An Old, Old American Indian Legend — My Christmas Gift to You

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It’s Christmas Time!  Please let me remind you — because I’ll be doing a free give-away today — to be sure to check back here at the blog on Wednesday or Thursday to see who is the winner.   Remember, we here at the Junction don’t contact you.  So please check back either tomorrow or the next day to see if you are the winner.  The books I’ll be giving away are Soaring Eagle’s Embrace, the mass market paperback version of the book, and Seneca Surrender, e-book.

Well, I’ve been thinking and thinking of what I could possibly blog today, since Christmas was not a celebrated holiday for Native Americans before the arrival of priests into this land called Turtle Island.  One of my most favorite Christmas memories is being told a story the night before Christmas in an attempt to get me to go to sleep.  It didn’t work very well (getting me to go to sleep).  But it is a wonderful memory.

And so I thought I’d regale you with a story.  Hopefully I won’t put you to sleep with this story.

This is the story of the girl who married a star.  It’s origin is Sioux — I don’t know if that’s Lakota or Dakota or Nakota.  All three are Sioux, just different dialects.  By the way this story comes to us from the book, Favorite North American Indian Legends, printed by Dover.  Before I start, I wanted to say that this legend reminds me of a similar one I used in Soaring Eagle’s Embrace, which is the book I’ll be giving away today.

Okay that said, imagine yourself in the long, long ago, all warm and cozy, curled up in front of a fire with your relatives sitting around you.  The Old Story Teller has arrived, and all is quiet as the story teller begins:

Long ago, there were two sisters, one whose name was Earth and the others name was Water.  This was at a time when all people and animals were in close communication with each other and so the animals supplied the sisters with all their needs.

 One night the sky was clear and beautiful and both sisters looked up to the sky through their wigwam — comment, now we know that this was most likely the Dakota since they were living in Wigwams — anyway, they looked up through the hole in their wigwam and admired the beautiful stars.

Earth said to her sister that she’d had a dream about a handsome young man and that she thought he might be a star.  Water responded saying that she, too, had seen a man in her dreams who was a brave man.

The sisters chose stars that they thought might be these men that they had dreamed of.  Water chose the brightest star for her husband.  Earth chose a little star that twinkled.

Then they slept.  When they awoke, they were in the land of the Sky.  The stars were, indeed, people.  Now it happened that the man that water chose was an older warrior and that the man that Earth chose was a young, handsome man.  Both sisters married these men and they were very happy.

One day the sisters went out to dig turnips (a much favored food at this time in history).  Both of their husbands warned them not to strike the ground too hard.  But Earth, in her haste to dig the turnips, struck the ground so hard that she fell through the sky to the ground.

Earth was found and cared for by two older people who tried to help her.  But she was so upset about losing her husband that all she did is cry.  She could not even see her husband in the sky because he had blackened his face because he was now a widower.  Earth waited and waited for him to come to her, but he could not.  However, he did give her a most precious gift.

That night when she went to sleep, she dreamed of a beautiful red star.  It had never been in the sky before.  She knew at once that it was her son.

When she awoke, she found a handsome boy by her side — her son.  Although Earth’s husband could not come to get her again, and though he loved his son deeply, he gave to his wife the only thing that he could — their son, Star Boy.  It was a gift from his heart.

‘Tis the season of giving.  I hope you have enjoyed this story.  I thought it was quite beautiful.

Now one more thing before I end.

Seneca Surrender was just recently released in October in ebook and Tradepaper — from Prairie Rose Publications.  Below is the cover.   I’ll be giving away a free copy of Seneca Surrender in ebook format today to some lucky blogger.   So that’s two chances you have to win a free book.  All you have to do to enter into the drawing is to leave a comment.  But please, over to right here is our Giveaway Guidelines.  Please do have a look at them.  The rules are few, but are important — so give them a read.













The picture to the right is of my husband and myself with Chief Mountain in the background, the setting for Soaring Eagle’s Embrace — this is on the Blackfeet reservation.

And so from my heart to yours, I wish you a very Merry Christmas!


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KAREN KAY aka GEN BAILEY is the multi-published author of American Indian Historical Romances. She has written for such prestigious publishers as AVON/HarperCollins, Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and Samhain Publishing. KAREN KAY’S great grandmother was Choctaw Indian and Kay is honored to be able to write about the American Indian Culture.
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29 thoughts on “An Old, Old American Indian Legend — My Christmas Gift to You”

  1. That was so emotional Karen but powerful too, although I though maybe when she said the red star was her son it made me think. After reading it all it made total sense but I thought maybe at first it was not her son from there but maybe she was pregnant and her dream showed her a son, of course that was wrong when he popped up by her as she woke up looking at her boy but the real connection to her husband, the red star in the sky and their son named Star Boy it tied it all together beautifully and just a little heart saddening because they were separated from each other with only the stars to help. That Karen is probably the most poignant, heartfelt and informative yet complete little story in a few paragraphs, no wonder the story tellers were revered and until a written language came along all their history was in their tales, legends and stories.
    Well you did it again Karen, topped last week for sure by this, you keep doing it over and over, each better than the last in some way. I am so glad you have the blog to keep us all informed with little tidbits of Native Americana for us and of course each new book has something new and interesting about it as well. Thank You Karen and I wonder how you will top this next week, and you will.

    • Hi Elaine!

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful perspective. It was such a beautiful story that it brought tears to my eyes. It was also a little sad because they could not be together, but somehow the ending made up for all of that. And thank you for your compliments. It makes my heart glad. : )

  2. What a beautiful story Karen. I’d love to read your paperback Soaring Eagle Embrace. Merry Christmas to you & your family.

    • Hi Estella!

      Thank you so much, and Merry Christmas to you. Did you know that you are the winner of SENECA SURRENDER in Tradepaper from 2 weeks ago? Just thought I’d let you know, since this is a new post from you. : )

  3. Hi Karen, what a beautiful story. Thank you, for sharing.

    Have you heard of Dr. Ardie Sixkiller? She’s researched and tells the most wonderful stories from Native Americans and indigenous people around the paranormal. Here’s her bio from her website: This might be a resource for your future books. Merry Christmas!

    Dr. Ardy Sixkiller Clarke brings to the field of ufology degrees in history, English, psychology, and educational leadership and a background as a teacher, university professor, junior college and university administrator, licensed therapist and psychologist, and social science researcher. As a Professor Emeritus at Montana State University and former Director of the Center for Bilingual/Multicultural Education, Dr. Clarke, who is Cherokee/Choctaw, has worked with indigenous people for most of her career. Her first book in the field of ufology was the best-seller Encounters With Star People: Untold Stories of American Indians. She is also the author of twelve children’s’ books and the best-selling academic text: Sisters in the Blood: The Education of Women in Native America. She lives in the middle of the Rocky Mountains in Big Sky Montana.

    • Hi Savannah!

      Oh, my gosh this is wonderful. Thank you so much for referring me to Ardy. Ah, she’s from Montana, one of my most favorite places in the world. The Blackfeet are up there next go Glacier Nat’l Park. Beautiful. Thank you, again.

  4. I think legends and tales from varied cultures are so fascinating. Often the themes used to teach generations are the same – love, obedience, sharing, loss, etc. It’s the presentation that differs from culture to culture, and enriches us all!

  5. I love that oral history still survives especially among the Native American tribes and the star people because I watch the History Channel and Ancient Aliens where lots of indigenous people in many countries have oral, written and engraved history going back thousands of years proving star people have always been around aall over the planet for millenia. Oral history teaches so much to not just their people but everyone. Thanks again Karen, this tale was touching but I bet lots more are not only informative but entertaining.

  6. Hi Elaine!

    I love this point of view, Elaine. Yes, there are so many legends about the Star People — the Lakota and Cheyenne have a legend about the Big Dipper and how that one came about — which is about Star People, too. I love these legends. Wrote 4 books in a series called the Legendary Warrior Series — all four of them are based on old, old legends. Thanks again for your imput.

    • So Karen maybe I a synopsis on what each book and series is about on your site would be great with what each new book contains if it fits under a series premises but are stand alone then they come under this type subject or series. Star People Legends, This tribe or that, this time period or place, just general breakdowns on books that are standalone yet cover a topic or something can be lumped in with these books that have X subject or Y century or even Z Tribe. Maybe a timeline or other reference guide is best but that way whatever book comes out not in a series but ties maybe with legends, oral history, etc. It makes it interesting to see what broad spectrum of information or way of life this book goes well with. Just an idea since you said 4 books are on Star People and that might be nice to get either for myself or gifts and if enough interest ever done a set of books? Since it’s Christmas many may want to do just that Karen. You got my attention with that statement and if was easy to find and buy nowadays even better. Just an idea so you may have thought of it already. So take care and I’ll you in the morning and if I look up and see a red star tonight… Thanks again Karen, your ever fascinated reader Elaine. Now if you have books on Wolves and a companion wolf brother coming back in spirit this go round I am dayum sure interested since it seems I have that going on this go round for me but it would be interesting if you did know anything.

      • Hi Elaine!

        Well, let me tell you the legends that each book is based on in the Legendary Warrior series. WOLF SHADOW’S PROMISE is based on the premise of a “Zorro” type character who raises up to fight the whisky trade that is ruining his people.

        WAR CLOUD’S PASSION is based not only on Star people but also the legend of the “three-legged” — gosh, can’t recall his name right now — you know the legend — although I think he actually lived — of the guy with the flute who went from tribe to tribe — usually nowadays he has only two legs. : ) This is a story of a centuries old revenge that the hero must conquer is he is to live his life.

        LONE ARROW’S PRIDE is set in Wyoming and Montana — but I brought the legend of the Supersitious Mountains and the monks into the mountains in Wyoming and Montana.

        SOARING EAGLE’S EMBRACE is definitely about the Star people.

        One of my books, although I can’t recall which one right now, the hero has a pet wolf. Let me try to remember that one — odd that I can’t recall which book that is off the top of my head. It might have been NIGHT THUNDER’S BRIDE — maybe…not sure. Now this book with the Wolf is based on a true story of someone who had a pet wolf.

        Hope this helps.

        Hope this helps

        • Thanks so Karen and I just really need to go to your book list and read about all the books at one time so I get a clearer idea. I love the wolf one since I deal with my wolf too, in spirit these days but I know just know he was a real wolf and companion to me in a former life and is still with me. How I know we could go on to a story in itself haha but interesting. In fact you would understand Karen. Thanks again so much.

          • Oh, just remembered his name. It was Cocopelli — you know you’ve seen the depictions of him. : ) It wasn’t Cocopelli — the real one — but I based a character of long, long ago on him.

            Yes, indeed, Elaine, I do understand. So beautiful. Sometime I should tell the true story about how a wolf rescued a Blackfeet baby. Beautiful story.

            • Sweet Karen and yes I did think of Kokopelli sp.? too when you said the flute. But yes I would love to hear that wolf tale sometime, that would be neat. If I were in college again I would go back and finish with a degree in something along the lines of Native American studies with their history, written and oral tales but if wishes were horses than beggars would ride. Hell even at my age now online studies can be done hehe and I was so close to my AA but had to work. Oh well, this is still fascinating Karen, thank you!

              • I think you spelled it correctly, Elaine. I thought it looked odd when I wrote it out… Well, you know, I’ll always had to work — always wanted to stay home with my kids and that sort of thing — but have always had to work — and maybe that’s a good thing, I don’t know. One is never too old, I think. The day one stops dreaming is the day life stops to a greater or lesser degree… Where would we be without our dreams?

  7. Hi Karen! Beautiful story!!! I enjoyed the pictures too!! Hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas!!!!

  8. Lovely story, Karen. It is true that the most important gift whether large or small means so much more when it is truly from the heart. What a wonderful act of love to give up a child for the love of another and the good of the child.

    Thanks for sharing. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

  9. What I liked then loved was naming their son Star Boy as he tied both Earth and her Star husband together in more ways, even if we never learned his name but that red star and his star stayed in the sky showing his love to both of them while the mother and son had both stars to guide and hold close in their hearts that love forever. They say that Star People did come and help people to advance and even propagated here too to strengthen even change the population for the better. The indigenous tribes and people of which many were Native American here towards the west and in Australia aborigines and New Zealand tribes have the longest and greatest oral history of the Star People with pictures and paintings or figures carved in the caves and countryside there still. I do watch Ancient Aliens but have known about then for decades though only now is it so in the now and news, bringing forth this knowledge letting us know WE ARE NOT ALONE AND MAY NEVER HAVE BEEN. WE may have been seeded, originated or changed on purpose to learn and grow. It is only since we reached the Atomic Age that we accept all this more and may find visitors here often from afar though all people, religions and races can be Trac e d to Star People in the legends, stories and histories, it’s fascinating and most likely true than not. I wonder what other tidbits you will incorporate in your books Karen since you keep us interested and on our toes and well as embrace them in our hearts as Earth and Star Boy. Thanks again and have a great weekend.

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