The Wonderful Rod

: Folk-lore And Legends: North American Indian

The Choctaws had for many years found a home in regions beyond the

Mountains of Snow, far away to the west of the Mississippi. They,

however, decided, for some reason or other, to leave the place in

which they dwelt, and the question then arose in what direction they

should journey. Now, there was a jossakeed (priest) who had a

wonderful rod, and he said that he would lead them.

For many years, therefore,
they travelled, being guided by him. He

walked before them bearing the rod, and when night was come he put it

upright in the earth, and the people encamped round it. In the morning

they looked to see in what direction the rod pointed, for each night

the rod left its upright position, and inclined one way or another.

Day after day the rod was found pointing to the east, and thither the

Choctaws accordingly bent their steps.

"You must travel," said the jossakeed, "as long as the rod directs you

pointing to the direction in which you must go, but when the rod

ceases to point, and stands upright, then you must live there."

So the people went on until they came to a hill, where they camped,

having first put up the rod so that it did not lean at all. In the

morning, when they went to see which direction the rod pointed out for

them to take, they found it upright, and from it there grew branches

bearing green leaves. Then they said--

"We will stop here."

So that became the centre of the land of the Choctaws.