HOW THE REDBIRD GOT HIS COLOR
A Raccoon passing a Wolf one day made several insulting remarks, until at last
the Wolf became angry and turned and chased him. The Raccoon ran his best
and managed to reach a tree the river side before the Wolf came up. He
climbed the tree and stretched out on a limb overhanging the water. When the
Wolf arrived he saw the reflection in the water, and thinking it was the Raccoon
he jumped at it and was nearly drowned before he could scramble out again, all
wet and dripping. He lay down on the bank to dry and fell asleep, and while hewas sleeping the Raccoon came down the tree and plastered his eyes with dung.
When the Wolf awoke he found he could not open his eyes, and began to whine.
Along came a little brown bird through the bushes and heard the Wolf crying
and asked what was the matter. The Wolf told his story and said, “If you will get
my eyes open, I will show you where to find some nice red paint to paint
yourself.” “All right,” said the brown bird; so he pecked at the Wolf’s eyes until
he got off all the plaster. Then the Wolf took him to a rock that had streaks of
bright red paint running through it, and the little bird painted himself with it, and
has ever since been a Redbird.
Myths of the Cherokee, James Mooney