Of all the animals, in the old days, the Possum had the most beautiful tail. The Possum's tail was covered in long silky hair, and showed it off when the Animal People met in council.Possum would always hold his tail up so all the animals could see.
"Can you see my tail," he would say."Isn't it the finest tail you have seen. Surely it no animal's tail is more beautiful than mine."
He bragged so much about his that the animals got tired of it, and so Rabbit decided to step in and do something about it. Rabbit was the one who called the council meetings, because he was the the messenger for all the animals. He went to Possum's house for this reason.
"There is going to be a wonderful meeting, my friend," commited Rabbit. "Bear, our chief wants you to sit by him next meeting and to speak first, because you have such a beautiful." Possum was flattered.
"It is true what you said.I will be the first one to speak in council," replied Possum. Rabbit looked closely at Possum's tail.
"Your tail is dirty, let me clean it, so your will look nice for the meeting. I have some medicine that will make it look like it needs to look."
Possum looked at his tail closely. It did seem a bit dirty.
"Yes, that is a brillant idea, my friend," remarked Possum." I do want all the animals to admire my tail at council." Then Rabbit mixed his medicine up, medicine strong enough to losen all the hair on Possum's tail. As Rabbit put the medicine on Possum's, he wraped it in snake skin.
" Kept the skin on until tomorrow when you speak, so everyone will see it as it should be seen." Possum did as Rabbit advised. He kept the snake skin wraped tightly around his tail all though the night." Possum sat next to Chief Bear at the council meeting the next day. When the meeting begain, Possum stood up, and while walking back and forth, swung his tail, with the snake skin still attached. All the animals were watching Possum very closely. The thought of his beautiful tail made Possum smile big. The time was right!
As Possum held up his tail, he began to take off the snake skin, he spoke. "I have chosen to start this council because of my tail. Look at beautiful tail." As Possum took off the snake skin all the hair on his tail fail off. His tail was naked and ugly! When he saw it the smile on his face froze. All the animals were staring at him. Possum was so ashamed that he fell down and pretended to be dead. He stayed that way until all the animals had left.
To this day when Possum feels threatned he plays dead and still has that foolish grin on his face. Possum has the ugliest tail of all animals because he was so vain.
Removal of the Cherokee in the east did not destroy the whole Eastern Band of Cherokee. Thanks to the courage and sacrific of a cherokee named Tsali, decendants of full-blooded Cherokee still remain in North Carolina, today. His sad story is very dramatic, but inspiring which deserves retelling.
Into the Great Smoky Mountains, several hundred Cherokee Indians fled, when U.S. soldiers started rounding the Cherokee up and putting them in stockades. Tsali was included in one of these groups. When he fought to avoid capture, he killed two soldiers. The likelihood of finding Tsali was slim, when General Scott wanted him found and punished for his crime. Scott said that if Tsali turned himself in, all the cherokees hiding in the mountian would have their freedom.
Tsali knew if he left his hiding place he would be executed, but knew the tribesmen would be able to keep their homes in the land of their ancesters. He chose to give his life for others.
As Tsali faced the firing squad and said,"It is sweet to die for one's own country."