Iroquois longhouse lodgePART 6: HORNED SERPENTS – Continuing his journey, Hodadeion the god of magic came to a river across which an impossibly long and thick tree served as a bridge. Believing this might lead to the village of the cannibalistic wizards he was searching for the demigod set off across the makeshift bridge.

When he was halfway across Hodadeion abruptly stopped. He sensed something immense lying in wait on the other side of the river. Frustrated by being detected by their potential prey two enormous serpents with deerhorns on their heads sprang from hiding and hissed insults at the demigod who stood tantalizingly just outside their reach. Unafraid, Hodadeion shouted insults of his own back at the two monstrous serpents, who were as big around as several tree-trunks and as long as several trees laid end to end.

The gigantic snakes revealed that they were among the race of thunder-serpents slain by the Iroquois storm god Henon. They two were all that remained and were alive only because they were too powerful for Henon to destroy, no matter how many of his spears made of lightning that he had thrown at them. They reflected that they would have been better off dead because, unable to slay them Henon had instead condemned them to forever guard this river-crossing to discourage the Iroquois people from venturing into the dangerous territory beyond.

Because they were forever bound to that spot by the storm-god’s power the pair were at all times ravenously hungry since none of the humans or other prey they fed upon could ever satisfy their enormous appetites. Armed with this knowledge Hodadion decided on his course of action. He knew he had no chance of destroying the monstrous horned serpents if even Henon had been incapable of doing so. That meant he had to rely upon guile.

tree across riverHodadeion left the bridge and removed two squirrel-skins from his pouch of magical implements. Chanting and singing he transformed the dead skins into two living squirrels. Holding each squirrel by the tail he returned to the bridge. Walking across the fallen tree the demigod continued chanting and singing, causing the squirrels he held to continue growing and growing.

By the time Hodadeion had reached the other side of the river the squirrels were the size of dogs and he tossed them to the ground. The two horned serpents had been hungrily eyeing the growing squirrels, anticipating feeding upon them when they finally stopped growing. Hodadeion chanted and sang until the squirrels were over twice as large as the largest moose or bears. As soon as the squirrels stopped growing the horned serpents swallowed down one each and the bodies of the suffocated squirrels, now just bulges in the bodies of the two monsters, began their slow path down the digestive systems of the two serpents.

Like all snakes with full throats the horned serpents lost all interest in any more prey for the moment and let Hodadeion slip past them and into the forest beyond. Before too long his spell would wear off and the two squirrels would shrink back down into lifeless skins in the bellies of the snakes but by then the god of magic would be long gone and headed for his next adventure.


For my original list of Iroquois deities click here:

© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 


Filed under Mythology


  1. Brutal move with the reanimated squirrels!

  2. I’m from Spain and we never get any info on Iroquois myths like this! Bravo!

  3. Very cool! Nice to see something other than Hercjules and Thor!

  4. This is my favorite since ur Vietnamese gods and goddesses!

  5. Go Hodadeion (sp?) This should be a movie!

  6. Pingback: IROQUOIS EPIC MYTH: HODADEION | Balladeer's Blog

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