The Hummingbird Story

as told by Beatrice Charles, by her grandmother, Emma Elliot

A young Indian girl married a chief’s son of another village. The young men of her village were jealous of him, because she didn’t marry any of them. She and her husband had a beautiful son born to them, and they were very happy.

But unhappiness came when her husband was killed by one of the jealous young men of her village. Her son was in danger too, so she took her son away, and they lived in hiding.

She taught him all the things he should know to grow up and be a good, honorable man. She taught him how to hunt and fish. She taught him how to use the bow and arrow.

He started by shooting little birds, little humming birds. He’d skin and dry them, and he started to make himself a jacket. He sewed the skins with feathers on them piece by piece. He was finished with it by the time he was a young man.

One day, while wearing his jacket, he met up with an old man who was drinking water at the river nearby where he and his mother lived. The old man looked up and saw the young man. He said, “You have a beautiful jacket. I really like it.”

The young man told him what it was made of, and that he had starte dmaking it when he started hunting hummingbirds when he was a young boy.

When he finished his story the old man said, “It’s really beautiful, but I’ll never own one, because I’m old now, and it would take too long for me to make one. I’ll die before I finish it.”

The young man thought for a while. Then he took off his jacket and put it on the old man. “It’s yours, honorable old man. I can make myself another one.”

The old man raised his hand and waved it before the young man, blessing him and saying that he will live a long life and will prosper in everything he did.

The young man ended up going back to his father’s tribe and became chief of that tribe.

So, always respect your elder. They will bless you in return for your kindness.