THE MOTHER BEAR’S SONG
A hunter in the woods one day heard singing in a cave. He came near and
peeped in, and it was a mother bear singing to her cubs and telling them what to
do when the hunters came after them.
Said the mother bear to the cubs, “When you hear the hunters coming down the
Tsâ′gĭ, tsâ′gĭ, hwĭ′lahĭ′;
Tsâ′gĭ, tsâ′gĭ, hwĭ′lahĭ′.
Upstream, upstream, you (must) go;
Upstream, upstream, you (must) go.
“But if you hear them coming up the creek, children, then—
Ge′ĭ, ge′ĭ, hwĭ′lahĭ′;
Ge′ĭ, ge′ĭ, hwĭ′lahĭ′.
Downstream, downstream, you (must) go;
Downstream, downstream, you (must) go.”Another hunter out in the woods one day thought he heard a woman singing to a
ba. He followed the sound up to the head of the branch until he came to a cave
under the bushes, and inside was a mother bear rocking her cub in her paws and
singing to it this ba song, which the Ani′-Tsâ′gûhĭ used to know before they
were turned into bears:
Ha′-mama′, ha′-mama′, ha′-mama′, ha′-mama′;
Udâ′hale′yĭ hi′lûñnû, hi′lûñnû;
Udâ′hale′yĭ hi′lûñnû, hi′lûñnû.
Let me carry you on my back (four times);
On the sunny side go to sleep, go to sleep;
On the sunny side go to sleep, go to sleep.
Myths of the Cherokee, James Mooney