people may say, why don't the Indians till the ground
and live as whites? May we ask with equal interest, why
don't the white people hunt and live as we do?
This story of the Corn Mother and the Deer, who is the
animal representative of her, are told to help us learn.
Many of the lessons in the sharing of her story
help us to understand the give a way, is the whole
reason for living.
For perfect balance and harmony, we need to see the unconditional
giving in the stories of the deer, and Corn Mother. We
need to be aware of the behavior of human's and how we
continue to try and avoid this lesson in our lives. Our
generation is faced with trying to undo all the generations
of greed and cruel treatment that human's have evolved
The story of Corn Mother and Deer help us as a people
to keep our focus clear. We learn to focus and hold our
eagle feathers in front of us so that we never lose our
reason for being. Giving back is the natural order of
balance; consciously know that it works and must be maintained,
no one is exempt from the process.
The old ones tell us that in the First World, Corn Mother
came too us into the Circle of Life. As we began to move
away from Balance and Harmony of Life, we forgot about
Corn Mother, we had lost the wisdom of the corn.
In the last world, Corn Mother lived with her two Grandsons
in the mountains; she was old and very wise. She sang
her corn spirit songs and made the world around her very
One day, "Corn Mother" watched her grandsons
preparing to hunt. She thought of the days long ago when
People and the creatures of the woods all spoke a common
language and understood each other. There was respect
for all life; it was a world of peace and happiness.
There was abundance and respect, everything on the Earth
Mother was appreciated. People sat in the "Circle
of Wisdom Keepers" who shared and were honored and
respected by all.
It was a good for "Earth Mother" and all Creation.
In the time of great changes people began to have greed,
the balance was lost.
Corn Woman remembered the Great Council of the last world,
where the animals had determined not to allow people to
kill them all off with their hunting game. The people‚s
relentless hunger was a threat to their cycles of life.
People over hunted, and killed many of the animals, fish,
and birds. Many, such as the deer, who had agreed to feed
the humans decided to not be so willing to gift their
bodies. The made it hard for all the hunters and animals
who would eat their flesh.
This made hunting hard and the people starved in the
winter months. Hunger was the first disease of man,
and it became the first medicine of greed. Corn
Mother remembered how terrible it was for the animals
in the woods when they could smell people and knew they
had come only to kill for greed and not for food. Corn
Mother's heart was heavy, it was a long time ago, but
she thought it is time to help the people seek harmony
and regain the balance that Creator would need for the
peace. People must to return to the wisdom fire,
if they were to enter the sacred hoop of balance, the
people must learn to honor all things.
Creator combined all the creations into people; people
hold all the patterns of the sacred hoop within their
body, mind and spirit. In the people soul is the memory
of the past and the future.
Corn Mother saw how the Creator had given people all
the gifts and how they had lost them through their greed.
Corn Mother watched her grandsons getting ready for the
kill. There was more than enough food in their home to
feed everyone, Corn Mother spoke to her grandsons, "you
are going out today?" The oldest replied, "yes,
we prepare to hunt." Corn Mother said, "We have
so much already, let me cook you a wonderful dinner."
The younger grandson answered, "No, we must hunt
for we are hunters, we will bring you many Turkeys."
Corn Mother tried again, saying, "we have many turkeys
already and I will make you corn and you will feel full
and not have the need to hunt."
The grandsons continued getting ready to hunt. "We
will be back by late evening and you will see, we will
bring you fresh meat."
Corn Mother wished them well and asked them to respect
all, and show appreciation to the animals. The grandsons
laughed and went into the forest.
Corn Mother cooked and made a meal that tempted all as
she cooked she sang and blessed the meal.
Soon her grandsons came into the clearing around their
lodge. They could smell the meal for miles and were happy
to find that the smell was coming from their lodge. Corn
Mother was happy to see them when they returned. As
she put the food on the table, she saw they had killed
a nice fat deer. The Grandsons sat down around the fire
and ate they could not say enough about
how good the meal was, and how good it was to have the
corn stuffing with the fat tender turkeys. Corn Mother
trusted that when they saw all the food that they had
to eat, they would not need to kill the animals.
After eating the grandsons said they were tired and needed
to sleep so they could get up early and be out before
the deer. Corn Mother listened, she asked them again how
they liked the food she had made. They told her they loved
the food and never had they eaten so much and tasted anything
as good as the corn. They asked her where she had gotten
the corn, and she did not answer.
She was happy they loved the meal and was planning the
feast for the next day. She sang her spirit song for the
corn as the night moved over the lands. The next morning,
very early, the young men woke up and gathered their weapons.
Corn Mother spoke to the young men again and said,
"We have so much food left from yesterday, and a
fresh deer from the hunt, we have been given so much,
do you really have to go hunting?" "Yes",
they said, "we are hunters; today we will bring you
a bigger deer and maybe a fat goose."
Corn Mother looked at her handsome grandsons, she loved
them very much and she knew they loved her also. After
the men left to hunt Corn Mother started to cook, this
meal was even more wonderful than the day before. The
smells went drifting on the autumn wind through the woods.
Everyone in the village knew Corn Mother was again cooking
a feast. The men smelled the sweetness of corn cooking
while they were hunting, they remembered the taste, and
that they had never tasted anything that good ever before.
As evening came, the grandsons came home with their kill,
it was a fine deer. They were very good hunters, the kill
had been quick and the deer did not suffer. For this,
Corn Mother appreciated the skill of her grandsons.
Entering the lodge the men sat down to a feast like none
The young men gave Corn Mother the deer as their offering
of thanks. Corn Mother knew it was an honorable act and
she thanked them and took the deer. After dark, she returned
the deer to the forest; Corn Mother sang her song as the
hunters drifted into dreams of laughter and play. In the
dreams, they saw their grandmother as a beautiful young
woman, more beautiful then any they had seen.
Corn Mother sang her spirit songs all that night by the
Again as on the other mornings the men woke early and
felt strong and good. They were laughing and felt playful
as if they were children. The Sun came up in glorious
colors, which filled the sky with reds and pink clouds.
As the men prepared to hunt, they realized they were not
in such a hurry to go to the forest. They asked Corn Mother
to make them breakfast; Corn Mother cooked corn meal and
added the sweet blue berries. Corn Mother then fried the
corn mush and dipped it in sweet honey, it tasted so good
they ate more than they needed and were soon full. Soon
a great tiredness came over the young me and they needed
to nap. They noticed that Corn Mother looked younger,
and was so happy, she sang and sang. The Sun was
high by the time they woke up and were ready to go hunt.
As they were leaving, Corn Mother asked them not to go,
"We have so much food now, more than we will ever
be able to eat." "No, they said, we must go
hunt, we are hunters. Today we will hunt Turkeys."
Corn Mother watched as they left to go hunt and called
out after them to remember to appreciate the animals.
While out on the hunt, the youngest brother said to the
older one, where does Corn Mother get this corn that she
is cooking? The older brother said he didn't know, and
that it did not matter to him. It was good and Corn Woman
would only feed them what was good, that was what he knew.
All that day, the young man thought about the corn, as
evening came, they returned home with the turkeys. They
were eager to sit down and again eat the good corn. They
told Corn Mother how much they liked their meal and how
beautiful she was and how happy the home was because of
her beauty and grace.
The young men after eating went to sleep to gained strength
for the next days hunt.
The next morning they woke to the soft humming of Corn
Mother as she prepared the breakfast, of corn mush with
sweet maple syrup. Corn Mother looked even younger and
happier this morning than yesterday.
The younger grandson was very curious and kept asking
Corn Mother where she got the corn. She would smile and
say, "I make the corn, it is my gift to my grandchildren."
Another time when she was asked she answered, "I
am the corn."
The youngest grandson was not satisfied with this answer,
and he began to annoy the older brother with his questions.
"Let us go hunt and stop all these questions now,
they said to him „you have been told that she makes
the corn and that is enough.
Corn Mother beamed her smile upon her oldest Grandson
and he felt her love, it gave him peace to have her in
his home. The younger brother was still not satisfied,
he said, "Yes, it is good, and yes, I have never
had anything better, but I want to know where it comes
from, and I will find out."
The men went off to hunt and Corn Mother sang in
her clear sweet voice as she cleaned and cared for the
home and land. She offered prayers for all the relations
and sang to them all. While the hunters were gone, the
younger brother kept insisting that they needed to know
where she got the corn. The older brother asked him why
and he said he just must know. "Are we not happier
than ever before? Can you ask for more? just be thankful
and happy she has given this to us, and how fortunate
we are to have her", the oldest brother said. The
young man could not accept this, and said, "I will
go watch and see where she gets this corn." He left
the older brother and took the path back home to spy on
Corn Mother. He watched her take a huge basket down from
the rafters of the long house, and go to the root cellar.
There he watched her through a small hole in the bark
covering as she stood in the basket and slapped her sides.
Each time she slapped her sides, corn would fall into
the basket. She continued until her basket was filled
to the top. He was terrified and ran back to find his
Corn Mother gave some of the corn pollen to the bees for
honey and to the Earth for some tasty roots and herbs
and salad greens. She fed corn pollen to the birds for
singing as she worked and was generous to all the relations.
As Corn Mother cooked for her Grandsons she sang of beauty
The Grandson ran back to the older brother and told them
all that he had seen. He told of the way Corn Mother had
created the corn from her own body without growing it
in the ground. The older brother was sad that his brother
had watched their Grandmother, and felt heavy in his heart.
Finally after along silence he said to his brother,
"if what you say is true, then it is not a good thing
we do, we cannot eat our Grandmother." If she
can make her body turn to corn then this is strange and
unsafe and not of this world." "Something
is not good here and I cannot understand this thing, we
must be careful, some strange spirit has taken our Grandmother",
It soon grew dark and they started home, the smell as
they entered the village was so tempting and they could
feel their stomachs ache for the corn. They heard music
all around their lands that was the Corn Mother‚s
singing. Their hearts were in pain as they knew they now
must feared her for an evil spirit.
As they sit around the fire, she heaped up their plates
with all the delicious things of the lands and watched
as they picked at it and ate little or nothing. She grew
sad as she watched and realized they knew her secret and
that they would never be able to eat of her food again.
The Knowledge was too much for them and it had destroyed
the balance between and the worlds.
Corn Mother asked them, "do you not love me? Have
I not given you all of myself? Have you not felt the peace
and happiness in my life with you?"
As Corn Mother spoke, she grew very old and became very
ill and her life began to leave her body. The Earth grew
cold and all was silent. A long night fell upon the land
and the grandsons cried for what had happened. The youngest
was unhappy for his loss and asked for forgiveness.
Corn Mother asked them to come to her side and listen
well. "I have much to tell you", she said, "and
we have but a little time now as I am becoming old
as the soil, and first human. I am the Corn, I was given
to you as a gift from Creator my body nourishes you. As
long as I live there will be abundance, happiness, health
and peace. I am Corn Mother I am the corn."
She told them to take her form when she passed over into
the spirit world, she told them to place it in the soil,
and make a circle around it.
I will return to you in twelve moons as a plant, that
grows tall and strong. I will have golden hair at the
top, and I will have ears of golden seeds at my sides
that will also have hair. When it turns brown, you will
pick it, and peel back its sweet leaves and dry the seeds.
From my body take the seven ears of the corn, do
not eat them, use all of them as seeds.
When the spring comes, make mounds on the woman earth
in her birthing place, and make a planting stick as your
own seed planter is shaped. With this planting stick
make a hole in the Earth Woman mound, and place two seeds
in each hole. Go to the Old River Man and ask his children
the fish, to come and bring the Water Spirits to the land,
so the corn can grow. Place a fish in each hole and and
cover the seeds and fish with earth. This corn you will
not eat, but you will use it as an offering. The seeds
that are born from this sacred place are for the sacred
ways of the land and waters. Corn Mother told them many
things to make life good again. She told them when to
plant and how to speak to and how too hear grandmother
moon. She told them to sing and dance and honor what the
Ancients had given us. She told them she loved them and
that they were to keep well and safe.
Corn Mother came to this earth to show us how to
keep the joy of life and to maintain the balance.
The wisdom was much and the Grandsons were happy that
Corn Mother was their Grandmother and that her love lived
in all things.
When she passed to spirit world the men agreed to wait
for Corn Mothers return, they would not hunt unless they
were nearly starving and they would do as she had instructed.
They became very wise, when the spring came after Corn
Mother had passed the youngest brother went for a wife.
When he came home, his wife was given the wisdom of Corn
Mother, and she held in her the memory of the old one's
They planted and harvested the corn as corn mother had
taught them to do was to all was at peace and harmony
with their children.
Corn Mother now asks us all to come home and open your
heats to the wisdom of the First World.
Let your words grow corn and share with all of those who
have little. Plant the seeds of corn so that all may be
fed. Your basket will over flow with wisdom and the abundance
of the Earth Mother.
In the abundance of the harvest may we all have gratitude
for all living things and honor all that Corn Mother and
Mother Earth have given.
© 2004 by Waynonaha
Two Worlds All publication rights reserved.
Woman poster by Lisa Thiel, limited edition available
at Ash Tree Publishing.