The Snawfus is a creature from the tales of the lumberjacks of the emerging United States. The Snawfus is a white deer with wings and huge antlers that lives in the woods of the Ozark Mountains of the United States. The antlers of the Snawfus are said to be the living branches of a dogwood tree, and are often depicted as having blossoms on them as well as green leaves.
The Snawfus is said to be able to leap from the forest floor to the tops of the trees, and to perch on the slenderest of branches like a squirrel. It is described as jumping from branch to branch like a monkey. As it does it says ‘Halley-loo! Halley-loo!’. At other times, the Snawfus is said to makes sounds like a songbird.
The Snawfus is purported to exhale blue mist from its mouth which drifts upwards towards the sky forming a blue haze of clouds. This behavior is particularly attributed to the Snawfus in autumn.
A Creature of Folklore
In Ozark folklore, the Snawfus is commonly associated with other fantastic creatures of the region, such as the Gowrow and the Ozark Howler, but unlike the traditional legends associated with these creatures, the tales of the Snawfus are usually told in an openly tongue-in-cheek manner, indicating that the existence of the Snawfus isn't meant to be accepted as literal truth. It's telling that the fundamental report of the Snawfus in print comes from folklorist Vance Randolph's book We Always Lie To Strangers. There are clear mythological links between the Snawfus and the white stag of Arthurian legends in the British Isles. Both are white deer who appear in order to lead people deeper into the wilderness on some kind of quest.
Some versions of the Snawfus legend depict the mystic white deer as an omen of death, following the Celtic pattern of hellhound warnings, in which one sighting of the sighting leads to delight, a second sighting of the Snawfus summons fear, and a third sighting of the Snawfus results in death.
In the late 20th century, the mythology of the Snawfus took on new element as the creature became an emblem for the environmentalist community in the Southern United States. On the first Saturday of October, environmentalists celebrate Snawfus Day by taking walks in natural settings.