American Indian language history * American Indian culture * Indian nations

Native American Stories About Laziness

The perils of laziness are warned of in the religions, literature, and children's stories of every culture in the world, and Native American cultures are no exception. This theme is especially common in Native American teaching stories for children, in which lazy trickster animals get themselves into all kinds of trouble while children are often able to escape from ogres and other monsters through industrious teamwork. In Native American stories aimed at adults, the laziness of tricksters is more nuanced-- their lazy behavior is often derided by other characters and mocked by the storytellers, but at the same time no one can help but admire their ingenuity in escaping from their responsibilities.

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Legends About Laziness

Gluskabe Changes Maple Syrup * Gluskabe the Transformer * How the Indians Got Maple Sugar * When Living Was Easy:
    Abenaki and Chippewa Indian myths about the culture hero teaching the people not to be lazy.
The Lazy Rabbit * Rabbit Goes Duck Hunting * Rabbit and Otter:
    "Bungling host" stories from many different eastern tribes, in which Rabbit unsuccessfully tries to mimic how other animals procure food.
    (This is often described as "laziness" by Native storytellers-- Rabbit is refusing to work hard to gather food properly, instead looking for a "get rich quick" solution.)
The Hungry Fox and the Boastful Suitor:
    Iroquois legend about a man who is too lazy and full of himself to win a wife.
*Lazy One and the Meadow Dandelion * Shawondasee and the Golden Girl:
    Ojibway folktales about the lazy South Wind falling in love with the Dandelion.
*The Fire-Leggings:
    Blackfoot story about a lazy trickster unsuccessfully trying to wear the Sun's pants.
*The Lazy Boys Who Became The Pleiades:
    Caddo legend explaining why the Pleiades are too lazy to be seen in springtime.

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends
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Rabbit and the Well:
    Children's book based on a Cherokee legend about the lazy trickster Rabbit trying to steal water instead of working to build a well.

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