Legend of The Corn Husk Doll
Submitted by Native Beads
There is a legend among the Oneida about why the Corn Husk Doll has no face.
“So, long ago when the Creator created everything on this earth, He created it with certain duties and responsibilities. The men were responsible for hunting and fishing and providing shelter for the families, and the women were responsible for working in the gardens and cooking the food and taking care of the children. When the parents were out doing their responsibilities, the children were being left alone and getting into trouble.
The boys might shoot their arrows into the woods and they’d go to find them and get lost. And, the girls were getting into trouble, or they might get too close to the fire and get burned. The parents were having a hard time doing their responsibilities and taking care of the children, so they went to the Creator and they asked the Creator for help – to make something to take care of the children.
So the Creator made the cornhusk doll, and it was one of the most beautiful creations ever made. The doll had a beautiful face and had the power to walk and talk. Cornhusk doll’s responsibility was to take care of the children, so the parents could get their work done.
The Corn Husk doll did a really good job of taking care of the children and taught them many things. Corn Husk doll taught the little boys to hunt and the little girls to cook. Corn Husk doll loved the babies and told them many stories.
One day, a rain storm came to the village.
Grandfather Thunder came and he shook his head and rain drops would fall from his hair. Lightning would come from his eyes. Thunder would roar through his mouth. Corn Husk doll gathered all the children into the long house and told them stories.
When Grandfather Thunder decided to move to another village, Corn Husk doll took the children outside to play. Corn Husk doll found a pool of water and when she looked in the pool, she saw her reflection. Corn Husk doll saw she was very beautiful and became vain about her good looks.
From that day on instead of watching the children, Corn Husk doll would only look at her reflection in the water. She gathered flowers to put in her hair and Corn Husk doll sewed seashells on her dress to make herself look more beautiful. Corn Husk doll was spending so much time looking at her reflection that she was not watching the children.
The children were getting into trouble and getting hurt. The parents were upset and told the Creator that the Corn Husk doll was not watching the children.
The Creator called Corn Husk doll and scolded her for not watching the children. As a punishment, he sent the Owl to take away her face and her power to walk and talk.
From then on, the Oneida make corn husk dolls without faces to remind us that we must not be vain and we have a duties and responsibilities that must be done.”
The Corn Husk Doll used to illustrate this story is available in this Etsy store:
Native Beads is a regular contributor to our thread. She is a talented beadweaver, author of several books on beading, teaches beading at the Beaded Iris in Albuquerque, NM. She also is a soap/lotion maker and gourd artist. She is one of the “Fab Five” who gathered in April. Here is a sample of her wonderful work.
To see more of her work, please go to:
Wado Native Beads for sharing this story, enriching our thread through your participation and for just being YOU!