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Mitos y Leyendas: The Corn of the Chippewa People

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Shutterstock, Chippewa Corn Legend
  • Mitos y Leyendas shares the Chippewa Legend of Corn.
  • A story that reminds us of the connection we have with our Earth.
  • Also, one that invites reflection about the waste we sometimes commit.

Many years ago, in a land inhabited by the Chippewa people, there was a magnificent cornfield that seemed to have no end.

The harvest was so abundant that the community members became proud, arrogant, and wasteful.

They ate more than necessary and allowed the grains to rot in the fields. The children played with the cobs, tossing them carelessly into the sky.

When the people were satiated, they buried the remaining corn and went hunting.

The Chippewa Legend of Corn

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However, even though deer and rabbits were plentiful in large herds, the hunters could not capture a single one.

It seemed as if they were shooting their arrows blindly, as the animals always evaded their shots. Fresh food became scarce, and soon the community exhausted the reserves they had brought with them.

Hunger began to take hold of them, and they realized that they had forgotten the corn they had stored in their homes.

They sent some men to retrieve the corn, but sadly, the mice had found it first and eaten it all.

A Man Chooses to Isolate Himself in the Forest

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Sadness and desperation filled the community. They wondered why they were being punished and kept looking for answers while playing their drums and singing special songs.

However, there was one man who hadn’t wasted any corn and was really sad about how the gift from the Great Master of Life had been treated.

He chose to leave and look for peace in the forest. As he walked away, he could hear the drums and songs far away.

After a while, he found a clearing in the middle of a tiny swamp. There he found a small hill of dirt with a sort of small house made of poplar wood.

The God of Corn

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From inside the hut, he heard moans and laments. His curiosity led him inside, where he found a small being lying on dirty, old skins. This being was pale, sick, and helpless.

The small being began to speak and revealed his identity: he was the Spirit of Corn. He explained how he had been mistreated and abandoned in that place, and how his suffering had brought hunger and misfortune to the community.

He reminded them all that friends should not hurt each other.

After hearing this, the visitor was moved upon realizing who this being was and listened attentively to his laments.

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The Spirit of Corn kept talking about his very sad situation, without water or clothes, and surrounded by scary animals from the woods that wanted to eat him.

This visitor promised to go back to his people and tell them what he had seen. The Spirit of Corn reminded everyone how important it was to look after and respect the corn, the holy gift they got.

Keeping this promise in mind, the visitor went back to the camp and told the story of the Spirit of Corn to his people.

The people were really touched and understood how serious their actions were. They went back to their forgotten fields, where unwanted plants had grown, and got them ready for planting.

Respect for the Harvest

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With care and respect, they planted the remaining corn grains and sang sacred chants during the sowing.

They waited patiently until harvest time and, to their joy, obtained an abundant harvest. They learned the lesson to respect corn and not waste its blessings.

When they went hunting again, they were successful, as they had changed their attitudes and repented of their greed and waste. Thus, the Chippewa community learned the importance of caring for and valuing the gifts provided by the Earth and how waste and disrespect could lead to misfortune.

From that day on, they honored the Spirit of Corn and lived in harmony with nature, showing gratitude for its blessings. Genny de Bernardo says goodbye and hopes you enjoyed the Chippewa legend of corn and says see you later!

Mitos y Leyendas
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