The Pheasant Beating Corn; Origin Of The Pheasant Dance
The Pheasant once saw a woman beating corn in a wooden mortar in front of the house. "I can do that, too," said he, but the woman would not believe it, so the Pheasant went into the woods and got upon a hollow log and "drummed" with his wings as a pheasant does, until the people in the house heard him and thought he was really beating corn.
There was once a winter famine among the birds and animals. No fallen nuts could be found in the woods, and they were near starvation. A Pheasant was walking on a bright sunny day in the woods not far from the village. He discovered a holly tree, loaded with red berries. Which the Pheasant is very fond of. He called to his companion birds, and they formed a circle about the tree. They began singing, dancing, and drumming with their wings in token of their joy. Some say this is the origin of the Pheasant dance done at Green Corn.
The Pheasant dance is part of the Green-corn Ceremony. It is done on the night of the relightning of the sacreed fire. The main instrument used in this dance is the hand drum. The dancers form two concentric circles, the men being on the inside, facing the women in the outer circle. Each in turn, advance and retreat towards each other at a signal from the drummer. This is usually a hard hit on the drum. The drummer does not dance but sits at one side singing the Pheasant song. The dancers beat the ground with their feet in imitation of the drumming sound made by the pheasant. This is done with a hard stomp step.