It was in the olden times, and two
Choctaw hunters were spending the night by their watchfire near a bend
of the river Alabama. The game and the fish of their country was,
with every new moon, be- coming less abundant, and all that they had to
satisfy their hunger on that nightwas the tough flesh of a black hawk.
They were very tired, as they mused
upon their unfortunate condition. They were unhappy, as they thought
of their hungry childrenback in the village. They talked despondently.
But they roasted the bird before the fire, and proceeded to enjoy
as comfortable a meal as they could.
Hardly had they commenced eating before
they were startled
by a noise resembling the cooing of
a dove. They quickly stood
and looked around them. In one
direction they saw nothing but
the moon rising just above the forest
trees on the opposite
side of the river. They looked
up and down the river, but saw
nothing but the sandy shores and the
dark waters. They
listened, but nothing could they hear
except the murmur of the flowing stream.
They then turned their eyes in the direction
opposite the moon,
and to their astonishment they discovered,
standing upon the
summit of a grassy mound, the form
of a beautiful woman. They hastened to her side. She told them
she was very hungry, whereupon they retrieved their roasted hawk and placed
it all into her soft hands.
She barely tasted of the food, but told
the hunters that their
kindness had preserved her from death,
and that she would not forget them when she returned to the happy grounds
of her father, who was the Hosh-tah-li, Great Spirit of the Choctaws.
She had but one request to make, and this was that when the next moon of
midsummer should arrive, they should visit the spot where now she stood.
And then a pleasant breeze swept among
the forest leves, and
the strange woman suddenly vanished.
The hunters were astonished, but they
returned to their families,
keeping all that they had seen and
heard, hidden in their hearts.
When the next moon of midsummer came,
the hunters once
more visited the mound on the banks
of the Alabama. They
found it covered with a tall new plant
whose leaves were like
the knives of the white-man.
It yielded a delicious food which
has since become known among the Choctaws
as the sweet
Ton-cha - Indian maze.
Indian Stories, by Charles Lanman;
Published in the Southern Literary Messenger, Volume 15,
Issue 7, Richmond, Virginia, 1849.
Prepared for Early SW MS Territory by