Native American Tales

The Greedy Father

The Greedy FatherThe Greedy Father


There was famine in the land. A father caught a salmon and decided that he would cook it up and eat it right there, because he was hungry. He had eaten the whole thing before realizing that only the tell was left. He took the tail home to his children and said that many beggars had been along the way who had gotten the rest of the tail. The children were happy to eat, but the same thing happened the next time and the wife became suspicious.

She decided to look. She saw her husband catch an entire fish, cook it up, and eat all of it, except for the tail. She went home and grabbed up her children. The husband went home with the same line, but there was no one there. His family had climbed way up. The wife said that he would be eating mud and they would be sitting in front of rich people.

The man tried to grab the youngest, but he turned into a bear lily, the other turned into a hazel bush, and the wife turned into a pine tree. The man fell back into the water and turned into a water ouzel.


Water ouzels are also called Moss Eaters. They can actually go under water and produce more oil than other birds. It may appear as if they do eat mud, I’ve never seen one in person, but they’re definitely birds who dwell near the water.


This is a story I have some opinions about. I have opinions about all the stories I read, but this one hits kind of close to home. If you’re a parent, you are supposed to take care of your family. If they don’t have food, you go out and you get food for them. You do not eat food for yourself when they’re starving. You do not take care of just yourself and then leave nothing for the kids.

I’m still a little old-fashioned in some respects and I believe a man is supposed to take care of his family. Women certainly do their part in all of this, but if you’re a man and you have a family, well then, be a man and make sure they have what they need. This man in this story should have never eaten this fish on his own. This is a prime example of someone not being responsible for the people they’re supposed to be responsible for. This is something I hate. I hate to hear about people who lack responsibility for their family members. You want to tick me off? Go be selfish about everything when you have a spouse or children involved.

As soon as you go from being all by yourself to having a spouse and/or children, you don’t get to be selfish about the basic necessities of life.


What a jerk, he deserved to eat mud.

Weigh In

What would you do to this guy if he were your husband?

What do you think the wife was more mad about? The lies? Or the deprivation for her children?


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