A hero is, as defined by The New Lexicon Webster's Encyclopedic Dictionary of the English Language, "a man of exceptional quality who wins admiration by noble deeds, especially deeds of courage." (The New Lexicon Webster's Encyclopedic Dictionary of the English Language. P.454) The keyword in this definition is "exceptional". The ancient hero embodies exceptional courage, exceptional endurance, and exceptional strength; however, in this day in age it's more common to find a hero that embodies intelligence, as opposed to physical characteristics. The foregoing characteristics can be demonstrated through the following myths: "The Raven Steals the Light" by Bill Reidand, and Robert Bringhurst; "The Legend of Iroquois Falls" by Mabel Burkholder; "Nanabush Creates the World" by Emerson and David Coatsworth; and "Windigo" by Herbert. T. Schwarz. Equally important, the characteristic of intelligence can be demonstrated in such novels as The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and The Lord of the Rings Series by J.R.R. Tolkien. .
As previously mentioned a strong characteristic of a hero is exceptional courage. This can be established from the myth "Nanabush Creates the World", when Nanabush searches for the Serpent people to avenge the death of his brother. "In a flash of anger, Nanabush leaped forward and pushed the arrows deeper into the bodies of the two Serpents killing them instantly". Nanabush was well aware of the Serpent people's capabilities and he knew they were dangerous, yet in their home, he murdered two of their people. This takes exceptional courage. In addition, in the story "The Legend of Iroquois Falls", the Old Woman, who is the hero of this particular story, demonstrates courage by leading the enemy of her Cree village into a waterfall. Not only did the Old Woman lead her enemy into defeat but mocked them at the mouth of the falls. .
"As they neared the falls the Iroquois saw that they were very high, and that no canoe could go over them in safety.