Random Essays

Iroquois Tale of Suffering

One day, a Man sat alone and drenched deep in sadness. And all

the animals drew near to him and said, “We do not like to see

you so sad. Ask for whatever you wish and you shall have it.”

Iroquois in Buffalo, New York, 1914

The Man said, “I want to have good sight.” The Hawk replied,

“You shall have mine.” The Man said: “I want to be strong.” The Mountain Lion

said, “You shall be strong like me.” Then the Man said, “I long

to know the secrets of the earth.” The Serpent replied, “I will show

them to you.”

 

And so it went with all the animals. And when the man had all the gifts that

they could give, he left. Then the Owl said to the other animals, “Now the Man knows much and is able to do many things. Suddenly I am afraid.”  The Deer said,

“The Man has all that he needs. Now his sadness will cease.” But the Owl replied,

“No! “I saw a hole in the Man. Deep like a hunger, he will never fill. It is what makes him sad and what makes him want. He will go on taking and taking until one day

the world will say I am no more and I have nothing left to give.