Interesting Myths and stories about Nature

I know a lot of myths and stories about nature, One myth is about Musk deer, I read it in the works of Kabir Das, it was that Musk deer produces a certain beautiful smell, it chases this smell by running all over the forest, but he doesn’t know that it is only one who produces that, by this he gave us the example of god, we search them everywhere but it is inside us.
Same goes for other myths, these all myths about nature helps us to understand how closely they were connected to nature, and stories they are one of my favourite ones, ones that are old and written in my area,
Then here goes my parents lecture about saving nature they say, when I am watching nature on tv or simple I ask them myself what was the nature at their times and my mother says
“People were very friendly to nature at that time, their were houses made of muds with grasses on the dry grasses acting as roof(they still are in poor villages), their were fields where native grass were grown, so that the buffaloes can eat them. These native grasses attracted lots and lots of butterflies(at this point I am showing my mom pics of butterflies that I guess she saw, but she simply nodded and said- “I was only 5 years old when this happened”) Then I with your grand mother changes house for better studies, this time house was a cement ones, which was symbol of your wealth status(just how can people hate simple lives in the name wealth amd status) this time their were lots of house sparrows their( my mom still loves them all), so I played with them, the play was simple, we tied a small waste cloth from tailor by thread and we throw that cloth far away and hide behind the charpai( a bed used in up, haryana, bihar made of bamboo and coconut husk) and move that cloth like it was a lizard then sparrows come attracted to that cloth and peck it, That’s how we spent the afternoon”.
I simply was amazed at this time so I asked further what did you do in night
“Hmm, their were no boundaries, no walls in our village it means whole village slept toghether, adult males slept outside, some guarding the sleeping place from wolves and leopards, and some old people laughing out loud, inside that house womens and children sleep, no, not that that quick, we plated a lot of games see clear skies catch fireflies which came to our house we peak with our eyes in someone’s hand and see bright colour”
That is the story I know, I never knew regional stories about nature because I never came to village to discover this, I came their to play . So what about you?, do you know any myths or stories about nature, I would love to hear that!


My favorite is that Hawaiian tree snails (Achatinella) are said to sing. What’s curious is that when I visited Thailand, they said the same thing about an unrelated group of tree snails (Amphidromus).


I’ll share a couple - one is that all moths eat clothing (only a few do). Another one is that wolves attack people. I don’t know of any confirmed attacks by wolves on people, at least in NA (I could be wrong!). Another is that hawks/eagles will prey on small pets. People really freak out about that one!

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Most tales are cautious which is understandable. First thing that came to my mind is leshiy, master of the forest, in modern times most of associations with it are that he can make you get lost even in woods you know well, so you better not talk bad about him, he can create sounds of those you know and lure you deeper, away from other humans. Probably hard to accept how easy it is to get lost!
If you read about myths associated with plants or animals, you see main concern always was death, tree is either a male figure and material for your coffin or female figure and a soul of dead. Even butterfly name (бабочка) actually comes from belief that women reborn as butterflies and tried to get into their old house, so flew to lights. That’s kinda sad that people have to spen their whole life being afraid of when it ends.
Animals in pre-Christian times were god-like as animalism was the norm, you can see how powerful the animal was thought to be by how often it is mentioned in tales, most often you see mention of bear (and it’s said his real name is lost as it shouldn’t be used, only nicknames survived), wolf - the outworldy one, both dangerous but can be friend and helper, fox - the smartest one in the forest. It’s funny that they all are anthropomised and often have surnames as people! From non-predators it’s mostly a hare or hedgehog.


A few that I like:

Early in creation the red squirrels of the northeast US were enormous, the size of bears, and had a fearsome temperament. They would race into villages, tear apart longhouses, and carry people off to eat. This was, obviously, a problem for the people, so they beseeched the creator spirit, begging it to get rid of these dangerous beasts. The creator pondered this for a while and finally said, “I can’t remove them from creation, but I can change them,” and shrank them down to a size that would fit in your hand. They retained their vicious nature though, but now it’s bird nests and the like that they raid, not longhouses.

In parts of South America there is a forest spirit called a Chullachaqui. It makes gardens in the forest, and if you encounter one of these gardens it’s best not to enter it, or if you have to do so to ask permission and go through quickly without disturbing anything. If you don’t do this the Chullachaqui will attack you. These gardens are actually leaf cutter ant nests, and the spirit attacking you are the ants defending their nest.

In ancient Australia there was a man who loved the nectar of Protea bushes. He was always gentle, asking permission, thanking the plants for what he took, and making sure to leave enough for other animals. He lost his vision due to an accident and could no longer find his favorite flowers. The Protea too pity on him and changed their flowers to be firm and unique in texture and shape to make it easy for him to find them even while blind so that he could still collect the nectar.

In California early in creation all the animals had gathered at the summons of the creator. The creator had a new addition to the Earth, humans, but wanted some advice from the animals on what this new being should look like, in particular the hands. A bowl of water was placed next to a slab of sandstone and the shape of the human’s hands would be drawn on the stone in water. The animals argued and fought, with Coyote loudly insisting that he, as the most clever animal, should be the one to give humans their hands. As they argued the Lizard grew impatient and, when everyone else was watching Coyote, he dipped one of his feet into the water and pressed it against the sandstone. This is why we have hands more like a lizard’s than that of a coyote.

In the Pacific Northwest a massive fire raged through the forest. Animals fled from it, desperately searching for safe places to hide. The Douglas Fir called out and told them to come hid inside its cones and that it would protect them from the fire. All the animals struggled to fit into the cones, and the elk was the last one to find space, but its feet stuck out. To this day you can still see the elk’s foot sticking out of the Douglas Fir cones.

Old man Madrone couldn’t find a safe place, but survived. He burned and lost his water from the fire though, which is why madrone trees have red bark and don’t leak sap when cut.

There are a lot more, but not enough time to write them.


I’ve heard a similar variant but it was mice stuck in the cones—with their back legs and tail sticking out.


I’m really curious what the snail songs would sound like. Did they say?

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Not sure why, but I didn’t ask. I think I was too distracted by trying to figure out how two different cultures say the same thing about unrelated tree snails. It looks like there’s lots of hits for Hawaiian singing snails on the internet though, and some say the sound supposedly comes from the shell sliding up the tree. Maybe someone will get one for Audio Observations from Around the World. :)


The Navajo believe that if you pour water on (or step on in some cases) beetles in the genus Megetra (aka water carriers) it will cause it to rain.


I have always liked this passage from the Hebrew Scriptures:

The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

That was a prophet trying to describe a world without violence; he used the metaphor of predators and prey living together in peace, and of dangerous creatures being harmless. This motif is found in other faith traditions as well; of one of the Tirthankaras in the Jain tradition, it is said that while he was practicing his asceticism in the forest, animals were drawn to him, and even those which were natural enemies lived in peace while in his presence.


Oh, the Garden! There are quite a bunch of stories I’ve heard about magical gardens guarded by goblins or other magical beings. Sometimes they are deep within forests or atop large mountains.

I remember a legend about a mountain in Piura with a garden and it’s magical guardian. They said the garden was filled with all kinds of local plants eternally blooming, no matter the season (hmmm I wonder what kind of people would appreciate that… ;) and that one will feel drowsy the deeper they walk into the garden, until they fall asleep and the spirit takes them. (or so I was told).

Oh and there is also the closely related legend of the golden bricks, but I don’t really think it fits the theme of this thread…

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Ivan Turgenev in his famous “Notes of a Hunter” has a chapter called " Bezhin Lea", it’s full of stories and myths of Russian village


Welcome to the forum!

We remember reading to our children “Soft Child: How Rattlesnake Got its Fangs” (so the other animals would stop bullying it, we seem to recall). And one about “How Chipmunk got his Stripes” (a bear nearly got him, that’s how). “The Giving Tree” and “The Lorax” were about deforestation, plundering nature for personal gain, and the limits to nature’s resilience.

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The english word “Bear” means either “the brown one” or “the wild animal” and originated as a Noa-name, when it was thought that using the true word for bear might inadvertently summon one!


I know so many different cultures talk about the “hoop snake”, where snakes bite their tails and propel themselves forward like a wheel. Very interesting and I don’t know why so many cultures across the globe have this one thing in common within their folklore!


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