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Turtle Wisdom

A Story of Three Snakes Who Aimed to Make Trouble

Otter was sitting in his cave waiting for winter to freeze over his super sliding spaces (ice being much faster than mud or grass) when he saw three snakes slithering towards a dance circle. "Hmmm" he said to himself (which he does to himself quite often just for the fun of it which he calls humming), I bet that I could stop those fellows with a little fancy slide or two. There was a deep sigh (which the Spirits do quite often when dealing with otters) and a deep voice said "hold it right there Otter!" Otter said "Oh hi there Spirit. What's up?" "What's up?" said the voice "don't you remember that you tried to help out a dance before?" Otter quietly mumbled, "Well kinda sorta, but….." "But nothing," sighed the Spirit "the last time you ended up with a sprained paw and managed to splash water all over the dance circle, causing a corn dance to become the Here's Mud In Your Eye Otter Stamp." We don't really want that again, do we?" "Well I guess not" mumbled Otter, "but those dancers think the snakes are two legged like they are. What if…….." "Don't you worry little friend" said the smiling Spirit. "I'll tell you a little story about how this ends."

"See that skinny little old one with the snaggle tooth and pony tail. Once he was a dangerous snake with much venom and a well fed future. One night he was traveling in search of a midnight snack and he came upon a resting Spirit enjoying the evening. Snake, because of his huge ego and imagined power to kill whatever he chose, sank his fangs into the Spirit and with a gleam in his eye, waited for the poor creature to die. The Spirit smiled and said silly and foolish snake, you should watch who you bite and why. With that, the Spirit tapped the snake with such a shock that snake yanked his head back, left one fang imbedded in the Spirit and slithered quickly away.

Now old Snakey snaggle tooth figured he would have to work way too hard to get food with only one fang so he looked around for some help. Besides wanting food, he thought it would be great to have some delicious revenge for dessert. Of course he was a little too smart to try that rough old Spirit again, but he though Hummmm (yes snakes go hummm too, but unlike in otters, the hummm gets lost and goes the wrong way. That's why the creator put rattles on the end of some snakes to let them know that their hmmmm is lost. On the rest of the snakes, the hmmmmm waits for the snakes to go to sleep and sneaks out as a snake snore) Old Snakey looked around for some help, but most snakes knew their jobs given to them by the Creator and would have nothing to do with Snake's meanness. One day Snakey happened upon an apparently well fed Follower snake relaxing under a log. Snakey asked, "Now how do you stay so well fed by spending so much time relaxing by this log?" Follower replied, "why I just follow some other snake hunting food and when he succeeds , I swell way up and blow hard (you know the phrase blow hard) to make a big sound that scares the other snakes. Then I take the food, simple huh?"

"Very very nice, but what do you do for fun? "Asked Snakey. "Well, I'd like to crush ants, but I don't have legs or feet, darn it." "I have an idea," said Snakey with the most evil of all smiles, "how about crushing the hopes and dreams of some two legged for fun? They have this stupid habit of honoring the Spirits with dancing and ceremony. With your hard blowing and bite, we can wreck their Spirituality. We'll say that since we have no legs, only ceremony with snake approval and legless activity can be allowed."

Hmmmm" wondered Snaky (you could hear the rattles from the evil thoughts) "we need more than just stomping to crush the ceremony; we need to squeeze all of the fresh ideas out of the people." The two slithered through the forest until they came to a very young boa constrictor pounding on a log with his tail. Snakey asked,"what in the world are you doing?" Well, Bubba the Boa said, "I beat on the log at one end and when the small furry things run out the other end, and I eat them. As I get older and longer, I find longer logs. He he he" giggled the happy boa. "My my my" said Snakey, "if we teach you to drum and sing nice, you could get some foolish dancer to come up and listen so you could squeeze the spirit right out of him."

So the sneaky Snakey trio slithered their way through forest to make plans. First Snakey sent Follower off to a ceremony to bite some one for practice. Oh, he was sneaky alright, slithered right up to a three legged, chomped down on a leg, and dragged it off. When he got proudly back to camp and showed his prize to Snakey, Snakey went through the roof (they didn't have a roof, but Snakey did jump up and hit his head on a branch, making him even madder). "You fool!!" he shouted, "this is not a leg, it's a walking stick. (One of our tall standing brothers had guessed Followers plan and gave his two legged brother a branch to walk with) Don't you know the feel of flesh?" With that, he put the followers' tail in front and the dismally dumb doe doe promptly ate himself.

Now down to one assistant, Snakey sent Bubba the Boa off to a dance ceremony to squeeze an innocent dancer. Bubba began beating the drum and singing along with a song. He thought "hummmm" (the hum went right to his tail and beat out a wonderful sound) "this is really kind of fun, but here comes the two legged I have to squeeze." With that he coiled around the poor dancer and squeezed with all of his mighty might. Oh the poor dancer there smiling away. Smiling? That's no regular dancer. It's the Spirit Snakey bit. And he was talking away to Bubba. "Bubba" he said, "don't you see that it is much better to make music than squeeze dancers?" Bubba answered "yes. Do you think that they would let me after being with Snakey?" Spirit said, "I am sure they would, but tell you what. I'll just make you a two legged drummer and singer and you can wrap your music all around those in ceremony and become the heartbeat of the Grandfathers." "Oh thank you Spirit!!!" cried Bubba and went back to drumming.

Now if you ever wanted to see a snake fit to be tied (but who would want to tie a snake? Not Me!!) It was snaggle tooth Snakey. He went flying and snapping and slithering and biting at everything in sight. Until of course, he chomped a rock and SNAP!!!! Went his other fang. And worse here came that smiling Spirit who said "Snakey, now that you have no poison to spread, I can let you go your way. So that you will not forget your mean spirited past, the only thing you will be able to eat will be the small rodents and crawly things that sometimes bother the two legged. Yes, when ever you are hungry you will have to help the two legged. Who knows maybe you will learn to like them and they you. Then I'll name you King for being a royal pain who changed his ways, so work on being nice. And to this day, the King Snake has been a friend to people all over.

"So you see friend Otter, it all turned out ok, don't you think?" "Ahh I guess so Spirit. It did turn out OK, but I missed some neat sliding" mumbled Otter. "Otter" said the Spirit "if you would open your poutty little eyes, you would see that Winter has come and the hill is icy." "Whooo Hoo!!" shouted Otter and off down the hill he slid. "OH for Creators sake "groaned Spirit, "now I have to go home and check my Otters Insurance Policy because he is going to crash again for sure.


Laughing Otter

Laughing Otter is the Clan Chief of the Turtle Clan and Warrior Chief of the Warrior's Society.

For more information about the Free Cherokee
contact: Chief Spirit Shadow