Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Native American Belief in Fairies

Native American Belief in Fairies





Fairies. — The fairies who figure in the folk-lore of every European 
nation also exist in the mythologies of the American Indians, but have
not been studied there to any extent. When we know more about them
we can decide whether " fairies " is the right name for these products of
Indian imagination. Some of them inspire terror, while others are innoc-
uous or beneficial to mankind. The Creek Indians, once in Alabama and
Georgia, now in the Indian Territory, call them f sti lupu'tski, or " little
people," but distinguish two sorts, the one being longer, the others shorter,
in stature. The taller ones are called, from this very peculiarity, i'sti tsa'-
ptsagi; the shorter, or dwarfish ones, subdivide themselves again into (a)
itu'-uf-asa'ki and (b) i'sti tsd'htsa'na. Both are archaic terms, no longer un-
derstood by the present generation, but itu'-uf means " in the woods," and
the whole designation of (a) probably signifies " found in the deep forest."
The i'sti tsd'htsdna are the cause of a crazed condition of mind, which
makes Indians run away from their lodges. No others can see these last-
mentioned little folks except the Indians who are seized in this manner
by a sudden craze. The Klamath Indians of Oregon know of a dwarf,
na'hni'as, whose tracks are sometimes seen in the snow. Only those in-
itiated into conjurer's mysteries can see him. His footprints are not larger
than those of a babe, and the name points to a being which swings the
body from one side to the other when walking. It is doubtful if this genius
can be brought under the category of the fairies. — A. S. Gatschet, Wash-
ington, D. C.