Why Do Deer Have Short Tails?

A long time ago when the Seneca roamed the Northeast, deer got their short tails. And here is why.

Once a boy named Moon was out in the woods with his father. They were out in the middle of the woods. It was very cold. The wind was blowing real hard and leaves were falling everywhere.

They were looking for food to hunt and kill for the village to eat. The people in the village would eat the meat, use the fur for blankets, the bones for tools, and the other parts of the animal's body for other things. The people used all the parts of the animals body, they only took what they needed.

Moon and his Father knew it would be cold during the nights, so they took bear fur to keep them warm. They also dressed in their warmer clothes. They were ready for anything!

The first day they didn't see much of anything, but they needed something to eat. They shot a rabbit with their bows and arrows. They shot a normal size rabbit, plenty for them to eat. They would take the fur and the bones of the rabbit home. They also had corn, beans and squash that Moon's mother had grown with the other women in the tribe. Moon's father and some other men did the hunting for the village.

The two of them did not know that behind a bush there was a mother deer having two babies. The deer back in this time, had very long tails that almost touched the ground. The long tails did not cause the deer to have any problems running, or jumping, or just standing around.

Be quiet son ,or the rabbits will run away, whispered the father right before they shot their first arrow. Two of the hunter's arrows did not hit the running and jumping rabbit. They went in through the bush! Both arrows hit both of the baby deer!

Finally Moon said, Father we hit the deer and we hit the baby deer on the tail, so we did not kill them! But it did cut of more than three quarters of the baby deer's tails!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So that is why deer have short tails.

After one night, Moon and his Father were able to go back to the long house that his wife's family lived in. The hunters shot a bear. The two hunters were very pleased with what they caught.

On the way home it stared to snow! Moon was very happy, he was running and jumping in the snow.. Moon and his Father looked in all four directions!

Father," Moon said, look, there is an owl over in the tree to the North; and an eagle over in that tree to the South; and over in the tree to the East there were baby birds in a nest with their mother and father with them; and over it the west in a tree there is a crow with it's family!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All the animals look very happy!!!!!!!!! father said happily.

When Moon and Father got back to the village all the people greeted them. Everyone was happy, Moon and Father told everyone about the deer. From there on all the deer have had short tails.

Return to Table of Contents