Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The humming bird is to blame for all the tobacco

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) is one of 338 types of hummingbirds. These tiny creatures measure three inches from tip of beak to tip of tail, can fly up to 40 mph during a courtship dive, can live up to nine years, and travel across the Gulf of Mexico in 20 hours.

Humming Bird Taunts a Cat

Here is an old indian lore of how the humming bird brought Tobacco to the Cherokee.

In the beginning of the world, when people and animals were all the same, there was only one tobacco plant, to which they all came for their tobacco until the Dagul'ku geese stole it and carried it far away to the south. The people were suffering without it, and there was one old woman who grew so thin and weak that everybody said she would soon die unless she could get tobacco to keep her alive.

Different animals offered to go for it, one after another, the larger ones first and then the smaller ones, but the Dugul'ku saw and killed every one before he could get to the plant. After the others the little Mole tried to reach it by going under the ground, but the Dagul'ku saw his track and killed him as he came out.

At last the Hummingbird offered, but the others said he was entirely too small and might as well stay at home. He begged them to let him try, so they showed him a plant in a field and told him to let them see how he would go about it. The next moment he was gone and they saw him sitting on the plant, and then in a moment he was back again, but no one had seen him going or coming, because he was so swift. "This is the way I'll do,"said the Hummingbird, so they let him try.

He flew off to the east, and when he came in sight of the tobacco the Dagul'ku were watching all about it, but they could not see him because he was so small and flew so swiftly. He darted down on the plant and snatched off the top with the leaves and seeds, and was off again before the Dagul'ku knew what happened. Before he got home with the tobacco the old woman had fainted and they thought she was dead, but he blew the smoke into her nostrils, and with a cry of "Tsa'la![Tobacco]"she opened her eyes and was alive again.



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