Origin Of Corn

The Origin of Corn - as told by Cushman, a Choctaw Elder
 
In the days of many moons ago, two Choctaw hunters were encamped for the night in the
swamps of the bend of the Alabama River.... The two hunters, having been unsuccessful
in the chase on that and the preceding day, found themselves  that night with nothing 
to satisfy the cravings of hunger, except a black hawk  they had shot with
an arrow.
 
Sad reflections filled their hearts, as they thought of their  disappointments and of
their suffering families at home. While their gloomy future spread over them, its dark pall
of despondency promising doom, it served to render them quite unhappy, indeed.
 
They cooked the hawk in their desperation and , as they sat down to partake in their poor and meager supper;  suddenly, their
 attention was drawn from their gloomy forebodings by faint but distinct sounds; they were unusual,strange
yet soft and plaintive as the melancholy notes of the dove, but produced by what they were
 unable to even imagine.
 
At different intervals, it broke the deep silence of the early night with its seemingly muffled notes of woe; and, as the nearly full moon slowly ascended the eastern sky, the
strange sounds became more frequent and distinct.
 
With eyes dilated and fluttering hearts, they looked up and down the river to learn whence
the sounds came from, but no object except the sandy shores glittering in the moonlight
 greeted their eyes, while the dark waters of the river seemed alone to give response in
 murmuring tones to the strange sounds that continued to float upon the night air from a
direction they could not definitely locate; but, happening to look behind them in the
direction opposite the moon, they saw a woman of wonderful beauty standing upon a mound
a few yards away from them.
 
Like an illuminated shadow, she had suddenly appeared out of the moon- lit forest.
She was loosely clad in snow-white garment and bore in the folds of her drapery a wreath
 of fragrant flowers. She beckoned them to approach, while she seemed surrounded by a
halo of light that gave to her a supernatural appearance.
 
Their imagination now influenced them to believe her to be the Great Spirit of their
Nation, and that the flowers she bore were representatives of loved ones who had passed
from Earth to bloom in the Spirit Land ...
 
The mystery was solved. At once, they approached the spot where she stood and offered
their assistance in any way they could be of service to her. She replied she was very
 hungry, whereupon one of them ran and brought the roasted hawk and handed it to her.
 
She accepted it with grateful thanks; but, after eating a small portion of it, she handed
the remainder back to them replying that she would remember their kindness when she
returned to her home. Her home being in the happy hunting grounds of her father, who was Shilup Chitoh
Osh - The Great Spirit of the Choctaws. She then told them that, on the next mid-summer
moon coming, they were to meet her at the same mound upon which she was  standing.
 
She then bade them an affectionate adieu and was at once carried away upon a gentle breeze
 and, as mysteriously as she came, so she disappeared. The two hunters returned to camp
 for the night and, early the next morning , sought their homes, but kept the strange incident
to themselves, a profound secret.
 
When the designated time rolled around, the mid-summer full moon found the two hunters at
the foot of the mound - but Ohoyo Chishba Osh was nowhere to be seen. Then, remembering she
told them they were to come to the very spot where she was then standing, they immediately ascended
 the mound and found it covered with a strange plant, they had never seen before. This plant yielded an excellent food crop, which  was forever afterwards cultivated by the Choctaws, and named by them Tunchi (corn).