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The Walnut Cracker

A long time ago in western Georgia, among the Southeastern Creek Hitchiti Indians, lived Walnut-Cracker. His name was given him because he spent most of his time gathering, cracking, and eating walnuts in the same spot.

He always placed walnuts on a large stone and cracked them open, using a smaller stone. For the rest of the day and evening he ate walnuts. This was how Walnut-Cracker lived for many years. When he died, his people buried him at the place where the walnuts grew.

Some time later, a Creek hunter passed that very place and found a large mound of walnuts. As he was hungry, he cracked some and ate the good meat. Later that same evening the hunter returned. He sat down and cracked many walnuts on the large stone.

While the hunter was busy cracking and eating walnuts, a man came out of his nearby lodge. He heard someone at the place where Walnut-Cracker had lived. He listened and plainly heard the cracking noise. Looking closely through the darkness, he saw what looked like a person sitting where Walnut-Cracker always sat.

The man went back into his lodge announcing, "Walnut-Cracker, who died and was buried, now sits at his same place, cracking walnuts on the large stone! Do you think it is his ghost?"

All of the man's family came outside quietly, looking toward Walnut-Cracker's place. There they saw someone cracking walnuts on the large stone, who surely looked like Walnut-Cracker himself.

One of the family was a Lame Man, a good friend of Walnut- Cracker.

"Take me along on your back," he pleaded. "I want to see him again." So he was carried on the back of another who walked quietly toward the ghost.

That is what they thought, and they stopped in fear. But Lame Man whispered, "Please, take me a little farther." His companion took him a little way, then stopped. The hunter did not hear them, because he was cracking walnuts.

"Please take me a little farther," again asked Lame Man. The hunter looked up and saw the people through the shadows. He jumped up, seized his bow and arrows, and ran away!

When the ghost moved, the people ran back to their lodge. The one carrying the Lame Man became frightened and dropped him and left, running back to the lodge. Lame Man, too, jumped up and ran to his people. He was no longer a lame man!

Tribal storytellers say, "He outran the others, beating them to the lodge. He walked perfectly ever after."

As for Walnut-Cracker, no one saw his ghost again!

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The Indigenous Peoples' Literature pages were researched and organized by Glenn Welker.