The old cherokee, the birds and the fish

Once there was an elderly Cherokee Indian, so old that he had no strength left to hunt or to fish. Sometimes he was left alone, when the rest of the tribe went hunting fishing or to war, and he used to get very hungry.

One day he thought he was going to die. He could only eat what he could get from his small vegetable plot, as he was too weak to go down to the river and was not strong enough to tense his bow. But one night he lay dreaming about how the small people — sent by Manitú — arrived at his tepee. They showed him how to make a blowpipe, how to make darts and they taught him to hunt birds.

The next morning he had a blowpipe in his tepee, together with darts. He practised all morning, firing darts with his blowpipe. When he thought he had mastered shooting well, he went to a small maize field. He waited and waited. The birds arrived to eat the grain and the old Cherokee fired off darts at everything that moved. He went back to his tepee with a lot of birds. He plucked their feathers, barbecued them and conserved them so as to have a good reserve of food. So now he would have meat with his vegetables! When he felt a bit stronger, he went down to the river with his blowpipe and returned to his tepee with a lot of fish. He cleaned them, barbecued them and conserved them so as to have a good food reserve. The old Cherokee was no longer unhappy.

While he was barbecuing the food, a great smell arose in the area. One day, attracted by the aroma, a man came by. He asked for something to eat. The old man invited him into his tepee and the guest, seeing the great quantity of cooked birds and fish there, thought that the old man couldn't possibly manage to eat so much and decided that it would be much fairer if he ate the food. And so, believing himself to be right, the visitor killed the old Cherokee. And then he settled down to eat the birds and the fish.

But, each time he put a bird to his mouth, the bird got his feathers back, shook its wings, escaped from the hands of the man and flew away. And, every time he put some fish to his mouth, the fish recovered its scales, shook its tail, escaped from the hands of the man and slid down to the river.

And that is how the man, who killed the old man who hunted birds and caught fish, died of hunger.

Text: Koldo Izagirre

Translation: Joe Linehan

Voice: Tim Nicholson

This is the story about the birds, the fish and the old man firing arrows all the way from the land of the Cherokee People

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