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~Welcome To the Myths and Legends~

~Loo-Wit, the Fire-Keeper-Legend~

The tribe is Nisquallya from the Pacific Northwest where this legend comes from

When the world was young, the Creator gave everyone all that was needed to be happy.

The weather was always pleasant. There was food for everyone and room for all people.
Despite this, though two brothers began to quarrel over the land.
Each wanted to control it.
It reached the point where each brother gathered a group of men to support his claim.
Soon it appeared there would be a war.

The Creator saw this and was not pleased.
He waited until the two brothers were asleep one night and then carried them to a new country.
There a beautiful river flowed and tall mountains rose into the clouds.
He woke them just as the sun rose and they looked out from the mountaintop to the land below.
They saw what a good place it was. It made their hearts good.

"Now," said the Creator, "this will be your land."
Then he gave each of the brothers a bow and a single arrow.
"Shoot your arrow into the air," the Creator said.
"Where the arrow falls will be the land of you and your people and you shall be a great chief there."

The brothers did as they were told.
The older brother shot his arrow.
It arched over the river and landed to the south in a valley of the Willamette River.
There is where he and his people went and they became the Multnomahs.
The younger brother shot his arrow.
It flew to the north of the great river.
He and his people went there and became the Klickitats.

Then the Creator made a Great Stone Bridge across the river.
"This bridge," the Creator said, "is a sign of peace.
You and your peoples can visit each other by crossing over this bridge.
As long as you remain at peace, as long as your hearts are good, this bridge will stand."

For many seasons the two peoples remained at peace.
They passed freely back and forth across the Great Stone Bridge.
One day, though, the people to the north looked south toward the Willamette and said,
"Their lands are better than ours."
One day, though, the people to the south looked north toward the Klickitat and said,
"Their lands are more beautiful than ours."
Then once again, the people began to quarrel.

The people were becoming greedy again.
Their hearts were becoming bad.
The Creator darkened the skies and took fire away.
Now the people grew cold.
The rains of autumn began and the people suffered greatly.

"Give us back fire," they begged. "We wish to live again with each other in peace."

Their prayers reached the Creator's heart.
there was only one place on Earth where fire still remained.
An old woman named Loo-Wit had stayed out of the quarreling and was not greedy.
It was in her lodge only that fire still burned.
So the Creator went to Loo-Wit.

"If you will share your fire with all the people." said the Creator.
"I will give you whatever you wish. Tell me what you want."

"I want to be young and beautiful." Loo-Wit said.

"That is the way it will be." said the Creator.
"Now take your fire to the Great Stone Bridge above the river.
Let all the people come to you and get fire.
You must keep the fire burning there to remind people that their hearts must stay good."

The next morning the skies grew clear and the people saw the sun rise for the first time in many days.
The sun shone on the Great Stone Bridge and there the people saw a young woman
as beautiful as the sunshine itself.
Before her, there on the bridge, burned a fire.
The people came to the fire and ended their quarrels.
Loo-Wit gave each of them fire.
Now their homes again became warm and peace was everywhere.

One day, though, the chief of the people to the north came to Loo-Wit's fire.
He saw how beautiful she was and wanted her to be his wife.
At the same time, the chief of the people to the south also saw Loo-Wit's beauty.
He, too, wanted to marry her.
Loo-Wit could not decide which of the two she liked better.
Then the chiefs began to quarrel.
Their peoples took up the quarrel and fighting began.

When the Creator saw the fighting he became angry.
He broke down the Great Stone Bridge.
He took each of the two chiefs and changed them into mountains.
The chief of the Klickitats became the mountain we now know as Mount Adams.
The chief of the Multnomahs became the mountain we now know as Mount Hood.
Even as mountains, they continued to quarrel, throwing flames and stones at each other.
In some places, the stones they threw almost blocked the river between them.
That is why the Columbia River is so narrow in a place called the Dalles today.

Loo-Wit was heartbroken over the pain caused by her beauty.
She no longer wanted to be a beautiful young woman.
She could longer find peace as a human being.
The Creator took pity on her and changed her into a mountain also, the most beautiful of the mountains.
She was placed so that she stood between Mount Adams and Mount Hood,
and she was allowed to keep the fire within herself which she had once
shared on the Great Stone Bridge.
Eventually, she became known as Mount St. Helens and she slept peacefully.

Though she was asleep, Loo-Wit was still aware, the people said.
The Creator had placed her between the two quarreling mountains to keep the peace,
and it was intended that humans, too,
should look at her beauty and remember to keep their hearts good, to share the land and treat it well.
If we human beings do not treat the land with respect, the people said
Loo-Wit will wake up and let us know how unhappy she and the Creator have become again.
So they said long before the day in the 1980's when Mount St. Helens woke again.

Please take the wolf and send her on her way around the world to continue her walk
in the name of the plight of the animals who cannot speak
for themselves yet continue to die at the hands of humans.

A Lakota Prayer

Great Spirit, you are everything
And yet above everything
You are first and always have been
Through you our children will have strong hearts
And they will walk the straight path in a sacred manner
Help me to walk the sacred path of life
Without difficulty
With my mind and heart continually fixed on you!

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