Manataka American Indian Council





The Lonely Cherokee Maiden


Once there was a young brave called "White Bull".  He had not a care in the world when he saw a beautiful maiden called "Red Heart".  Her beauty was second to no other girl he had ever seen. One day White Bull decided he would seek an introduction to young Red Heart but he did not know her people or any one who did.

Throwing social graces aside, he walked to her and said "O'siyo, Do hi tsu?"  (Hello, How are you?)


"Osda," (Good) she replied.


"I am called White Bull; how are you called?, " he asked. 


" I am called Red Heart" she replied. 


With that short introduction they spoke a long time that day and had many more conversations in months to come. 

One day Red Heart came to realize that White Bull wanted to be more than just to be her brother.  So, she told him in an honest way that her heart belonged to a great warrior called Black Thunder.

However Black Thunder's feelings toward Red Heart may not have been as true.  He relieved himself of one wife already and was in search for something he was not sure he could find or even wanted.  But, it was Black Thunder, not White Bull who had captured Red Heart's love. Again it was Black Thunder who was having romantic conversations with Red Heart.

White Bull felt that Red Heart did not known his love for her was pure, but he did not say or do anything to prove his love.  "Maybe she has medicine as well as beauty" he said to himself.   He simply bowed his head and slipped away to let the path she had chosen take it's course.

Red Heart was faithful to Black Thunder but, he was not faithful to her. She did everything she could to please him but he was unappreciative of her. What she felt for him, he did not feel for her.  Black Thunder was with other maidens at the same time he was with Red Heart.  One day Black Thunder decided to leave and go in search of other female companionship and eventually he was married to another. Red Heart's heart was broken. 

White Bull sadly saw what happened to Red Heart and wanted to win her heart, but her eyes were like a fire that could burn down a forest.  She was sad, angry and forlorn.  Realizing that she needed time to heal, White Bull went away for four long seasons.

When White Bull returned, he found Red Heart had recovered from her broken heart and this made him very happy.   Once again they had many wonderful conversations.  They enjoyed meals together, took long walks in the woods, and they joyously danced the friendship dance. 

During this time many other warriors were seeking her hand in marriage as well.  Red Heart enjoyed all the attention, but her love for Black Thunder remained hidden inside her, but White Bull's good heart, respect and love for her was winning against all the other suitors.  The other warriors were jealous of White Bull and told Red Heart many false stories about him.  She was told by many not to trust White Bull as he had a black heart.

One day when she began to listen to the jealous words and in a weak moment, Red Heart confronted White Bull with all she had been told.   "I am White Bull", he said, I have not said or done any of the things for which I am accused.  Lead me to those who have lied so that I may face them!"  Fearing for his life, she refused to say who among the warriors had told her ugly things about him. 

Many uneasy days past before White Bull returned to Red Heart.  "Will you tell me now?, he asked.  Again, she refused to answer. 

White Bull clenched his fists and said, "Come to me no more with these lies and tales of darkness!"  If you can not let me face my accusers then we can longer be friends and you are  no longer my sister!"  White Bull turned and walked away. 

"White Bull, please stop," Red Heart pleaded.   When he turned to face her, his eyes were like a fire that could burn down the forest.  Now, it was her turn to allow him to heal. 

One moon later, Red Heart sought to find White Bull.  After many days she finally found him alone deep in the forest.  As he held her hand, White Bull apologized in a loving way for his ill-tempered behavior and she gladly accepted.  But, she darkly said that she was not fully healed herself and she was still a prisoner to Black Thunder and could never marry another. 

White Bull moved away to another land after that.  Black Thunder moved back to the village with his third wife.  Red Heart moved in the opposite direction.  Today, she remains alone and unmarried.

- Yonv Tali

[Editor's Note:  This is a good story to tell your children about the wrong way to view relationships.  All three characters in this sad story were dishonest - less than forthcoming with their true feelings.  The results are always painful.]


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