Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Iroquois Stone Giants

The Iroquois believed that in early days there existed a malignant race of giants whose bodies were fashioned out of stone. It is difficult to say how the idea of such beings arose, but it is possible that the generally distributed conception of a gigantic race springing from Mother Earth was in this instance fused with another belief that stones and rocks composed the earth's bony framework. We find an example of this belief in the beautiful old Greek myth of Deucalion and Pyrrha, which much resembles that of Noah. When after the great flood which submerged Hellas the survivors' ship grounded upon Mount Parnassus they inquired of the oracle of Themis in what manner the human race might be restored. They were bidden by the oracle to veil themselves and to throw the bones of their mother behind them. These they interpreted to mean the stones of the earth. Picking up loose pieces of stone, they cast them over their shoulders, and from those thrown by Deucalion there sprang men, while those cast by Pyrrha became women.
These Stone Giants of the Iroquois, dwelling in the far west, took counsel with one another and resolved to invade the Indian territory and exterminate the race of men. A party of Indians just starting on the war-path were apprised of the invasion, and were bidden by the gods to challenge the giants to combat. This they did, and the opposing bands faced each other at a spot near a great gulf. But as the monsters advanced upon their human enemies the god of the west wind, who was 
lying in wait for them, swooped down upon the Titans, so that they were hurled over the edge of the gulf, far down into the dark abyss below, where they perished miserably.