies lived in communities very similar to Native American tribes. They were once friendly with the Native Americans; it was said that when a tribal chieftain died, the Pukwudgies could be heard sobbing in the forest, and they were more than happy to assist hunters find prey. Strangely, their attitudes towards humans changed rapidly when a dark being appeared to them and apparently made itself their leader. For several hundred years now, the Pukwudgies actively work to bring harm to any human beings they come across. They are known to shove people off cliffs, kidnap children, possess people, shoot people with poisoned arrows, and disguise themselves as glimmers of light at night, leading unwary travelers into swamps to drown. There have been many recorded sighting of ugly gnome-like creatures, particularly in the Hockomock Swamp around Bridgewater, Massachusetts (an area which has become known as the Bridgewater Triangle, a huge swath of land renowned for bizarre going-ons.) Recently, one man reported that twenty years ago he returned home from his night job and took his dog out for a walk at around three in the morning. As they walked down the street, they saw a figure emerge from the swamp into the glow of a streetlight. Initially, the man though he was looking at a child, but his dog (a German Shepherd-Rottweiler mix, so not exactly small and dainty) reacted in terror. The man took a closer look and saw that it was a small, hairy human standing there, beckoning to him. The creature called out, “Ee ant oh. Ere! Ere!” In a panic, the man and his dog raced home. Later, the man realized what the thing was probably saying to him: “We want you. Here! Here!”

CHINDI (Navajo): The Chindi is a particularly nasty spirit I’ve talked about before (here.) The Chindi is the unrelenting spirit of vengeance, and while its true form is invisible, it will frequently take possession of various animals in order to achieve its goal (a good way to tell if an animal is possessed by a Chindi is to see if it walks on two legs like a human.) Summoned by a shaman, the Chindi will go out and kill all that have offended the shaman or whoever hired him to summon the spirit, and it will not stop until it has been recalled by the shaman, or until everyone is dead. Death comes silently, most often in the form of an unidentifiable, uncurable disease. In the early 1900s, two sons of the the wealthy Long Salt family tried to scam a local medicine man, who quickly learned of the deception and dispatched a Chindi to punish them. The Long Salts begged the shaman to call back the Chindi, but the old man died before the ceremony could take place. For several decades afterwards, the Chindi killed every member of the Long Salts, including a man who tried to protect the last surviving member, a young girl.

SKINWALKERS (Southwest tribes): Mostly associated with the Navajo, but known by many tribes in the Southwest, a Skinwalker is an evil witch, most often male, who dons the skin of an animal in order to transform into that animal.In order to gain the infernal magic needed to do things such as shape shifting, the initiate had to commit a serious crime, such as the murder and cannibalization of a family member. Skinwalkers are so evil that to this day most Native Americans in the Southwest refuse to talk about them for fear that speaking of them too much will bring their attention (a little like saying Beetlejuice’s name three times summons him, only there are no whimsical Tim Burton-esque delights with these things.) To this day there are reports of skinwalkers harassing and attacking people. Whether or not they have real magical powers, these people are extraordinarily sadistic—don’t go looking for them.

SPEARFINGER (Cherokee): If you read my blog on the Chickadee, you already know about the horrific Spearfinger. For those of you who haven’t read it (and what are you waiting for?!), you should know that Spearfinger was a giant witch from Cherokee mythology. She had one long finger that was sharply pointed and used it to run through anyone she came across. Her favorite food was human liver, and she didn’t care who she obtained it from: child, a chieftain, the young, the old, it was all the same to her. Like the Raven Mocker, Spearfinger frequently transformed herself into the guise of a person her victim would recognize and trust, and thus be permitted to walk into their home or roam about their village. A famous story tells how a large group of warriors trapped Spearfinger in a pit but couldn’t find a way to kill her until the chickadee revealed where she had hidden her heart.

TUPILAQ (Inuit): If you ever want to read about some messed up monsters, take a look at Inuit mythology—I’ve read a lot of mythology from all over the world, but Inuit monsters really take the cake. This particular one, the Tupilaq, is an avenging monster rather like the Chindi; some tribes believe it was a ghost that could only been seen by a shaman, but the Inuit if Greenland believed that it is pieced together Frankenstein-like by a shaman using pieces of dead animals and children. Either way, the beast was savage and would pursue its target unrelentingly. However, it was possible for the would-be victim to turn the tables and cast a spell that made the tupilaq turn around and go after its creator with even greater ferocity. The only way to escape the rebound attack was for the creator to publicly confess that he had made the monster, after which it would disappear … and then he had to deal with a very pissed off community, which was probably preferable to whatever the tupilaq would do. In later years, European explorers wanted to see the cobbled-together tupilaq, but the constructions had long rotted away. In order to show the Europeans what the monsters could look looks, the Inuit carved representations out of things like sperm whale teeth and today are considered collectibles. (And just so you know, Tuunbaq from The Terror was never an actual mythological creature but was probably inspired by the tupilaq.)

WATER BABIES (Ute): Not to be confused with the sunblock, water babies are nasty little monsters that live in secluded ponds, lakes and rivers. Superficially, they do resemble  human babies, but it wouldn’t take you long to realize that they’re not; scaly, fanged, and often reported with a short tail, water babies make a crying sound like a distraught human infant. When an unwary soul comes to the water to find what they think is a lost child, they’re grabbed by the water babies, dragged into the water, drowned and then devoured. Some stories say that just the sound of a crying water baby is an omen of death for the hearer. Pyramid Lake in Nevada is said to be a home of the water babies, and locals will tell you that an unusually high number of swimmers and fishermen die in that lake every year.

A_Florida_panther_using_a_tree_as_a_scratching_post_(7656791736) by USFWS via wikimedia commons

WAMPUS CAT (Cherokee): I already posted a blog dedicated to the Wampus Cat (here!), but it’s such a unique monster that I’ll make note of it again: the Wampus Cat was a Native American woman who was suspicious of what her husband did at night. Donning a cloak made of a mountain lion’s skin, the woman secretly followed her husband, finding him attending an all-male meeting of warriors and elders, all of whom were trading magical secrets meant only for men. Somehow, the woman was discovered, and in retaliation the medicine men cursed her so that the mountain lion pelt she wore would become part of her. From that day on the poor woman roamed the woodland of Cherokee country as a half mountain lion, half-human monster. Driven mad, the werecat harassed the Cherokee at every opportunity and wasted no time in going after white settlers when they arrived in the area. The whites were the ones who dubbed her the Wampus Cat, and sightings of the creature are still reported today.

Deep_snow_covers_deer_antlers by Brian Anderson USFWS via wikimedia commons

WENDIGO (Algonquin): No list of Native American monsters would be complete without a mention of the Wendigo. Given its growing popularity in the media, for whatever damned reason, the Wendigo is fairly well known among people, though most don’t fully know what it is. The Wendigo was the spirit of ravenous hunger, said to be up to twenty feet tall. It was skeletal, its white skin stretched so tightly over its bones that they threatened to rip through. Its head was adorned with deer antlers. It was so insatiably hungry, it was said to have chewed off the flesh from its fingers and even its own lips. It was known to chase down hunters who became lost in the snowy wilderness and devour them. The Wendigo also had the ability to possess ordinary humans, particularly those who were facing starvation during the cruelly long Canadian winter. It would drive its human host to kill and cannibalize their families and friends. There’s even a rather controversial medical term for people in the northern United States and Canada who believe to be afflicted by the monster: Wendigo psychosis.

Myth Monday: Corn Mother (Penobscot Myth)

Myth Monday: Corn Mother (Penobscot Myth)

By Kara Newcastle


metropolitan museum of art mother and child doll Seneca doll wood sculpture 1870-80

Among many Native American tribes, corn is not only a staple of their diet but is also considered a holy gift. Corn can be grown in abundance and keeps well when stored so that families had plenty to eat during the winter when it became too difficult to hunt. The Native Americans had many different stories about how they were given the gift of corn, but I like the one from the Penobscot tribe of Maine because it tells of that the creation of corn was made by a mother who gave the ultimate sacrifice for her children.

In the beginning, when the world was new, Kloskurbeh the All Maker walked across the land creating new plants and animals. At first, he was alone, but in time he was joined by a young man, the son of the wind and the ocean waves, born from the warmth of the noontime sun. The young man called Kloskurbeh “Uncle,” and the All Maker was happy to keep the youth by his side, teaching him how to create.

One day as Kloskurbeh and his nephew journeyed, they came across a beautiful young woman. She was born from a dewdrop that had fallen on the leaf of a plant and was warmed by the noontime sun. She smiled radiantly as the men approached her and said to them, “I am love. I am the giver of strength. I nourish all people and animals, and they will all love me.”


Kloskurbeh the All Maker was overjoyed at discovering this new woman and welcomed her. The Young Man fell instantly in love with the woman, and with Kloskurbeh heartfelt encouragement, his nephew and the new woman married. The pair were passionately in love, and the woman soon gave birth to all the humans that peopled the world. They called her First Mother, and the Young Man became the First Father, and Kloskurbeh taught them all how to live as people. When he was finished, Kloskurbeh then retired to his home in the north.

The new humans were expert hunters, and with their supplies of meat they lived well and their numbers grew rapidly. In time though, the number of people outpaced the amount of meat they could gather to eat, and it was not long before the people began to suffer. Without enough meat to sustain them, the people began to starve to death.

First Mother was devastated to see her children waste away from starvation. The littlest ones would stagger and crawl to her as much as their strength would allow. “First Mother, help us!” they would beg. “Please, feed us!”

First Mother wept. She promised that she would find them more food, but she would cry even harder after they departed. She sobbed so bitterly that her husband, First Father, became frightened.

“My heart,” he said to her, “You weep so much. I worry for you.”

First Mother nodded. “I weep for my dying children. They must have food, or they will vanish from this earth.”

“We will find a way to feed them, beloved. But what can I do to keep you happy now?”

Swallowing hard, the First Mother took a deep breath, working to slow her tears. When she found her voice, she raised her sad eyes to her precious husband and said, “What would make me happy is to see our children fed. You must kill me.”

First Father was horrified by his wife’s request and immediately refused. First Mother begged and begged First Father to kill her and, distressed, First Father went to the house of his uncle, Kloskurbeh the All Maker, and asked for his guidance.

Kloskurbeh was saddened to hear of First Mother’s wish, but he was wise and understood. He embraced his nephew and said gently, “You must do as you are asked.”

First Father’s heart was shattered and he returned home, weeping as bitterly as First Mother wept. He told his dear wife that he would honor her wish, and First Mother thanked him. She told First Father that he must kill her in the noontime sun, and then have two of their sons drag her dead body by her hair over the earth until all of her flesh had been scraped away. Then they should bury her bones in a clearing, but visit the site again in seven moons. There they would find food, and that they should take much of it, but save some to return to the earth.

The First Father agreed and slew his wife. Two of their sons took First Mother’s body and dragged it all across the earth by her hair until all of her flesh was scraped away. Then First Father and all of his surviving children gathered First Mother’s bones and buried them in a clearing. They departed, lamenting terribly for their lost mother.

Seven moons passed, and First Father and his children went back to the clearing where they had buried First Mother. To their astonishment, they saw a field of tall green plants, plants they had never seen before. Each of these plants bore a pod tipped with golden threads as silky as their mother’s hair. When the leaves were stripped back, they found the kernels of the fruit within to be incredibly sweet. This was corn, born of their mother’s flesh, created to keep them fed.

Corn harvest in Montgomery County, Alabama.

Grateful beyond all measure for the First Mother’s sacrifice and gift, her children did as they were told; they took some of the corn and replanted the rest so that it would return every seven months to feed them again and again. It was also at this time they discovered a sweet-smelling plant that had grown from their mother’s breath. This was tobacco, and as her children picked it, the First Mother’s voice whispered to them, “The leaves of this plant are sacred. Burn them to make your hearts happy, to clear your minds, and to strengthen your prayers.”

Understanding now why the First Mother had made her choice, the First Father instructed his children to never forget why they now had corn and tobacco, never forget that their mother had loved them all so much that she willingly gave up her life to feed them.

And that is the story of Corn Mother.



Myth Monday: Keeping Warmth in a Bag (Dene Myth)

Myth Monday: Keeping Warmth in a Bag (Dene Myth)

By Kara Newcastle


(This is another Native American myth that doesn’t cast bears in a favorable light, but don’t worry, they’re not all like that!)

According to the Dene people of Alberta, Canada, in the beginning, the world was very different. The land and the sky touched, and there were no humans. Animals populated the planet, living and working together. Their collectiveness helped to save them when the warmth disappeared.

You see, the sun lived in the sky, but gradually its heat grew weaker, until the earth became cold. It became so frigid and dark that it started to snow, and it didn’t stop. Winter stretched on for three long years, and the animals began to suffer from starvation and cold. At last, it was decided that there would be a council, and all the animals would contribute their ideas for survival.

Red_fox_image by normalityrelief wikimedia commons

On the day the animals gathered, they took turns announcing themselves, and to everyone’s surprise, the Bears were not present. In fact, no one had seen the Bears since the long winter began. The animals discussed this amongst themselves, and soon they began to suspect that the Bears had something to do with all the warmth disappearing from the world. It was decided then that a group would travel to the Bears’ home in the sky and investigate the matter. The animals that volunteered to go were the Wolf, the Fox, the Wolverine, the Bobcat, the Mouse, the Pike and the Dogfish.

The seven animals set out immediately—the Wolf, Bobcat and Fox trotting, the Wolverine ambling, the Dogfish and Pike flopping and wriggling, the Mouse hitching a ride on someone’s back—and they all made their way up into the hole in the sky that lead into the Upper World, where the Bears lived. The Fox and Wolf sniffed out a trail, and eventually the party found themselves at the edge of a lake. On the other side they could see a canoe set on the beach, and beyond that, a hut, with a fire burning in front of it. Sitting just inside the door of the hut were two little bear cubs.

Baby_bears_playing_in_the_sun_(14717487854) by Magnus Johansson wikimedia commons

“There they are!” the Wolverine snarled, and all the animals hurried around the big lake, rushing up to the hut. The two bear cubs gaped at the crowd of strangers, flinching back as Wolverine bellowed, “Where’s your mother?!”

“Wolverine, stop!” the Fox hissed, “They’re just babies.”

The Wolverine snarled but relented, sidling away a pace as the Wolf stepped up to the cubs. “I’m sorry about that, children,” he said kindly. “But we came to visit your mother. Where is she?”

“Out hunting,” said one cub.

As the Wolf questioned the baby bears, the other animals wandered around the hut, studying everything inside. They were quick to notice all the leather bags hanging from the rafters. Strange smells came from within each one. One trembled. Another was damp.

The Bobcat sniffed at the bottom of the wet bag. “What’s in here?” she asked.

“Out mother keeps rain in that bag,” answered one of the bear cubs.

The Mouse pointed to the bag that trembled. “What about this one?” she squeaked.

“That has wind in it,” said the other cub.

Snuffling, the Wolverine raised his nose to a third bag. “What’s in this one?” he demanded, prodding it with a claw.

The little bears’ eyes widened. “Oh, we can’t tell you that,” they gasped. “It’s a secret. Mother would beat us if we told it!”

Arching an eyebrow, the Wolf lolled out his tongue and wagged his tail. “But we’re friends with your mother. You can tell friends, just not strangers.”

800px-Arctic_wolf_2_(J) by ParspnsPhotographyNL wikimedia commons

Seeing the cubs’ hesitation, the Bobcat purred and rubbed her furry cheek against theirs. “We promise not to tell anybody else. Your mother will never find out.”

The little cubs turned their big eyes up to the animals crowded around them. “You promise?”

Irritated with the delay, the Wolverine opened his mouth to yell at the little ones. The Pike, seeing what was about to happen, flipped his fishy body up and over into the air and landed with a hard flop over Wolverine’s head, stunning him into silence with the impact.

Too young to know better and seeing the friendly faces of all the animals around them (save for the cranky Wolverine,) the bear cubs looked at each and smiled shyly. They beckoned the animals to lean in closer.

“Mother keeps the heat in that bag,” one cub whispered.

The Fox blinked her golden eyes. “The heat?”

The other cub nodded. “Yeah! All the heat from the sun. It’s in there.”

Amazed, the search party all glanced at each other, knowing what this meant; the greedy Bear had stolen all of the sun’s heat and trapped it in that bag!

Her whiskers trembling with fury, the Mouse kept her composure and managed to smile at the bear cubs. “Thank you,” she squeaked. “That’s all we needed to know.”

Realizing that Mother Bear would be home at any moment, the animals said goodbye to the cubs and raced out of the hut, hiding in the nearby woodland. They huddled together and whispered.

“Stupid Bear!” the Wolverine snarled. “She stole all the heat and left us all to freeze to death!”

“We have to get that bag out of there,” Fox said.

“It won’t be easy,” Dogfish said. “It’s up high and tied tight to the rafter.”

“We’ll have to stand on each other to get it down,” suggested the Mouse.

“It’s big, too,” the Pike said worriedly. “It’ll take time to carry it away.”

The Bobcat nodded. “We’ll need to distract Mother Bear in the meantime.”

“I agree,” said the Wolf. “I think I have a plan. Bobcat, can you lure the Bears away from the hut?”

The Bobcat huffed. “Those greedy things? Easy.”

“Good. Wolverine, Fox and I will go inside and get the bag down. Pike and Dogfish, you’ll help Bobcat get away from the Bears after we get the bag out.”

The Mouse raised her tiny paw. “What about me, Wolf? How can I help?”

The Wolf smiled at her. “I want you to chew up the oar in the canoe. Mother Bear will try to cut across the lake to catch up with us, and that’ll slow her down.”

“Consider it done!”


With their plan in place, the animals waited in the forest until they saw the big, shaggy form of Mother Bear plodding her way back to her hut. Knowing how hungry bears could be, Bobcat transformed her shape into that of a chubby caribou calf and darted out of the wood line. She pranced a safe distance away from Mother Bear, and when the old bear glanced up, Bobcat raced into the trees, far on the other side of the Bears’ hut.

“Children!” Mother Bear roared. “Quick! Get out here and help me catch this calf!”

The two little bears cubs instantly galloped out of the hut, and, with their mother leading the way, they ran after Bobcat, disappearing into the forest.

The second the Bears vanished, the other animals sprang from their hiding places. Pike and Dogfish jumped in the lake while Mouse leapt into the canoe and started gnawing on the oar. Wolf, Wolverine and Fox darted into the hut, stood on each other’s shoulders, and pulled down the bag of heat from the rafters. The bag secured, they tore out of the hut, gathered up the Mouse, and began running for the far end of the lake.

Meanwhile, the disguised Bobcat heard the Bears gaining on her, so she took a hard turn back towards the lake and leapt in. Dogfish and Pike quickly towed Bobcat away from the shore as the Mother Bear pushed her canoe out into the water and began furiously paddling after what she thought was a caribou calf. Halfway across the lake, the oar snapped in her paws.

“What is this?!” Mother Bear howled. In a rage, she flung the broken pieces of the oar out into the water, but overreached and wound up flipping the canoe over, flinging her into the water.

As the Mother Bear spluttered to the surface, Bobcat, Pike and Dogfish reached the opposite shore, where the other animals were waiting. Panting, the Bobcat changed back into her true form and said, “We have to go—Mother Bear’s not far behind!”

800px-Florida_bobcat_going_(16104332097) by Russ wikimedia commons

As Bobcat said this, Mother Bear broke the surface of the water, and instantly saw the seven animals gathered there with the bag of heat. Realizing she had been tricked and robbed, Mother Bear roared in rage and began thrashing her way towards them. Horrified, the animals turned and fled.

The animals headed straight back to the hole that would lead them from the Upper World in the Sky to the Lower World on Earth, but the hole was far away, and the bag was heavy. Wolf carried the bag as far as he could, and when he became too tired, he flung the bag to Wolverine. “Catch!”

“Got it!” Jamming the bag in his teeth, Wolverine ran as far as he could, but he began to tire as well. Realizing he was starting to lag, he threw the bag to Fox. “Fox, get it!”

Bouncing up into the air, Fox caught the bag of heat and put on the speed, racing as fast as she could, but she felt herself losing strength. Gasping for air, she whipped the bag towards Bobcat. “Bobcat, head’s up!”

Already exhausted from evading the Bears, Bobcat snatched the bag out of the air, but the heavy weight of the bag slowed her down. As she struggled to carry the bag, all the animals heard the thunderous pounding of Mother Bear’s feet behind them, catching up.

“GIVE ME THAT BAG!” Mother Bear shrieked.

“Look!” Mouse cried, pointing ahead of them. “There’s the hole—we’re almost there!”

“I can’t carry this thing anymore!” Bobcat wheezed.

Panicked, Pike and Dogfish flopped up alongside her. “Give it to us!” they shouted.

With a burst of effort, Bobcat tossed the bag to Pike and Dogfish. Together, the two fish snagged the bag in their teeth just as they came up to the edge of the hole—and just as Mother Bear caught up to them!

“That’s mine!” Mother Bear roared.

“Jump!” Wolf yelled.

All the animals yowled in terror as they flung themselves and the bag of heat through the hole, yelping as Mother Bear’s fearsome teeth snapped closed behind them. The animals tumbled down to the cold, snowy Lower World, and the second they came to a stop, they clustered around the bag. Each animal took a part of the bag in their teeth and claws and yanked in all directions. Instantly, the bag tore open and the heat burst out. The heat spread far and wide, rapidly warming the world again.

The snow and ice melted with great speed, so great that now the world was threatened to be drowned by a massive flood. Terrified, all the animals ran for the safety of the Great Tree, a tree so tall it reached into the sky, almost into the Upper World. As the poor creatures huddled in the branches, fearing that the end had come, a massive fish no one had ever seen before rose out of the depths. It opened its huge mouth to its fullest extent and gulped up all the extra water. He drank so much water, in fact, that he grew to immense size and, too big to return to the ocean, he was turned into a mountain instead.

At long last, the earth was returned to normal. The sun and heat dried the earth, the flowers burst forth, and the animals were happy because summer had returned!

Myth Monday: How Mosquitoes Were Created (Tlingit Myth)

Myth Monday: How Mosquitoes Were Created (Tlingit Myth)

By Kara Newcastle



The first week of the month always seems to throw me off track, and with me beginning a new job soon, I’m not 100% what my blog schedule is going to be like. So, with that being said, I decided to do my best and churn out something for you tonight. I generally post Native American legends and myths during November, so here’s one from the Tlingit tribe about the one thing everybody on the planet absolutely hates: MOSQUITOES.



Hundreds of years ago, back when humans were still new to the earth, a cannibalistic giant strode through the forests of what we now call the Pacific Northwest. The giant loved to hunt humans, grabbing up any wayward hunter he came across or raiding villages for his dinner, carrying his wretched victims back to his house to eat them and drink their blood. The giant was so menacing and had decimated so many villages that the chiefs of the area called all the survivors together for a meeting so they could decide how to rid themselves of the giant once and for all. Otherwise, it would not belong before all the humans were wiped out.

The council had hardly begun when one man stood up before everyone and gestured for silence. Seeing everyone’s eyes on him, he said, “I’ve been thinking on this for a long time, and I have a plan. I can kill this monster.”

Since no one else had been able to come up with any better ideas—or were brave enough to even consider going up against the giant—the council agreed to let the man try his plan. Drawing in a deep breath, the man promptly left the lodge and walked into the woods, heading to the place the giant was known to lurk. There, the man laid face down on the ground and went limp, pretending to be dead.

The man didn’t have to wait long before the giant came swinging through the woods, hungry. Seeing the human man slumped there on the ground, the giant stopped, looked at him, then laughed. “Hah! The humans are so scared of me now, they’re dropping dead from fright.”

Bending down, the giant poked the man with one long, nasty finger. “Oh, still warm too. Nice and fresh. Good, now I don’t have to hunt.”

Scooping the man up, the giant slung him over one wide shoulder and turned around, loping back the way he came. The human man kept quiet and still, never stirring, not making a sound, even when the giant carried him into his lodge and dumped him on the ground.

Dusting his hands off, the giant walked over to his hearth, but stopped short, seeing that his firewood had been used completely up. Muttering under his breath, the giant stomped back out into the forest to collect wood to roast his dinner.

Waiting until he heard the giant’s footsteps fade away, the human man jumped up and rushed around the giant’s huge lodge. The man knew that many brave warriors had tried to fight back against the giant, and that they had sunk their arrows and spears into his chest without earning so much as a wince from the giant. This told the man that the giant’s heart was not in his chest. He must have hidden it somewhere else.

The man turned every basket and jar and box upside down but could not find the giant’s heart. As he rummaged, the man pulled back an animal skin and recoiled at the sight of the giant’s skinning knife laying there on the floor. How many poor people had been killed by that thing?

The thought of it enraged the man and he hefted it up, thought it was nearly the length of a boat oar. He hurried over to the lodge’s entrance and pressed himself up against the wall and waited.

He didn’t have to wait very long; the giant’s son arrived home a moment later. The lodge was built much the same way as the humans’ lodges were built, so the young beast had to bow low to enter the dwelling. He was considerably smaller than his evil father, so the human man wasted no time pouncing on the young giant, knocking the yelping monster to the floor and holding the skinning knife to his throat.

“Your father’s heart!” the man shouted, pressing the knife harder against the younger giant’s throat, making his eyes bulge with terror. “Where is it? Where did he hide it? Tell me or I’ll kill you!”

In fear for his life, the younger giant cried, “He keeps his heart in his left heel! I swear!”

Growling, the man lifted the knife away from the monster’s throat and jerked his head towards the door. Nodding wildly in understanding, the boy giant scrambled to his hands and knees and crawled out the door, fleeing deep into the woods.

Resuming his post beside the door, the human man waited only a little longer before the giant returned, his arms laden with saplings he had uprooted for firewood. Stooping through the door, the giant chuckled again to himself. “I’ll start with his heart … that’s always the best part.”

“Good idea!” Not giving the giant a second to register what he said, the man lunged out of the shadows and buried the skinning knife deep into the giant’s left heel, piercing his heart. Horrified, the giant screamed and collapsed to the floor, his dark blood gouting everywhere. Weakening rapidly, the giant strained to reach the knife, his hand grabbing at nothing but air.

Gasping for breath, the giant sagged down, his hate-filled eyes locked on the human man as he stood before him, watching him die. The giant bared his teeth at the man, each one as wide and black as a rotting tree stump.

“You didn’t win!” the monster wheezed. “You think you’ve killed me, but I won’t be gone. I’ll come back, and I’ll eat every last one of you humans!”

“I doubt it,” the man sneered as the last vile light faded from the giant’s eyes. “I’m going to make sure you’ll never hurt anybody ever again.”

With those words the human man set to work, chopping up the giant’s body and burning every piece so thoroughly that nothing but fine ash remained. Once the ash had cooled, the man scooped it all up and threw it into the winds, scattering the ash all across the world.

Relieved that the horror was finally over, the man turned to head back to his village. As he walked away from where he had burned the monstrous giant’s body, a mote of soot fluttered down and landed on the back of his hand. Instantly, the ash transformed, turning into a tiny black, winged creature with a needle for its mouth, which it then stabbed through the man’s skin and began to drink his blood.

Startled, the man slapped the creature, killing it. As he walked on, more and more of the black insects swarmed around him, biting him, whining into his ears. It didn’t take long for the man to realize that the giant had fulfilled his vow: he came back to hunt humans again, the ashes of his cremated body turning into flying, blood-sucking insects.

And that is how mosquitoes were created.

Myth Monday: The Various Species of Dragon (World Legend)

Myth Monday: The Various Species of Dragon

By Kara Newcastle




Okay, I’m currently in bed sick, so I tried to do my best with this one. Enjoy!



Cultures all over the world have stories of monstrous creatures, from giant hairy men to little forest people to mysterious black dogs. Of all the beasts, the dragons persistently show up across various societies, and while they seem to vary in appearance and abilities, they consistently appear as large, fearsome reptiles. Take a look at my list of different dragon species:




Amphisbaena—A native of Africa, the amphisbaena was a two-legged dragon like a wyvern but had a long flexible body and an extra head at the end of its tail. The Ancient Greeks believed that amphisbaenas were created when blood dripped from Medusa’s severed head and fell to the earth as Perseus flew overhead, and it was said that the Roman statesman Cato encountered amphisbaenas as he marched with his armies. Amphisbaenas are also unique for their method of travel; when they wanted to get someplace in a hurry, they would arch their long necks back and bite their own tails. They when then proceed to roll themselves across the ground this way like a giant hoop. Pliny noted that the amphisbaena could withstand cold temperatures and recommended its skin as a cure for chills.


Asian—Probably the most visually stunning of all the dragons, the Asian dragon of China, Japan and Korea was a serpentine, wingless dragon who was most credited with bringing rain from the skies. Known as a lung in China, it began life as a colorful catfish who swam up river and successfully leaped up seven waterfalls. After clearing the seventh waterfall, the fish is transformed into a massive dragon with a snake-like body, a lion’s mane, a catfish’s whiskers, the claws of a hawk, the antlers of a deer, a crocodilian head and cow’s ears. The majority of Asian dragons were peaceful, but they could be easily insulted and would show their displeasure by withholding rain. The dragons are worshipped as gods and were the symbol of the emperor for thousands of year


by Chris 73


Balaur—Probably the most unusual dragon in the list, the Slavic balaur was said to be very big, with both fins and feet and have possibly up to twelve heads. Always evil, it could transform itself into a humanoid creature called a zmeu in order to kidnap and marry young maidens. As the zmeu, the dragon is especially greedy, ad in one story was said to have stolen both the sun and the moon, which the hero Fat-Frumos had to retrieve.

Basilisk—Considered the king of serpents the basilisk (not to be confused with its half rooster cousin, the cockatrice) was also thought to be one of the deadliest animals in the world. Resembling a monstrously huge snake, the basilisk was said to be so poisonous that it could kill with a glance, and its breath was so toxic it could split rocks. The basilisk’s natural enemy was the weasel, the only creature on earth that could survive both its stare and poison (this is likely drawn from mongooses hunting king cobras.) The basilisk was also said to have a crown atop its head to show that it was king (again, cobras have a marking on their heads that resemble a crown.) The basilisk is said to be born when the egg of a snake or toad is incubated by an old cockerel, and usually has the cock’s comb on top of its head as well. In the ninth century in Rome, Pope Leo VI was said to have slain a basilisk or cockatrice, and in 1587 in Warsaw, Poland, a basilisk was said to have lived in the cellar of an abandoned farmhouse where it killed two young girls and the maid who tried to save them. A man scheduled for execution was dressed in a suit covered in mirrors to reflect the basilisk’s gaze back at it, sent down into the cellar, dragged the basilisk out.


European/Western (four-legged)—The most easily recognized of all the dragons, the four-legged and winged European or Western dragon lived throughout Europe, the Mediterranean and parts of the Middle East. Huge and highly aggressively with the ability to breathe fire and spread poison and disease, the European dragon ravages the countryside wherever it goes. The most famous European dragon was slain by Saint George in Libya. In the Arthurian legends, a young Merlin foresaw that there was an underground pool contain a white and a red dragon. The pool was drained, revealing the two dragons, who woke up and immediately began to fight. The white dragon defeated the red dragon and flew off; Merlin said that this represented England (the yet unborn Arthur) defeating Wales.

Jaculus—an interesting dragon, Roman historians wrote about these small, lizard-like creatures that would hang upside down from branches of trees. When their chosen prey wandered beneath the tree, the jaculus would release their hold on the branches, plummet straight down and use their bodies to spear their victims.

Naga—Not to be confused with the hydra, the Naga was a multi-headed, fire breathing serpent that lived in the sacred rivers of India and Southeast Asia. The Naga (females were called Nagini) were almost always benevolent, with anywhere from three to a thousand heads. Nagas are depicted coiled around the sleeping god Krishna or the meditating Buddha, the hooded heads hovering over the god, keeping watch. Nagas are worshipped as deities in their own right, and unusual phenomenon is often attributed to them; several times a year at night, a series of fireballs are seen rising from the Mekong River in Laos and shooting into the sky. The locals believe this is the local Naga, breathing fire.


By Dmitry Makeev


North American—It might come as a surprise that the Native Americans had their own legends of dragons. More often than not, their dragons lived in waterways, but there have been stories (and sightings) of flying dragons as well. The most famous of these was the Piasa, a hideous dragon-monster that lived in a cave on the mountaintop and hunted the tribes that lived below. The Piasa ate so many people that several tribes banded together and declared war on the beast. Waiting for the dragon to return to its lair, the warriors climbed up the mountain to the cave, piled as much brush they could find at the mouth and set it all on fire. They were successful in killing the monster, and, to commemorate the event, they painted a huge image of the Piasa on the side of a cliff overlooking the Mississippi River near modern-day Madison Illinois, where many years later the explorer Father Jacques Marquette saw it and recorded it. Sadly, the original painting was destroyed when nearby detonations shattered the rock, but the image has since been repainted a few hundred yards upstream. (It should be noted that the original image did not have wings, though it was later depicted with them; some believe that people added in the wings years later while trying to restore the painting.)


By Burfalcy


Tarasque—The Tarasque is an interesting water dragon from the Provence region of France; it was reptilian, but with the shell of a tortoise, six bear-like legs, a scorpion tail, and a lion-like head. The Tarasque regularly clambered out of its lake home in Nerluc to rampage across the land, eating cattle and people. As the legend goes, no knight was able to slay it, but a young woman named Martha was able to subdue the Tarasque with prayers and hymns, turning the Tarasque as docile as a lamb. Martha tied her girdle (belt) around the Tarasque’s neck and led it back into town, where the initially horrified people quickly overcame their fear and made short work of the dragon, who didn’t fight back. The event is celebrated every June at Tarascon-sur-Rhône with a festival and parade with a big Tarasque dragon marched down the street.


By Gérard Marin


Wyrm—a wyrm is a very big, wingless dragon frequently seen in Nordic and Teutonic mythology. Wyrms are said to be very snake-like, with no limbs. The dragon Fafnir from the Viking Volsung Saga is often thought to be a wyrm; as the story goes, Fafnir could only drag his body along the ground, so the hero Sigurd (Sigfried) dug a pit in the path the dragon traveled, jumped inside and covered the opening with brush and dirt. When Fafnir slid over the pit, Sigurd jammed his sword up into the dragon’s stomach, killing it.


Sigurd Kills Fafnir, by Arthur Rackham


Wyvern—This two-legged variety is seen mostly in England and Scotland, and is also notable for its inability to breathe fire. A wyvern is a huge winged dragon with a barbed tail (sea-dwelling wyverns have fish tails) whose shadow can darken the entire countryside. A wyvern was an evil creature, and to see one meant that war and disease would soon arrive. A pair was said to have dragon Medea’s chariot when she fled Corinth after murdering Princess Glauce and two of her own children. Since then, wyverns have become popular in heraldry, and as logos and mascots—including that of Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester, MA.

Myth Monday: The Flying Head Monster (Iroquois Legend)

October 9, 2018

By Kara Newcastle


Hundreds of years ago in what we now call upstate New York, the people of the Iroquois Confederacy—the tribes of the Seneca, the Mohawk, the Oneida, the Cayuga, and the Onondaga—were terrorized by a horrific assortment of monsters, demons and giants, all seeking to hunt down and devour the humans. Perhaps the worst of these creatures was the one called Flying Head. Flying Head was a huge, bodiless head that flew through the air at night on a pair of black bat wings, seeking out its human prey. Its face was dark black and green, ragged and putrid, the skin drawn back and shriveled like a corpse, the nose a collapsed black pit in the center. Its mouth was ringed in spear-like fangs, and its enormous bulging eyes, though clouded like those of a dead man, blazed with an infernal red glow. It moved as rapidly as a bird in flight, and nothing—not the palisade walls, not the war clubs and arrows of the warriors—nothing could stop Flying Head once it set out to hunt.

The Iroquois lived in constant fear of Flying Head. There was no way to fight the monster, so guards were placed to keep watch. Once the demon was seen in the distance, the guards alerted their villages, and all within fled into the woodland as fast as they could, leaping into canoes and paddling for their lives.

Those that could not flee were devoured, eaten alive, and their anguished screams rang out through the night, filling the survivors with despair.

One day as dusk fell, the silhouette of Flying Head was seen on the horizon, and the guards raised the alarm. As the people prepared to flee, one young woman, cradling her infant child, walked back into her longhouse and sat resolutely down by the central fire.

Frightened, her husband ran in to the longhouse after her. “What are you doing?” he cried. “Flying Head is coming. We have to leave now!”

Setting her jaw, the young woman tossed a handful of kindling onto the growling fire. “I’m not running,” she said, her voice firm. “This thing has eaten my parents and grandparents, my aunts and uncles, my brothers and sisters. I will avenge their deaths.”

“How? No weapon can stop this thing!”

“I don’t need a weapon.” Seeing the terror on her husband’s face, the woman smiled gently. “Go now, before you run out of time.”

Too overcome with fear to protest, the man turned and ran, his hear breaking, certain he would never see his wife and child again. His wife watched her husband run for his life, and, for a moment, a pang of doubt sprang inside of her, cold and sharp as an icicle.

Could she really defeat Flying Head?

Shaking herself off, the woman turned back to her fire, throwing more kindling on top, adding logs once the flames grew hot enough. She poked and prodded the burning wood until it crumbled into piles of glowing red coals. When she had a pile big enough, she picked up a small, forked twig and waited.

The woman didn’t have to wait long. Clutching her baby tighter, the woman shivered as she heard Flying Head swoop down over the tall spiked logs ringing her village, roaring in anger as it smashed through one longhouse and then another, furious that it couldn’t find any humans within to eat.

Hearing the monster drawing closer, the woman slid the forked twig under a blazing coal and lifted up. Bracing herself, she lifted the coal up towards her face.

With a scream of rage, Flying Head crashed into the front entrance of the woman’s longhouse, shattering the bark walls and the log struts. Its gray teeth scythed through the air as it growled, thrashing its head back and forth to knock the walls and ceiling down.

“Hah!” it snarled, the withered face splitting into a jagged grin. Its pointed, blistered, blue-purple tongue slid out past its cracked lips, licking them hungrily. “Found you! Though you’re hardly enough to satisfy me, you’ll do well enough as a snack!”

Fighting to keep her hand from shaking, the woman nodded solemnly. “All right,” she said, astounded by how steady her voice sounded. “Just let me finish my dinner first.”

Tilting her head back, the woman opened her mouth wide and lifted the coal up. Holding the forked twig near her mouth, the woman, knowing Flying Head couldn’t see from the angle where it hovered, let the coal slide past her face, dropping harmlessly to the ground behind her. She pretended to chew and reached out to scoop up another hot coal.

Flying Head looked at the fire curiously. “What could you be eating that could be so good that it would keep you from running away from me?”

The woman tipped her head back, opened her mouth, and allowed another coal to fall safely behind her. “Roasted acorns,” she answered, pretending to speak through a full mouth.

Flying Head’s mouth dropped open. “Roasted acorns? You knew I was coming, but you stayed to eat roasted acorns?”

Much as the sight of the demon disgusted her, the woman shot Flying Head a disdainful glare. “Why not? They’re the best!”

“They are not.”

Snorting derisively, the woman gestured to the coals. “Try them for yourself. You’ll see.”

“All right, I will!” Opening its hideous mouth wide, the Flying Head shot forward, swooping down on the coals and scooping every last one in its mouth.

Instantly, Flying Head’s eyes bugged out and it shrieked, smoke pouring from its mouth as the coals burned through its desiccated flesh. Screaming in agony, Flying Head whipped around and blasted out of the ruined longhouse, its ugly bat wings flapping as hard as they could as it fled into the forest.

The next morning, the Iroquois cautiously crept back into their village, fearing the destruction they would find there. Instead, to their amazement, delight and pride, they found the young mother sitting outside her wrecked longhouse, happily playing with her baby.

And Flying Head was never seen again.

Myth Monday: Why the Bear Has a Stubby Tail (Native American Legend)

November 27, 2017

By Kara Newcastle

I heard this story from a Native American storyteller when I was in grade school. Unfortunately, I don’t remember which tribe the story came from, but it was my favorite.


Long ago, the Bear had the most beautiful tail of all the animals in the world. It was gorgeous, thick and silky, streaming through the air like a cloud, it was amazing. Many animals were jealous of the Bear’s tail, and the Bear knew it. Not only did he know it, he reveled in it, and bragged relentlessly about how fabulous his tail was. Anyone he ran into, the Bear would always tell them about his tail, showing it off for everyone to see. If somebody started talking about something else, the Bear would always bring the conversation back to his tail. And because he was so proud of his tail, Bear would act snobby, picking on other animals for their less than impressive tails, refusing to associate with creatures who had an ugly tail.

This went on for so long that Fox decided he had had enough of Bear’s snobbery and was going to put an end to the boasting once and for all. Fox put his plan into motion that winter, when the nearby lake froze over. Sneaking down to the lake, Fox chopped a large circle of ice out of the surface, baited a fishing line and tossed it in. The fish were hungry and eagerly went after the bait, and as soon as they were hooked, Fox yanked them out. Soon, he had a large pile of fish sitting on the ice beside him.


Hearing Bear tramping through the woods, Fox took one of the fish, tied it to the tip of his fluffy tail, and dipped it back in the water. He sat there, singing idly and loudly to himself, drawing Bear’s attention.

Ordinarily, Bear wouldn’t have wasted any time with an animal with such a pathetically inadequate tail like Fox’s, but when he heard Fox singing, he glanced over, and stopped dead in his tracks when he saw the stack of fish sitting beside the Fox.

“How did you catch all that fish?” Bear exclaimed.

“Hm? Oh, them!” Fox nodded to the ice hole behind him. “I caught them using my tail.”

“You did what?”

“I used my tail. See?” Shifting over a bit, Fox pointed to his red tail, still dipped in the water. “The fish get so hungry when the lake freezes over, that they’ll bite anything—whoops, there’s another one!”

With a flourish the Fox jerked his tail out of the water, dragging the still wriggling fish with it. Triumphantly, he unhooked the fish from the tip of his tail and held it up for the astonished Bear to see. “It’s so easy.”

Bear blinked. “I never thought about doing that. I always just swept them up with my paw.”

“Oh, no, no, no, that’s much too inefficient, too tiring. Using your tail is the best way to catch fish.”

Bear felt himself starting to drool as he watched Fox gather up his fish. “Can I have a fish, Fox? I love fish, you know.”

Fox straightened up and looked at Bear with surprise. “I would, but I need to bring these home. Why don’t you catch some of your own? With your long fluffy tail, I bet you can catch a lot at the same time.”

“Well, all right.” Bear looked uncertainly down at the ice, testing it with a forepaw. “How do I do it?”

Setting the fish down, Fox waved Bear over. “Come here and I’ll teach you. Don’t worry, the ice is plenty thick enough for you.”

His craving for fresh fish overriding any doubts, Bear ambled out onto the ice, his beautiful tail swishing through the air behind him. Eagerly, he sat down at the edge of the fishing hole as Fox instructed, and dipped his tail all the way down into the water.


“Okay, so you just sit there for a bit,” Fox said as he gathered up his fish. “The fish might have been startled off when they saw you walking over the ice, but they’re so hungry they’ll come swimming right back in a minute. Have fun!”

Bear grinned. “Thanks Fox! For an animal with such a little tail, you’re actually pretty nice.”

A slow smile spread over Fox’s face as he walked off into the woods with his catch. “Think nothing of it, Bear … I’m just here to help.”


With the Fox gone, Bear sat by himself, waiting patiently to feel a fish chomping down on his tail. He waited, and waited, and waited, and waited, and waited, and waited, and waited, and waited …

Eventually, Bear waited so long that the sun began to set on the horizon, and still, no fish had bitten his tail. Bear growled furiously at the wasted time, wondering how Fox had been able to catch all that fish with that measly tail of his, and Bear couldn’t get a single nibble. Deciding that he had enough and that he was going to go out and find Fox and demand to know what his secret was, Bear stood up–

–and was instantly pulled back down.

Startled, Bear tried to stand up again, but a heavy weight on his tail pulled him back down onto his rump. Twisting around as best he could, Bear craned his head back to look to see what had caught his beautiful tail … and saw that the ice hole had completely frozen over, trapping his tail in the ice!

Outraged and panicked, Bear struggled to stand, his claws skittering over the ice, big bear feet sliding everywhere. He pulled and strained, wailing in frustration, until …


The pressure gone, Bear tripped and fell forwards, somersaulting wildly across the ice, sliding to a stop at the edge of the lake. Dazed, he slowly pushed himself upright, and turned around to see what had happened. To his horror, he saw that his beautiful tail had been ripped off his backside, and was still trapped in the ice. All he had now was a little stubby thing poking out of his fur.

And that’s why the Bear has a stubby tail … and why he’s so grumpy.

Feminist Friday: The Civilized Savage: Pocahontas


November 28, 2017

By Kara Newcastle


From Princess to Hostage to Lady

The Powhatan tribe was part of a confederacy, made up of thirty Algonquin-speaking tribes. Chief Wahunsonacock, more commonly called Chief Powhatan by the English colonists, ruled 12,000 people in a 9,000 square mile area—and he was not happy with the 105 English men working for the Virginia Company (an organization dedicated to settling Virginia) who settled nearby in 1605. They seemed to be rough, greedy men, and Chief Powhatan likely did not want his favorite child, Matoaka—now more famously known by her nickname, Pocahontas—to have anything to do with the white men.

Pocahontas was young when the white men arrived; John Smith, one of the leaders of newly erected Jamestown, initially described her as “a child of tenne (sic) years old,” in 1608, later amending that to twelve or thirteen in 1616. She lived with her father the chief, her uncles, her brothers in a village not far from the new settlement. The proximity of the village to Jamestown caused many conflicts … until John Smith met Pocahontas.

While out hunting, John Smith was captured by Powhatan’s second brother and brought back to Werowocomoco, the Powhatan capital village (where he acted less like Mel Gibson and perhaps a bit more like Zapp Brannigan). Unable to communicate with the chief, Smith later recounted that he was forced to kneel, laying his head on a large rock, while the incredibly tall Chief Powhatan towered over him, wielding a club to smash down onto his head. Smith said that he was sure he was doomed until he felt the arms of Powhatan’s youngest child, a girl, sliding around his neck, her head resting down on top of his.


This, of course, is only what John Smith reports, and he was well known for inflating his exploits—frequently. He stated that the girl, introduced as Pocahontas, saved his life because she was in love with him, but that was probably something he made up. It is possible that Powhatan and his daughter were preforming a ritual to adopt Smith into their tribe and family, but being a narrow-minded English colonist prone to exaggeration, Smith would have misinterpreted it as Pocahontas saving his life. He never mentioned the rescue story until 1616, when he wrote a letter to Queen Anne of Denmark describing his “rescue,” saying that, “at the minute of my execution, she hearded the beating out of her own brains to save mine, and not only that but so prevailed with her father, that I was safely conducted to Jamestown.”

Maybe it was true … except he said the same exact thing happened to him in 1602. Only that time they were Turks, not Indians. While Smith never claimed to have any romantic feelings (and Pocahontas was much too young for a relationship), various retellings have put a romantic spin on Pocahontas’s first meeting with John Smith. To be clear, they were never in love; this was just an invention of later writers.

However it happened, Pocahontas and Smith became friends, and soon Pocahontas was learning English. She was intensely interested with the colonists and Jamestown, and was frequently seen playing with the boys there. She became a mediator between Jamestown and the Powhatan tribe, establishing an uneasy truce between the vastly different peoples. In the bitter winters when the colonists were starving, Pocahontas gathered several volunteers and they brought food to Jamestown every week.


However, despite all the agreements Pocahontas drafted between the English and the Indians, the colonists continued to encroach on native land. The Native Americans weren’t adverse to sharing land with the newcomers, but the English insisted on owning it, denying the original inhabitants any use of the animals, earth or plants.

Late in 1609, Smith was seriously injured when a keg of gunpowder exploded. Unable to receive adequate treatment in the New World, he was sent back to England. The colonists later told a heart-broken Pocahontas that Smith had died in the explosion; now Pocahontas and Chief Powhatan would have to negotiate with the settlers themselves.

Unfortunately, without John Smith to act as mediator, relations between the colonists and the Powhatan tribe spiraled rapidly downward, especially when new ships carrying more settlers began to arrive at Jamestown. The English tried to placate Chief Powhatan by officially crowning him “king” of Virginia, but Powhatan recognized an empty gesture when he saw it. He grew more incensed when the colonists not only continued to claim land, but also demanded that his tribe supply them with food throughout the winter.

Clashes began between the colonists and the Native Americans, and the greatly outnumbered English began to grow desperate; there would be no surviving an all-out war with the Powhatan tribe. They needed to come up with a plan to keep the Powhatans from attacking.


One day the colonists asked a visiting Pocahontas if she would like to take a closer look at their ships. Delighted, Pocahontas readily agreed, getting into one of their smaller boats and paddled out to one of the colonists’ fascinating big ships. As soon as she climbed aboard, Pocahontas found herself surrounded and quickly seized by the Englishmen. No longer a mediator between the two races, Pocahontas was now the English’s hostage. Pocahontas warned them that her father would never negotiate for her release, and when she was proven right, one hundred and fifty Englishmen marched into the nearby Powhatan village and burnt it to the ground. If the English thought they would gain anything extra by keeping Pocahontas (in other words, if they thought she would rule the tribe after her father died), they were dead wrong; the Powhatan tribe was matrilineal, meaning that Pocahontas would inherit nothing from her father. When he died, leadership would be passed on to Pocahontas’s aunt and cousins. Pocahontas would have no authority in the tribe afterwards. “Never to the heirs of the males,” Smith remarked in his memoirs.


Pocahontas was transferred to Henricus, another English colony, where her English improved and she began to learn about Christianity. When a battle raged along the Pamunkey River, Pocahontas was brought in to negotiate peace, but decided to stay with the English afterward, allegedly stating that her father the chief valued her, “less than old swords, pieces or axes.” She returned to Henricus, and was courted by wealthy tobacco plantation owner John Rolfe. After she agreed to marry Rolfe and Chief Powhatan supported the idea (a marriage between the Powhatans and the English could bring peace), Pocahontas was baptized and renamed “Rebecca,” after the biblical character who was the mother of two nations. Their marriage on April 5 1614, was the first interracial marriage in American history. Pocahontas gave birth to their son Thomas on January 30, 1615.


In 1616, Pocahontas traveled to England with Rolfe, their son and eleven warriors and holy men from her tribe. Pocahontas probably wasn’t aware of it, but the Virginia Company was using her as an example of the “civilized savage,” showing potential investors for the colonies that it was possible to convert the Native Americans to Christianity and to behave more like the English themselves. It was during this time that a shocked and angry Pocahontas met a healthy John Smith again. It took some time to heal the pain, and John Smith frequently placed Pocahontas’s station far above his, referring to her as “a king’s daughter.”


Sadly, Pocahontas’s happiness did not last. As a Native American, she had no immunities to European diseases, and became sick with an unknown disease shortly after setting sail for Virginia again. Pocahontas died at the age of twenty-two, and was buried on March 21, 1617 at St. George’s parish in Gravesend. The exact location of her burial is unknown.

Pocahontas works referenced:

Uppity Women of the New World, by Vicki Leon

America’s Women, by Gail Collins

The Element Encyclopedia of Native Americans, by Adele Nozedar

The Native Americans, by David Hurst Thomas et al

All illustrations obtained through Wikimedia Commons