Oban's Myths & Legends
How Mosquitoes Came To Be
A Native American - Iroquois Story
retold by Agor
A long time ago there were no mosquitoes and people didn’t have to put up with the buzzing, swatting and biting as we do today.
There was an Iroquois longhouse village on the Seneca River in what is now called New York State and the people there used elm-bark canoes to fish and visit other villages.
Early one winter morning a group of men went fishing. They paddled their canoes up-river to a stream that usually had plenty of fish.
Tall pine trees stretched their branches out along both sides of the water and cast shadows as the canoes passed.
Suddenly there was a loud rustling sound and something tall bent forward through the trees.
The men in the first canoe saw a head with a long beak coming towards them. They shouted and tried to hit the thing with their paddles, but the sharp beak darted in and out among them, biting wherever it could reach.
Then the attack stopped and the long-headed creature swung back up and hid in the trees again. All the men stared after it, but it was gone.
The bites from the creature were very painful and the men in the first canoe could hardly move. Their friends towed them back to their village and a healing ceremony was held for them.
The men were very sick and one of them died the next day. Everyone in the village was upset and many were angry about the attack but didn’t know who or what to blame. A few days later another fishing party went out, to a different stream this time. Again a giant creature bent down from the trees and bit several men, and this time two men died.