Indian Time - A Voice from the Eastern Door


Why We Have Mosquitoes


From Legends of the Iroquois by Tehanetorens (Ray Fadden)

The old Iroquois Indians used to tell this story to the children:

Many winters in the past, two giant mosquitoes appeared on either side of a river. These giant creatures were as tall as a good-sized pine tree.

As the Indian people paddled down the river in their canoes, these giant creatures would bend their heads and attack them with their giant beaks.

The mosquitoes killed many people. Knowing that these giant mosquitoes were waiting to attack any canoe that floated down the river, the people began to shun that particular stream.

It was then that these giant creatures moved to other streams to seek their prey.

For a time, it was a reign of terror for the Iroquois who were great canoe travelers. They never knew just when these giant mosquitoes would pounce upon and devour them.

Finally, in desperation, a war party was organized to seek out these creatures and destroy them. Twenty warriors in two great canoes floated down a river where they expected the mosquitoes to be.

In their hands, ever ready, they held their bows and arrows.

Fastened to their belts were their war clubs and hunting knives.

Suddenly, two huge shadows loomed over them and a giant beak pierced one of the canoes. Giving their war cry, the warriors filled the air with many arrows. The battle was terrific! The giant mosquitoes seemed to be everywhere at the same time. In a little while half of the warriors had been killed.

The remaining braves determined to die courageously.

Singing their Death Song, they attacked the huge creatures on land. They hid behind the trees and bushes. They surrounded the mosquitoes, who were unable to get at them because of the thick branches.

The Iroquois buried many of their arrows in the bodies of the two mosquitoes.

Finally, after most of the arrows had been shot and the supply was very low, the two mosquitoes fell to the earth, covered with many wounds.

Immediately, the warriors fell upon them with their war clubs and, with powerful blows, tore their bodies apart.

From the blood of the two big mosquitoes there sprang many little mosquitoes, and the air was filled with them. These little mosquitoes, like their grandfathers, are fond of the taste of human blood. They hate man for killing their grandfathers and are continually tryirlg to get revenge upon man for this reason. That is how mosquitoes came to be. The battles between man and the mosquitoes took place upon Seneca River in New York State.


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