Mohawk Indian Legend

Long ago,
three hunters and their little dog
found the tracks of a giant bear.
They followed those tracks
all through the day
and even though it was almost dark
they did not stop, but continued on.
They saw that bear now, climbing up
a hill, which glittered with new-fallen snow.
They ran hard to catch it,
but the bear was too fast.
They ran and they ran, climbing
up and up until one of the hunters said,
“Brothers, look down.”
They did and saw they
were high above Earth.
That bear was Sky Bear,
running on through the stars.
Look up now
and you will see her,
circling the sky.

…from THE EARTH UNDER SKY BEAR’S FEET: Native American Poems of the Land, a storybook for children 4-8 by Joseph Bruchac, with illustrations by Thomas Locker (Puffin, 1998), available at