The following story was taken from "Living Stories of the Cherokee":
Legends of the Uk'tena
There's quite a few stories around about the Uk'tena.
And not long ago, maybe ten years ago,
there was a crystal found, over on Tellico Plains,
when they were doing the excavation over there,
that was a crystal like the Uk'tena was supposed to have guarded.
And they found this crystal wrapped in a full deerskin
and put away the way it was supposed to have been
when it was put away not to be used anymore.
And when they were using this crystal
they had to feed it.
Then they had a formula or a prayer to put it to sleep with
when it wasn't going to be used.
But Uk'tena was the giant snake that was supposed to have guarded
And there's a lot of stories about Uk'tena through the mountains
how large and fierce it was
And there's stories of it being a giant rattlesnake,
that I've heard.
And there's other stories about it being a horned serpent,
a serpent with horns.
So I don't know whether there were two types of snakes that large
in this part of the country
or what it was.
And there's also stories about the people who lived in the
that rode giant rattlesnakes.
And the entrance to this underworld
was through the rivers and the streams.
They would go into the big pools in the rivers,
go into the passages that led into the underworld
where the snakes were large enough to ride like horses.
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