Who Is Feather Woman In Blackfoot Mythology and Why Did She Dig Up a Giant Turnip?

On a hot, summer night, a woman named Feather-woman slept in the cool grass outside her village.

When she awoke at dawn, she watched the Morning Star rise above the horizon, a brilliant, gleaming point of light.

The star’s beauty made her gasp, and she quickly fell in love. Excited, she told her friends about her new love, but they only laughed and made fun of her.

Later, when Feather-woman sat alone by a creek, a handsome young man appeared. He told her that he was Morning Star and that he had watched her sleeping in the grass and loved her.

He asked her to become his wife. Although she was shaking with fear, Feather-woman answered yes and joined him in his home in the sky.

Feather-woman loved her new life with Morning Star and his parents, Sun and Moon. She and her husband had a son, named Poia, whom Feather-woman lovingly raised.

Morning Star allowed her anything except for one thing: She could not dig up a giant turnip that grew just outside their lodge. But Feather-woman grew curious, wondering what was so special about the turnip.

One day, she began scraping away the earth surrounding the turnip. Helped by two birds, she finally pulled the vegetable from the soil.

It left a giant hole that peeked into a tiny world of villages and people far below. Recognizing her village, she suddenly felt homesick. Guilty and nervous, she rolled the turnip back over the hole and returned to the lodge.

Morning Star returned to the lodge very sad because he knew that his wife had disobeyed him.

“You can no longer live in this world,” he told her, “and you have inflicted unhappiness and death onto your people because of your disobedience.”

The next day, Feather-woman returned to her village with Poia, and soon after, she died from grief.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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