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F is for Flying Food

We are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge ( The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Dual Natures in Folktales Around the World – opposites, contradictions & paradoxes.


From Quileute People, Northwestern United States

The Pacific Ocean gave life and death to the Quileute people. The Quileute tribe today is found in La Push, Washington. They now have an Oceanside Resort and provide whale watching experiences for tourists as well as hiking and surfing. Kwalla, the whale that brought fear, could also bring life.

Besides stories of this whale, many stories revolve around the tricksters such as Raven, Bluejay, and Coyote.

What is so fascinating? What dualities have surfaced?

The look of the Thunderbird is menacing. Yet, in many Native American tribes including the Quileute People, this large bird can bring life OR death. The people truly fear for their lives as this great bird flew through the air. The waving of its wings caused thunder to shake the earth and sky. Then, lightning bolts struck forth from its eyes.

This Thunderbird could cause destruction and floods. From these floods, the land could flourish again.

When the Thunderbird carries the whale in this story, as it is that strong, can you see why the people wondered what would happen next? Not knowing what side or part of the Thunderbird you would experience?

50-word-or-less summary:

Winter with rock-sized hail. Could not hunt. People starving. Prayed to Great Spirit. Dark clouds gathered. Thunderbird arose with wingspan as big as the bay. People afraid. Thunderbird shook earth. Lightning struck. Thunderbird carried whale. Dropped on shore. Fed people. Survived the rest of the winter. Carved totems honored Thunderbird.

Finding the Story: 

Mythopedia: An Encyclopedia of Mythical Beasts and their Magical Tales – found here (includes Thunderbird)

A Guide to Story Monsters: Thunderbirds, the Jersey Devil, Mothman, and Other Flying Cryptids – found here

Monstrous Myths: Terrible Tales of Native America – found here

More About the Quileute People – found here

Please share thoughts in the comments. While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings. See quick list of programs here.

As for our past A to Z Challenges…

While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has been “dual” in our offerings of our hybrid summit & festival on May 9-12, 2022 – yes, in-person and virtual – and would be honored for you to join us. Explore the schedule and register here:

Thanks to funding from National Endowment for the Arts; National Endowment for the Humanities; Western States Arts Federation; Utah Division of Arts and Museums/Utah Legislature; Utah Humanities; Youth, Educators, Storytellers (YES); City of Murray; Zoo, Arts & Parks (ZAP) of Salt Lake County; Salt Lake City Arts Council; Clever Octopus, and 80+ businesses and individuals.

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