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Kayuta and Waneta

Waneta was the daughter of the chief. Her tribe was at war with another tribe and they fought all along the shores of a great lake. But Waneta was in love with a warrior, Kayuta, from the enemy tribe. They would meet in secret when the sky was dark and the lake was black. She would be so happy when she returned from her nighttime trysts, that Weutha, a warrior in her village grew suspicious.

Weutha wanted to marry Waneta, but his heart was black and besides Waneta was bound to Kayuta and would marry no other. Weutha followed Waneta as she went to the lakeshore one night. He heard her sing the song of the quail, then Kayuta emerged from the forest and they sat down on the shore to listen to the lap of its waves.

Weutha returned to the village and told the warriors that the enemy was near. Waneta knew nothing of the warriors’ discussions and the next night she traveled to the lake to see her love. No sooner had Waneta and Kayuta reunited, than a war cry split the night and arrows rained down. Kayuta told Waneta to hide in the forest.

Kayuta rushed into battle and when he saw Weutha he split his skull with his tomahawk. But then he heard Waneta scream his name. He rushed across the shoreline with the speed of a deer. Then he saw a string of beads that lay on the bottom of the lake next to a quagmire. Waneta, in her haste to escape the battle, had stepped in the quagmire in the darkness. All night and all day Kayuta stood there by the lake. Then, just as darkness fell, his heart broke, and he joined her in death. And the lake is still known as Kayuta Lake.


This is a Seneca tale from North America, and has been contributed by the Fairy Encyclopedia.

It is a part of our series, Folklore Worldwide. We are currently open to submissions from around the world, and you are welcome to send us your stories!

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