Native Languages of the Americas: Narragansett Indian Legends
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 contact us and let us know.
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.
(sometimes also called by the Mohegan name, Maushop.)
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.
(also spelled Nickommo):
Benevolent little people of the forest, in whose honor the Nikommo feasts are held.
(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."
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.