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Tsul 'Kalu (the slant-eyed or sloping giant), is a legendary figure in Cherokee mythology who serves the role of "the great lord of the game", and as such is frequently invoked in hunting rites and rituals.[1] Tsul 'Kalu is also believed by some to be the Cherokee version of Sasquatch or Bigfoot because he seems to share several physical and behavioral traits with the creature.

Contents

Name etymology

The tale is one of the best known Cherokee legends and was recorded by Europeans as early as 1823, often using the spelling, Tuli cula. The name Tsul 'Kalu means literally "he has them slanting/sloping", being understood to refer to his eyes, although the word eye (akta, plural dikta) is not a part of it. In the plural form it is also the name of a traditional race of giants in the far west.[2]

Tsul 'Kalu in local nomenclature

He is said to dwell in a place called Tsunegun'yi. The words Tsul and Tsune and their variations appear in a number of Cherokee place names throughout the Southeastern United States. Especially in Western North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee (much as Sasquatch references appear in the place names of other tribes). For instance-

TSULÂ'SINÛÑ'YÏ: "Where the footprint is", on Tuckasegee River, about a mile above Deep creek, in Swain county. From a rock now blasted out to make way for the railroad, on which were impressions said to have been the footprints of the giant Tsul`kälû' and a deer.

Tsul`kälû' Tsunegûñ'yï: A 100-acre (40 ha) patch on a slope of the Tanasee Bald.[3] Located at the extreme bead of Tuckasegee River, in Jackson County, on the ridge from which the lines of Haywood, Jackson, and Transylvania counties converge.[1] It is believed Tsul 'Kalu was responsible for clearing the spot for his residence. The name is sometimes corrupted by Europeans to Jutaculla, consequently the area is also known as the "Jutaculla Old Fields". There is also a large slab of soapstone called "Jutaculla Rock" nearby, which is covered with strange scratches and carvings. These markings are said to have been made by the giant when he would jump from his home on the mountain to the creek below 2.

The legend

A long time ago a widow lived with her one daughter at the old town of Känuga on Pigeon river. The girl was of age to marry, and her mother used to talk with her a good deal.
One day, her mother told her she must be sure to take no one but a good hunter for a husband, so that they would have some one to take care of them and would always have plenty of meat in the house.
The girl said such a man was hard to find, but her mother advised her not to be in a hurry, and to wait until the right one came.
Now the mother slept in the house while the girl slept outside in the âsï. One dark night a stranger came to the âsï wanting to court the girl, but she told him her mother would let her marry no one but a good hunter. "Well," said the stranger, "I am a great hunter," so she let him come in, and he stayed all night. Just before day he said he must go back now to his own place, but that he had brought some meat for her mother, and she would find it outside. Then he went away and the girl had not seen him. When day came she went out and found there a deer, which she brought into the house to her mother, and told her it was a present from her new sweetheart. Her mother was pleased, and they had deer steaks for breakfast.
He came again the next night, but again went away before daylight, and this time he left two deer outside. The mother was more pleased this time, but said to her daughter, "I wish your sweetheart would bring us some wood."
Now wherever he might be, the stranger knew their thoughts, so when he came the next time he said to the girl, "Tell your mother I have brought the wood"; and when she looked out in the morning there were several great trees lying in front of the door, roots and branches and all.
The old woman was angry, and said, "He might have brought us some wood that we could use instead of whole trees that we can't split, to litter up the road with brush." The hunter knew what she said, and the next time he came he brought nothing, and when they looked out in the morning the trees were gone and there was no wood at all, so the old woman had to go after some herself.
Almost every night he came to see the girl, and each time he brought a deer or some other game, but still he always left before daylight. At last her mother said to her, "Your husband always leaves before daylight. Why don't he wait? I want to see what kind of a son-in-law I have."
When the girl told this to her husband he said he could not let the old woman see him, because the sight would frighten her. "She wants to see you, anyhow," said the girl, and began to cry, until at last he had to consent, but warned her that her mother must not say that he looked frightful (usga'së`ti'yu).
The next morning he did not leave so early, but stayed in the âsï, and when it was daylight the girl went out and told her mother. The old woman came and looked in, and there she saw a great giant, with long slanting eyes (tsul`kälû'), lying doubled up on the floor, with his head against the rafters in the left-hand corner at the back, and his toes scraping the roof in the right-hand corner by the door.
She gave only one look and ran back to the house, crying,
Usga'së`ti'yu! Usga'së`ti'yu!
Tsul`kälû' was terribly angry. He untwisted himself and came out of the âsï, and said good-bye to the girl, telling her that he would never let her mother see him again, but would go back to his own country. Then he went off in the direction of Tsunegûñ'yï. (Mooney, 1900)

Notes

  • Some wags and skeptics have recently dubbed the Tsul 'Kalu legend; "Help Jerry! My daughter has married a Bigfoot!"

Popular Culture

  • Tsul 'Kalu appears in "The Secret Saturdays" in the episode "The Return of Tsul 'Kalu". It appears at the ruins close by the Saturdays' headquarter where it attacks the Saturdays to retrieve his hand on Zak's staff (the Claw). Tsul 'Kalu later appears in the episode "And Your Enemies Closer" saving Zak from Argost (who recently got an anti-kur power from Zak Monday)and he is assisted by Doc, Fisk and Komodo. This is after Zak accidentally reveals his business relationship with Argost to the Secret Scientists.

References

  1. ^ a b Ellison, George; Mooney, James E. (1992). James Mooney's history, myths, and sacred formulas of the Cherokees: containing the full texts of Myths of the Cherokee (1900) and The sacred formulas of the Cherokees (1891) as published by the Bureau of American Ethnology: with a new biographical introduction, James Mooney and the eastern Cherokees. Asheville, NC: Bright Mountain Books (Historical Images). ISBN 0-914875-19-1.  p 479
  2. ^ http://archiver.rootsweb.com/th/read/Melungeon/2003-12/1072756671 1
  3. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographical Names Information System: Tanasee Bald

External links

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