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First Fire: A Cherokee Folktale    by Nancy Kelly Allen & Sherry Rogers order for
First Fire
by Nancy Kelly Allen
Order:  USA  Can
Arbordale, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Cherokee folktales are passed down from generation to generation, in the oral tradition of the Cherokee Nation. This one tells the story of how the Cherokee got fire.

When lightning struck a sycamore on a nearby island, the animals watched as smoke billowed into flames at the top of a sycamore tree. They needed the fire, but the water surrounding the island was wide.

A council of animals met to decide who would bring back the fire. Every animal wanted the honor of carrying the fire back from the island. Raven was chosen first. He was strong and could fly fast. Now at the time, Raven was white, but when he landed on the sycamore tree to consider how to take the fire back, the heat scorched his feathers black. Forever after, Raven's feathers were always black. Raven returned to the other animals without the fire.

Other birds and even a reptile went to the island to try to bring back the fire. They all failed, but came back with new traits that would never change even in the next generations. At last the spider decided to go. How did the spider manage to do what the other animals could not do?

The Cherokee people were once the largest nation of Native Americans. They have many stories like this one that are part of their traditional folklore.

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