Many, many years ago, buffalo did not have a hump. A legend of the American tribe of the Chippewa tells that there was once a buffalo who, more than any other, liked to run and run through the prairies next to the Great Lakes in Canada. His loyal friends, the foxes, used to run in front of him to warn the rest of the animals that the buffalo was going to pass through there and they should move away, because their power and strength were such that they devastated everything.
Once the buffalo did it too fast. Unfortunately, the foxes had forgotten to warn some little birds that had their nests on the ground, in the middle of the road. When the huge animal passed over, the nests were destroyed and the birds injured.
The laments of these small and defenseless birds reached the ears of Nanabozho, the god of animals, who appeared in the place determined to do justice to such an outrage. His sovereign presence intimidated the animals that lived there and, horrified, had witnessed the event. Patiently, they waited for the wise and righteous god to render a verdict.
Without saying a word, Nanabozho approached the buffalo and, with his heavy staff, struck him on the shoulders. The buffalo, scared, lowered his head to avoid looking, fearing that the god would give him another blow. But it was not like that. Nanabozho cleared his throat and handed down a sentence.
– Your attitude has been miserable. From today on, you will always wear a hump on your shoulders and your head bowed as a symbol of shame.
Next, it was the foxes’ turn. They had been complicit in the disaster by not helping to prevent the outrage. The god looked at them sternly and they, fearing a good reprimand, ran to escape punishment. They could not think of anything better than to hide underground so that the god would not find them, so they began to dig desperately and camouflaged themselves in holes. But it was impossible to fool the powerful Nanabozho: he located them and, like the buffalo, he also imposed a harsh sanction on them.
– You also deserve to pay for what you did. From now on, you will be forced to live under the cold ground. I hope it serves as a lesson for you and that you get something positive out of all this.
That day marked a before and after in the life of these animals, since since then, all buffalo are born with a hump and foxes make their burrows under the ground.