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Native American Stories About Kindness to Animals

One common theme in Native American folklore is kindness to animals, especially dogs. Heroes or heroines who show kindness to a dog or a wild animal are usually rewarded, whereas people who mistreat animals are headed for an unhappy ending or at least a comeuppance. There is no strong separation between humans and other animals in most Native American literature-- indeed, animals frequently transform into humans and vice versa-- so kindness to animals is often simply treated as general kindness in Native American stories.

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Legends About Kindness to Animals

A Little Boy Who Brought Good Luck:
    Passamaquoddy story about a magical dog rewarding an old couple for their kindness.
The Alligator and the Hunter:
    Choctaw legend about an alligator who repaid a hunter's kindness by giving him hunting medicine.
*The Boy Who Had Dog Power:
    Lenape legend about an orphan who took care of an abandoned dog and received great hunting power.
*The Revenge of the Mountain Goats:
    Cree legend about a mountain goat spirit who repays a hunter for his kindness.

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends

A Man Called Raven:
    Beautiful book by a Native author and artist illustrating a Northwest Coast legend about the importance of treating animals well.
The Polar Bear Son:
    Charming picture book based on an Inuit legend about a woman who adopts a bear cub.

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