Oban's Myths & Legends
The Poor Turkey Girl
Native American - Santa Clara Pueblo and Zuni tale
retold by Oban
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.