American Indian languages
Native American cultures
Native American Stories About Hospitality
One theme commonly seen in Native American legends is that of hospitality. In particular,
stingy hosts are derided, and tribespeople who mistreat orphans, stepchildren, or captives are often harshly
punished. (It was the custom in many tribes for prisoners-of-war to be adopted into the tribe
that captured them, and although many former captives integrated easily into their new
families, there were some who were badly treated. This was naturally a matter of great concern
among Native American tribes, since they had to trust one another to treat each others' captives fairly.
The concern about abuse of orphans, stepchildren, and adopted children is nearly universal in world folklore,
since such children can easily 'fall through the cracks' if their community doesn't look out for them.)
Here is our collection of Native American legends and traditional stories about hospitality.
Legends About Hospitality
Story about a Penobscot girl's escape from cruel captors with the help of a medicine child.
The Loyal Sweetheart:
Passamaquoddy story about a war party rewarded for treating a captive girl honorably.
A Little Boy Who Brought Good Luck:
Passamaquoddy story about a old couple rewarded for their kindness to an orphan and his dog.
Mooin, the Bear's Child:
Mi'kmaq story about a stepfather slain by Glooskap for abandoning his stepson.
The Girl and the Chenoo:
Passamaquoddy story about a girl whose hospitality and kindness turn an ice monster human.
The Creator Visits:
Micmac story about the Creator blessing a poor family for their hospitality.
Izignapogos, the Half-Stone Man:
Maliseet story about a giant punished for sharing only poor-quality meat with guests.
The Kidnapping of Glooskap's Family A Wizard Carries Off Glooscap's Housekeeper Glooskap and Winpe:
Three versions of a Mi'kmaq legend in which a giant captures the family of the culture hero Glooskap. Note that
Glooskap only kills the giant (and/or his son) in the two versions in which he has poorly treated his captives.
The Flying Canoe:
Passamaquoddy story in which a crippled old lady gives wondrous gifts to a man who shared food with her.
The Lazy Rabbit Rabbit Goes Duck Hunting Rabbit and Otter:
"Bungling host" stories from many different eastern tribes about Rabbit's embarrassing incompetence at feeding his guests.
Why Coyote Stopped Imitating His Friends: Coyote Imitates His Hosts: When Coyote Imitated Woodpecker:
Similar legends from the Caddo tribe, in which Coyote is so desperate to show hospitality to his friends that he
makes a fool of himself.
The Badger and the Bear:
Lakota legend of a generous badger whose hospitality is abused by an aggressive bear, until a spirit warrior delivers justice.
The Coming of Corn:
Sauk legend about the a corn goddess who rewards two hunters for their hospitality.
Story from a Cree elder illustrating the traditional value of hospitality.
Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends
Northwest Coast legend about an orphan boy abandoned by his tribe, who nonetheless returned to help them with important eagle medicine.
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