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A southeastern Native American myth about how man discovered corn as a food crop, which was an important staple to the native diet.

It is said that the first woman, named Selu, gave birth to two sons who were constantly hungry. After hearing her sons complain of their hunger, Selu left to gather food and came back with her basket full of corn. Each day she came back with corn to bake bread and her sons were happy.

The sons began to wonder where their mother found the corn and decided to follow her one day. They watched her enter a log cabin, place the basket on the ground, and shake herself until the basket filled with corn. The sons went back home and said nothing to their mother until after they ate the bread. When confronted about the origins of the corn, Selu told her sons that since they found out her secret, she would have to die. Before she died, she told her sons to drag her body through the fields so corn could grow in the fields. After Selu the Corn Maiden died, man had to work the fields for his bread.

There are many versions of this myth. In the Cherokee and Creek version, the sons kill, dismember, and scatter pieces of their mother in the fields in order to grow the corn.

From a Native American Indians class lecture.

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