Seven wolves once caught a Groundhog and said, “Now we’ll kill you and have
something good to eat.” But the Groundhog said, “When we find good food we
must rejoice over it, as people do in the Green-corn dance. I know you mean to
kill me and I can’t help myself, but if you want to dance I’ll sing for you. This is
a new dance entirely. I’ll lean up against seven trees in turn and you will dance
out and then turn and come back, as I give the signal, and at the last turn you
may kill me.”
The wolves were very hungry, but they wanted to learn the new dance, so they
told him to go ahead. The Groundhog leaned up against a tree and began the
song, Ha′wiye′ĕhĭ′, and all the wolves danced out in front, until he gave the
signal, Yu! and began with Hi′yagu′wĕ, when they turned and danced back in
line. “That’s fine,” said the Groundhog, and went over to the next tree and
started the second song. The wolves danced out and then turned at the signal and
danced back again. “That’s very fine,” said the Groundhog, and went over to
another tree and started the third song. The wolves danced their best and the
Groundhog encouraged them, but at each song he took another tree, and each
tree was a little nearer to his hole under a stump. At the seventh song he said,
“Now, this is the last dance, and when I say Yu! you will all turn and come after
me, and the one who gets me may have me.” So he began the seventh song and
kept it up until the wolves were away out in front. Then he gave the signal, Yu!
and made a jump for his hole. The wolves turned and were after him, but he
reached the hole first and dived in. Just as he got inside, the foremost wolf
caught him the tail and gave it such a pull that it broke off, and the
Groundhog’s tail has been short ever since.
The unpleasant smell of the Groundhog’s head was given it the other animals
to punish an insulting remark made him in council. The story is a vulgar one,
without wit enough to make it worth recording.


Myths of the Cherokee, James Mooney