American Indian Lore

Indian corn

The Mandans and Minnitarees looked to an Old Woman Who Never Dies as the force behind growing crops. She lived in the south and sent migratory birds as her emissaries. Each type of bird represented a particular crop — the swan for gourds, the goose for maize, and the duck for beans. When each type of bird arrived in the spring, it was time to plant that crop. (Sir James George Frazer, The Golden Bough ch. 46 § 3)

Among the Chippewa, one of the many taboos applied to menstruating women required that they drink out of a swan bone. (Frazer, ch. 60 § 4)

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