Rainbow Myths and Legends

In myths and legends around the world the rainbow has played a magical, otherworldly symbol, whether as a bridge linking man to heaven, a messenger from the gods, a promise from God, an archer’s bow used by the gods, or a god-like serpent that could be ridden to the heavens. Below are some of the myths and legends associated with the rainbow:

An Australian Aboriginal Myth

The Rainbow Serpent

The serpent of aboriginal myth had many names across Australia, and parts of the story would vary from tribe to tribe, but essentially it was the same tale. The Rainbow Serpent, is a name which is still in use today by people and institutions all over the world to refer to this pan-Australian myth. The Rainbow Serpent is believed to have been named for the snake-like meandering of water across a landscape, and the color spectrum caused when sunlight strikes water at an appropriate angle relative to the observer.

The Rainbow Serpent created the universe and the people. The serpent was said to be closely associated with the rainbow, rain, rivers, and deep waterholes. The Rainbow Serpent is both a benevolent protector of its people and a malevolent punisher of law breakers. The rainbow serpent’s mythology has been closely linked to land, water, life, social relationships and fertility. According to the myth, the Rainbow Serpent descended from that larger universe being visible as a dark streak in the Milky Way. It revealed itself to people in this world as a rainbow as it moved through water and the rain, shaping landscapes, naming and singing of places, dreaming them into existence.

The Rainbow Serpent is found throughout Australian-Aboriginal native mythology and philosophy. It is one of their oldest and original concepts of their creation mythology. The Rainbow Serpent myth is believed by some to represent the world’s oldest continuous religious tradition. Aborigines have occupied Australia for at least 40,000 years. Originally coming from South East Asia, it is believed that Aborigines entered the continent from the North and migrating throughout Australia. Aborigines have an oral tradition where information is mainly passed on from one generation to another through storytelling, song, and dance. Prior to European settlement in Australia, it is estimated that there were over 200 different Aboriginal languages spoken, yet the Rainbow Serpent myth remains substantially intact throughout the entire continent.

Aboriginal art, mainly rock painting and engraving, was also used to pass on Aboriginal stories. This rock art is the oldest continuous living artistic tradition in the world, with Aboriginal rock paintings dating back between 6,000 to 8000 years and Aboriginal rock engravings dating as far back as 20,000 years, and possibly even older. Ancient paintings of the Rainbow Serpent have been preserved in caves across Australia. The earliest paintings appear in Arnhem Land more than 6000 years ago. The Rainbow Serpent myth is older than our civilization, which science tells us originated in Iraq and Egypt about 6000 years ago. The Rainbow Serpent myth must surely be one of the earliest human stories.

Two aspects of the Rainbow Serpent consistently turn up in the culture of the Aborigines; a female Rainbow Serpent, who is the mother, the original creator being; and a male Rainbow Serpent, who is the father, the transformer being. The Rainbow Serpent is traditionally associated with ceremonies to do with fertility and abundance, as well as the organization of the community and the keeping of peace. The belief in the Rainbow Serpent, a personification of fertility, richness in propagation of plants and animals and rain, is common throughout Australia. As the creator of human beings, the Rainbow Serpent has life-giving powers that send conception spirits to all the waterholes and bring regenerating rains. The Rainbow Serpent is also believed to be responsible for storms and floods when it acts as an agent of punishment against those who transgress the law. Aboriginal believers say that the Rainbow Serpent can strengthen and endow a person with magical rainmaking and healing powers. They also believe that the Rainbow Serpent can swallow and drown people and cause sores, weakness, illness, and even death.

Some believe that the myth of the Rainbow Serpent may have originated through the Aboriginal people’s association with several large, now extinct, prehistoric snakes of the genus Wonambi. These prehistoric snakes are two species of the now extinct Australian megafauna. Megafauna refers to a collection of gigantic prehistoric animal species, many of which co-existed with ancient Aborigines and can be found depicted in their rock art. First described from fossils collected at Naracoorte and Riversleigh in South Australia in the 1970’s, Wonambi naracoortensis was a giant 5-6 meter snake. It was the first extinct snake to be found in Australia. Another species, Wonambi Barriei, was later found in Western Australia.

The name Wonambi is the name of the serpent of the Dreamtime in the stories told by the local Aboriginal people of Naracoorte. These are stories of the Rainbow Serpent myth. The Wonambi belongs to the Madtsoiidae family of snakes, which became extinct in other parts of the world around 55 million years ago. The Wonambi continued to survive in Australia until becoming extinct during the last 50,000 years. Wonambi naracoortensis lived during the Pleistocene Ice age in natural suntraps next to local waterholes. The snake was a constrictor and would ambush kangaroo, wallaby and other prey coming to the waterhole to drink. It is because of dangers such as these, that Aboriginal children were forbidden to visit waterholes, unless accompanied by an adult.

Interestingly, the fossil locations of the Wonambi Barriei in Western Australia have been found to closely correlate to areas that the Noongar people regard as sacred sites. The discovery of these two prehistoric snakes suggested that the Aborigines interaction with these giant snakes may have been the origin of the Rainbow Serpent myth that has been orally passed from generation to generation for more than 40,000 years. There is also evidence that Aborigines accurately documented the eruption of ancient volcanos some 30,000 years ago in Australia, including the inactive volcano Tower Hill on the south-west coast of Victoria.

Australia also has an annual Rainbow Serpent Festival. The Rainbow Serpent Festival is one of Australia’s premier outdoor alternative lifestyle, music and arts festivals attaching more than 10,000 visitors each year.


Mayan Mythology

In Mayan mythology the serpent was also a very important social and religious symbol. Mayan mythology describes serpents as being the vehicles by which celestial bodies, such as the sun and stars, cross the heavens. One of the main Mayan gods was Quetzalcoatl, who was represented as a colorful feathered serpent. The name Quetzalcoatl means “precious serpent”. Like the Australian Aborigines, the Mayans believed that they could communicate with a being which they described as the vision serpent. The Mayans used various mystical means to communicate with the vision serpent, including bloodletting rituals, and the use of entheogens.

The Mayan Goddess, Ixchel is one of the greatest of the Maya pantheon and is known as Goddess of the Moon, Water, Weaving and Childbirth; and she was often associated with fertility, and procreation. Ixchel means “Lady Rainbow” in the Mayan language. IxChel was the wife of the Mayan God Itzamna, and they were the progenitors of all the other gods. She is often depicted carrying a serpent and a jug of water. Mayans believed that the serpent was her assistant and symbolized regeneration, life cycles, fertility, and the power of sexuality in magic and medicine. They also believed that when Ixchel was angered, she would overturned her jug to send floods and hurricanes. Note that these beliefs are similar in many ways to the Australian Aborigine’s beliefs about the Rainbow Serpent.


An Ojibwe Creation Tale

How the Rainbow Was Made

One day when the earth was new, Nanabozho looked out the window of his house beside the wide waterfall and realized that all of the flowers in his meadow were exactly the same white color. How boring! He decided to make a change, so he gathered up his paints and his paintbrushes and went out to the meadow. Nanabozho sat down in the tall grass and arranged his red and orange and yellow and green and blue and violet paint pots next to him. Then he began to paint the flowers in his meadow in many different colors. He painted the violets dark blue and the tiger lilies orange with brown dots. He made the roses red and pink and purple. He painted the pansies in every color combination he could think of. Then he painted every single daffodil bright yellow. Nanabozho hummed happily to himself as he worked in the brilliant daylight provided by Brother Sun. Overhead, two little bluebirds were playing games with each other. The first little bluebird would chase his friend across the meadow one way. Then they would turn around and the second bluebird would chase him back the other way. Zippity-zip went the first bluebird as he raced across the sky. Zappity-zing went the second bluebird as he chased him in the brilliant sunshine. Occasionally, Nanabozho would shade his eyes and look up into the endless blue sky to watch the two little birds playing.

Then he went back to work, painting yellow centers in the white daisies. Above him, the two birds decided to see how fast they could dive down to the green fields below them. The first bluebird sailed down and down, and then pulled himself up sharply just before he touched the ground. As he soared passed Nanabozho, his right wing dipped into the red paint pot. When the second bluebird dove toward the grass, his left wing grazed the orange paint pot. Nanabozho scolded the two birds, but they kept up their game, diving down toward the grass where he sat painting and then flying back up into the sky. Soon their feet and feathers were covered with paint of all colors. Finally Nanabozho stood up and waved his arms to scare the birds away.

Reluctantly, the bluebirds flew away from Nanabozho and his paint pots, looking for another game to play. They started chasing each other again, sailing this way and that over top of the giant waterfall that stood next to Nanabozho’s house. Zippity-zip, the first bluebird flew through the misty spray of the waterfall. The first bluebird left a long red paint streak against the sky. Zappity-zing, the second bluebird chased his friend through the mist, leaving an orange paint streak. Then the birds turned to go back the other way. This time, the first bluebird left a yellow paint streak and the second left a pretty blue-violet paint streak. As they raced back and forth, the colors grew more vivid. When Brother Sun shone on the colors, they sparkled radiantly through the mist of the waterfall. Below them, Nanabozho looked up in delight when the brilliant colors spilled over his meadow. A gorgeous arch of red and orange and yellow and green and blue and violet shimmered in the sky above the waterfall. Nanabozho smiled at the funny little bluebirds and said: “You have made a rainbow!” Nanabozho was so pleased that he left the rainbow permanently floating above his waterfall, its colors shimmering in the sunshine and the misting water. From that day to this, whenever Brother Sun shines his light on the rain or the mist, a beautiful rainbow forms. It is a reflection of the mighty rainbow that still stands over the waterfall at Nanabozho’s house.


An Achomawi Myth

The First Rainbow

Sixty little spider children shivered as they slept. The snow had fallen every day for months. All the animals were cold, hungry, and frightened. Food supplies were almost gone. No one knew what to do. Blue Jay and Redheaded Woodpecker sang and danced for Silver Gray Fox, the creator, who floats above the clouds. Since Silver Gray Fox, had made the whole world with a song and a dance, Blue jay and Woodpecker hoped to be answered with blue skies. But the snow kept falling. Finally the animals decided to ask Coyote. Coyote had been around a long time, almost since the beginning. They thought that he might know how to reach Silver Gray Fox. They went to the cave where Coyote was sleeping, told him their troubles, and asked for help. “Grrrrowwwlll…go away”, grumbled Coyote, “and let me think”. Coyote stuck his head into the cold air outside and thought till he caught an idea. He tried singing in little yelps and loud yowls to Silver Gray Fox. Coyote sang and sang, but Silver Gray Fox didn’t listen, or didn’t want to. After all, it was Coyote’s mischief-making when the world was new that had caused Silver Gray Fox to go away beyond the clouds in the first place. Coyote thought he’d better think some more. Suddenly he saw Spider Woman swinging down on a silky thread from the top of the tallest tree in the forest. Spider Woman’s been on Earth a long, long time, Coyote thought. She’s very wise. I’ll ask her what to do. Coyote went to the tree and lifted his ears to Spider Woman. “Spider Woman, O wise weaver, O clever one”, called Coyote in his sweetest voice. “We’re all cold and hungry and everyone’s afraid this winter will never end. Silver Gray Fox didn’t seem to notice. Can you help?”, asked Coyote. Spider Woman swayed her shining black body back and forth, back and forth, thinking and thinking, thinking and thinking. Her eight black eyes sparkled when she spoke, “I know how to reach Silver Gray Fox, Coyote, but I’m not the one for the work. Everyone will have to help. You’ll need my two youngest children, too. They’re little and light as dandelion fluff, and the fastest spinners in my web.” Spider Woman called up to her two littlest ones. “Spinnnnnn! Spinnnnnn!” They came down fast, each spinning on eight little legs, two fine, black twin Spider Boys, full of curiosity and fun. Spider Woman said, “My dear little quick ones, are you ready for a great adventure?” “Yes! Yes! We’re ready!” they cried. Spider Woman told them her plan, and the Spider Boys set off with Coyote in the snow. They hadn’t gone far when they met two White-Footed Mouse Brothers rooting around for seeds to eat. Coyote told them Spider Woman’s plan. “Will you help?” he asked. “Yes! Yes! We’ll help!” they squeaked. So they all traveled the trail towards Mount Shasta until they met Weasel Man looking hungry and even leaner than usual. Coyote told Weasel Man his plan. “Will you help?” asked Coyote. “Of course”, rasped Weasel Man, who joined them on the trail. Before long they came across Red Fox Woman swishing her big fluffy tail through the bushes. “Will you help?” asked Coyote. “Of course, I’ll come”, crooned Red Fox Woman. Then Rabbit Woman poked her head out of her hole. “I’ll come too.” She sneezed, shivering despite her thick fur. Meadowlark wrapped a winter shawl around her wings, and trudged after the others along the trail to the top of Mount Shasta. The snow had stopped, but the sky was still cloudy. On top of Mount Shasta, Coyote barked, “Will our two best archers step forward?” The two White Footed Mouse Brothers proudly lifted their bows. “Everyone listen”, barked Coyote. “If any one of us is only half-hearted, Spider Woman’s plan will fail. To get through the clouds to Silver Gray Fox, we must each share our powers, our thoughts, our dreams, our strength, and our songs whole-heartedly. Now, you White-Footed Mouse Brothers, I want you to shoot arrows at exactly the same spot in the sky.” Turning to the others, Coyote said, “Spider Boys, start spinning spider silk as fast as you can. Weasel Man, White-Footed Mouse Brothers, Red Fox Woman, Rabbit Woman, and I will sing and make music. We must sing with all our might or the Spider Boys won’t make it.” “One!” called Coyote. Everyone got ready. “Two!” counted out Coyote. The animals drew in deep breaths. The Mouse Brothers pulled back their bowstrings. “Three!” said the Coyote. Two arrows shot straight up and stuck at the same spot in the clouds. “Whiff! Wiff! Wiff Wiff!”, sang the White Footed Mouse Brothers. “Yiyipyipla!”, sang Red Fox Woman. “Wowooooolll!” sang Coyote. Rabbit Woman shook her magic rattle. Weasel Man beat his very old and worn elk-hide drum. The Spider Boys hurled out long lines of spider silk, weaving swiftly with all their legs. The animals sang up a whirlwind of sound to lift the spider silk until it caught on the arrows in the clouds. Then the Spider Twins scurried up the lines of silk and scrambled through the opening. All the while, down below, the animals continued singing, rattling and drumming. The little Spiders sank, breathless, onto the clouds. Silver Gray Fox spied them and called out, “What are you two doing here?” The Spider Boys bent low on their little legs and answered. “Silver Gray Fox, we bring greetings from our mother, Spider Woman, and all the creatures of the world below. We’ve come to ask if you’d please let the sun shine again. The whole world is cold. Everyone is hungry. Everyone is afraid spring will not return, ever.” They were so sincere and polite that Silver Gray Fox became gentler, and asked, “How did you two get up here?” The Spider Boys said, “Listen, can you hear the people singing? Can you hear the drum and rattle?” Silver Gray Fox heard the drum and rattle and the people singing. When the Spider Boys finished telling their story, Silver Gray Fox was pleased and told them, “I’m happy when creatures use their powers together. I’m especially glad to hear that Coyote’s been helping too. Your mother, Spider Woman, made a good plan. To reward all your hard work, I’ll create a sign to show that the skies will clear. And you may also help, but first picture the sun shining bright.” The Spider Boys thought hard and saw the sun sending out fierce rays in all directions. “Now, where sun rays meet the damp air” said Silver Gray Fox, “Picture a stripe of red, red as Woodpecker’s head. Add a stripe of blue nearby, blue as Blue Jay’s blue.” The Spider Boys thought hard, and great stripes appeared of red and blue. Silver Gray Fox chanted. “Now, in between, add stripes of orange, yellow and green!” The Spider Boys thought of this and dazzling their eyes, a beautiful arc of colors could be seen across the whole sky above the clouds. It was the very first rainbow. Meanwhile, down below, beneath the clouds, the animals and people were so cold, hungry, and tired that they had stopped singing and drumming. Spider Woman missed her two youngest children. Each day she missed them more. She blamed Coyote for the trouble. So did the other animals. Coyote slipped away silent, lonely and sad. Above, on the clouds, the twins rested. Their legs ached and their minds were tired. Silver Gray Fox said, “You did what I asked and kept it secret. That’s very difficult, so I’m giving you a special reward. On wet mornings, when the sun starts to shine, you’ll see what I mean.” Then the Spider Boys spun down to Earth, and ran back to their mother as fast as they could. Spider Woman cried for joy and wrapped all her legs around her two littlest children. Their fifty-eight sisters and brothers jumped up and down with happiness. All the animals gathered around to hear the Spider Boys’ story. When they finished, the Spider Boys cried, “Look up!” Everyone looked up to see that the clouds had drifted apart and there, like a bridge between the earth and the sky was a radiant arch – they could still see the very first rainbow. The sun began to warm the earth. Shoots of grass pushed up through the melting snow. Meadowlark blew her silver whistle of spring across the valley, calling streams and rivers to awake. Coyote came out of hiding, and racing to a distant hilltop, he gave a long, long howl of joy. The animals held a great feast to honor the rainbow, Silver Gray Fox, Spider Woman, the Spider Twins, Coyote, and the hard work everyone had done together. To this day, after the rain, when the sun comes out, dewdrops on spider webs shine with tiny rainbows. This is the spiders’ special reward.


A Philippine legend

Rainbow Legend

The Rainbow legend says that a long time ago, there was a farmer that had a small farm. One day he realizes that one of the walls he built a couple of days ago keeps getting knocked down by someone or something, tired of this happening he decided to wait and catch the responsible.

One evening while he was in guard he heard something strange near that wall, then he ran and surprises three star maidens. When they saw the farmer they ran trying to escape, two were able to do it while one was left behind.

The farmer then got a hold of the star maiden and felt in love with her, afraid that she would run away from him, he thinks in a way to stop this from happening, which is hide her magical wings.

Time went by and the farmer and star maiden got married and were blessed with the birth of a beautiful baby boy. They were happy for a long time, until one day that in one of the star maiden’s walk she found her magical wings near their house. She then thinks on her sisters and how much fun they use to have, and with this in mind she wears her wings back and with her son next to her, she flew back to her sisters leaving the farmer heart broken.

The gods saw this and felt pity for the tears of the farmer, so they decided to build a way for him to climb to the sky and see his son and wife, making a bridge of different colors.


A Philippine Myth

Bighari’s Rainbow

One day Bathala planned a journey to Earth to visit his faithful people. He called his children to bid them farewell. All of them came but Bighari, the Goddess of Flowers.

Bathala, who valued promptness, became angry because this was not the first time that Bighari missed their gathering, so he banished her from their heavenly kingdom.

Bighari, at that time, was at her garden on Earth. She wept bitterly when she was told of her banishment. But she sought to cope with her sorrow by causing her garden to bloom profusely.

The people that lived around her garden grew to love her more and more for bringing beauty to their lives. They resolved, after a time, to build her a bower so that they could see her garden even from a long distance.

And so they built it, and decked it all over with colorful blooms. Thereafter, whenever Bighari would travel, people would see her colorful bower against the sky – the Rainbow.


Lenni Lenape Myth

The Rainbow Crow

The Rainbow Crow was beautiful to hear and to see, back in the days when it never got cold, back in the ancient days, before the Snow Spirit appeared in the World. When the Snow Spirit appeared, all the people and animals were freezing and a messenger was selected to go up to Kijilamuh Ka’ong, The Creator who creates by thinking what will be. The messenger was to ask The Creator to think of the world as being warm again so that they would not all freeze to death.

Rainbow Crow was chosen to go and he flew upward for three days. When he got the Creator’s attention by singing beautifully, he begged the Creator to make it warm again, but the Creator said he could not, because he had thought of Cold and he could not unthink it. But he had not yet thought of fire, a thing that could warm the creatures even when it was cold. And so he poked a stick into the Sun until it began to burn, and then gave it to Rainbow Crow to carry back to earth for the creatures. The Creator told Rainbow Crow to hurry back before the fire burned out.

Rainbow Crow dove down and flew as fast as he could go. The burning stick charred all of his beautiful feathers until they were black and since he was carrying the stick in his beak, he breathed the smoke and heat until his voice was hoarse. And so the Rainbow Crow became black and had an unpleasant cawing voice forever after, but all the creatures honored him, for he had brought Tindeh, fire, for everyone to use.

The Crow is to this day, still honored by hunters and animals, who never kill it for food and, if you look closely at the Crow’s black feathers you can still see the many colors of the rainbow gleaming in the black.”


Tejas Legend

When the Rainbow Was Torn

There are flowers whose petals have in them part of the very colors belonging to the rainbow. These are the cactus flowers, the blooms which burst out like orange, red or yellow flame from the tips of the thorny cactus plants. It used to be that all these flowers were white, as some are now. But one day the rainbow gave most of them colors which they have kept up to this time.

The white cactus flowers used to turn up their faces and look at the bright bow that arched across the sky whenever the sun shone through the rain or mist. The two ends of the rainbow always touched the earth somewhere, and where they touched everything on the ground seemed to be washed in the rainbow’s colors. But the rainbow had never touched the cactus plants. Perhaps it was afraid of the sharp thorns that grew on them. The white cactus flowers always hoped that some day they would be bathed in bright colors. Yet the rainbow never came near them.

Once after a heavy rain the rainbow was up in the sky getting ready to send its two ends down to earth. The rainbow itself was heavy with raindrops. As its ends sank down it took care not to let them fall upon the thorns of the cactus plants. But, just as one of the ends was about to dip to the ground the rainbow suddenly saw a bed of cactus plants hidden in a little cluster of high grass. When it saw the plants the rainbow tried to lift its end again, but the end was so heavy with the raindrops that it kept sinking down, and at last it brushed across the cactus plants with their white flowers.

When this happened the thorns caught at the bands of colors to try to keep them for the flowers. The violet, indigo, blue and green bands slipped out of their way, but the yellow, red and orange bands became hung on the thorns. Just as soon as this happened the happy cactus flowers opened their petals wide and began to drink in the colors that were clinging to the plants. Before the rainbow had pulled itself loose from the thorns the white flowers had filled themselves with the colors and were now red and orange and yellow.


A Chickasaw Legend

Ababinili and the Humans

The Moon, Sun, Wind, Rainbow, Thunder, Fire and Water came to visit with Ababinili along with one human. Thunder asked Ababinili if he would make the people of the world his children. Ababinili told him. “No, they can’t be your children, but they can be your grandchildren. If anything arises which is heavy on the people of the world, you can help them with the weight of those things.”

The Sun asked the same question and Ababinili answered this way, “No, they can’t be your children, but they can be your friends and grandchildren. You can give them light to lead them through this life.”

Then the Moon asked if they could be his children. Ababinili said to him, “No, I can’t do that but they can be your nephews and friends.”

Fire then asked if the people of the world could be made his children, and Ababinili replied saying, “No, the people of this world can’t be your children, but they can be your grandchildren. You can keep them warn and cook their foods so they can eat well.”

Now Wind asked Ababinili if she could have the humans as her children, but again, Ababinili said, “No, they can’t be your children, but they can be your grandchildren so you can remove the unclean air and all kinds of diseases.

Next, Rainbow asked for the people of the earth to be hers. Ababinili replied saying, “No, they can’t be your children, but you can prevent floods and rainy weather when it’s not needed. In that way you can honor yourself.”

Then Water asked if he could be father to all the people of the earth. “No, the people of the earth can’t be your children. What you can do is wash them clean so they can live long and healthy lives.

Ababinili then said to all of them, “I have told you how to guide yourselves and what to do. You must remember that these children are my children.”

This is the story that the old ones used to tell us.


A Wyandot Legend

Why Leaves Have Many Colors in Autumn

This is the story of the battle fought by the Deer and the Bear in the land of the sky. The Bear was selfish and proud. He often made trouble among the animals of the Great Council. When he heard that the Deer had walked over the rainbow bridge into the sky land he was angry. “I will punish the Deer”, said the Bear. The Bear went to the Rainbow Bridge, with its beautiful, bright colors and he crossed over into the land of the sky. There he found the Deer and said to him, “This sky land is the home of the Little Turtle. Why did you come into this land? Why did you not come to meet us in the Great Council? Why did you not wait until all the animals could come to live here?” Then the Deer grew angry. Only the Wolf could ask him such questions. The Bear had no right to speak like that to the Deer. The Deer said to the Bear, “You have gone about making trouble among the animals long enough. You shall never do that again.” The Deer said that he would kill the Bear. The Deer arched his neck and tossed his head to show his long sharp antlers. The hair along the Deer’s back stood up and his eyes blazed, as if a fire burned in them. The Deer thought to slay the Bear with a single stroke of his sharp antlers. But the Bear was not afraid. The Bear’s claws were very strong. The Bear stood erect and ready for battle. The Bear’s deep growls shook the sky like rolling thunder. The battle between the Deer and the Bear was long and horrendous. The Bear was torn by the sharp, pointed antlers of the Deer.

When the other animals of the great Council heard the terrible noise, the Wolf decided that he should cross over the rainbow bridge into the land of the sky so that he could stop the senseless battle. All the animals had to obey the Wolf, so when the Deer saw the Wolf he turned and ran away from the Wolf. The Bear also fled along the path of the sky. As the Deer ran, the blood of the Bear dropped from his antlers. It fell down to the lower world and made the leaves of the trees many colors. Some were red, some were yellow, and some brown. Some were scarlet and some crimson. Now each year when the autumn comes the leaves of the trees take on these many colors. Our people say the blood of the Bear has again been thrown down from the sky upon the trees of the Great Island.


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