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How Garter Snake Scared Thunderbird

Every snow, Thunderbird of the snow-land came to devour the fairest of the unmarried women among the villages.
It was the custom that the maiden go meet the monster, to be eaten for the sake of her tribe.
Thunderbird was satisfied to leave the people unmolested, so long as he was given this yearly sacrifice;
but it must be at his first appearance from the snow-land, at his first rolling among the clouds.
No one had ever been able to scare Thunderbird, nor frighten him from his human feast.

With the spring there was wailing for the victim.
At last Garter Snake thought that he would try to meet Thunderbird.
The maiden chosen to perish was the one that Garter Snake loved.
When she left the village crying, going to her terrible death,
Garter Snake put on his best warbonnet and followed her.
The maiden saw him. She begged him to return lest he also be killed.
Garter Snake said, "No! I am going to die with you."
She said to Garter Snake, "Go back to our people! You cannot stand before Thunderbird! I alone will die!"
But Garter Snake would not turn back.
Soon he heard the flapping of great wings. It was Thunderbird coming.
Garter Snake's legs shook with fear. He wanted to run away,
but his pride, his love for the girl, made him brave.
He met Thunderbird without revealing that he was afraid.
Thunderbird spit fire, spit lightning towards Garter Snake. Garter Snake did not run. He spit fire back at Thunderbird.
This stopped Thunderbird. Thunderbird thought, "This must be someone more powerful than I to spit fire as I do".
Thunderbird said to Garter Snake, "What do you fear? What are you afraid of?"

Garter Snake answered, "I fear nothing! Nothing can hurt me.
If you wish to fight, I will show you how big a fire I can spit."

These words Thunderbird believed, for none of the tribes had dared to meet him before.
Only the maidens who came crying to their death had ever faced him.
Thunderbird spit a bigger fire, thinking to scare Garter Snake. But Garter Snake spit a great fire streaming in the face of Thunderbird.
This soon scared Thunderbird, who turned towards his snow-country home.

Garter Snake followed him,
spitting fire as he chased the big Thunderbird.
Garter Snake said to him after driving him home, "From this day you will never come back to our land to devour the people.
You will only roam the skies, only make rumblings and crashings amid the storm gathering."
Since that time Thunderbird has kept away from the people. He was ashamed because Garter Snake had driven him away with spitting fire.
He never came back to destroy the tribes of the warm countries. He could only fly through the upper space,
only clash his broad wings among the clouds,
spitting fire from his great mouth. Garter Snake went back to his people with the maiden whom he had saved.
For his bravery in protecting the tribes from Thunderbird,
for scaring away the mighty air-monster with his pretended power,
they gave Garter Snake a pretty green blanket with stripes,
which Garter Snake wears to this day.

(Source: "How Garter Snake Scared Thunderbird" - Collected by Mourning Dove, in the early part of the Twentieth Century. First published in 1933, the myth was reprinted in an expanded edition, as Tales of the Okanogan, edited by Donald M. Hines, Ye Galleon Press, 1976)