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Folktales

The coming of medicine

by Micha F. Lindemans

A very long time ago, man and animal lived together in peace and harmony. Then suddenly this changed, when some greedy people began to hunt only to sell the meat and fur. This caused the animal population to dwindle, greatly concerning the animals.

The white bear called a council of animals to decide on how to avenge themselves. They argued for a long time, but they could not agree. Then the oldest and wisest flies offered a suggestion. "Let us call upon the spirits" he said. "We will ask them to send great sickness on the people, and we will carry the diseases".

Not long after that, a great sickness spread indeed through all the Native American villages -- attacking the good as well as the bad. Since the animals only wanted to punish the bad people, they were saddened to see the good ones were suffering as well. They called another council to discuss what was to be done.

The lowly herbs came with a solution; they promised to heal the sick. Then, spirit dreams were sent to the Shamans to guide them to the herbs. This is how healing medicine was brought to the Native Americans.


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