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Legend of the Mosquitoes

Every year as the warm weather returns, an unpleasant accompaniment to balmy climes also makes a reappearance – the mosquitoes. The Haudenosaunee have an explanation as to why these pesky creatures torment people during the milder months.

A long, long time ago, on the opposite shores of a river in Haudenosaunee country, two giant mosquitoes came to rest. These mosquitoes were as big as a pine tree.

As the Haudenosaunee paddled down the river in their canoes, they were vulnerable to attack by these hideous giant bugs. As the people passed by, the mosquitoes swooped down and attacked the canoeists with their beaks, killing many.

To avoid these assaults, the Haudenosaunee, simply changed their route, avoiding this river altogether. But it was to no avail. The mosquitoes moved to other venues to seek their prey.

These continued attacks caused great problems for the Haudenosaunee, who used waterways as a main means of transportation. The people never knew when or where they would be attacked and devoured by the creatures.

The Haudenosaunee had had enough. They formed a war party to find and destroy the evil monster bugs. Two great canoes, filled with the bravest warriors, were launched and sent to kill the beasts.
The warriors were well armed for battle with bows and arrows. Fastened to their belts were their war-clubs and knives. They bravely went out to fight their foe.

They did not have to travel far. After paddling only a short distance down the river, the attack began. The beak of one of the mosquitoes pierced one canoe, sinking its passengers. In retaliation, the warriors in the second canoe, filled the air with arrows.

The battle that ensued was horrible. The warriors bravely fought on, but the mosquitoes seemed to be at every turn. Within a short span of time more than half the warriors had been killed. Those who remained were determined to die courageously.

Leaving their canoe, they planned to attack the creatures on the land. The warriors took cover behind trees and bushes, surrounding the mosquitoes.

The evil beings were unable to retaliate, as they could not reach the warriors through the thick bushes. The Haudenosaunee sprayed the air with their arrows, repeatedly piercing the flesh of the creatures.

As the battle raged on the warriors supply of arrows was depleting. The mosquitoes, however, could resist no longer, and deeply wounded, fell upon the ground. The warriors struck the beasts over and over with their war clubs, until the mosquito’s bodies were torn to ruins.

Suddenly, the air filled with a swarm of tiny mosquitoes, buzzing about the warriors’ ears. These tiny creatures had sprung forth from the blood of their huge predecessors, and they, too, were fond of human blood.

To this day, the tiny pests attack people in retribution for the Haudenosaunee assault upon their ancestors.

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