WHEN BABIES ARE BORN: THE WREN AND THE CRICKET
The little Wren is the messenger of the birds, and pries into everything. She gets
up early in the morning and goes round to every house in the settlement to getup early in the morning and goes round to every house in the settlement to get
news for the bird council. When a new ba is born she finds out whether it is a
boy or girl and reports to the council. If it is a boy the birds sing in mournful
chorus: “Alas! the whistle of the arrow! my shins will burn,” because the birds
know that when the boy grows older he will hunt them with his blowgun and
arrows and roast them on a stick.
But if the ba is a girl, they are glad and sing: “Thanks! the sound of the pestle!
At her home I shall surely be able to scratch where she sweeps,” because they
know that after a while they will be able to pick up stray grains where she beats
the corn into meal.
When the Cricket hears that a girl is born, it also is glad, and says, “Thanks, I
shall sing in the house where she lives.” But if it is a boy the Cricket laments:
“Gwe-he! He will shoot me! He will shoot me! He will shoot me!” because boys
make little bows to shoot crickets and grasshoppers.
When inquiring as to the sex of the new arrival the Cherokee asks, “Is it a bow
or a (meal) sifter?” or, “Is it ballsticks or bread?”