SOUTHEASTERN INDIAN ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
In cooperation with The Seminole Tribe of Florida
JEAN CHAUDHURI MONOLOGUE
Bumblebee Island, Fla., 3
Kissimmee, Fla., 3
Lake Istokpoga, 3
Lake Placid, Fla., 3
St. Augustine, Fla., 5-6
Stories and legends
baby dead from starvation, 5-6
"Girls That Stole the Hearts," 1-2
Indians imprisoned, 5
little people, 3
man changed into a snake, 4-5
swamp area, 2-3
S: I don't know how she started it, but I'll try. She said that
they were at a powwow last.... There were two girls. They
were sleeping or something, and the next day they got up, and
they.... The rest of the people got up, but them two girls
didn't get up. And they wanted to know what was keeping them...
you know? So they went in to where they were sleeping to see
what was keeping them; and all the time they were dead. I
mean, not dead, but them two girls from heaven...you know?
They come down and stole their hearts. And they already
went back up. They took their hearts away from them. Them
people around the door, you know, looking for somebody to
go back up and get it.
So this little mouse--ugly looking mouse, you know--he
says he'll go up there and get it. But they say, "What do
you mean, you ugly thing? You never bring anything back."
They were pushing him back, but he kept coming back and said,
"I'll go get it." They finally let him, you know?
He said, "If I got the hearts, I'll be singing this song."
And she singed it.
I: What does this song mean? What does it say?
S: She says, "The girls from heaven won't do nothing to me."
I: He was making his own medicine then?
S: Yeah. He said, "The girls from heaven won't do nothing to
me." Singing that over and over. And then he said when he's
coming back, you know, he'll be singing that. So everybody
was sitting around and waiting. He went, and he got up there,
and he heard them girls snore--them angels, them heaven girls,
he heard them snoring. So he went to their pillows, and...you
know how rats are when they look at something? That's what
he was doing. And them girls kept on going like this, you
know, hitting their pillows. So he finally got to it. They
had this pillow; he got to it, and he was bringing them back,
and they could hear him singing. He brought back the hearts,
I: What happened after he brought back the hearts?
S: Well, they put it back in the girls. After that mouse put it
back in the girls, you know, they put it back in, and sewed it
up, and them girls woke up, and they said, "Wow! We must
have been sleeping a long time."
And them people said, "You have been sleeping a long time.
You all been dead. And you see that ugly little fellow over
there? He brought your hearts back. And we put it back, and
you all are alive, you know." But they told them girls to
kiss that little rat, you know.
He said that he likes seeds. So that's why in oranges, you
know, anything that's got seeds in it...that's how come he
just takes the seeds and leaves the other part.
I: Do they do this really?
S: That's what she says.
I: Well, that's great.
S: They just take the seeds and leave the other part. They made
this little deal, you know.
I: All he asks is just to be given seeds?
S: Uh huh. In place of the hearts. You know, for bringing the
U: I forgot. It was two.
I: Yeah. It was supposed to be four spits, wasn't it? Yeah, that's
right. If you don't spit four times, then you become hunchbacked.
S: She said she never seen anything else, and never heard of
I: She never did? How about this...? There's a story that a place
where the Seminoles and the Spanish wars that took place, and
if you go into that swamp area.... They tell you not to go
in there. Otherwise you never come back, you get lost. Does
she know anything about that?
S: She said if you go in the woods, in piney woods.... She said
that they used to say that in forests, that it lost people....
I: Dead people, or just lost people?
S: No, just lost people. They're around, so, you know, if you
cross one...if you cross a path or something like that, you'll
never come back.
I: Do you know anything about that?
S: She says right over there, a couple of miles from Lake Placid,
you know that place, Istokpoga? Have you ever heard of it?
There's a large body of water there. She said there's a
body of land [Bumble Bee Island]. You know, it...sometimes
there's two of them.
I: Two islands?
S: Two islands, yeah. When the sun rises, you know, they're far
apart. When the sun goes down, they get together. Some
people got lost around there.
I: Do you all have stories about little people?
S: Yeah. Little people that lives out in the woods. You know,
my grandmother was real old. She died. She was there for
about three months. These old people, you know, they're
old. They say they see little people standing by their
beds and everything. I don't know if it's true, but either
that or they're stupid.
How about that one ritual I was telling you about in
I: Oh, that one. It was really good.
S: I don't think it was true though. That's what his mother said.
I: Yeah, but these are just stories--what you call folklore.
S: Yeah, but she says she never heard it before. She said
he made it up.
I: Is that right?
S: She said she heard of it.
I: Yeah, a lot of people have heard of it, too, but I don't know
whether they got it from Richard or not.
S: She was telling you that story that she told the last time about
the two hunters chopping down that tree.
I: The fish and everything...?
S: Fish was coming out of that tree, and, you know, running.
I: Oh! You didn't explain that to me.
S: I didn't?
I: Remember, you only just translated the one about the heavenly
girls. And the other two--you said you'd write it down, and
you never did.
S: Oh, yeah. That's right.
I: Tell me that in short, or long if it's all right.
S: I'll tell it short. There was these two hunters, men, and they
were hunting. They didn't find anything, so they chopped down
this tree, and water started spilling out. These big ol'
fish and littler fish came out of the tree, and the other
hunter said, "Let's move." One of the hunters, he said that
he was going to cook it and eat it, but that other man told
him, "I wouldn't if I were you, because it don't seem right
for fish to be crawling out of a tree." But the other
hunter went on and cooked it and ate it anyway. They went
to sleep, and the one, he woke up, you know, and he said
something seemed to be the matter with his feet. So the
other hunter looked down there, you know, saw that he was
becoming to look like a snake.
S: Yeah. And the hunter told him what was happening. So they
went on to sleep, and he woke up again. He was getting to
look half snake already. Before too long his whole body
was snake. He sent that other man to get his parents and wife
and kids--all his relatives--and bring them to the water
where he was going to go in. He went on in, but before he
went on in he told that man to shake a coconut...hit it or shake
a coconut. He'll know, and he'll come out.
So all his parents and relatives and his wife, and all
that, you know, they came to the water. They were sitting
up there to the water, and the snake come out, and it put its
head on his father's lap, and that's what he did to all the rest
of them. After he finished talking to them, he said, you know,
he won't be seeing them until God's coming back. So he's
supposed to be in a large part of the water, but she don't know
where. It might be Okeechobee.
I: The legend has been handed down. Now, I had different ones
tell this. The way I heard the story is that might have happened
around here in the Indian wars.
S: She's talking about when they, all the Seminoles, they took them
down there and put them in a prison.
S: That's what she's talking about.
I: Well, have her to tell me that.
S: I guess they put them in a boat, because that's how they took
them to St. Augustine to put them in prison. That's where
Osceola died. She said they put him in a or a box.
I: Now what happened?
S: That's the one that they put on the horse and tied him.
I: That's how they killed Waka?
S: Uh huh.
I: Oh! They tied him in a box. I mean they put him in a box, and
tied him onto a tree...I mean a horse...and they forced the
horse to run.
S: Not with the box though. They took him out of the box to
put him on the horse, tie him on the horse. They put him in
a concrete box. It was made out of concrete. He got out
of that prison, and he was killed. He got out of prison.
I: What was this?
S: There was a baby and he was dead--a dead baby.
S: St. Augustine.
S: St. Augustine.
I: How did the dried up baby get there? Now, did the white people
kill the baby, or...?
I: Oh, the baby died of starvation, and it was dried out. This
is a story of many like it, isn't it? Were there a lot of
stories like this, where little babies had died from starvation?