Yuchi Folklore

Here are a few miscellaneous beliefs which were recorded in regard to the natural, supernatural, and animal world. They are given about as they were told by the Indians.

“If a terrapin in his travels walks around a big tree it is a very bad thing for him. He will dry up. That’s why they never do it.”

“The thunder or rain kills snakes. When a storm comes up they must all go back into the ground. If they do not, they will be killed. So if they are killing a calf (sic!) or anything, they must leave it as soon as it begins to thunder or rain.”

“When wild turkeys gobble the lightning bugs come up out of their crops. They are like little white things (maggots) before they come out.”

The stars are all spiders.

Regarding the eclipse they say: – “The toad starts to eat up the moon. Then he gets big. The moon diminishes. But we frighten him away and after that the moon recovers and gets big.”

One informant stated that thunder and lightning are caused by a great black snake with rattles on its tail. A being named Konsá nonwi’, the meaning ( if which is uncertain, rides on its back. The snake dives in and out of the Water. At each flash of its wet sides there is lightning and when it rattles there is thunder.

“There was a big water vessel in the sky. Someone jerked it and spilled the water over its edge. That is what made the rain.”

“Someone (a supernatural agency) in the north was trying to do something. He put some com meal into a sifting basket and sprinkled it through, when this falls upon this earth it is snow.”

“When the rainbow stretches across the sky the rain is prevented from falling through. This stops the rain and brings dry weather.”

Wien threatened with a drought they believe that the people could cause rain to fall if they made medicine and took an emetic.

Earthquakes are believed to be caused by a being who lives in the bowels of the earth. He sometimes shakes and jerks the earth to find out how much Mater there remains on it.

Twins and deformed or abnormal children are believed to be sent directly by the supernatural beings to be guides to the people. They were never killed but were treated with care and raised for the public good. It is also said that when twins arc born in the town it is a sign from the supernatural beings that they want to see the people improve in the performance of their religious rites.

Little people like dwarfs are believed to inhabit certain places in the dense woods. They are the souls of bad people who die, and they possess the power of killing those who either accidentally or deliberately intrude upon their haunts.

When a man sneezes, the belief is that his beloved is thinking about him. Likewise when a Woman sneezes it is a sign that her lover is thinking about her.

Warts on the skin, or moles, indicate that there is too much blood or bad blood in the body. A person having them is said to need scratching until the blood flows. Moles come from bad food, too.

“When the coyotes or wolves howl it is a sign that snow or rain is coming. They can feel when a storm is approaching, and because they don’t like it they start howling.”

A certain kind of fish called “drumfish” is believed to have two stones in the back of its head, with which it makes a thumping noise frequently heard coming from the water when everything is quiet.

Religion, Yuchi,

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