Native North American Mythologies

Native American Hero Myths

What is the Penobscot Corn Mother myth?

The Penobscot say that First Woman became sad when she realized that her people were hungry, so she told her husband, First Man, that he must sacrifice her in order to put a stop to her crying. When the horrified man asked the creator what to do, the creator said he must do what his wife wished him to do. The man, weeping bitterly, returned home, and his wife instructed him to wait until the sun was at the top of the sky. Then he was to kill her and have two of their sons drag her body back and forth by her silky yellow hair until all of her flesh was gone. Then the man and the boys were to leave the place for seven moons. After seven moons the man did return and there he found beautiful plants wearing his wife’s beautiful hair. And on these plants were Corn Mother’s final gift—the corn that keeps people alive and happy.


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