The Spirit of the Corn noticed that the people were working very hard in order to survive.  They were making and repairing their longhouses.  They were gathering berries, working in their gardens, sewing, cooking, mending, hunting and fishing.   They were always busy.  The Spirit of the Corn decided that she wanted to do something that would make the work of the people seem easier.  So, she took some of her own cornhusk and made it into a doll.  She gave that doll a beautiful face and the ability to walk around and talk.  She spoke to Cornhusk Doll and told her that she was to have a very special job.  Her job would be to go from village to village and entertain the children.   Cornhusk Doll would play games, sing songs and tell wonderful stories.  That would make the children smile and laugh.  When the adults heard the children laughing, they would remember why they were working so hard.  They were working hard so that their children would have a good life. That thought would make the adults happy and they wouldn’t mind working so hard.  Their work would seem easier.


Cornhusk Doll left right away to go to the first village.  When she got there, she played games, sang songs and told wonderful stories.  The children were so happy that they smiled and laughed.  When the adults heard their children laughing, they remembered why they were working so hard.  It was for the children and so their work seemed easier.  When it was time for Cornhusk Doll to leave, all of the people gathered around her to say “nia:wen” (thank you).  “And by the way, you are very beautiful.” they said to Cornhusk Doll.


Cornhusk Doll left to go to the next village.  On her way, she stopped by a river.  She looked into the water and saw her reflection.  “Oh!  The people were right.  I am very beautiful,” she said.  She stayed there for a long time, fixing her hair and admiring her pretty face.  She stayed so long that the children in the next village didn’t think she was going to come visit them.  They were sad and started to cry.

When the Spirit of the Corn heard children crying instead of laughing, she looked to see what was wrong.  “Cornhusk Doll, you have forgotten your responsibility.  You have forgotten about your job!” said the Spirit of the Corn.  “I’m so sorry,” said Cornhusk Doll.  “I promise I won’t forget again.” 


Sadly, Cornhusk Doll forgot about her responsibility again and again.  The Spirit of the Corn kept reminding Cornhusk Doll that her job was to make the children happy.  But, every time Cornhusk Doll came to a river, she would stop to look at her beautiful face.  She would forget about the children and the children would cry.  Finally, the Spirit of the Corn took away Cornhusk Doll’s face.   From that time until today, the Haudenosaunee do not give their cornhusk dolls faces.  The No Face Cornhusk Dolls remind us that we should take care of ourselves.  We should comb our hair, wash our faces and wear clean clothes.  But we should also remember to fulfill our responsibilities toward others.