IROQUOIS LEGEND OF THE FACELESS DOLL

 Phyliss Miranda sig line for P&P Bluebonnet

  IROQUOIS LEGEND OF THE FACELESS DOLL

 

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  A few years ago, Bob and I visited the Oneida Nation Headquarters, in Oneida, New York (central New York). I must say it was one of the most enjoyable trips I’ve ever made.  I ended up enjoying American Indian legends.

Here is the legend of the Iroquois no-face doll that I extrapolated from a handout that I received at the Oneida Nation Headquarters.  Hope you all enjoy it.

The Iroquois people have what they call the three sisters or their sustainers of life — corn, beans, and squash.

As the legend goes, the Corn Spirit was so thrilled at being one of the sustainers of life that she asked the Great Spirit if there was anything more she could do for her people. The Great Spirit told her that a doll could be formed from her husk. So, she made the doll and gave it a beautiful face. Then, the doll went from Indian village to Indian village and played with the children.  Everywhere she went she was told how beautiful she was. So, it wasn’t long before she became conceited.

One day, the Great Spirit called to her. But, before she went into the Great Spirit’s lodge, she looked into a pool of water and admired herself, thinking how beautiful she was. The Great Spirit told her that if she kept thinking that she was better than everyone else a terrible punishment would come upon her, but he wouldn’t tell her what it was.

So, again the doll went from village to village playing with the Indian children and still everyone kept telling her how beautiful she was. It wasn’t long before she became conceited again. The Great Spirit called to her again and like the first time, she looked into the pool of water before the Great Spirit’s lodge to admire herself.

Upon entering the lodge the Great Spirit said to her, “I have given you one warning now a great punishment will come upon you.” But, he still wouldn’t tell her what it was. When she left the lodge she again looked into the pool of water to admire herself but this time she didn’t have a face. The Great Spirit had taken it away.

Since that time the Iroquois people do not put a face on the corn husk dolls. This is to remind children, never to think they are better than anyone or a punishment as great could fall upon them.

For those who haven’t gotten their eBook yet on “The Troubled Texan”, I’ve been advised by Kensington that’s it is available for the full month of December from all book sources for ninety-nine cents!  I will give away one gift certificate to Amazon for a copy of “The Troubled Texan”.

The Troubled Texan Good

Phyliss
A native Texan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Phyliss Miranda still believes in the Code of the Old West and loves to share her love for antiques, the lost art of quilting, and the Wild West.

Visit her at phylissmiranda.com
Updated: December 1, 2014 — 9:57 pm

27 Comments

  1. Hi Miranda. I really enjoyed learning this. I have some corn husk dolls in my small doll collection. But, never thought about there being a story behind it. Thanks for the give-away. I would love to win your book.
    Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

    1. Maxie,it always thrills me when readers find answers to things they’ve wondered about from one of our blogs. When I wrote “a few years ago”, I guess it was kinda a fib because the pictures I have are printed photos, so it was longer than a few year ago. I have a photo converter, but I haven’t used it in a while. Guess I’d better learn, so I can use my own pictures. Maxie, I put your name in the hat for the drawing, so keep your fingers crossed. Big hugs, Phyliss

  2. What a beautiful way to teach children that one’s beauty is on the inside, in your heart and showcased in how you treat others.

    1. Hi Laurie. Thanks for stopping by. I never thought about the fact the legend could be a teaching tool for children of today. I know I thought about it as an adult, but wish I’d spent time reading the story to my grandchildren before they moved away. But I’ll have a chance at Christmas this year! Hugs, Phyliss

  3. What an interesting legend

    1. Hi Janine, thanks for stopping by. Hugs, Phyliss

    2. Hi Janine. Good to hear from you. Since there is so much research on the Internet now, you might want to go check out the Oneida nation. They have a very interesting background. Hugs, Phyliss

  4. Isn’t it fascinating the similarities in folklore and myths? Makes me think of Narcissus who fell in love with his own reflection in a pool of water and drowned.

    1. Hi Sherri, you are so right about the similarities in folklore and myths. When I saw Narcussus, I immediately went to the word narcissism in my mind. Then I had to go to my big, old Random House Dictionary to check the spelling. Low and behold just below narcissism was narcissum, the flower myth. Wow! I think this dictionary came with our encyclopedia somewhere in the early 70’s. How many of you remember door-to-door encyclopedia salesman? Thanks Sherri, for dropping a seed to be germinated. Hugs, Phyliss

  5. very interesting post,,I had a chance to buy some Amish rag dolls and they did not have any face on them just plain with a bonnet,,my daughter loved that doll,,she could pretend that it looked like anyone she wanted it too..it was loved to pieces,,I had to sew it back a few times,,she is a grown woman and mom now and still has her”face less” doll

    1. Hi Vickie, how interesting. I didn’t know about the Amish rag dolls with no faces. What great memories for you and your daughter, too. Thanks for stopping by. Hugs, Phyliss

  6. Very interesting, Phyliss. That legend is full of lots of wisdom. The hero in the book I’m working on (book 3 of my Bachelor series) is part Iroquois and part white. I’m loving writing his special story about the struggle to fit into two different worlds.

    Loved THE TROUBLED TEXAN! Wishing you much success.

    1. Hi Miss Linda. You are right about the wisdom in this legend. I know how much you’re enjoying writing your special story and blending heritages. This is a very special series. Thanks for the thumbs up on THE TROUBLED TEXAN. I love the one I’m working on now (2nd of the Kasota Springs Series). Thanks and I’m sure I’ll be talking to you later today when our writing time expires! Love, P

  7. I remember hearing a little bit about that tale… thanks for bringing it to mind today… enjoyed refreshing my memory of it!

    1. Hi Colleen, It’s always good to refresh our memories. I’m kinda like a ’57 Chevy … I need more gas now than I did in 1957! Now that I read my little “cutie” it sounds dumb and disassociated but I’m leaving it for an example of what happens when you get my age! LOL Have a great day. Hugs, Phyliss

  8. Loved hearing that story. I also love how some legends cross ethnic lines and work for all. The troubled Texan looks like a good read, I’ll be checking it out.

    1. Hi Connie, I so agree with you. I’m throwing your name in the hat, along with everyone who left a comment, and cross your fingers that you win. “The Troubled Texan” is available at BN and Amazon online for 99 cents this month, so if you don’t win, you can still get it. Hugs, Phyliss

  9. What a great story! It reminds me of a show on TV (can’t think of the name though) that tells you the meaning behind phrases and words – all very interesting.

  10. Hi catslady, Good to hear from you. That sounds interesting. I love research and knowing the meaning how words came about. I might do a blog on that one of these day, especially Texas phrases and words. Have a great day, friend. Phyliss

  11. Phyliss, this is a great story! I love the way the Native American people incorporated learning lessons with their tales. It would be great to have more stories like this one to pass down to young children; ones that entertain but also have lessons to learn too.

    1. Hi Lisa, thanks for droppig by. I agree with you that it’d be nice if we knew more Native American stories; especially, those we could pass on to our children from a learning aspect.
      Hugs, Phyliss

  12. Hi Phyliss, what a great legend. I am always fascinated to learn about the Iroquois. Their constitution is the model for our own! Off to order Troubled Texas now! Hugs…

    1. Hi Missy Tanya, people from our part of the country many times only associate the Native American Indian to those who lived in Texas, Oklahoma and the like. I did that until I visited the Five Nations and spent time with the docent. I learned so much. They even fought with us in the American Revolutionary War. I did a lot of research, and like I said before, when Historical Western Romances come back (although I hear they aren’t gone, hum?) I have a series all ready that involves Andersonville Prison Camp, the Sultana, and the Oneida Nation. But that’ll be a while. Have a great rest of the day. Big hugs to my sister filly, Phyliss

  13. Glad you enjoyed your trip to New York. It is pretty country with a rich native american history. My home town was in the northeastern part of the state with a Mohawk and Iroquois tradition. When I was growing up, the native american history and traditions weren’t appreciated. It is nice to see the tribes exploring and sharing their culture.
    I had heard parts of slightly different versions of this legend. Thanks for giving the full story here, at least of this version.

    I look forward to reading THE TROUBLED TEXAN. A trip back to Kasota Springs is always welcomed.

    Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  14. What a good lesson and moral to the story for everyone to remember!

  15. Hi Patricia and Melody, I’m so glad to hear from both of you. Mel, you are so right about the moral lesson in this story, which is one of my favorite legends.

    Oh wow, Patricia. This is some of the most beautiful part of the country I’ve ever visited. The lady who welcomed me looked a lot like me; however, however she was 100% American Indian. I couldn’t believe it, then the docent, who did look like Native American visited with me and that’s when I learned that the woman at the door was in fact Native American but the Give Nation have a lot of German in them. This gave me thought years later that Daddy’s side of the family was German; however, his maternal was Horsefall. Now does that sound like German to you? Not to me. He was from Ohio, so that gave me more thought. Some of the family members have done the Pannier family genealogy, but they are all gone. I have only one cousin left that might know more. It’s a shame that we haven’t kept track of our families. I’d love to do more genealogy.

    Ladies, I hope you have a great day. Hugs, Phyliss

  16. Hi Phyliss, loved to hear the reason behind the faceless doll! I have one, too! But I had no idea why she was faceless! Very interesting. I do actually do a bit of researching of family “roots” mostly for Native Americans,so I took a quick look and here’s a bit about the “Horsefall” side (actually was spelled without the E) here’s one I found -you can follow the threads connected to it, but I took a shot based on ,you’d said Ohio ,http://boards.ancestry.com/surnames.horsfall/46/mb.ashx , and this one(the name Horsfall is apparently English)http://boards.ancestry.com/surnames.horsfall/40/mb.ashx?pnt=1,(there is one in between these two messages click right or left to see the middle one.Hope that helps!Best, Lucy

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