A Native American – Santa Clara Pueblo and Zuni Tale.
A very long time ago in the village of Shufinne, a young orphan girl lived with her aunt.
The aunt spoilt her own children but was very mean to the little girl. She made her work from sunrise to sunset gathering wood, working in the fields, patching the mud walls of their house and looking after the turkeys.
Each morning the girl would let the turkeys out of their cages and take them into the canyons to let them search for food.
Each night she would go up into the canyons and call the turkeys to come home. They would gather round her and follow her back to their cages. Everyone in the village, including her cousins, called her Turkey Girl.
She was often sent off with the turkeys without any breakfast, and many times she went to bed hungry at night.
Turkey Girl worked hard for years. No one showed her any kindness. But she was very kind and caring to the turkeys. They loved her in return and came immediately she called them at night to lead them back to their cages.
Gradually Turkey Girl grew into a young woman. But she always looked dirty and tired from all the hard work she did. Her hair was a tangled, untidy mess and her clothes were patched and tattered hand downs from her cousins.
One day it was announced there would be a big dance in the village in four days time. Everyone was excited. Turkey Girl’s cousins began sewing new mantas or dresses for the dance. They laughed as they sewed, and talked about how wonderful they would look at the dance.
Turkey Girl knew she was not invited and even if she was, she had nothing to wear. Everyone would laugh at her dirty and patched clothes.
For the next three days as Turkey Girl walked with her turkeys into the canyons, she sighed and talked to the birds about the dance.
“It would be so cool to go to that dance.” she sighed.
The turkeys kept walking.
“But it’s never going to happen. And even if I could go I don’t have a nice dress to wear. Everyone would laugh at me,” she said to the turkeys.
The turkeys kept walking.
On the fourth day as Turkey Girl talked and thought about the dance she didn’t notice that the turkeys had led her further into the canyons than she had ever been before.
The turkeys stopped and circled her.
The oldest turkey flapped his wings, strutted up to her and said “We can help you go to the dance.”
Turkey Girl stared at the old turkey with her mouth wide open, unable to speak
“Yes we can talk when we want to,” said the old turkey. “Now get over it!”
“Ok, talking turkeys! I’m cool with that,” said Turkey Girl. “Now what were you saying about the dance?”
The old turkey said, “If you trust us and do what we say, we can help you go to the dance.”
“But I’ve got nothing to wear except these old clothes, and I’m dirty,” cried the girl.
The turkeys stared at her without saying a word.
“Ok, I trust you,” said Turkey Girl. “You’ve been my only friends all these years.”
The old turkey told her to take off her dress and put it on the ground. He then strutted back and forth on it, picking at it with his beak and beating it with his wings.
The other turkeys circled around Turkey Girl, brushing her with their wings and combing her hair with their beaks until her skin was clean and smooth and her long black hair was shining and wavy.
When the turkeys stepped away from her, the old turkey stood there, holding a beautifully embroidered white dress in his beak. Turkey Girl put it on.
A large turkey lifted his wing and out fell a pair of the finest white moccasins.
Another turkey coughed and out came a sparkling shell necklace.
Dressed in her new clothes and with her glowing face, Turkey Girl looked truly beautiful.
She thanked the turkeys and turned to leave the canyon to go to the dance.
“Before you go” said the old turkey “You must promise not to forget us here in the canyon and come back before it is dark, to take us back to our cages.”
“I promise!” shouted Turkey Girl, as she turned and ran towards the village. “You can trust me.”
When Turkey Girl reached the village no one recognised her in her gorgeous new clothes.
All the young men looked at her admiringly, wondering who this beautiful young woman was. All the young women greeted her warmly.
At first Turkey Girl was a bit shy and found it hard to talk but gradually she joined in the dancing.
The more she relaxed, the more she enjoyed herself and danced and danced, forgetting about the turkeys.
It wasn’t until she noticed the long shadows cast by the sun as it sank behind the mountains, that she remembered the turkeys.
Turkey Girl ran from the village, ignoring all her new friends who called after her.
When she reached the canyon where she had left the turkeys it was dark and all the turkeys had gone.
Turkey Girl ran through the canyons and mountains calling out to the turkeys. She called and called but the turkeys would not answer her.
The faster she chased them the faster the turkeys ran away from her.
Brush and thorns ripped her new clothes and they became covered in dust and dirt. The beautiful necklace broke and the shells were lost in the dark.
Finally Turkey Girl stopped chasing the turkeys and walked back to the village, sobbing and dirty. She knew life would be much harder now without her good friends the turkeys.
That is why to this day wild turkeys are scattered throughout the canyons and mountains.
And because of Turkey Girl’s broken promise turkeys no longer trust humans and run away whenever we come near.
(Source from http://www.planetozkids.com)