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Native Languages of the Americas:
Narragansett Indian Legends and Stories

This is our collection of links to Narragansett folktales and traditional stories that can be read online. We have indexed our Native American legends section by tribe to make them easier to locate; however, variants on the same legend are often told by American Indians from different tribes, especially if those tribes are kinfolk or neighbors to each other. In particular, though these legends come from the Narragansetts, the traditional stories of related tribes like the Wampanoag and Mohican tribes are very similar.

Enjoy the stories! If you would like to recommend a Narragansett legend for this page or think one of the ones on here should be removed, please let us know.

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Important Narragansett Mythological Figures

Click on each character's name for more detailed information about his or her role in Narragansett mythology.

Cautantowwit (also spelled Kautantowit and other ways.) This means "Great Spirit," and is the Narragansett name for the Creator (God.) In most contexts just Manto (the Spirit) is used. Cautantowwit is a divine spirit with no human form or attributes (including gender) and is never personified in Narragansett folklore. The name is pronounced similar to kaw-tan-toh-wit.

Wetucks (sometimes also called by the Mohegan name, Moshup.) Wetucks is a giant who is the culture hero of the Narragansett tribe (sometimes referred to as a "transformer" by folklorists.) Wetucks shares some similarities with other Algonquian heroes such as the Wabanaki Gluskabe and Anishinabe Nanabush.

Nikommo (also spelled Nickommo): Benevolent little people of the forest, in whose honor the Nikommo feasts are held.

Hobomock (also spelled Hobbamock or other ways): The manito (spirit) of death. A destructive, often evil being usually in opposition to Cautantowwit. After the introduction of Christianity, Narragansett people frequently identified Hobbomock with the Devil. He was also sometimes known as Chepi, meaning "ghost."

Thunder Being (Neimpa√Ľog): Few traditional Narragansett stories about the thunder beings have survived. They seem to have been anthropomorphic sky beings like the Thunders of the Lenape. Some modern Narragansett storytellers prefer to conceptualize them as Thunderbirds like the Anishinabe and related tribes do.

Narragansett Indian Folklore

*Rabbit's Wish For Snow:
    Narragansett legend, with audio of the storyteller recounting it.
*Nipmuc Creation Story:
    Nipmuc legend about the beginning of the world.
    Narragansett legend of the Great Flood.
*The Foolish Dogs:
    Narragansett story of how dogs lost their voices.
*Four Stages of Life:
    Nipmuck story about respect for one's elders.
*Legend of the Strawberry:
    Nipmuck version of a widely known Native American legend about strawberries and forgiveness.
*The Happy Hunting Ground:
    Traditional Narragansett beliefs about the afterlife.
*Nikommo and Hobbamock:
    Stories about these two Nipmuc/Narragansett spirit beings.

Recommended Books on Narragansett Mythology
Our organization earns a commission from any book bought through these links

Spirit of the New England Tribes:
    Collection of Wampanoag, Mohegan and Narragansett legends and traditional stories.
Turtle Island: Tales of the Algonquian Nations:
    Anthology of legends from the Narragansett and other Algonquian tribes.

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Additional Resources

 Native books of mythology
 Indian values and beliefs
 Narragansett powwow
 Narragansett Indian tribe
 Narragansett language
 Indian tribes of Rhode Island
 Northeastern Woodland tribes
 Facts about Indian people

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