Long ago, a tribe of Cheyenne hunters lived at the head of a rushing stream, which eventually emptied into a large cave. Because of the great need for a new food supply for his people, the Chief called a council meeting.
"We should explore the large cave," he told his people. "How many brave hunters will offer to go on this venture? Of course, it may be very dangerous, but we have brave hunters." No one responded to the Chief's request.
Finally, one young brave painted himself for hunting and stepped forth, replying to the Chief, "I will go and sacrifice myself for our people."
He arrived at the cave, and to his surprise, First Brave found two other Cheyenne hunters near the opening, where the stream rushed underground. "Are they here to taunt me," First Brave wondered? "Will they only pretend to jump when I do?" But the other two braves assured him they would go. "No, you are mistaken about us. We really do want to enter the cave with you," they said.
First Brave then joined hands with them and together they jumped into the huge opening of the cave. Because of the darkness, it took some time for their eyes to adjust. They then discovered what looked like a door. First Brave knocked, but there was no response. He knocked again, louder.
"What do you want, my brave ones?" asked an old Indian grandmother as she opened her door.
"Grandmother, we are searching for a new food supply for our tribe," First Brave replied. "Our people never seem to have enough food to eat."
"Are you hungry now?" she asked.
"Oh, yes, kind Grandmother, we are very hungry," all three braves answered. The old grandmother opened her door wide, inviting the young braves to enter.
"Look out there!" she pointed for them to look through her window. A beautiful wide prairie stretched before their eyes. Great herds of buffalo were grazing contentedly. The young hunters could hardly believe what they saw! The old grandmother brought each of them a stone pan full of buffalo meat. How good it tasted, as they ate and ate until they were filled. To their surprise, more buffalo meat remained in their stone pans!
"I want you to take your stone pans of buffalo meat back to your people at your camp," said the old grandmother. "Tell them that soon I will send some live buffalo."
"Thank you, thank you, thank you, kind Grandmother," said the three young Cheyenne braves.
When the young hunters returned to their tribe with the gifts of buffalo meat, their people rejoiced over the new, good food. Their entire tribe ate heartily from the old grandmother's three magic pans, and were grateful.
When the Cheyennes waked at dawn the next day, herds of buffalo had mysteriously appeared, surrounding their village! They were truly thankful to the old Indian grandmother and to the Sky Spirits for their good fortune.
From Indigenous Peoples' Literature