SOARING SPIRITS ... Large Beaded Thunderbird Medicine Bundle
Medicine Bag by Spirit Bear Creations

The Thunderbird

As Told By Akiwisilkie


When the Earth was new, Giants lived among the People. And the greatest of the Giants that then walked the Earth was Nasan. He stood 100 feet tall and each step he took was a mile long. Five feet wide was the space between his eyes, and his mouth, when it opened seemed as large as a valley. His teeth looked like the stumps of white birch trees when he smiled.


Nasan’s dwelling was at one end of the Earth on a very high mountain facing the Eastern Ocean, and his lodge was on the tallest peak of the mountain where the blue clouds met and passed each other. Nasan lived here all alone. He was a lonely Giant


One night, around the Council Fire of the Giants, it was agreed that the Evening Star Lady was the fairest of all the women known to the Great Ones of the World. The Evening Star was lovely and bright to see, rising and shining in the sky each night.


The People respected and feared all the Great Beings-The Great Spirit, all the Animal Gods, all the Bird Gods, and the Giants also-but they LOVED the Evening Star Lady.


She was many things to the People. Each night the calendar men of the tribes looked to the rising of the Evening Star as the time to make another cut in their calendar sticks. The Wanderer, the War Scout, and the Hunter returning home late at night always looked forward to the Evening Star to guide them on the trail. And to her only, young lovers sang happy songs and told the secrets in their hearts.


Now, Nasan was still lonely.


“A pity it is” he said to himself,”That I have no wife to mend my moccasins, to keep my lodge in order, and to cook for me.”


The Giant looked up in the sky at the Evening Star Lady. His heart leaped with delight as he beheld her brightness, and at once he knew that he had a great love for her. Nasan was DETERMINED to have the Evening Star Lady for his wife.


The Giant called for the OLD Needlewoman.


Out of the cave where she made her home came the one-eye Needlewoman. She came with her Witching Needles, her Magic Loom, and her Buckskin Bag of Medicine.


“Make me wings, Grandmother,” Nasan said to Needlewoman. “I wish to go to a journey to the Sky.”


The Needlewoman was very old. Her hair was white and her one good eye was grey and deep. Old she was, but her hands were quickmoving and her fingers nimble.


In the middle of the Forest, by the light of the Moon, while the Animals and the People slept, Needlewoman made the wings.


She took one thousand feathers from one hundred wild Birds, and she took the finest and strongest thread from the Grey Spiders who lived in the shadows of the Gloomy Hills where the mists linger. Needlewoman stitched and hitched. and with the thread she bound the feathers together.


She deftly wove the silver of Moonbeams, the breath of a fleet Deer, the speed of a darting arrow into the wings. Needlewoman made a paint from the bark of a Hemlock Tree, and she coloured the wings red. She then dipped the wings into the waters of the Great Lake of Salt, and thus made them strong.


Then Needlewoman called for Nasan. Only a Giant could carry these large and strong wings on his back. But Nasan was the greatest of the Giants, and the wings fit him well.


Nasan soared like a Bird right up to the Evening Star Lady.


He brought her a Buckskin Bead Bag and many white Shells, and he dropped Ermine skins and Buffalo robes at her feet. Nasan promised the Evening Star Lady he would do ANYTHING she ever wished, if she would make her home in his lodge.


The Evening Star Lady smiled at the Giant and put her arms around him. Off he flew with her to his mountain home.


The mext night the Evening Star Lady did not appear in the Sky. The Night was gloomy.


The People looked and looked, but the Evening Star no longer shone in the Sky at Night. The Night Wanderers became lost, the Calendar men could not keep the right time, and worst of all, the Lovers were dejected. Gone were their dreams, gone were their sweet songs, for gone was the Evening Star Lady, their Star of Love.


There was much sorrow among all the People. They assembled from Near and Far and cried out to the Great Spirit, who was the Ruler of the Sky:


“Oh Great Mystery, find and bring back for us the Evening Star Lady!”


The Great Spirit looked over the edge of the Sky and heard the cries of the People. The Great Spirit looked into his Know-It-All Medicine Bag and saw that the Evening Star Lady had flown off with Nasan the Giant.


The Great Spirit ordered Nasan to let the Evening Star Lady to return to her place in the Sky. But Nasan refused to give her up.


Now the Great Spirit got angry!

This was NOT GOOD!

He swore an Oath to punish the Giant.

The Great Spirit rattled his Great War Drum.
He sounded his War Cry!

Nasan, being a Giant, was also a Wizard who knew Mighty Magic.

When he heard the Great Spirit’s War Cry, Nasan pulled up a tall Pine Tree out of the Ground. He used the Tree, as he would a pencil, to draw a circle around his lodge. Four times he drew a ring around his home, and by placing a Strong Charm over the inside of the circle, made it a magic zone where no harm could come to him.

The Great Spirit rode the Winds to the mountain home of Nasan. With his hands he shook the mountain.

The grass flew and many trees fell as the mountain rocked.But the grass within the magic ring all around Nasan’s lodge stood still, the trees were unshaken and the Giant’s lodge did not fall.

The Great Spirit breathed upon the mountain.

His Breath was fierce and burning, and out of it there came a roaring of fire and smoke that swept over the mountain, scorching all the land before it. But the fire crumbled to cold ashes at the edge of Nasan’s charmed circle.

Truly, there was Strong Medicine in the Giant’s magic.


The Great Spirit sent 500 Dark Shapes and Weird Forms to the home of Nasan. They could go no further than the outside of the circle.


The Great Spirit sent Cold and he sent Floods. But these also failed to cross the edge of the ring. It was like a strong wall; nothing could pass it.


Now, the Great Spirit, who knew EVERYTHING, knew that the Evening Star Lady desired above all things a robe of white deerskin. Through the Evening Star Lady, then, He would lure Nasan out of the protection of his magic circle.


The Great Spirit went to the Chief of the Ants and instructed him what to do and say.


The Chief of the Ants took his people to the mountain where Nasan lived, and the Ants began to eat holes in the mountain. They dug and dug their way upwards until they came right underneath the floor of Nasan’s lodge.


That night, as Nasan and the Evening Star Lady lay down to sleep, they heard voices beneath them. The Giant and the Evening Star Lady, like all the Great Beings, knew the languages of all Creatures-whether Human, Bird, Animal or Insect. Nasan and the Evening Star Lady put their ears to the earth floor of the lodge and the words of the Ants reached them from the ground underneath their sleeping blankets.


“One must see this wondrous White Deer for himself.” said one Ant.


“Is it really all white?” another asked.


“Whiter than Snow, the Clouds, or Silver. White beyond all belief is this Deer.”


The Ants talked in very loud voices to make certain that Nasan and the Evening Star Lady would hear.


“Where does this snow white Deer live?” asked one Ant.


“This astounding white Deer runs wild and free in the nearby Forest of the Hemlock Trees.”


“Surely,” said another Ant,” it is the only white Deer in the World.”

The Evening Star Lady could not sleep that night knowing there was a white Deer nearby, and during the day she could not rest for thinking about the beautiful white robe its skin would make for her. The Evening Star Lady felt she couldn’t LIVE without such a robe.


“Husband,” she said to Nasan, “I am most anxious for a white deerskin robe.”


So great was Nasan’s love for the Evening Star Lady, so strong was her wish, that he agreed to go on a hunt for the white Deer.


The Giant set out down the mountain for the Forest of the Hemlock Trees. He moved cautiously, knowing that the Great Spirit was still on the Warpath against him.


The Great Spirit, who was hiding behind a grey Cloud in the Sky, watched Nasan leave his lodge. The Great Spirit was pleased that his plan had succeeded! He knew that no amount of caution could save Nasan from him once the Giant left the protection of the charmed circle.


The minute that Nasan stepped across the the magic circle, the Great Spirit came out of his hiding place in the Sky and seized him. With ten thousand phantom hands the Great Spirit held Nasan. Sharper than spears were the Great Spirit’s fingers. Stronger than the Bull Moose, stronger than the Oak Tree, were his hands.


With a roar that echoed across the Earth, Nasan tried to break away, but the Great Spirit’s hands held the Giant on all sides. Like ten thousand hammers the fists of the Great Spirit beat pain against Nasan’s bones.


Each way the Giant turned and fought, he was beaten back by the phantom hands.


Nasan clutched at the hands he could not see and grappled fiercely with them. But for every hand he tore away from his body, ten more seized him!


The shouts of the Great Spirit and the Giant were fearsome to hear, and the Earth shook as they fought with each other.

The fight continued from mountain to plain. Four suns, four moons, the Great Spirit and the Giant fought each other.


Nasan crashed over mountains and staggered backwards into the great broad rivers. The Great Spirit marveled at Nasan’s strength. Truly, he was the mightiest of Giants!


But the Giant fell to Earth at last, exhausted and beaten. The ground shook and crumbled and became a valley where he fell.


Thus, the Great Spirit captured Nasan and pulled him up to the Sky.


The Great Spirit was not wicked or cruel, and he admired those who battled bravely and well. The Giant, however, had disobeyed the Great Spirit’s command, and brave or not, he had to be punished

The Great Spirit changed the Giant into a large and awesome Eagle.


“Your name shall be Thunderbird, Ruler of the Thunder and the Lightning.,” the Great Spirit told Nasan. “Once the Greatest of All Giants, you are NOW the mightiest of ALL BIRDS!”


The Evening Star Lady was sent back to her place in the Sky, and once more there was joy among the People.


Around the World, Thunderbird now flies, the Maker of the Storm Clouds and a Wanderer of the Dark Skies. His voice is the noise of the Thunder and the flash of Lightning is the flapping of his wings.


The People’s Children do not fear the Thunder and Lightning, not even at Night when it awakens them from their sleep. They KNOW it is Nasan the Giant who became the Thunderbird.