Tsalagi (Cherokee) Mythology - The Water Spider by Jon-Erik
There was no fire in the
beginning of the world and the animal people were often cold.
The Thunders, who lived beyond the sky arch, were the only ones who
had fire. In time they sent Lightning down to an island that put fire
into a hollow tree.
The animal people could not get to the fire because of the water so
the council convened to decide what must be done.
The animals that could fly or swim were eager to go after the fire.
The Raven, the Screech Owl, the Hooting Owl, the Horned Owl, the Little
Snake and the Big Snake traveled to the island, but everyone returned
home without the fire.
The Water Spider said that she would go. Not only could she run on
top of water but she could also dive to the bottom.
The council said, How will you carry enough fire? The
Water Spider explained that she would spin a web, weave it into a
little bowl and fasten the bowl onto her back.
The Water Spider journeyed to the island and put one little coal of
fire into her bowl and returned home safely.
Her courageous deed brought fire to the animal people.