When the world was still young, Unktehi (water monster) fought with the inhabitants of the land and caused a great flood. Legend has it the Wakan Tanka (Great Spirit) was unhappy with the people and was hoping to restart a kinder nation. A beautiful maiden made it to the top of the highest hill and as the water reached the crest of the hill Wanblee Galeshka (spotted eagle) swooped down. He picked up this girl, he took her to his home high above where the waters would not reach( some refer to it as the Devils Tower in Wyoming).
The girl sat, staring into the distance, as if in a trance. Wanblee could hear the deep sighs in her chest. He knew that this was a sign of a broken heart. She would break into long weeping and mourning at times. Wanblee thought that she must miss her family as he knew he would miss his if they had perished such as hers. He inched towards her and stared into her eyes. “I know you are sad. I see you have lost your family”. She looked back at Wanblee and said, “Yes, but I have not only lost my family, you see that I am the only living two-legged in the land!” With this, she let out a sigh again and told Wanblee. “I want to die now to join my people at the council fires.”
Wanblee knew that this could not happen. She was wet, cold and shivering. Wanblee immediately brought up some dry wood from the top of the hill. He then brought her the stone needed to light it. She swiftly built a fire, warming herself and drying her clothes. He hunted for her and she cooked. He got water from a stream and she drank.
Soon, her strength returned and the two of them shared many stories together. She was very sad as she knew that she would never be able with the two-legged again. She would never have children or the love of a husband.
He would sit close to her and feel the warmth of her soul.
Wanblee asked if he could fly her around the world so that she would be able to finally see how much the earth was full of water from the flood. She consented and never before in her life did she feel this joyful and excited. She inhaled the fresh air and the scent of the ocean. When they returned, she thanked Wanblee over and over.
Wanblee knew at that moment what he needed to do. He went to his favorite place and spoke to Tunkasila Wakan Tanka. “Grandfather, she is the only one left of the two-legged. I know that when her time comes, we will all die. We all need each other. It is the sacred circle of life; we cannot live without the two-legged. Mitakuye Oyasin (we are all related)”.
Tunkasila Wakan Tanka spoke. “If you do this you remember that it cannot be undone. I want you to take the time to consider the cost.” Wanblee nodded in agreement. He then took off in flight and did not return for a few weeks. He wanted to capture the joy felt when he rode up to the heavens on the thermals. He soared and flew as if he never would again.
The girl was worried that she would never see her friend again and cried silent tears. She never knew that he had protected her from immense loneliness until now. She now wondered what she did to possibly offend her friend. She cried again. “Why are you crying? I have returned to you.” Her heart leaped with joy! He was back! She turned to face him and instead she saw a tall two-legged man. She slowly backed away, confusion giving into fear. He stared at her and spoke again, “I could not let you be alone.” She froze in place and looked deeply into his ice blue eyes, which were amazing against his cinnamon brown skin. It IS him! She walked slowly towards him, then picked up her steps running into his arms.
Wanblee made this beautiful woman his wife and she gave birth to twins, a boy, and girl.
When the waters receded to produce dry earth Wanblee helped his family to the ground, he said to them, “Be a nation, become a great Nation- the Lakota Oyate.” When the girl became childbearing age a nation was born. “So we descended from the eagle. We are an eagle nation. That is good, something to be proud of because the eagle is the wisest of birds. He is the Great Spirit’s messenger; he is a great warrior. That is why we always wore the eagle plume, and still wear it. We are a great nation.