~ U'tlun'ta ~

This is a night story the old ones would tell
When the children were fed and the North Winds swell
Through the tall swaying pines that would moan and crack.
The shadows in the corners were thick and black.

There lived in the forests of Mount Chilhowee
An ogress whose aspect was frightful to see.
u'tlun'ta "The Spear Finger" was her name,
Killing the Cherokees was her only aim.

She could change her stony skin and seem to be
An old Granny woman, sweet as you could see
But the index finger on her dread right hand
Was long, bony and sharp with a spear head's span.

With it, she would make a cut both deep and wide
And remove the liver from the living side.
The wound would close without the person knowing
And u'tlun'ta would feast with red eyes glowing.

The person would die within a day or two,
Wasting away never realizing who
Had stolen their liver for her gruesome meal.
She had to be stopped or at least brought to heel.

The warriors of the Tribe dug a deep wide pit.
Green reeds and loose leaves were scattered over it,
On a trail that u'tlun'ta used every day.
Soon she came, looking for Cherokees to slay.

Into the deep wide trap, she tumbled right in.
The warriors, with bows, gathered 'round with a grin.
The arrows they shot were all shattered and fell.
Her skin was as stony as a cast iron bell.

Titmouse was screaming, "Shoot the heart, shoot the heart."
But that didn't work, her tough skin turned each dart.
Then Chickadee flew in and took a brave stand,
"Aim for the right wrist, her heart is in her hand."

A lucky sharp arrow flew straight to the mark
u'tlun'ta's red eyes faded swiftly to dark.
She was dead. The shouts of joy were fine to hear.
Her reign of terror ended. Gone was the fear.

Titmouse, "The Liar", lost the tip of his tongue.
Chickadee, "The Truthful", had his praises sung.
It's true still today Titmouse's tongue is short.
Friend of the People Chickadee still holds court.

Go to sleep now, my children, and know it is true,
The smallest of your Brothers can greatly aid you.
It's not the size of the body or strength of arm
But the strength from the heart that protects us from harm.

Chief Dragonfly 2004
used with permission


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