The legend of Nacogdoches and Natchitoches has been told several ways over the years. What I have written is my own interpretation and should never be confused with fact. I hope you enjoy the legend, written by me, purely for entertainment purposes. You never know, some of it could be true.


Natchitoches awoke with a start. Instantly on guard, he held his breath and listened intently to the sounds of the forest. The warrior cast a furtive glance towards his young wife, who lay peacefully asleep next to him. Perched high above the earthen lodge among the pines, a mockingbird sang melodies which perfectly replicated a cardinal's song. Aware of the growing pain in his chest, Natchitoches carefully released the air from his lungs.

It was but two moons ago that a small party of Lipan Apache ventured into the pine tree forest and stumbled upon the Caddo village that Natchitoches and his family called home. The memory of that fierce and deadly encounter was fresh in his mind.

Slowly, with the stealth of a seasoned warrior, he pulled the bison hide away from his body. The dark haired brave swung his legs out wide from his bedding, silently slipping into his moccasins. In one smooth motion, with the grace of an elk, Natchitoches was balanced on the balls of his feet with battle-axe in hand. If the Apache did come back, the villagers had vowed to be ready. Once again the Caddo would send the murdering Apache back to the desert plains, yelping like the dogs they were.

Pulling the bison hide back that covered the single doorway to the lodge, Natchitoches carefully peered out only to see his twin brother Nacogdoches, who was standing with his arms stretched out towards the morning sun, absorbed in silent prayer. Flinging the furry curtain out of the way, Natchitoches exhaled sharply, blowing a white cloud into the crisp morning air as he stepped from the lodge. He acutely became aware of the icy wind and briefly thought he should have put his leggings on. Noticing that Nacogdoches' legs were bare, there was no way that he, the second son of the tribal chief, would show weakness by wearing them.

The simple fact that Natchitoches was born but a few heartbeats after his fair-haired brother has been the wasp ever present in his braided locks. He would always be the number-two son no matter how well he was treated by his family and friends. Just the thought of always following, never leading, forever living in the shadow of his older brother, kept him precariously balanced near the precipice of dark rage.

Nacogdoches saw his brother exit from the lodge, a short distance from his own. With a wide smile, he lifted his hand, palm forward in friendly greeting. The older brother knew that his twin was very competitive in all dealings with him and welcomed it. He felt it made them both better human beings. Nacogdoches loved his brother very much and hoped that whatever discomfort lived in his heart would leave Natchitoches, allowing true harmony to prevail between them.

Today was a special day. On this day, the brothers were to meet with their aging father, who had previously spoken of sending them on a great quest. Both sons loved their father and mother. It had always been that the young people of the Caddo nation respected the older members of the tribe, their wise council sought out in all matters of importance. This promised to be a great day for the young men. As it turned out, this would become a pivotal day that would significantly shape the rest of their lives.

The aging and sagacious chieftain sat comfortably on a low perch made of bison hide, deer skin and straw. He carefully sipped the hot corn and raccoon broth that his wife, the one and only love of his life, had diligently prepared for him. The gray-haired leader knew that there would always be a struggle for leadership between his two sons. To avoid a terrible conflict in the future, that potentially could tear his tribe apart, he had come to a very difficult decision. It was to be today, this very morning; the great chief of the Caddo would reveal his plan to his sons that he hoped would insure peace and harmony within his tribe.

Just as the Chief swallowed the last of his breakfast he looked up, sunlight bursting into the typically caliginous room, as his two sons tried to simultaneously enter the earth covered hut. The old man suppressed a grin as he shook his head, beckoning the young men to sit before him. As usual it was Nacogdoches that managed to slip in first and sit before his father. In the blink of an eye, Natchitoches sat cross-legged beside his brother. As one they bowed their heads towards their father as a sign of respect. Wide-eyed with anticipation, the young men looked up at their father as he began to speak.

"I have thought long and hard on this and there will be no discussions after you depart," the elder stated.

The sons looked at each other expectantly. An agreement passed between them, the signs of which could only be perceived by those that had spent many years in their company. Their father was pleased as he recognized the unspoken pact between his sons; he proceeded.

"Natchitoches, before the next new moon you will set out facing the morning sun. You and your wife will take everything you own and travel for three days. After finding a suitable spot, you will camp and soon after build a hut. It is there that you will hunt, farm and make babies for the rest of your days. You will become a great chief of your tribe. You are free to lead anyone from our tribe that wishes to join you on your journey."

"Nacogdoches, you will do as your brother is about to do with the exception that you will put your back to the morning sun. You will also walk three days, finding a suitable spot, where you will establish a home and a village of your own. Those members of our tribe that wish to go with you have my blessings as well."

"My sons, I love you both; your mother and I will miss you very much."

The sons, Nacogdoches and Natchitoches, both saw the wisdom in their father's words and arose as one. Natchitoches held back, letting Nacogdoches exit the hut first.

When the sunlight found the dark-haired brave's face, his smile beamed brightly for all the tribe to see. The people had gathered outside the chieftain's hut, curious about the outcome of the family meeting, where decisions made would change the complexion of their tribe forever. Upon seeing the smiles on the faces of Nacogdoches and Natchitoches, a collective sigh was released as they looked at each other, nodding their heads in approval, extolling the virtues of their wise chief.

From the top branch of the tallest pine tree, a mockingbird mimicked a whippoorwill's mating call. The people knew this to be a good sign, a time of change, a time for good-byes.

Both sons did as they were instructed. In Louisiana, there is a beautiful town by the name of Natchitoches. Not too far across the border in Texas, you will find the "Oldest Town in Texas," Nacogdoches.

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