Legend of the Wambutee

Long ago there were twin brothers, Harembee and Dorcorta, the youngest sons of Matross, the king of all the gods who lived on an island in the sky. Harembee was known as the wisest of all of Matross’ children, while Dorcorta was known as the trickster. Harembee also had two children, and these were the first of the Tintinra tribe. Harembee was so happy with his children that he left his brother, Dorcorta, and lived alone with them. He was the first god to do such a thing, and this made Dorcorta mad. So one night while Harembee slept, Dorcorta snuck into his home and cast his children down to the Earth. It was law of the land that once you left the sky island you could never return, so Harembee wept greatly at the loss of his children. Once he discovered that Dorcorta was responsible, Harembee cast him off of the island as well. That only made Dorcorta’s hatred of the Harembee’s children even greater than it was before. Harembee begged his older brother, Tetros, to shape a place in this world for his children to live in. Tetros took pity on his brother and shaped the Tintinra valley. To help his children to survive, Harembee gave them the sacred animals.

The sacred animals were revealed to us one at a time in our times of need. Our people were young and we didn’t know how to survive on our own. When our tribe was small, we lived off of what we could find in the woods. Many times, we went hungry. Until one day we were visited by Teekata, the sacred raven. He was found sitting up in a tree, a large eagle-sized raven that was as black as a moonless night. His legs and beak were covered in raised golden and silver bumps. He looked down from the tree at us and cawed, spitting out seeds. He cawed and cawed, spitting out more and more seeds. Our people didn’t know what seeds were, so Teekata flew down from his tree and poked the earth with his beak and put one of the seeds into the hole. He looked at us, then the pile of seeds, and then the hole. We stared at Teekata while he kept doing this until one of us came forward and planted the seeds in the way Teekata showed us. After that Teekata shook his body and many feathers fell off of him and landed over the places where the seeds were buried. Then he flew away into the air. The seeds began to grow almost instantly, and produced a harvest the likes of which have not been seen since. So from that day on, our people collected raven feathers they found in the woods in the hopes that some of them would be Teekata’s  and placed them with the seeds during the planting season hoping for another amazing harvest. That was how Teekata the sacred raven gave my people farming, so that we could settle in the Tintinra valley.

Our people gained mastery over the rivers and lakes of the Tintinra valley with the aid of two other sacred beasts. Our people had mastered hunting since our early days, and with the help of Teekata we had mastered farming, but we would stare hungrily at the fish that swam in the river that flowed through our valley. Once, Dorcorta appeared before us and told us that if we held our heads underwater we could catch the fish in our mouth. Dorcorta showed us how by sticking his head underwater and using his god powers to make a fish swim into his mouth right away. Many of our people tried this, but none succeeded and many of our people drowned because of this. That is when Windacatra the great bear appeared. He was ten feet tall, standing on his hi d legs. He was covered in bright red fur except for on his stomach where it was white.  His arms and legs also had white fur on them in the shape of the ancient symbol of the guardian. He had four eyes upon his face, claws the size of daggers that left deep furrows wherever he walked, and a mouth full of gleaming white teeth. . When he growled, he sent ripples through the waters. When he roared, great waves would buffet the shore.

He stared at Dorcorta and growled, and then dropped down on all fours and charged Dorcorta. Those great and mighty paws swiped at him, sending Dorcorta flying up above the trees.  Dorcorta transformed into a crow and flew away over the forest.

Windacatra then walked up to the river and almost instantly the river was teeming with salmon, bass, perch, pike, and all other manner of fish. He swatted his paw into the river and knocked a fish up onto the shore by one of our braves. Then he stared at us. Finally one of the young men, known from then on as Riverdancer stepped into the water and swiped his arm at a fish and knocked it up onto the bank. Many of our people walked into the river and tried this and we caught a great harvest from the river. This was how our people learned to fish the rivers, and it has been a tradition that whenever our people went fishing we would leave the biggest fish that we caught on the shore for Windacatra to thank him for teaching us. We also always keep our eyes out for where Windacatra is along the river because we know that the fish are there in abundance.

We learned to be true masters of the waterways thanks to the guidance of Sombarol, the beaver. Long ago, Dorcorta appeared in our village as a terrible lake monster, a terrible giant turtle. He stole all of the children of the village away from us and took them out into the center of the lake where there is an island. He said, “Since you are the Tintinra, the people of Harembee, I will take your children and make a new tribe that will worship me for creating them.” My people wept and mourned when we heard this because we did not know of a way to reach the Island in the middle of the lake, for none of the people could swim that far.

That was when Sombarol popped out of the river, clambered onto the bank and walked up to a tree growing near the water’s edge. He began to gnaw at the base of the tree. It wasn’t until the tree fell with a loud crash on the river bank that we turned to see what he was doing. The men of our tribe watched as Sombarol formed the tree trunk into a canoe with his teeth and formed paddles out of its branches. He pushed the canoe into the water and the braves of my tribe were delighted to behold the first boat that our people had ever seen. The men climbed into the canoe and paddled it into the center of the lake where they found all of the children except for two that Dorcorta had taken away. A young boy and a young girl were missing. They became later known as the Fandelia tribe, or the tribe that was stolen, and remain the enemies of the Tintinra to this day. Now my people always watch for the blue beaver with the golden tail, for the trees that he gnaws down we know he has chosen to be our canoes, and through his gifts we have become the most feared tribe on all of the waterways.

We have an ancient artifact to remind us of the only sacred beast to ever fall, the horn of the Wambutee. It is a white shaft of bone with raised bumps of blue and white. The forked tines of an antler, with a small bunch of what appears to be many white beads wrapped around near the base. There is a thin strap of leather that is tied under the rows of beads, with two blue beads tied in place along its length. For hundreds of years, our braves would bring back news of seeing the Wambutee while out hunting, an omen of war. Shortly after it was seen, invaders would always appear. It was like a sacred warning system, a gift from the god Harembee, the one who made our tribe of the Tintinra.

Thanks to the early warnings given to our people, we survived many difficulties and came to be known as the mightiest tribe on the continent. Dorcorta would appear to the young men of our tribe and convince them that they would not be men until they had fought in a war. So many young men of our tribe would go out and search for the Wambutee against the advice of the elders of the tribe. Many times the Wambutee remained elusive and eventually the young men would return feeling foolish, but at times it allowed itself to be found, and it lead to unnecessary bloodshed.

Often at the harvest, our people would take some of the corn that we had grown and leave it in the forest to thank the Wambutee for keeping our tribe protected once again. We still pass on the story of the last time the Wambutee was seen. Hunters were out looking for food for the tribe and the Wambutee was spotted. The hunters immediately turned to go back and warn the village of what they had seen when the sound of thunder rang out through the clearing that they were in. The hunters turned and saw the Wambutee fall, and it made a sound of such pain and sadness that the very leaves fell from the trees to grieve for the falling of such an ancient guardian of our people. The trees left their branches bare all through the fall and the winter in tribute to the Wambutee, leaving their bared branches in the shape of a deer horn.  A portion of the Wambutee’s horn broke when it fell and landed at the feet of the chief’s son, and that very horn has been passed from chief to chief to this day. Strange men were at the other side of the clearing, invaders from across the ocean brought here by Dorcorta and one of them was holding a metal stick with smoke coming out of the end of it. Our hunters turned and fled as fast as they could.

When the hunters returned to the village and told the people what had happened, all the people fell and grieved for the loss of the Wambutee. The men were determined to drive these invaders from our land and went out into the forest to defend us. Many of the invaders fell before the arrows, spears, and daggers of our tribes, but in the end, the invaders smoke sticks took a toll on our people, and few of the warriors returned.  Our people nursed their wounded and hoped that the invaders had left our village for good, but they returned, and in greater numbers than when we had faced them the first time. Our people had no choice but surrender, and we were taken captive and taken back over the ocean to the invaders’ homeland, a world made of stone and metal and wood. We became a part of their world, but we kept our stories, our traditions, and the horn of the Wambutee.

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