Why the Partridge drums by Mabel Powers
It was after the Great Spirit had made all the beautiful birds, that the
Evil Spirit came along. He saw the beautiful birds and heard their
beautiful songs. He saw that the earth people liked the birds and liked
to hear them sing.
Now the Evil Spirit did not wish people to be happy, so he said, "I will
make a bird that will make people afraid. I will make a big bird that
will not sing, but will make a great noise."
So the Evil Spirit went to work. In a short time he had made a big bird,
that could not sing, but could drum.
The big bird flew away into the wood. That night a drumming noise was
heard in the wood. The people were afraid. They could not sleep, because
of the noise.
In the morning, they went into the woods to search for the noise. Deep
in the forest could still be heard that strange drumming. They followed
it, until they came to a deep, dark place in the woods. There was a loud
fluttering and whirring of wings, and a great bird flew out from among
them, along the ground and over the trees.
The people were afraid. They called to the Great Spirit to help them.
The Great Spirit was near. He heard their cry, and went after the bird,
for he was very angry.
The Great Spirit said, "I will not have my people frightened by this
great bird; it shall die."
The big bird gave the Great Spirit a long chase. At last the Great
Spirit came upon it. He seized it, and threw it against a large tree.
As the big bird struck the tree, drops of blood flew in all directions.
They changed into smaller birds that went whirring into the woods, just
as the big bird had done. There they began to drum.
Like the big bird, these smaller birds like to startle people. They
flutter out from under the leaves, and with a whirring noise they fly
far into the wood. There they perch on an old log, or a rock, and drum
with their wings.
Some of the earth people say they are drumming for their mates. But
others still think that the birds drum to make people afraid.
So this is how the Indians say the partridges came to be. This is why
they drum, and why some of the earth children still love to hunt