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HOW GOD MADE "FLUTTER-BYS"

WELL, THE LORD HAD JUST FINISHED MAKING THE WORLD AND HE SAT BACK
IN HIS BIG OL' ROCKER TO LOOK IT OVER. "NOT A BAD JOB, IF I SAY SO
MYSELF." HE LIT UP A BIG, FINE CIGAR AND WAS FEELING PRETTY GOOD
ABOUT IT UNTIL HE NOTICED THAT THE WORLD LOOKED KIND OF BARE. THE
FACT OF THE MATTER WAS THERE WASN'T A THING TO THE WORLD EXCEPT LAND,
TREES AND A LOTS OF WATER. THERE WAS EVEN MORE WATER THAN LAND.
"WONDER HOW I DID THAT," THE LORD SAID. "SEEMS TO ME I'D PLANNED FOR
THERE TO BE MORE LANDTHAN WATER." WELL, HE SHRUGGED HIS SHOULDERS AND
TURNED HIS MIND TO MAKE THE WORLD LOOK A BIT PRETTIER. "GIMME MY
PRUNING SHEARS," HE CALLED OUT AND ONE OF THE CUTE, LITTLE ANGELS RAN
AND GOT THEM. THEN THE GREAT LORD ALMIGHTY LEANED OUT OF HIS ROCKING
CHAIR, TRIMMED THE TREES, AND THREW THE TRIMMINGS ALL OVER THE EMPTY
GROUND. THAT'S WHAT MADE THE GRASS, BUSHES, AND ALL THE FLOWERS.
"NOW THAT DON'T LOOK TOO BAD," HE SAID AND LEANED BACK. "YESSIRY
I'VE DONE MADE A AWFUL PRETTY WORLD." AND SO SAYING, HE WENT TO BED
TO REST UP FROM ALL THAT WORK. THE NEXT MORNING THE LORD HADN'T EVEN
HAD ONE EYE OPEN YET, WHEN HE HEARD THE FLOWERS WHISPERING AMONG
THEMSELVES, "IT'S LONELY DOWN HERE"; THE OTHER FLOWER SAID, "WE
WERE PUT HERE TO KEEP THE GROUND COMPANY AND MAKE EVERYTHING LOOK
PRETTY, BUT IT SURE IS MIGHTY LONELY." THE LORD SHOOK HIS HEAD IN
DISGUST. "HAVE MERCY, FATHER. YOU GET THROUGH MAKING ONE THANG AND
AND THE NEXT THANG YOU KNOW YOU GOTTA MAKE SOMETHING TO GO WITH THE
FIRST. GIMME THEM LITTLE SHEARS, ONE OF YOU ANGELS, PLEASE." AN
ANGEL BROUGHT HIM THE TEENICHY PAIR OF SHEARS AND HE BENT OVER TO THE
EARTH AND STARTED SNIPPING LITTLE PIECES OFF OF EVERYTHING - THE SKY,
THE GROUND, THE TREES, THE ANIMALS, THE BUSHES, THE FLOWERS;
EVERYTHING HE PUT HIS SHEARS ON, GOT SNIPPED. "THE VERY IDEA OF
GETTING COMPLAINTS ABOUT THE WORLD AND IT AIN'T EVEN A DAY OLD.
THAT'S GRATITUDE." THE LORD HAD A FEELING HE WAS GOING TO BE GETTING
COMPLAINTS ABOUT THE WORLD FROM THEN ON. HE WAS SO MAD THAT HE DID
NOT CARE WHAT HE SNIPPED - SNIP, SNIP, ALL MORNING LONG. WELL, WHEN
THE FOLKS LOOKED UP AND SAW THE TINY CLIPPINGS FLUTTERING AROUND.
THEY CALLED THEM FLUTTER-BYS. THE BLUE FLUTTER-BYS HAD BEEN SNIPPED
FROM THE SKY; THE YELLOW FLUTTER-BYS HAD BEEN CLIPPINGS FROM THE SUN;
AND THERE WERE THE LORD'S WHITE FLUTTER-BYS THAT WERE CLIPPINGS FROM
THE STARS. EVERY COLOR FLUTTER-BY YOU COULD THINK OF WAS FLUTTERING
AROUND.

Submitter comment:

THIS IS ANOTHER LONG NARRATIVE WITH A STRONG BLACK IMAGE, AS REFERRED
TO IN MY COLLECTION'S SEQUENCE NUMBER 731772-1; I GET THE
IMPRESSION THAT THIS IS A BLACK GOD.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): Butterfly ; CREATION ; ETYMOLOGY ; God ; NAME ; Origin ; PERSONIFICATION ; Tale

James Callow Keyword(s): PERSONIFICATION

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Creation and Order of Animal Life
SPEECH -- Proper Name

Date learned: 00-00-1954

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NAVAHO LEGEND

MILLIONS OF YEARS AGO, THERE WAS A LAKE THAT COVERED THE
NORTH-EASTERN PART OF ARIZONA. IT DRAINED THROUGH THE GRAND CANYON.
THE NAVAHO INDIANS BELIEVED THAT THEIR FOREFATHERS WERE THERE
BEFORE THE LAKE. THE LAKE WAS MADE BY THE BACKING UP OF THE
LITTLE COLORADO RIVER. IN ORDER TO SURVIVE THESE INDIANS TURNED
THEMSELVES INTO FISH. TO THIS DAY THE NAVAHOS DON'T EAT FISH
BECAUSE THEY THINK THEY WILL EAT ONE OF THEIR ANCESTORS.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT MENTIONED THAT HE KNEW A PERSON OF NAVAHO ORIGIN
THAT WOULD NOT EAT FISH.

Data entry tech comment: COLLECTOR'S SPELLING CORRECTED BY KEYPUNCHER.

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Creation and Order of Animal Life

Date learned: 10-14-1971

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THE MOSQUITO STORY

DO YOU KNOW THAT ONLY THE FEMALE MOSQUITOES BITE?
DO YOU KNOW WHY? A LONG TIME AGO NGOC TAM AND HIS
WIFE NHAM DIEP LIVED ON A SMALL FARM. TAM TENDED THE
RICE FIELDS AND DIEP RAISED SILKWORMS. DIEP WAS A
DAYDREAMER. SHE HAD VISIONS OF ONE DAY LIVING IN A
LARGE HOUSE WITH MANY SERVANTS TO WAIT ON HER. SHE
HATED TO WORK.
ONE DAY DIEP BECAME ILL WHILE TAM WAS OUT WORKING IN THE
FIELDS. WHEN TAM GOT HOME DIEP WAS DEAD. AS TAM WAS
SAYING PRAYERS FOR HER, A VISION CAME TO HIM. THE
VISION TOLD TAM TO TAKE DIEP'S BODY BY BOAT TO THE
ENCHANTED MOUNTAIN IN THE SEA.
AFTER MANY DAYS OF ROWING TAM REACHED THE MOUNTAIN.
HE CARRIED DIEP UP THE STEEP PATH TO A LOVELY FIELD
OF FLOWERS AND LAID HER DOWN. AS HE KNELT BESIDE HER
A WRINKLED, GRAY HAIRED OLD MAN WITH SPARKLING EYES
APPEARED. THE OLD MAN ASKED TAM TO STAY IN THIS PLACE
AND BECOME A DISCIPLE. BUT TAM SAID HE LOVED DIEP
VERY MUCH AND WANTED HER BACK...SO THE OLD MAN TOLD
TAM TO MAKE A SMALL CUT ON HIS FINGER AND LET THREE
DROPS OF HIS BLOOD FALL ON DIEP. WHEN THIS WAS DONE
DIEP AWOKE TO THE WORLD OF THE LIVING AGAIN.
THE OLD MAN TOLD HER WHAT HAD HAPPENED. HE SAID SHE
MUST BE FAITHFUL, OBEDIENT AND WORK VERY HARD OR SHE
WOULD BE PUNISHED. THEN THE OLD MAN WAS GONE AND TAM
AND DIEP RETURNED TO THEIR BOAT. ON THE WAY HOME THEY
STOPPED AT A VILLAGE TO BUY SUPPLIES.
WHILE DIEP WAS WAITING FOR TAM AT THE DOCK, A LARGE
ELEGANT BOAT CAME IN. THE OWNER --A RICH MERCHANT--
ASKED DIEP ABOARD FOR A CUP OF TEA WHILE HIS SERVANTS
REPAIRED THE SAILS. THE MERCHANT TOLD DIEP SHE WAS
VERY BEAUTIFUL AND ASKED HER TO SAIL OFF WITH HIM AND
BECOME HIS WIFE. THESE WERE THE THINGS DIEP HAD ALWAYS
WANTED, SO SHE SAID YES AND DID NOT TELL THE MERCHANT
ABOUT TAM.
WHEN TAM RETURNED DIEP WAS GONE AND AN OLD SAILOR TOLD
HIM WHAT HAD HAPPENED AND WHERE THE MERCHANT LIVED.
TAM WAS VERY ANGRY. HE SET OUT FOR THE MERCHANT'S
HOME AND IN A FEW DAYS HE FOUND IT. HE TOLD A SERVANT
HE WANTED TO SEE THE MASTER AND HE WOULD WAIT IN THE
GARDEN. WHEN HE GOT TO THE GARDEN, HE CAME UPON DIEP
CUTTING SOME FLOWERS. DIEP WAS VERY SURPRISED TO
SEE TAM HERE IN THIS PLACE. SHE SAID SHE WAS HAPPY AND
WOULD NOT LEAVE.
TAM SAID HE DID NOT WANT HER BACK, HE ONLY WANTED HIS
THREE DROPS OF BLOOD. DIEP WAS GREATLY RELIEVED AND
MADE A SMALL CUT ON HER FINGER WITH THE FLOWER KNIFE.
TAM HELD OUT HIS ARM AND DIEP LET THE BLOOD FALL ON IT.
WHEN THE THIRD DROP FELL DIEP'S BEAUTY WAS GONE AND
SHE BEGAN TO SHRINK UNTIL SHE WAS THE SIZE OF A
MOSQUITO. THAT WAS DIEP'S PUNISHMENT. SHE BEGAN
BUZZING AROUND TAM'S HEAD AND IT SOUNDED AS IF SHE
WAS SAYING, "GIVE ME BACK THE BLOOD, I AM SORRY, I
AM SORRY."
TAM RAN BACK TO HIS BOAT AND ROWED FOR MANY DAYS UNTIL
HE FOUND THE ENCHANTED MOUNTAIN AGAIN. AFTER HE HAD
BECOME A DISCIPLE HE ASKED THE OLD MAN ABOUT DIEP.
AND THE OLD MAN SAID THAT DIEP AND ALL THE FEMALE
MOSQUITOES WHO CAME AFTER HER WOULD CONTINUE TO
SEARCH FOR THE THREE DROPS OF BLOOD. THEN HE SAID,
"AND THIS SHALL BE A REMINDER TO ALL PEOPLE TO LIVE
CLEANLY, BE OBEDIENT AND WORK HONESTLY." AND SO IT
HAS BEEN EVER SINCE.

Where learned: NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Creation and Order of Animal Life

Date learned: 00-00-1964

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WHY THE ROBIN'S BREAST IS RED.

THE ROBIN WAS FLYING BY AT THE CRUCIFICTION OF CHRIST AND FLEW DOWN
TO PULL A THORN OUT OF CHRIST. IN THE PROCESS HE GOT BLOOD ON HIS
BREAST AND IT HAS BEEN THERE EVER SINCE.

Data entry tech comment: SPELLING CORRECTED BY KEYPUNCHER

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): CRUCIFICTION

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Creation and Order of Animal Life
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Religious hero

Date learned: 00-00-1968

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HOW THE ROBIN GOT ITS RED BREAST.

WHEN CHRIST WAS SUFFERING ON THE CROSS, AND BLOOD TRICKLED DOWN
HIS FOREHEAD DUE TO THE SHARP THORNS OF HIS CROWN, A ROBIN FLEW BY
THE LORD'S HEAD AND TOOK PITY ON HIM. THE BIRD WONDERED HOW HE COULD
ALLEVIATE OUR LORD'S PAIN. HE THOUGHT HE WOULD TRY AND REMOVE AT
LEAST ONE OF THE THORNS FROM HIS FOREHEAD. AS HE TUGGED AT THE
THORN IT, IN TURN, PIERCED HIS BREAST--AND EVER SINCE THE ROBIN BEAR
THE MARK OF A RED BREAST DUE TO ITS HEROIC DEED.

Data entry tech comment: GRAMMAR CORRECTED BY KEYPUNCHER.

Where learned: DETROIT, ASSUMED

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Creation and Order of Animal Life
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Religious hero

Date learned: NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR

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HOW THE ROBIN GOT ITS RED BREAST.

ONE DAY A GROUP OF BOY SCOUTS WERE SITTING AROUND A CAMPFIRE. THEIR
COUNSELOR PROCEEDED TO TELL THEM ABOUT HOW THE ROBIN GOT HIS RED
BREAST. MANY YEARS AGO A SIMILAR CAMPFIRE EXISTED WHEN A ROBIN,
ATTRACTED BY ITS FRIENDLY SONG AND CONVERSATION, FLEW BY TO HEAR
WHAT WAS GOING ON. HE FLEW TOO CLOSE TO THE FIRE AND SINGED HIS
BREAST--EVER SINCE ALL ROBINS HAVE RED BREASTS. AS THE COUNSELOR
TOLD THIS TALE A ROBIN FLEW BY, AGAIN TOO CLOSE TO THE FLAMES.

Where learned: DETROIT, ASSUMED

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Creation and Order of Animal Life

Date learned: 02-15-1970

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LEGEND

ACCORDING TO AN INDIAN LEGEND, BECAUSE THE OWL KEPT HIS EYES OPEN
DURING A CREATION CEREMONY WHEN HE SHOULD HAVE KEPT THEM CLOSED
HE WAS TOLD THAT HE WOULD HAVE TO KEEP THEM CLOSED EXCEPT AT NIGHT
AND THAT HE COULD NO LONGER SEE HIS ANIMAL AND BIRD BROTHERS
DURING THE DAYTIME.

Where learned: DETROIT, ASSUMED

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Creation and Order of Animal Life

Date learned: NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR

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STORY OF THE STORK

ONE DAY GOD GAVE A MAN A BAG TO CARRY BUT DIDN'T
TELL THE MAN WHAT WAS IN IT. HE TOLD THE MAN TO CARRY THIS BAG
TO A CERTAIN PLACE ON EARTH BUT NOT TO OPEN IT OR LOOK INSIDE.
SO THE MAN TOOK THE BAG BUT GOT CURIOUS AND OPENED IT AND OUT
CAME ALL KINDS OF SNAKES AND FROGS AND WATER ANIMALS.
GOD GOT MAD AND TURNED THE MAN INTO A STORK AND GAVE HIM A LONG
BILL AND LONG LEGS SO HE COULD GO IN SWAMPS AND
GATHER ALL THE ANIMALS HE SET FREE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): CREATION ; MYTH ; STORK ; WATER ANIMALS

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Creation and Order of Animal Life

Date learned: 04-07-1972

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A MEAN DOG

BRUSHING A DOG'S HAIR IN THE DIRECTION OF THE HEAD FROM THE TAIL
WILL MAKE IT A VERY MEAN DOG.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT CLAIMS THAT THIS IS COMMON KNOWLEDGE IN IRELAND, AND
SAY THAT IS WHERE SHE HEARD IT.

Data entry tech comment: APOSTROPHE ADDED BY KEYPUNCHER.

Where learned: WASHINGTON DC

James Callow Keyword(s): GROOMING OF DOG ; POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Creation and Order of Animal Life

Date learned: 00-00-1965

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WHY WE DON'T EAT COWS IN INDIA

THERE WAS A GOD NAMED SHANKER. HE HAD A MESSENGER NAMED COW.
SHANKER WOULD PASS HIS ORDERS DOWN TO THE PEOPLE THROUGH COW.
ONE DAY SHANKER TOLD COW TO TELL THE PEOPLE TO TAKE 3 SHOWERS A
DAY AND EAT 2 MEALS A DAY. COW FORGOT SHANKER'S ORDERS AND TOLD
THE PEOPLE TO TAKE 1 SHOWER A DAY AND EAT 3 MEALS. SHANKER BECAME
SO OUTRAGED THAT HE TURNED COW INTO THE ANIMAL KNOWN AS THE COW.
THE PEOPLE STOPPED EATING COWS FOR FEAR THAT THEY WOULD BE EATING
THEIR MESSENGER OF THE GODS.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT LEARNED THIS FROM HIS FAMILY. HE IS A HINDU. THIS IS A
BASIC HINDU STORY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SOUTHFIELD

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Creation and Order of Animal Life
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Mammal
BELIEF -- Mammal

Date learned: 00-00-1967

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ORIGIN OF WOODPECKER

THIS INFORMANT WAS TOLD THAT AN OLD WOMAN WHO WAS
DRESSED IN A BLACK DRESS, WHITE APRON, AND RED CAP REFUSED
TO FEED A HUNGRY WANDERER AS SHE WAS BAKING BREAD.
FOR HER SELFISHNESS THE WOMAN WAS TURNED INTO THE RED-
HEADED WOODPECKER TO PECK FOR WORMS AND BUGS FOR THE
REST OF HER LIFE.

Where learned: HIGHLAND PARK ; ILLINOIS

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Creation and Order of Animal Life
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Bird

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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ORIGIN OF WOODPECKER

THIS INFORMANT WAS TOLD THAT AN OLD WOMAN WHO WAS
DRESSED IN A BLACK DRESS, WHITE APRON, AND RED CAP REFUSED
TO FEED A HUNGRY WANDERER AS SHE WAS BAKING BREAD.
FOR HER SELFISHNESS THE WOMAN WAS TURNED INTO THE RED-
HEADED WOODPECKER TO PECK FOR WORMS AND BUGS FOR THE
REST OF HER LIFE.

Where learned: HIGHLAND PARK ; ILLINOIS

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Creation and Order of Animal Life
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Bird

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

View just this record

showing 12 items

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