The Spider and the People
An Osage Legend
One day, the chief of the Isolated Earth people was hunting in the forest. He was also hunting for a symbol to give life to his people. He came upon the tracks of a huge deer. The chief became very excited.
“Grandfather Deer,” he said, “surely you will show yourself to me.”You are going to become the symbol of my people.”
He began to follow the tracks. His eyes were on nothing else as he followed those tracks, and he ran faster and faster through the forest. Suddenly, he ran right into a huge spider’s web that had been strung between the trees, across the trail. When he got up, he was very angry. He struck at the spider who was sitting at the edge of the web. But the spider jumped out of reach. Then the spider spoke to the man.
“Grandson,” the spider said, “why do you run through the woods looking at nothing but the ground?”
The chief felt foolish, but he had to answer the spider. “I was following the tracks of a great deer,” the chief said. “I am seeking a symbol of strength for my people.”
“I can be such a symbol,” said the spider.
“How can you be a symbol of strength?” said the chief. “You are small and weak, and I didn’t even see you as I followed the great Deer.”
“Grandson,” said the spider, “look upon me. I am patient. I watch and I wait. Then all things come to me. If your people learn this, they will be strong indeed.”
The chief saw that this was so. Thus the Spider became one of the symbols of the people.