Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

The Origin of Strawberries

A Cherokee Myth

When the first man was created and a mate was given to him, they lived together very happily for a time, but then began to quarrel, until at last the woman left her husband and started off toward Nûñâgûñ’yï, the Sun land, in the east. The man followed alone and grieving, but the woman kept on steadily ahead and never looked behind, until Une’`länûñ’hï, the great Apportioner (the Sun), took pity on him and asked him if he was still angry with his wife. He said he was not, and Une’`länûñ’hï then asked him if he would like to have her back again, to which he eagerly answered yes.

So Une’`länûñ’hï caused a patch of the finest ripe huckleberries to spring up along the path in front of the woman, but she passed by without paving any attention to them. Farther on he put a clump Of blackberries, but these also she refused to notice. Other fruits, one, two, and three, and then some trees covered with beautiful red service berries, were placed beside the path to tempt her, but she still went on until suddenly she saw in front a patch of large ripe strawberries, the first ever known. She stooped to gather a few to eat, and as she picked them she chanced to turn her face to the west, and at once the memory of her husband came back to her and she found herself unable to go on. She sat down, but the longer she waited the stronger became her desire for her husband, and at last she gathered a bunch of the finest berries and started back along the path to give them to him. He met her kindly and they went home together.


Public Domain. From Myths of the Cherokee by James Mooney. From Nineteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology 1897-98, Part I. [1900].

2 comments on “The Origin of Strawberries

  1. John Samuel Tieman
    July 6, 2019

    Lovely poem.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. John Tieman
    July 6, 2019

    True fact: strawberries are in the same family as the rose.

    Liked by 1 person

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