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Smokyriversongs' Look At Indian Life And The Lore
Sioux













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Sioux Indian Lore:

 

A Bashful Courtship

A young man lived with his grandmother. He was a good hunter and wished to marry. He knew a girl who was a good moccasin maker, but she belonged to a great family. He wondered how he could win her.

One day she passed the tent on her way to get water at the river. His grandmother was at work in the teepee with a pair of old worn-out sloppy moccasins. The young man sprang to his feet. "Quick, grandmother! Let me have those old sloppy moccasins you have on your feet!" he cried.

"My old moccasins, what do you want of them?" cried the astonished woman.

"Never mind! Quick! I can't stop to talk," answered the grandson as he caught up the old moccasins the old lady had doffed, and put them on. He threw a robe over his shoulders, slipped through the door, and hastened to the watering place. The girl had just arrived with her bucket.

"Let me fill your bucket for you," said the young man.

"Oh, no, I can do it," the girl said.

"Oh, let me, I can go in the mud. You surely don't want to soil your moccasins," and taking the bucket he slipped in the mud, taking care to push his sloppy old moccasins out so the girl could see them. She giggled outright.

"My, what old moccasins you have!" she cried.

"Yes, I have nobody to make me a new pair," he answered.

"Why don't you get your grandmother to make you a new pair?" she asked.

"She's old and blind and can't make them any longer. That's why I want you," he answered.

"Oh, you're fooling me. You aren't speaking the truth," she said

"Yes, I am. If you don't believe--come with me now!" said the man.

The girl looked down; so did the youth. At last he said softly, "Well, which is it? Shall I take up your bucket, or will you go with me?"

And she answered, still more softly, "I guess I'll go with you!"

The girl's aunt came down to the river, wondering what kept her niece so long. In the mud she found two pairs of moccasin tracks close together; at the edge of the water stood an empty keg.

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A Legend Of Devil's Tower

Out of the plains of Wyoming rises Devil's Tower. It is really a rock, visible for hundreds of miles around, an immense cone of basalt which seems to touch the clouds. It sticks out of the flat prairie as if someone had pushed it up from underground.

Of course, Devil's Tower is a white man's name. We have no devil in our beliefs and got along well all these many centuries without him. You people invented the devil and, as far as I'm concerned, you can keep him. But everybody these days knows that towering rock by this name, so Devil's Tower it is.
No use telling you its Indian name. Most tribes call it bear rock. There is a reason for that - if you see it, you will notice on its sheer sides many, many streaks and gashes running straight up and down, like scratches made by giant claws.

Well, long, long ago, two young Indian boys found themselves lost in the prairie. You know how it is. They had played shinny ball and whacked it a few hundred yards out of the village. And then they had shot their toy bows still farther out into the sagebrush. And then they had heard a small animal make a noise and had gone to investigate.

They had come to a stream with many colorful pebbles and followed that for a while. They had come to a hill and wanted to see what was on the other side. On the other side they saw a herd of antelope and, of course, had to track them for a while.
When they got hungry and thought it was time to go home, the two boys found that they didn't know where they were. They started off in the direction where they thought their village was, but only got farther and farther away from it. At last they curled up beneath a tree and went to sleep.

They got up the next morning and walked some more, still headed the wrong way. They ate some wild berries and dug up wild turnips, found some choke cherries, and drank water from streams. For three days they walked toward the west. They were footsore, but they survived.
Oh, how they wished that their parents, or aunts or uncles, or elder brothers and sisters would find them. But nobody did.

On the fourth day the boys suddenly had a feeling that they were being followed. They looked around and in the distance saw Mato, the bear. This was no ordinary bear, but a giant grizzly so huge that the two boys would only make a small mouthful for him, but he had smelled the boys and wanted that mouthful. He kept coming close, and the earth trembled as he gathered speed.

The boys started running, looking for a place to hide, but there was no such place and the grizzly was much much faster than they. They stumbled, and the bear was almost upon them. They could see his red, wide-open jaws full of enormous, wicked teeth. They could smell his hot, evil breath. The boys were old enough to have learned to pray, and they called upon Wakan Tanka, the Creator:
"Tunkashila, Grandfather, have pity, save us."

All at once the earth shook and began to rise. The boys rose with it. Out of the earth came a cone of rock going up, up until it was more than a thousand feet high. And the boys were on top of it. Mato the bear was disappointed to see his meal disappearing into the clouds.


Have I said he was a giant bear? This grizzly was so huge that he could almost reach to the top of the rock, trying to get up, trying to get those boys. As he did so, he made big scratches in the sides of the towering rock. But the stone was too slippery; Mato could not get up. He tried every spot, every side. He scratched up the rock all around, but it was no use. The boys watched him wearing himself out, getting tired, giving up. They finally saw him going away, a huge, growling, grunting mountain of fur disappearing over the horizon.

The boys were saved. Or were they? How were they to get down? They were humans, not birds who could fly.
Some ten years ago, mountain climbers tried to conquer Devil's Tower. They had ropes, and iron hooks called pitons to nail themselves to the rock face, and they managed to get up. But they couldn't get down. They were marooned on that giant basalt cone, and they had to be taken off in a helicopter. In the long-ago days the Indians had no helicopters.
So how did the two boys get down? The legend does not tell us, but we can be sure that the Great Spirit didn't save those boys only to let them perish of hunger and thirst on the top of the rock.

Well, Wanblee, the eagle, has always been a friend to our people. So it must have been the eagle that let the boys grab hold of him and carried them safely back to their village.
Or do you know another way?

 


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A Little Brave And The Medicine Woman

A village of Indians moved out of winter camp and pitched their tents in a circle on high land overlooking a lake. A little way down the declivity was a grave. Choke cherries had grown up, hiding the grave from view. But as the ground had sunk somewhat, the grave was marked by a slight hollow.

One of the villagers going out to hunt took a short cut through the choke cherry bushes. As he pushed them aside he saw the hollow grave, but thought it was a washout made by the rains. But as he essayed to step over it, to his great surprise he stumbled and fell. Made curious by his mishap, he drew back and tried again; but again he fell. When he came back to the village he told the old men what had happened to him. They remembered then that a long time before there had been buried there a medicine woman or conjurer. Doubtless it was her medicine that made him stumble.

The story of the village's adventure spread thru the camp and made many curious to see the grave. Among others were six little boys who were, however, rather timid, for they were in great awe of the dead medicine woman. But they had a little playmate named Brave, a mischievous little rogue, whose hair was always unkempt and tossed about and who was never quiet for a moment.

"Let us ask Brave to go with us," they said; and they went in a body to see him.

"All right," said Brave; "I will go with you. But I have something to do first. You go on around the hill that way, and I will hasten around this way, and meet you a little later near the grave."

So the six little boys went on as bidden until they came to a place near the grave. There they halted.

"Where is Brave?" they asked.

Now Brave, full of mischief, had thought to play a jest on his little friends. As soon as they were well out of sight he had sped around the hill to the shore of the lake and sticking his hands in the mud had rubbed it over his face, plastered it in his hair, and soiled his hands until he looked like a new risen corpse with the flesh rotting from his bones. He then went and lay down in the grave and awaited the boys.

When the six little boys came they were more timid than ever when they did not find Brave; but they feared to go back to the village without seeing the grave, for fear the old men would call them cowards.

So they slowly approached the grave and one of them timidly called out:

"Please, grandmother, we won't disturb your grave. We only want to see where you lie. Don't be angry."

At once a thin quavering voice, like an old woman's, called out:

"Han, han, takoja, hechetuya, hechetuya! Yes, yes, that's right, that's right."

The boys were frightened out of their senses, believing the old woman had come to life.

"Oh, grandmother," they gasped, "don't hurt us; please don't, we'll go."

Just then Brave raised his muddy face and hands up thru the choke cherry bushes. With the oozy mud dripping from his features he looked like some very witch just raised from the grave. The boys screamed outright. One fainted. The rest ran yelling up the hill to the village, where each broke at once for his mother's tepee.

As all the tents in a Dakota camping circle face the center, the boys as they came tearing into camp were in plain view from the tepees. Hearing the screaming, every woman in camp ran to her tepee door to see what had happened. Just then little Brave, as badly scared as the rest, came rushing in after them, his hair on end and covered with mud and crying out, all forgetful of his appearance:

"It's me, it's me!"

The women yelped and bolted in terror from the village. Brave dashed into his mother's tepee, scaring her out of her wits. Dropping pots and kettles, she tumbled out of the tent to run screaming with the rest. Nor would a single villager come near poor little Brave until he had gone down to the lake and washed himself.

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A Simpleton' Wisdom

There was a man and his wife who had one daughter. Mother and daughter were deeply attached to one another, and when the latter died the mother was disconsolate.

She cut off her hair, cut gashes in her cheeks and sat before the corpse with her robe drawn over her head, mourning for her dead. Nor would she let them touch the body to take it to a burying scaffold.

She had a knife in her hand, and if anyone offered to come near the body the mother would wail, "I am weary of life. I do not care to live. I will stab myself with this knife and join my daughter in the land of spirits."

Her husband and relatives tried to get the knife from her, but could not. They feared to use force lest she kill herself. They came together to see what they could do.

"We must get the knife away from her," they said.

At last they called a boy, a kind of simpleton, yet with a good deal of natural shrewdness. He was an orphan and very poor. His moccasins were out at the sole and he was dressed in wei-zi (coarse buffalo skin, smoked).

"Go to the teepee of the mourning mother, " they told the simpleton, "and in some way contrive to make her laugh and forget her grief. Then try to get the knife away from her."

The boy went to the tent and sat down at the door as if waiting to be given something. The corpse lay in the place of honor where the dead girl had slept in life. The body was wrapped in a rich robe and wrapped about with ropes. Friends had covered it with rich offerings out of respect to the dead.

As the mother sat on the ground with her head covered she did not at first see the boy, who sat silent. But when his reserve had worn away a little he began at first lightly, then more heavily, to drum on the floor with his hands.

After a while he began to sing a comic song. Louder and louder he sang until carried away with his own singing he sprang up and began to dance, at the same time gesturing and making all manner of contortions with his body, still singing the comic song. As he approached the corpse he waved his hands over it in blessing.

The mother put her head out of the blanket and when she saw the poor simpleton with his strange grimaces trying to do honor to the corpse by his solemn waving, and at the same time keeping up his comic song, she burst out laughing. Then she reached over and handed her knife to the simpleton.

"Take this knife," she said. "You have taught me to forget my grief. If while I mourn for the dead I can still be mirthful, there is no reason for me to despair. I no longer care to die. I will live for my husband."

The simpleton left the teepee and brought the knife to the astonished husband and relatives.

"How did you get it? Did you force it away from her, or did you steal it?" they asked.

"She gave it to me. How could I force it from her or steal it when she held it in her hand, blade uppermost? I sang and danced for her and she burst out laughing. Then she gave it to me," he answered.

When the old men of the village heard the orphans story they were very silent. It was a strange thing for a lad to dance in a teepee where there was mourning. It was stranger that a mother should laugh in a teepee before the corpse of her dead daughter.

The old men gathered at last in a council. They sat a long time without saying anything, for they did not want to decide hastily. The pipe was filled and passed many times. At last an old man spoke.

"We have a hard question. A mother has laughed before the corpse of her daughter, and many think she has done foolishly, but I think the woman did wisely. The lad was simple and of no training, and we cannot expect him to know how to do as well as one with good home and parents to teach him. Besides, he did the best that he knew. He danced to make the mother forget her grief, and he tried to honor the corpse by waving over it his hands."

"The mother did right to laugh, for when one does try to do us good, even if what he does causes us discomfort, we should always remember rather the motive than the deed. And besides, the simpleton's dancing saved the woman's life, for she gave up her knife. In this, too, she did well, for it is always better to live for the living than to die for the dead."

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A Sioux Indian Prayer...

In The Original Sioux

 

O' Tunkashila Wakantanka

Ho naho mis tate el kin,

Niya tuwa ku wiconi makaowaga kilyuha kia,

Naho mis. Mis cistila na woksape.

Ayusta mis el hopa, na kagemita ista.

Iho kin luta wimaheliyaya.

Kaemita nape younihan kin wa uskekiya mis yuha

Kage na nugemita pestola naho honita.

Kagamis pksape he ugasmis okahnige takunlnis ospe kiyemita oyate.

Ayusta ospewakiyemis wouspenis inahme el iyohile canwape na iya.

Nita ola wasake el un isom taka ismmita ciyawyasni.

tka kize isomtakamita toka-misnala.

Kagamis ohinni winiyela el hi el nita kici sapesni hapena owotala ista.

Ca conj wiconi oiyokpaza, el oiyokpaza wimcheliyaya,

woniya wakamita ugnas hi el nis colo istelya.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Sioux Indian Prayer

Translated Into English

 

Oh Great Spirit

Whose voice I hear in the winds,

and whose breath gives life to all the world,

hear me. I am small and weak. I need your

strength and wisdom.

Let me walk in beauty, and make my

eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset.

Make my hands respect the things I have

made and my ears sharp to hear your voice.

Make me wise so that I may understand

the things you have taught my people.

Let me learn the lessons you have hidden

in every leaf and rock.

I seel strength, not to be greater than my

brother, but to fight my greatest enemy-myself.

Make me always ready to come to you

with clean hands and straight eyes.

So when life fades, as the fading sunset,

my spirit may come to you without shame.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Black Elk's Vision

I was four years old then, and I think it must have been the next summer that I first heard the voices. It was a happy summer and nothing was afraid, because in the Moon When the Ponies Shed (May) word came from the Wasichus [the White Men] that there would be peace and that they would not use the road any more and that all the soldiers would go away. The soldiers did go away and their towns were torn down; and in the Moon of Falling Leaves (November), they made a treaty with Red Cloud that said our country would be ours as long as grass should grow and water flow. You can see that it is not the grass and the water that have forgotten.

Maybe it was not this summer when I first heard the voices, but I think it was, because I know it was before I played with bows and arrows or rode a horse, and I was out playing alone when I heard them. It was like somebody calling me, and I thought it was my mother, but there was nobody there. This happened more than once, and always made me afraid, so that I ran home.

It was when I was five years old that my Grandfather made me a bow and some arrows. The grass was young and I was horseback. A thunder storm was coming from where the sun goes down, and just as I was riding into the woods along a creek, there was a kingbird sitting on a limb. This was not a dream, it happened. And I was going to shoot at the kingbird with the bow my Grandfather made, when the bird spoke and said: "The clouds all over are one-sided." Perhaps it meant that all the clouds were looking at me. And then it said: "Listen! A voice is calling you!" Then I looked up at the clouds, and two men were coming there, headfirst like arrows slanting down; and as they came, they sang a sacred song and the thunder was like drumming. I will sing it for you. The song and the drumming were like this:

Behold, a sacred voice is calling you;

All over the sky a sacred voice is calling.

I sat there gazing at them, and they were coming from the place where the giant lives (north). But when they were very close to me, they wheeled about toward where the sun goes down, and suddenly they were geese. Then they were gone, and the rain came with a big wind and a roaring. I did not tell this vision to any one. I liked to think about it, but I was afraid to tell it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Coyote And Wasichu

There was a white man who was a sharp trader that nobody ever got the better of. Or so people said, until one day a man told the Wasichu: "There's somebody who can out cheat you anytime, anywhere."

"That's not possible," said the Wasichu. "I've had a trading post for many years, and I've cheated the Indians around here."

"Even so, Coyote can you beat in any deal?"

"Let's see whether he can. Where is Coyote?"

"Over there, that tricky looking guy."

"Okay, all right, I'll try him."

The Wasichu trader went over to Coyote. "Hey lets see you outsmart me."

"I'm sorry," said Coyote, "I'd like to help you out, but I can't do it without my cheating medicine."

"Cheating medicine, hah! Go get it."

"I live miles from here and I'm on foot. But if you would lend me your fast horse?"

"Well alright, you can borrow it. Go on home and get your cheating medicine!"

"Well friend, I'm a poor rider. Your horse is afraid of me, and I'm afraid of him. Lend me your clothes; then your horse will think that I am you."

"Well, alright. Here are my clothes; now you can ride him. Go get that medicine. I'm sure I can beat it!"

So Coyote rode off with the Wasichu's fast horse and his fine clothes, while the Wasichu stood there bare- ass.

 

 

 

 

 

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Brave Woman Counts Coup

Over a hundred years ago, when many Sioux were still living in what now is Minnesota, there was a band of Hunkpapa Sioux at Spirit Lake under a chief called Tawa Makoce, meaning His Country.
It was his country, too - Indian country, until the white soldiers with their cannon finally drove the Lakota tribes across the Mni Shoshay: The Big Muddy, the Missouri.

In his youth the chief had been one of the greatest warriors.

Later when his fighting days were over, he was known as a wise leader, invaluable in council, and as a great giver of feasts, a provider for the poor.
The chief had three sons and one daughter. The sons tried to be warriors as mighty as their father, but that was a hard thing to do. Again and again they battled the Crow Indians with reckless bravery, exposing themselves in the front rank, fighting hand to hand, until one by one they all were killed.
Now only his daughter was left to the sad old chief. Some say her name was Makhta. Others call her Winyan Ohitika, Brave Woman.

The girl was beautiful and proud. Many young men sent their fathers to the old chief with gifts of fine horses that were preliminary to marriage proposals.
Among those who desired her for a wife was a young warrior named Red Horn, himself the son of a chief, who sent his father again and again to ask for her hand. But Brave Woman would not marry.
"I will not take a husband," she said, "until I have counted coup on the Crows to avenge my dead brothers."

Another young man who loved Brave Woman was Wanblee Cikala, or Little Eagle. He was too shy to declare his love, because he was a poor boy who had never been able to distinguish himself.

At this time the Kangi Oyate, the Crow nation, made a great effort to establish themselves along the banks of the upper Missouri in country which the Sioux considered their own.
The Sioux decide to send out a strong war party to chase them back, and among the young men riding out were Red Horn and Little Eagle.
"I shall ride with you," Brave Woman said.
She put on her best dress of white buckskin richly decorated with beads and porcupine quills, and around her neck she wore a choker of Dentalium shells. She went to the old chief.
"Father," she said, "I must go to the place where my brothers died. I must count coup for them. Tell me that I can go."
The old chief wept with pride and sorrow.
"You are my last child," he said, "and I fear for you and for a lonely old age without children to comfort me. But your mind has long been made up. I see that you must go; do it quickly. Wear my warbonnet into battle. Go and do not look back."

And so his daughter, taking her brothers' weapons and her father's warbonnet and best war pony, rode out with the warriors.

They found an enemy village so huge that it seemed to contain the whole Crow nation - hundreds of men and thousands of horses. There were many more Crows than Sioux, but the Sioux attacked nevertheless.
Brave Woman was a sight to stir the warriors to great deeds. To Red Horn she gave her oldest brother's lance and shield.
"Count coup for my dead brother," she said.
To Little Eagle she gave her second brother's bow and arrows.
"Count coup for him who owned these," she told him.
To another young warrior she gave her youngest brother's war club. She herself carried only her father's old, curved coup stick wrapped in otter fur.

At first Brave Woman held back from the fight. She supported the Sioux by singing brave-heart songs and by making the shrill, trembling war cry with which Indian women encourage their men.
But when the Sioux, including her own warriors from the Hunkpapa band, were driven back by overwhelming numbers, she rode into the midst of the battle. She did not try to kill her enemies, but counted coup left and right, touching them with her coup stick. With a woman fighting so bravely among them, what Sioux warrior could think of retreat?

Still, the press of the Crow and their horses drove the Sioux back a second time. Brave Woman's horse was hit by a musket bullet and went down. She was on foot, defenseless, when Red Horn passed her on his speckled pony. She was too proud to call out for help, and he pretended not to see her.
Then Little Eagle came riding toward her out of the dust of battle. He dismounted and told her to get on his horse. She did, expecting him to climb up behind her, but he would not.
"This horse is wounded and too weak to carry us both," he said.
"I won't leave you to be killed," she told him.
He took her brother's bow and struck the horse sharply with it across the rump. The horse bolted, as he intended, and Little Eagle went back into battle on foot. Brave Woman herself rallied the warriors for a final charge, which they made with such fury that the Crows had to give way at last.

This was the battle in which the Crow nation was driven away from the Missouri for good. It was a great victory, but many brave young men died. Among them was Little Eagle, struck down with his face to the enemy.

The Sioux warriors broke Red Horn's bow, took his eagle feathers from him, and sent him home.
But they placed the body of Little Eagle on a high scaffold on the spot where the enemy camp had been. They killed his horse to serve him in the land of many lodges.
"Go willingly," they told the horse. "Your master has need of you in the spirit world."

Brave Woman gashed her arms and legs with a sharp knife. She cut her hair short and tore her white buckskin dress. Thus she mourned for Little Eagle. They had not been man and wife; in fact he had hardly dared speak to her or look at her, but now she asked everybody to treat her as if she were the young warrior's widow.

Brave Woman never took a husband, and she never ceased to mourn for Little Eagle.
"I am his widow," she told everyone. She died of old age. She had done a great thing, and her fame endures.

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How Grandfather Peyote came To The People

This is how Grandfather Peyote came to the Indian people.
Long ago, before the white man, there was a tribe living far south of the Sioux in a land of deserts and mesas. These people were suffering from a sickness, and many died of it.

One old woman had a dream that she would find a herb, a root, which would save her people. The woman was old and frail but, taking her little granddaughter, she went on a vision quest to learn how to find this sacred herb. They walked away from the camp until they were lost.

Arriving at the top of a lonely hill, the grandmother made a brush shelter for herself and the young one. Without water or food they were weak, and as night fell they huddled together, not knowing what to do.
Suddenly they felt the wingbeats of a huge bird, an eagle flying from the east toward the west. The old woman raised her arms and prayed to the eagle for wisdom and power.
Toward morning they saw the figure of a man floating in the air about four steps above their heads. The old woman heard a voice:
"You want water and food and do not know where to find it. I have a medicine for you. It will help you."
This man's arm was pointing to a spot on the ground about four steps from where the old woman was sitting. She looked and saw a peyote plant - a large Grandfather Peyote Plant with sixteen segments. She did not know what it was, but she took her bone knife and cut the green part off. And there was moisture, the peyote juice, the water of life. The old woman and her granddaughter drank it and were refreshed.

The sun went down again and the second night came. The old woman prayed to the spirit:
"I am sacrificing myself for the people. Have pity on me. Help me!" And the figure of a man appeared again, hovering above her as before, and she heard a voice saying:
"You are lost now, but you will find your people again and you will save them. When the sun rises two more times, you will find them."

The grandmother ate some more of the sacred medicine and gave some to the girl. And a power entered them through the herb, bringing them knowledge and understanding and a sacred vision. Experiencing this new power, the old woman and her granddaughter stayed awake all night. Yet in the morning when the sun rose and shone upon the hide bag with the peyote, the old one felt strong. She said:
"Granddaughter, pray with this new herb. It has no mouth, but it is telling me many things."

During the third night the spirit came again and taught the old woman how to show her people the proper way to use the medicine. In the morning she got up, thinking:
"This one plant won't be enough to save my people. Could it have been the only herb in this world? How can I find more?" Then she heard many small voices calling:
"Over here, come over here. I'm the one to pick."
These were peyote plants guiding her to their hiding places among the thorn bushes and chaparral. So the old woman and the girl picked the herbs and filled the hide bag with them.

At nightfall once more they saw the spirit man, silhouetted against the setting sun. He pointed out the way to their camp so that they could return quickly.

Though they had taken no food or water for four days and nights, the sacred medicine had kept them strong- hearted and strong-minded.
When they arrived home, their relatives were happy to have them back, but everybody was still sick and many were dying.
The old woman told the people:
"I have brought you a new sacred medicine which will help you."

She showed the men how to use this *pejuta*, this holy herb. The spirit had taught her the ceremony, and the medicine had given her the knowledge through the mind power which dwells within it.
Under her direction the men put up a tipi and made a fire. At that time there was no leader, no road man to guide them, and the people had to learn how to perform the ceremony step by step, from the ground up.

Everybody, men and women, old and young, ate four buttons of the new medicine. A boy baby was breast nursing, and the peyote power got into him through his mother's milk. He was sucking his hand, and he began to shake it like a gourd rattle.
A man sitting next to the tipi entrance got into the power and caught a song just by looking at the baby's arm. A medicine man took a rattle of rawhide and began to shake it. The small stones inside the rattle were the voice of Grandfather Peyote, and everybody understood what it was saying.
Another man grabbed a drum and beat it, keeping time with the song and the voice inside the rattle. The drumming was good, but it did not yet have the right sound, because in that first ceremony there was no water in the drum.

One woman felt the spirit telling her to look for a cottonwood tree.
After the sun rose, all the people followed her as Grandfather Peyote guided her toward the west. They saw a rabbit jumping out of a hole inside a dried-up tree and knew that this was the sacred cottonwood. They cut down the tree and hollowed out the trunk like a drum where the rabbit hole had been. At the woman's bidding they filled it with fresh spring water - the water of life.

On the way back to camp, a man felt the power telling him to pick up five smooth, round pebbles and to cover the drum with a piece of tanned moose hide. He used the pebbles to make knobs around the rim of the drum so that he could tie the hide to it with a rawhide thong. And when he beat the drum it sounded good, as if a spirit had gotten hold of it.

When night came, the people made a fire inside the tipi and took the medicine again. Guided by peyote power, the old woman looked into the flames and saw a heart, like the heart-shaped leaf of the cottonwood tree. Thus she knew that the Great Spirit, who is also in Grandfather Peyote, wanted to give his heart to the red men of this continent. She told the man tending the fire to form the glowing embers into the shape of a heart, and the people all saw it beat in rhythm with the drum.

A little later, one helper who was under the spirit power saw that the hide rope formed a star at the bottom of the drum. He shaped the glowing coals of the fire into a star and then into a moon, because the power of the star and the spirit of the moon had come into the tipi.

One man sitting opposite the door had a vision in which he was told to ask for water. The old woman brought fresh, cool water in a skin bag, and they all drank and in this way came under the power. Feeling the spirit of the water, the man who was in charge of the fire shaped the embers into the outline of a water bird, and from then on the water bird became the chief symbol of the holy medicine.

Around the fire this man made a half-moon out of earth, and all along the top of it he drew a groove with his finger. Thus he formed a road, the road of life. He said that anybody with the gift of *wacankiyapi*, which means having love and heart for the people, should sit right there.
And from that day on, the man who is running a meeting was called the "road man".

In this way the people made the first peyote altar, and after they had drunk the water, they thanked the peyote. Looking at the fire in the shape of the sacred water bird, they prayed to the four directions, and someone sprinkled green cedar on the fire.

The fragrant, sweet-smelling smoke was the breath of Grandfather Peyote, the spirit of all green and growing things. Now the people had everything they needed: the sacred herb, the drum, the gourd, the fire, the water, the cedar. From that moment on, they learned to know themselves. Their sick were cured, and they thanked the old woman and her grandchild for having brought this blessing to them. They were the Comanche nation, and from them the worship of the sacred herb spread to all the tribes throughout the land.



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How Men And Women Got Together

Old Man had made the world and everything on it. He had done everything well, except that he had put the men in one place and the women in another, quite a distance away.
So they lived separately for a while. Men and women did everything in exactly the same way. Both had buffalo jumps - steep cliffs over which they chased buffalo herds so that the animals fell to their death at the foot of the cliff.
Then both the men and the women butchered the dead animals. This meat was their only food; they had not yet discovered other things that were good to eat.
After a while the men learned how to make bows and arrows. The women learned how to tan buffalo hides and make tepees and beautiful robes decorated with porcupine quills.

One day Old Man said to himself: "I think I did everything well, but I made one bad mistake, putting women and men in different places. There's no joy or pleasure in that. Men and women are different from each other, and these different things must be made to unite so that there will be more people. I must make men mate with women. I will put some pleasure, some good feeling into it; otherwise the men won't be keen to do what is necessary. I myself must set an example.".

Old Man went over to where the women were living. He traveled for four days and four nights before he saw the women in their camp.
He was hiding behind some trees, watching. He said to himself:
"Ho, what a good life they're having! They have these fine tepees made of tanned buffalo hide, while we men have only brush shelters or raw, stinking, green hides to cover us. And look what fine clothes they wear, while we have to go around with a few pelts around our loins! Really, I made a mistake putting the women so far away from us. They must live with us and make fine tents and beautiful clothes for us also. I'll go back and ask the other men how they feel about this."
So Old Man went back to his camp and told the men what he had seen. When they heard about all the useful and beautiful things the women had, the men said:
"Let's go over there and get together with these different human beings."
"It's not only those things that are worth having," said Old Man. "There's something else - a very pleasurable thing I plan on creating."

Now, while this was going on in the men's camp, the chief of the women's village had discovered the tracks Old Man had made while prowling around. She sent a young woman to follow them and report back.
The young woman arrived near the men's camp, hid herself, and watched for a short while. Then she hurried back to the women as fast as she could and told everybody:
"There's a camp over there with human beings living in it. They seem different from us, taller and stronger. Oh, sisters, these beings live very well, better than us. They have a thing shooting sharp sticks, and with these they kill many kinds of game - food that we don't have. They are never hungry."
When they heard this, all the women said:
"How we wish that these strange human beings would come here and kill all kinds of food for us!"

When the women were finishing their meeting, the men were already over the hill toward them. The women looked at the men and saw how shabbily dressed they were, with just a little bit of rawhide around their loins. They looked at the men's matted hair, smelled the strong smell coming from their unwashed bodies. They looked at their dirty skin. They said to each other:
"These beings called men don't know how to live. They have no proper clothes. They're dirty; they smell. We don't want people like these." The woman chief hurled a rock at Old Man, shouting: "Go away!" Then all the women threw rocks and shouted "
Go away!"
Old Man said: "It was no mistake putting these women far away from us. Women are dangerous. I shouldn't have created them."

Then Old Man and all the men went back to their own place.

After the men left, the woman chief had second thoughts.
"These poor men," she said, "they don't know any better, but we could teach them. We could make clothes for them. Instead of shaming them, maybe we could get them to come back if we dress as poorly as they do, just with a piece of hide or fur around our waist."

And in the men's camp, Old Man said: "Maybe we should try to meet these women creatures once more. Yes, we should give it another chance. See what what I did on the sly."
He opened his traveling bundle in which he kept his jerk meat and other supplies, and out of it took a resplendent white buckskin outfit.
"I managed to steal this when those women weren't looking. It's too small for me, but I'll add on a little buffalo hide here and a little bear fur there, and put a shield over here, where it doesn't come together over my belly. And I'll make myself a feather headdress and paint my face. Then maybe this woman chief will look at me with new eyes. Let me go alone to speak with the women creatures first. You stay back a little and hide until I have straightened things out."

So Old Man dressed up as best he could. He even purified himself in a sweat bath which he thought up for this purpose. He looked at his reflection in the lake waters and exclaimed: "Oh, how beautiful I am! I never knew I was that good-looking! Now that woman chief will surely like me."
Then Old Man led the way back to the women's camp.

There was one woman on the lookout, and even though the men were staying back in hiding, she saw them coming. Then she spotted Old Man standing alone on a hilltop overlooking the camp. She hurried to tell the woman chief, who was butchering with most of the other women at the buffalo jump.
For this job they wore their poorest outfits: just pieces of rawhide with a hole for the head, or maybe only a strap of rawhide around the waist. What little they had on was stiff with blood and reeked of freshly slaughtered carcasses. Even their faces and hands were streaked with blood.
"We'll meet these men just as we are," said the woman chief. "They will appreciate our being dressed like them."

So the woman chief went up to the hill on which Old Man was standing, and the other women followed her. When he saw the woman chief standing there in her butchering clothes, her skinning flint knife still in her hand, her hair matted and unkempt, he exclaimed:
"Hah! Humph! This woman chief is ugly. She's dressed in rags covered with blood. She stinks. I want nothing to do with a creature like this. And those other women are just like her. No, I made no mistake putting these beings far away from us men!"
And having said this, he turned around and went back the way he had come, with all his men following him.

"It seems we can't do anything right," said the woman chief. "Whatever it is, those male beings misunderstand it. But I still think we should unite with them. I think they have something we haven't got, and we have something they haven't got, and these things must come together. We'll try one last time to get them to understand us. Let's make ourselves beautiful."

The women went into the river and bathed. They washed and combed their hair, braided it, and attached hair strings of bone pipes and shell beads. They put on their finest robes of well-tanned, dazzling white doeskin covered with wonderful designs of porcupine quills more colorful than the rainbow. They placed bone and shell chokers around their necks and shell bracelets around their wrists. On their feet they put fully quelled moccasins.
Finally the women painted their cheeks with sacred red face paint. Thus wonderfully decked out, they started on their journey to the men's camp.

In the village of the male creatures, Old Man was cross and ill- humored. Nothing pleased him. Nothing he ate tasted good. He slept fitfully. He got angry over nothing. And so it was with all the men.
"I don't know what's the matter," said Old Man. "
I wish the women were beautiful instead of ugly, sweet-smelling instead of malodorous, good-tempered instead of coming at us with stones or bloody knives in their hands."
"We wish it too," said all the other men.

Then a lookout came running, telling Old Man:
"The women beings are marching over here to our camp. Probably they're coming to kill us. Quick everybody, get your bows and arrows!"
"No, wait!" said Old Man. "Quick! Go to the river. Clean yourselves. Anoint and rub your bodies with fat. Arrange your hair pleasingly. Smoke yourselves up with cedar. Put on your best fur garments. Paint your faces with sacred red color. Put bright feathers on your heads."

Old Man dressed himself in a quelled robe stolen from the women's camp which he had made into a war shirt. He wore his great chief's headdress. He put on his necklace of bear claws.
Thus arrayed, the men assembled at the entrance of their camp, awaiting the women's coming.
The women came. They were singing. Their white quelled robes dazzled the men's eyes. Their bodies were fragrant with the good smell of sweet grass. Their cheeks shone with sacred red face paint.
Old Man exclaimed:
"Why, these women beings are beautiful! They delight my eyes! Their singing is wonderfully pleasing to my ears. Their bodies are sweet-smelling and alluring!"
"They make our hearts leap," said the other men.
"I'll go talk to their woman chief," said Old Man. "I'll fix things up with her."

The woman chief in the meantime remarked to the other women: "Why, these men beings are really not as uncouth as we thought. Their rawness is a sort of strength. The sight of their arm muscles pleases my eyes. The sound of their deep voices thrills my ears. They are not altogether bad, these men."

Old Man went up to the woman chief and said,
"Let's you and I go someplace and talk."
"Yes, let's do that," answered the woman chief. They went someplace.
The woman chief looked at Old Man and liked what she saw. Old man looked at the woman chief and his heart pounded with joy.
"Let's try one thing that has never been tried before," he said to the woman chief.
"I always like to try out new, useful things," she said.
"Maybe one should lie down, trying this," said Old Man.
"Maybe one should," agreed the woman chief. They lay down.

After a while Old Man said:
"This is surely the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me. I couldn't ever imagine such a wonderful thing."
"And I," said the woman chief, "I never dreamed I could feel so good. This is much better, even, than eating buffalo tongues. It's too good to be properly described."
"Let's go and tell the others about it," said Old Man.

When Old Man and the woman chief got back to the camp, they found nobody there. All the male creatures and the women beings had already paired off and gone someplace, each pair to their own spot. They didn't need to be told about this new thing; they had already found out.

When the men and women came back from wherever they had gone, they were smiling. Their eyes were smiling. Their mouths were smiling, their whole bodies were smiling, so it seemed.
Then the women moved in with the men. They brought all their things, all their skills to the men's village. Then the women quelled and tanned for the men.
Then the men hunted for the women. Then there was love. Then there was happiness. Then there was marriage. Then there were children.

 


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How The Rabbit Lost His Tail

Once upon a time there were two brothers, one a great genie and the other a rabbit. Like all genie, the older could change himself into any kind of an animal, bird, fish, cloud, thunder and lightning, or in fact anything that he desired.

The younger brother (the rabbit) was very mischievous and was continually getting into all kinds of trouble. His older brother was kept busy getting Rabbit out of all kinds of scrapes.

When Rabbit had attained his full growth he wanted to travel around and see something of the world. When he told his brother what he intended to do, the brother said: "Now, Rabbit, you are Witkotko (mischievous), so be very careful, and keep out of trouble as much as possible. In case you get into any serious trouble, and can't get out by yourself, just call on me for assistance, and no matter where you are, I will come to you."

Rabbit started out and the first day he came to a very high house, outside of which stood a very high pine tree. So high was the tree that Rabbit could hardly see the top.

Outside the door, on an enormous stool, sat a very large giant fast asleep. Rabbit (having his bow and arrows with him) strung up his bow, and, taking an arrow from his quiver, said, "I want to see how big this man is, so I guess I will wake him up."

So saying he moved over to one side and took good aim, and shot the giant upon the nose. This stung like fire and awoke the giant, who jumped up, crying: "Who had the audacity to shoot me on the nose?"

"I did," said Rabbit.

The giant, hearing a voice, looked all around, but saw nothing, until he looked down at the corner of the house, and there sat a rabbit.

"I had hic coughs this morning and thought that I was going to have a good big meal, and here is nothing but a toothful."

"I guess you won't make a toothful of me," said Rabbit, "I am as strong as you, though I am little."

"We will see," said the giant. He went into the house and came out, bringing a hammer that weighed many tons.

"Now, Mr. Rabbit, we will see who can throw this hammer over the top of that tree."

"Get something harder to do," said Rabbit.

"Well, we will try this first," said the giant. With that he grasped the hammer in both hands, swung it three times around his head and sent it spinning thru the air. Up, up, it went, skimming the top of the tree, and came down, shaking the ground and burying itself deep into the earth.

"Now," said the giant, "if you don't accomplish this same feat, I am going to swallow you at one mouthful."

Rabbit said, "I always sing to my brother before I attempt things like this." So he commenced singing and calling his brother. "Cinye! Cinye!" (brother, brother) he sang. The giant grew nervous, and said, "Boy, why do you call your brother?"

Pointing to a small black cloud that was approaching very swiftly, Rabbit said: "That is my brother; he can destroy you, your house, and pine tree in one breath."

"Stop him and you can go free," said the giant. Rabbit waved his paws and the cloud disappeared.

From this place Rabbit continued on his trip towards the west. The next day, while passing thru a deep forest, he thought he heard some one moaning, as though in pain. He stopped and listened; soon the wind blew and the moaning grew louder. Following the direction from whence came the sound, he soon discovered a man stripped of his clothing, and caught between two limbs of a tall elm tree. When the wind blew the limbs would rub together and squeeze the man, who would give forth the mournful groans.

"My, you have a fine place up there. Let us change. You can come down and I will take your place." (Now this man had been placed up there for punishment, by Rabbit's brother, and he could not get down unless some one came along and proposed to take his place on the tree). "Very well," said the man. "Take off your clothes and come up. I will fasten you in the limbs and you can have all the fun you want."

Rabbit disrobe and climbed up. The man placed him between the limbs and slid down the tree. He hurriedly got into Rabbit's clothes, and just as he had completed his toilet, the wind blew very hard. Rabbit was nearly crazy with pain, and screamed and cried. Then he began to cry "Cinye, Cinye" (brother, brother). "Call your brother as much as you like, he can never find me." So saying the man disappeared in the forest.

Scarcely had he disappeared, when the brother arrived, and seeing Rabbit in the tree, said: "Which way did he go?" Rabbit pointed the direction taken by the man. The brother flew over the top of the trees, soon found the man and brought him back, making him take his old place between the limbs, and causing a heavy wind to blow and continue all afternoon and night, for punishment to the man for having placed his brother up there.

After Rabbit got his clothes back on, his brother gave him a good scolding, and wound up by saying: "I want you to be more careful in the future. I have plenty of work to keep me as busy as I want to be, and I can't be stopping every little while to be making trips to get you out of some foolish scrape. It was only yesterday that I came five hundred miles to help you from the giant, and today I have had to come a thousand miles, so be more careful from now on."

Several days after this the Rabbit was traveling along the banks of a small river, when he came to a small clearing in the woods, and in the center of the clearing stood a nice little log hut. Rabbit was wondering who could be living here when the door slowly opened and an old man appeared in the doorway, bearing a tripe water pail in his right hand. In his left hand he held a string which was fastened to the inside of the house. He kept hold of the string and came slowly down to the river. When he got to the water he stooped down and dipped the pail into it and returned to the house, still holding the string for guidance.

Soon he reappeared holding on to another string, and, following this one, went to a large pile of wood and returned to the house with it. Rabbit wanted to see if the old man would come out again, but he came out no more. Seeing smoke ascending from the mud chimney, he thought he would go over and see what the old man was doing. He knocked at the door, and a weak voice bade him enter. He noticed that the old man was cooking dinner.

"Hello Tunkasina (grandfather), you must have a nice time, living here alone. I see that you have everything handy. You can get wood and water, and that is all you have to do. How do you get your provisions?"

"The wolves bring my meat, the mice my rice and ground beans, and the birds bring me the cherry leaves for my tea. Yet it is a hard life, as I am all alone most of the time and have no one to talk to, and besides, I am blind."

"Say, grandfather," said Rabbit, "let us change places. I think I would like to live here."

"If we exchange clothes," said the other, "you will become old and blind, while I will assume your youth and good looks." (Now, this old man was placed here for punishment by Rabbit's brother. He had killed his wife, so the genie made him old and blind, and he would remain so until some one came who would exchange places with him).

"I don't care for youth and good looks," said Rabbit, "let us make the change."

They changed clothes, and Rabbit became old and blind, whilst the old man became young and handsome.

"Well, I must go," said the man. He went out and cutting the strings close to the door, ran off laughing. "You will get enough of your living alone, you crazy boy," and saying this he ran into the woods.

Rabbit thought he would like to get some fresh water and try the string paths so that he would get accustomed to it. He bumped around the room and finally found the tripe water bucket. He took hold of the string and started out.

When he had gotten a short distance from the door he came to the end of the string so suddenly, that he lost the end which he had in his hand, and he wandered about, bumping against the trees, and tangling himself up in plum bushes and thorns, scratching his face and hands so badly that the blood ran from them. Then it was that he commenced again to cry, "Cinye! Cinye!" (brother, brother). Soon his brother arrived, and asked which way the old man had gone.

"I don't know," said Rabbit, "I couldn't see which path he took, as I was blind."

The genie called the birds, and they came flying from every direction. As fast as they arrived the brother asked them if they had seen the man whom he had placed here for punishment, but none had seen him.

The owl came last, and when asked if he had seen the man, he said "hoo-hoo."

"The man who lived here," said the brother. "Last night I was hunting mice in the woods south of here and I saw a man sleeping beneath a plum tree. I thought it was your brother, Rabbit, so I didn't awaken him," said the owl.

"Good for you, owl," said the brother, "for this good news, you shall hereafter roam around only at night, and I will fix your eyes, so the darker the night the better you will be able to see. You will always have the fine cool nights to hunt your food. You other birds can hunt your food during the hot daylight." (Since then the owl has been the night bird).

The brother flew to the woods and brought the man back and cut the strings short, and said to him: "Now you can get a taste of what you gave my brother."

To Rabbit he said: "I ought not to have helped you this time. Any one who is so crazy as to change places with a blind man should be left without help, so be careful, as I am getting tired of your foolishness, and will not help you again if you do anything as foolish as you did this time."

Rabbit started to return to his home. When he had nearly completed his journey he came to a little creek, and being thirsty took a good long drink. While he was drinking he heard a noise as though a wolf or cat was scratching the earth. Looking up to a hill which overhang the creek, he saw four wolves, with their tails intertwined, pulling with all their might. As Rabbit came up to them one pulled loose, and Rabbit saw that his tail was broken.

"Let me pull tails with you. My tail is long and strong," said Rabbit, and the wolves assenting, Rabbit interlocked his long tail with those of the three wolves and commenced pulling and the wolves pulled so hard that they pulled Rabbit's tail off at the second joint. The wolves disappeared.

"Cinye! Cinye! (Brother, brother.) I have lost my tail," cried Rabbit. The genie came and seeing his brother Rabbit's tail missing, said, "You look better without a tail anyway."

From that time on rabbits have had no tails.

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Iktome And The Ignorant Girl
A pretty winchinchala had never been with a man yet, and Iktome was eager to sleep with her.
He dressed himself up like a woman and went looking for the girl. He found her about to cross a stream.
"Hau mashke, how are you, friend," he said. "Let's wade across together."

They lifted their robes and stepped into the water.
"You have very hairy legs," said the girl to Iktome.
"That's because I am older. When women get older, some are like this."

The water got deeper and they lifted their robes higher.
"You have a very hairy backside," said the winchinchala to Iktome.
"Yes, some of us are like that," answered Iktome.

The water got still deeper and they lifted their robes up very high.
"What's that strange thing dangling between your legs?" asked the girl, who had never seen a naked man.
"Ah," complained Iktome, "it's a kind of growth, like a huge wart."
"It's very large for a wart."
"Yes. Oh my! An evil magician wished it on me. It's cumbersome; it's heavy; it hurts; it gets in the way. How I wish to be rid of it!"
"My elder sister," said the girl, "I pity you. We could cut this thing off."
"No, no, my younger sister. There's only one way to get rid of it, because the evil growth was put there by a sorcerer."
"What might this be, the way to get rid of it?"
"Ah, mashke, the only thing to do is to stick it in there, between your legs."
"Is that so? Well, I guess we women should help each other."
"Yes, pilamaye, thanks, you are very kind. Let's get out of this water and go over there where the grass is soft."

Spider Man made the girl lie down on the grass, got on top of her, and entered her.
"Oh my," said the girl, "it sure is big. It hurts a little."
"Think how it must hurt me!" said Iktome, breathing hard.
"It hurts a little less now," said the girl.
Iktome finished and got off the girl.
The winchinchala looked and said:
"Indeed, it already seems to be smaller."
"Yes, but not small enough yet," answered Spider Man.
"This is hard work. Let me catch my breath, then we must try again."

After a while he got on top of the girl once more.
"It really isn't so bad at all," said the ignorant winchinchala, "but it seems to have gotten bigger. It is indeed a powerful magic."
Iktome did not answer her. He was busy. He finished. He rolled off.
"There's little improvement," said the girl.
"We must be patient and persevere," answered Iktome.

So after a while they went at it again.
"Does it hurt very much, mashke?" the girl asked Iktome.
"Oh my, yes, but I am strong and brave," answered Iktome, "I can bear it."
"I can bear it too." said the girl. "It really isn't altogether unpleasant," said the girl after they did it a fourth time, "but I must tell you, elder sister, I don't believe you will ever get rid of this strange thing."
"I have my doubts too," answered Spider Man.
"Well," said the ignorant winchinchala, "one could get used to it."
"Yes, mashke," answered Iktome, "one must make the best of it, but let's try once more to be sure."



 


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Iktome, Coyote And The Rock
Coyote was walking with his friend Iktome.

Along their path stood Iya, the rock. This was not just ant rock; it was special. It had those spidery lines of green moss all over it, the kind that tell a story. Iya had power.
Coyote said: "Why, this is a nice-looking rock. I think it has power."
Coyote took off the thick blanket he was wearing and put it on the rock.
"Here, Iya, take this as a present. Take this blanket, friend rock, to keep you from freezing. You must feel cold."
"Wow, a giveaway!" said Iktome. "You sure are in a giving mood today, friend."
"Ah, it's nothing. I'm always giving things away. Iya looks real nice in my blanket."
"His blanket, now." said Iktome.

The two friends went on. Pretty soon a cold rain started. The rain turned to hail. The hail turned to slush. Coyote and Iktome took refuge in a cave, which was cold and wet.
Iktome was all right; he had his thick buffalo robe. Coyote had only his shirt, and he was shivering. He was freezing. His teeth were chattering.
"Kola, friend of mine," Coyote said to Iktome, "go back and get me my fine blanket. I need it, and that rock has no use for it. He's been getting along without a blanket for ages. Hurry; I'm freezing!"

Iktome went back to Iya, saying:
"Can I have that blanket back, please?"
The rock said: "No, I like it. What is given is given."

Iktome returned and told Coyote:
"He won't give it back." "That no-good, ungrateful rock!" said Coyote. "Has he paid for the blanket? Has he worked for it? I'll go get it myself."
"Friend," said Iktome, "Tunka, Iya, the rock - there's a lot of power there! Maybe you should let him keep it."
"Are you crazy? This is an expensive blanket of many colors and great thickness. I'll go talk to him."

Coyote went back and told Iya:
"Hey, rock! What's the meaning of this? What do you need a blanket for? Let me have it back right now!"
"No," said the rock, "what is given is given."
"You're a bad rock! Don't you care that I'm freezing to death? That I'll catch a cold?"

Coyote jerked the blanket away from Iya and put it on. "So there; that's the end of it."
"By no means the end," said the rock.

Coyote went back to the cave.
The rain and hail stopped and the sun came out again, so Coyote and Iktome sat before the cave, sunning themselves, eating pemmican and fry-bread and *wojapi*,berry soup.
After eating, they took out their pipes and had a smoke.

All of a sudden Iktome said:
"What's that noise?"
"What noise? I don't hear anything."
"A crashing, a rumble far off."
"Yes, friend, I hear it now."
"Friend Coyote, its getting stronger and nearer, like thunder or an earthquake."
"It is rather strong and loud. I wonder what it can be."
"I have a pretty good idea, friend," said Iktome.

Then they saw the great rock. It was Iya, rolling, thundering, crashing upon them.
"Friend, let's run for it!" cried Iktome; "Iya means to kill us!"

The two ran as fast as they could while the rock rolled after them, coming closer and closer.
"Friend, let's swim the river. The rock is so heavy, he sure can't swim!" cried Iktome.
So they swam the river, but Iya, the great rock, also swam over the river as if he had been made of wood.

"Friend, into the timber, among the big trees," cried Coyote. "That big rock surely can't get through this thick forest."
They ran among the trees, but the huge Iya came rolling along after them, shivering and splintering the big pines to pieces, left and right.

The two came out onto the flats.
"Oh! Oh!" cried Iktome, Spider Man. "Friend Coyote, this is really not my quarrel. I just remembered, I have pressing business to attend to. So long!"
Iktome rolled himself into a tiny ball and became a spider. He disappeared into a mouse hole.

Coyote ran on and on, the big rock thundering close at his heels. Then Iya, the big rock, rolled right over Coyote, flattening him out altogether.
Iya took the blanket and rolled back to his own place, saying:
"So there!"

A *wasichu* rancher riding along saw Coyote lying there all flattened out.
"What a nice rug!" said the rancher, picking Coyote up, and he took the rug home.

The rancher put Coyote right in front of his fireplace.
Whenever Coyote is killed, he can make himself come to life again, but it took him the whole night to puff himself up into his usual shape.
In the morning the ranchers wife told her husband:
"I just saw your rug running away."

Friends, hear this: Always be generous in heart. If you have something to give, give it forever.




 

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Iktome Has A Bad Dream
Once in the middle of the night, Iktome woke up in a cold sweat after a bad dream. His friend Coyote, who was visiting, noticed something was wrong.
"Friend, what's the matter," he asked.
"I had a very bad dream," said Iktome.
"What did you dream of?"
"I dreamed I saw a very pretty winchinchala about to take a bath in the stream."
"It doesn't sound like a very bad dream," said Coyote.
"This girl was taking her clothes off. I saw her naked. She had a very fine body."
"My friend, decidedly, this is not a bad dream."
"I dreamed I was hiding behind some bush at quite a distance from her. As I watched her, my penis began to grow. It grew exceedingly long. It was winding toward her like a long snake."
"There's nothing wrong with this dream, my friend, I'm telling you."
"My penis was like a long, long rope. It went all the way over to that girl. It went into the water. It touched her."
"*Kanji*, cousin, let me tell you, I wish I had such a dream."
"Now, my friend, the tip of my penis entered that girl. She didn't even notice it at first."
"Kola, I'm telling you, this is a fine dream."
"Then my penis entered the girl all the way. She seemed to like it."
"This is as good a dream as I ever heard of, my friend."
"Just at that moment I heard a great noise. I had been so excited in my dream that I hadn't noticed a team of horses pulling a big wagon. It was right on top of me, a wasichu's - a white man's - wagon. It was coming at a dead run, and the white was whipping his horses. This wagon was very heavy, my friend, it had heavy wheels of iron. It was going between me and that girl ..."
"Friend, you were right. This is indeed a very bad dream," said Coyote.



 


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"My Balls For Your Dinner?"
Iktome, the wicked Spider Man, and Skunk-Manitou, Coyote, are two no- good loafers. They lie, they steal, they are greedy, they are always after women. Maybe because they are so very much alike, they are friends, except when they try to trick each other.

One day Iktome invited Coyote for dinner at his lodge. Ikto told his wife:
"Old woman, here are two fine, big buffalo livers for my friend Coyote and myself. Fry them up nicely, the way I like them. And get some timpsila, some wild turnips, on the side, and afterwards serve us up some wojapi, some berry soup. Use choke cherries for that. Coyote always likes something sweet after his meal."
"Is that all?" asked Iktome's wife.
"I guess so; I can't think of anything else."
"There's no third liver for me?" the wife inquired.
"You can have what's left after my friend Coyote and I have eaten," said Iktome. "Well, I'll go out for a while; maybe I can shoot a fine, plump duck too. Coyote always stuffs himself, so one liver may not be enough for him. But watch this good friend of mine; don't let him stick his hands under your robe. He likes to do that. Well, I go now. Have everything ready for us; Coyote never likes to wait."

Iktome left and his old woman got busy cooking.
"I know who's always stuffing himself," she thought. "I know whose hands are always busy feeling under some girl's robe. I know who can't wait - it's that no- good husband of mine."

The fried livers smelled do wonderful that the wife said to herself:
"Those greedy, stingy, overbearing men! I know them; they'll feast on these fine livers, and a few turnips will be all they leave for me. They have no consideration for a poor woman.
Oh, that liver here looks so good, smells so good; I know it tastes good. Maybe I'll try a little piece, just a tiny one. They won't notice."

So the wife tasted a bit of the liver, and then another bit, and then another, and in no time at all that liver was gone.
"I might as well eat the other one too, " the wife said to herself, and she did.
"What will I do now?" she thought. "when Iktome finds out, he'll surely beat me. But it was worth it!"

Just then Coyote arrived. He had dressed himself up in a fine beaded outfit with fringed sleeves.
"Where is my good friend Iktome?" he asked. "What's he up to? Probably nothing good."
"How are you, friend?" said the woman, "My husband, Iktome, is out taking care of some business. He'll be back soon. Sit down; be comfortable."
"Out on business - you don't say!" remarked Coyote, quickly sticking his hand under the woman's robe and between her legs.
"Iktome told me you'd try to do that. He told me not to let you."
"Oh, Iktome and I are such good friends," said Coyote, "we share everything."

He joked, he chucked the woman under the chin, he tickled her under the arms, and pretty soon he was all the way in her; way, way up inside her.
"It feels good," said the woman, "but be quick about it. Iktome could be back any time now."
"You think he'd mind, seeing we are such good friends?"
"I'm sure he would. You'd better stop now."
"Well, all right, It smells very good here, but I see no meat cooking, just some timpsila. Meat is what I like."
"And meat is what you'll get. One sees this is the first time that you've come here for dinner; otherwise you'd know what you'll get. We always serve a guest the same thing. Everybody likes it."
"Is it really good?"
"It 's more than good. It's lila washtay, very good."
Coyote smacked his lips, his mouth watering. "I can't wait. What is it? Tell me!"
"Why, your itka, your susu, your eggs, your balls, your big hairy balls! We always have the balls of our guests for dinner."

"Oh my! This must be a joke, a very bad joke."
"It's no joke at all. And I'd better cut them off right now with my big skinning knife, because it's getting late. Ikto gets mad when I don't have his food ready---he'll beat me. And there I was, fooling around with you instead of doing my cooking. I'll do it right now; drop your breechcloth. You won't feel a thing, I do this so fast. I have practice."

The woman came after Coyote with the knife in her hand.
"Wait a bit, " said Coyote. "Before you do this, let me go out and make some water. I'll be right back," and saying this, he ran out of the lodge.
But he didn't come back. He ran and ran as fast as his feet would carry him.

Just then Iktome came back without any ducks; he had caught nothing.
He saw Coyote running away and asked,
"Old Woman, what's the matter with that crazy friend of mine? Why is he running off like that?"
"Your good friend is very greedy. He doesn't have the sharing spirit," his wife told Iktome.
"Never invite him again. He has no manners. He doesn't know how to behave. He saw those two fine buffalo livers, which I cooked just as you like them, and didn't want to share them with you. He grabbed both and made off with them. Some friend!"

Iktome rushed out of the lodge in a frenzy, running after Coyote as fast as he could, shouting:
"Coyote! Kola! Friend! Leave me at least one! Leave one for me! For your old friend Iktome!"

Coyote didn't stop. He ran even faster than Ikto.
Running, running, he looked back over his shoulder and shouted:
"Cousin, if you catch me, you can have both of them!




 

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The Rabbit And The Elk

The little rabbit lived with his old grandmother, who needed a new dress.

"I will go out and trap a deer or an elk for you," Then you shall have a new dress."

when he went out hunting he laid his bow down on the path while he looked at his snares. An elk coming by saw the bow.

"I will play a joke on the rabbit," thought the elk. "I will make him think I have been caught in his bow string." He then put his foot on the string and lay down as if dead.

When the rabbit returned and he saw the elk he was filled with joy and ran home saying, "Grandmother, I have trapped a fine elk. You shall have your new dress from his skin. Throw the old dress on the fire!

This the grandmother did.

The elk now sprang to his feet laughing. "Ho, rabbit," he called, "You thought to trap me; now I mock you." and he ran away into the thicket.

The rabbit who had come back to skin the elk now ran home again. "Grandmother, don't throw your dress in the fire," he cried.

But it was to late the dress was burned.

 






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Rabbit And The Grouse Grouse Girls

The rabbit once went out on the prairie in winter time. On the side of a hill away from the wind he found a great company of girls all with gray and speckled blankets over their backs. They were the grouse girls and they were coasting down hill on a board.

When the rabbit saw them, he called out, "Oh maidens, that is not a good way to coast down hill. Let me get you a fine skin with bangles on it that tinkle when you slide."

And away he ran to his tepee and brought back a skin bag. It had red stripes on it and bangles that tinkled.

"Come get inside," he said to the grouse girls.

"Oh, no, we are afraid," they answered.

"Don't be afraid, I can't hurt you. Come on one of you," said the rabbit. Then as each hung back he added, "If each is afraid alone, come all together. I can't hurt you all."

And so he coaxed the whole flock into the bag. This done, the rabbit closed the mouth of the bag, slung it over his back and went home.

"Grandmother," he said, as he came into the tepee, "here is a bag full of game. Watch it while I go for willow sticks to make spits."

But as soon as the rabbit had gone out of the tepee, the grouse girls began to cry out, "Grandmother, let us out."

Who are you?" asked the old woman.

"Your dear grandchildren," they answered.

"But how is it that your in the bag?" asked the old woman.

"Oh our cousin was jesting with us. He coaxed us into the bag as a joke. Please let us out."

"Certainly, dear grandchildren, I will let you out," said the old woman as she untied the bag.

And the grouse flock flew up, knocking over the old grandmother as they flew out the square smoke opening of the winter lodge.

They old woman only caught one grouse as it flew up and she held it, grasping a leg with each hand.

When the rabbit came home with the spits she called to him, "Grandson, come quick. They got out but I have caught two."

When he saw what had happened he was angry, yet could hardly speak from laughing.

Grandmother, you have but one grouse," and it is a skinny one at that!"

 







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Siege of the Courthouse Rock

A long time ago a Sioux war party surprised a war party of Pahari near Courthouse Rock. We Sioux had been fighting many battles with the Pahari. The whites had pushed nations like ours, whose homeland was further east near the Great Lakes, westward into the prairie and the hunting grounds of other tribes. Maybe the Pahari were there before us; who knows? At any rate, now we were hunting the same herds in the same place, and naturally we fought.

I guess there must have been more of us than of the Pahari, and they retreated to the top of Courthouse Rock to save themselves. Three sides of Courthouse Rock go straight up and down like the sides of a skyscraper. No one can climb them. Only the fourth side had a path to the top, and it could easily be defended by a few brave men.

Thus the Pahari were on the top and the Sioux a the foot of Courthouse Rock. The Sioux chief told his warriors: "It's no use trying to storm it. Only three or four men can go up that path abreast, so even the women and children could defend it. But the Pahari have no water, and soon they'll run out of food. They can stay up there and starve or die of thirst, or they can come and fight us on the plain. When they climbed down, we can kill them and count many coups on them." The Sioux settled down to wait at the foot of the rock.

On the summit, as the Sioux chief expected, the Pahari suffered from hunger and thirst. They grew weak. Though there was little hope for them, they had a brave leader who could use his head. He knew that three sides of the rock were unguarded but that one would only have to be a bird to climb down them. On one of the three steep sides, however, there was a round bulge jutting out from the rock face. "If we could fasten a rope to it, we could let ourselves down," he thought. But the out cropping was too smooth, round, and wide to hold a lasso.

Then the Pahari leader tried his knife on the rock bulge. he found that the stone was soft enough ufo the knife to bite easily into, and he began patiently whittling a ground around the bulge. He and his men worked only at night so the Sioux wouldn't see what they were up to. After two nights they had carved a groove deep enough. When they tied all of the rawhide ropes together, they found that the line would reach the ground.

On the third night the Pahari leader tied one end of the rope around the bulge in the rock. He himself tested it by climbing all the way down and then up again, which took most of the night.

On the next and fourth night, he told his men: "Now we do it. Let the youngest go first." The Pahari climbed down one by one, the youngest go first." The Pahari climbed down one by one, the youngest and least accomplished first, so that a large group of people could belay them, and the older and more experienced warriors later. The leader came down last. The Sioux did not notice them at all, and the whole party stole away.

The Sioux stayed at the foot of the rock for many days. They themselves grew hungry, because they had hunted out all of the game. At last a young, brave warrior said: "They must all be dead up there. I'm fed up with waiting; I'll go up and see." He climbed the path to the top and shouted down that nobody was up there.

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Spotted Eagle And Black Hawk
Many lifetimes ago there lived two braves warriors. One was named Wanblee Gleshka, Spotted Eagle. The other was Kangi Sapa, Black Crow.
They were friends but, as it happened, were also in love with the same girl, Zintkala Luta Win - Red Bird. She was beautiful as well as accomplished in tanning and quill work, and she liked Spotted Eagle best, which made Black Crow unhappy and jealous.

Black Crow went to his friend and said:
"Let's go on a war party against the Pahani. We'll get ourselves some fine horses and earn eagle feathers."
"Good idea," said Spotted Eagle, and the two young men purified themselves in a sweat bath. They got out their war medicine and their shields, painted their faces, and did all that warriors should do before a raid. Then they rode out against the Pahani.

The raid did not go well. The Pahani were watchful, and the young warriors could not get near the herd. Not only did they fail to capture any ponies, they even lost their own mounts while they were trying to creep up to the enemy's herd.
Spotted Eagle and Black Crow had a hard time escaping on foot because the Pahani were searching for them everywhere.
At one time the two had to hide underwater in a lake and breathe through long, hollow reeds which were sticking up above the surface. But at least they were clever at hiding, and the Pahani finally gave up the hunt.

Traveling on foot made the trip home a long one. Their moccasins were tattered, their feet bleeding. At last they came to a high cliff.
"Let's go up there," said Black Crow, "and find out whether the enemy is following us."
Clambering up, they looked over the countryside and saw that no one was on their trail. But on a ledge far below them they spied a nest with two young eagles in it.
"Let's get those eagles, at least," Black Crow said.

There was no way to climb down the sheer rock wall, but Black Crow took his rawhide lariat, made a loop in it, put the rope around Spotted Eagle's chest, and lowered him.
When his friend was on the ledge with the nest, Black Crow said to himself:
"I can leave him there to die. When I come home alone, Red Bird will marry me."
He threw his end of the rope down and went away without looking back or listening to Spotted Eagle's cries.

At last it dawned on Spotted Eagle that his friend had betrayed him, that he had been left to die. The lariat was much too short to lower himself to the ground; an abyss of three hundred feet lay beneath him. He was alone with the two young eagles, who screeched angrily at the strange, two-legged creature that had invaded their home.

Black Crow returned to his village.
"Spotted Eagle died a warrior's death," he told the people. "The Pahani killed him."
There was loud wailing throughout the village, because everybody had liked Spotted Eagle. Red Bird slashed her arms with a sharp knife and cut her hair to make her sorrow plain to all.
But in the end because life must go on, she became Black Crows wife.

Spotted Eagle, however, did not die on his lonely ledge. The eagles got used to him, and the old eagles brought plenty of food - rabbits, prairie dogs, and sage hens - which he shared with the two chicks.
Maybe it was the eagle medicine in his bundle, which he carried on his chest that made the eagles accept him. Still, he had to tie himself to a little rock sticking out of the cliff to keep from falling off in his sleep. In this way he spent some uncomfortable weeks, after all, he was a human being and not a bird to whom a crack in the rock face is home.

At last the young eagles were big enough to practice flying.
"What will become of me now?" thought the young man. "Once the fledglings have flown the nest, the old birds won't bring any more food."
Then he had an inspiration, and told himself,
"Perhaps I'll die. Very likely I will. But I won't just sit here and give up."

Spotted Eagle took his little pipe out of his medicine bundle, lifted it up to the sky, and prayed:
"Wakan Tanka, onshimala ye: Great Spirit, pity me. You have created man and his brother, the eagle. You have given me the eagle's name. Now I will try to let the eagles carry me to the ground. Let the eagles help me; let me succeed."

He smoked and felt a surge of confidence. Then he grabbed hold of the legs of the two young eagles.
"Brothers," he told them, "you have accepted me as one of your own. Now we will live together, or die together. Hoka-hey!" and he jumped off the ledge.

He expected to be shattered on the ground below, but with a mighty flapping of wings, the two young eagles broke his fall and the three landed safely. Spotted Eagle said a prayer of thanks to the ones above. Then he thanked the eagles and told them that one day he would be back with gifts and have a giveaway in their honor.

Spotted Eagle returned to his village. The excitement was great. He had been dead and had come back to life. Everybody asked him how it happened that he was not dead, but he wouldn't tell them.
"I escaped," he said, "that's all."

He saw his love married to his treacherous friend and bore it in silence. He was not one to bring strife and enmity to his people, to set one family against the other. Besides, what had happened could not be changed. Thus he accepted his fate.

A year or so later, a great war party of the Pahani attacked his village. The enemy outnumbered the Sioux tenfold, and Spotted Eagle's band had no chance for victory. All the warriors could do was fight a slow rear-guard action to give the aged, the women, and the children time to escape across the river.
Guarding their people this way, the handful of Sioux fought bravely, charging the enemy again and again, forcing the Pahani to halt and regroup. Each time, the Sioux retreated a little, taking up a new position on a hill or across a gully. In this way they could save their families.

Showing the greatest courage, exposing their bodies freely, were Spotted Eagle and Black Crow. In the end they alone faced the enemy.
Then, suddenly, Black Crows horse was hit by several arrows and collapsed under him.
"Brother, forgive me for what I have done," he cried to Spotted Eagle, "let me jump on your horse behind you."
Spotted Eagle answered:
"You are a Kit Fox member, a sash wearer. Pin your sash as sign that you will fight to the finish. Then, if you survive, I will forgive you; and if you die, I will forgive you also."
Black Crow answered:
"I am a Fox. I shall pin my sash. I will win here or die here."

He sang his death song. He fought stoutly. There was no one to release him by un pinning him and taking him up on a horse. He was hit by lances and arrows and died a warrior's death. Many Pahani died with him.

Spotted Eagle had been the only one to watch Black Crows last fight. At last he joined his people, safe across the river, where the Pahani did not follow them.
"Your husband died well," Spotted Eagle told Red Bird.

After some time had passed, Spotted Eagle married Red Bird. And much, much later he told his parents, and no one else, how Black Crow had betrayed him.
"I forgive him now," he said, "because once, long ago, he was my friend, and because Red Bird and I are happy now."

After a long winter, Spotted Eagle told his wife when spring came again:
"I must go away for a few days to fulfill a promise. And I have to go alone."

He rode off by himself to that cliff and stood again at its foot, below the ledge where the eagles' nest had been. He pointed his sacred pipe to the four directions, then down to Grandmother Earth and up to the Grandfather sky letting the smoke ascend to the sky, calling out:
"Wanblee Mishunkala, little Eagle Brothers, hear me."

High above in the clouds appeared two black dots, circling. These were the eagles who had saved his life. They came at his call, their huge wings spread royally. Swooping down, uttering a shrill cry of joy and recognition, they alighted at his feet.
He stroked them with his feather fan, thanked them many times, and fed them choice morsels of buffalo meat. He fastened small medicine bundles around their legs as a sign of friendship, and spread tobacco offerings around the foot of the cliff.
Thus he made a pact of friendship and brotherhood between Wanblee Oyate - the eagle nation - and his own people.

Afterwards the stately birds soared up again into the sky, circling motionless, carried by the wind, disappearing into the clouds.
Spotted Eagle turned his horse's head homeward, going back to Red Bird with deep content.



 


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The Artichoke And The Muskrat

On the shore of a lake stood an artichoke with green leaves waving in the sun. very proud of itself and well satisfied with the world. In the lake below lived a muskrat in his lodge,and in the evening as the sun set he would come out upon the shore and wander over the bank. One evening he came near where the artichoke stood.

"Ho friend," he said, "you seem rather proud of yourself. Who are you?" "I am the artichoke," answered the other. "and I have many handsome cousins. But who are you?"

"I am the muskrat, and I too belong to a large family. I live in the water. I don't stand all day in one place like a stone."

"If I stand in one place all day," retorted the artichoke, "at least I don't swim around in the water and build my lodge in the mud." "You are jealous of my fine fur," sneered the muskrat. "I may build my lodge in the mud, but my I always have a clean coat. But you are half buried in the ground, and when men dig you up you are never clean."

"And your fine coat always smells of musk," jeered the artichoke.

"That is true," said the muskrat. "But men think well of me nevertheless. They trap me for the fine sinew in my tail, and beautiful young women bite off my tail with their white teeth and make it into thread."

"That's nothing," laughed the artichoke. "Handsome young warriors, painted and splendid with feathers dig me up, brush me off with their hands and eat me without even taking the trouble to wash me off."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Bound Children

There once lived a widow with two children; the elder a daughter and the younger a son. The widow went in mourning for her husband a long time. She cut off her hair, let her dress lie untidy on her body and kept her face unpainted and unwashed.

There lived in the same village a great chief. He had one son just come old enough to marry. The chief had it known that he wished his son to take a wife, and all of the young women in the village were eager to marry the young man. However, he was pleased with none of them.

Now the widow thought, "I am tired of mourning for my husband and caring for my children. Perhaps if I lay aside my mourning and paint myself red, the chief's son may marry me."

So she slipped away from her two children, stole down to the river and made a bathing place thru the ice. When she had washed away all signs of mourning, she painted and decked herself and went to the chief's teepee. When his son saw her, he loved her, and a feast was made in honor of her wedding.

When the window's daughter found herself forsaken, she wept bitterly. After a day or two she took her little brother in her arms and went to the teepee of an old woman who lived at one end of the village. The old woman's tumble down teepee was of bark and her dress and clothing were of old smoke-dried tent cover. But she was kind to the two waif and took them in willingly.

The little girl was eager to find her mother. The old woman said to her: "I suspect your mother has painted her face red. Do not try to find her. If the chief's son marries her she will not want to be burdened with you."

The old woman was right. The girl went down to the river, and sure enough found a hole cut in the ice and about it lay the filth that the mother had washed from her body. The girl gathered up the filth and went on. By and by she came to a second hole in the ice. Here too was filth, but not so much as at the previous place. At the third hole the ice was clean.

The girl knew now that her mother had painted her face red. She went at once to the chief's teepee, raised the door flap and went in. There sat her mother with the chief's son at their wedding feast.

The girl walked up to her mother and hurled the filth in her mother's face.

"There," she cried, "you who forsake your helpless children and forget your husband, take that!"

And at once her mother became a hideous old woman.

The girl then went back to the lodge of the old woman, leaving the camp in an uproar. The chief soon sent some young warriors to seize the girl and her brother, and they were brought to his teepee. He was furious with anger.

"Let the children be bound with lariat wrapped about their bodies and let them be left to starve. Our camp will move on," he said. The chief's son did not put away his wife, hoping she might be cured in some way and grow young again.

Everybody in camp now got ready to move; but the old woman came close to the girl and said, "In my old teepee I have dug a hole and buried a pot with punk and steel and flint and packs of dried meat. They will tie you up like a corpse. But before we go I will come with a knife and pretend to stab you, but I will really cut the rope that binds you so that you can unwind it from your body as soon as the camp is out of sight and hearing."

And so, before the camp started, the old woman came to the place where the two children were bound. She had in her hand a knife bound to the end of a stick which she used as a lance. She stood over the children and cried aloud, "You wicked girl, who have shamed your own mother, you deserve all the punishment that is given you. But after all I do not want to let you lie and starve. Far better kill you at once and have done with it!" and with her stick she stabbed many times, as if to kill, but she was really cutting the rope.

The camp moved on; but the children lay on the ground until noon the next day. Then they began to squirm about. Soon the girl was free, and she then set loose her little brother. They went at once to the old woman's hut where they found the flint and steel and the packs of dried meat.

The girl made her brother a bow and arrows and with these he killed birds and other small game.

The boy grew up a great hunter. They became rich. They built three great tepees, in one of which were stored rows upon rows of parfleche bags of dried meat.

One day as the brother went out to hunt, he met a handsome young stranger who greeted him and said to him, "I know you are a good hunter, for I have been watching you; your sister, too, is industrious. Let me have her for a wife. Then you and I will be brothers and hunt together."

The girl's brother went home and told her what the young stranger had said.

"Brother, I do not care to marry," she answered. "I am now happy with you."

"But you will be yet happier married," he answered, "and the young stranger is of no mean family, as one can see by his dress and manners."

"Very well, I will do as you wish," she said. So the stranger came into the teepee and was the girl's husband.

One day as they were in their tent, a crow flew overhead, calling out loudly, "Kaw, Kaw, They who forsook the children have no meat."

The girl and her husband and brother looked up at one another.

"What can it mean?" they asked. "Let us send for Unktomi (the spider). He is a good judge and he will know."

"And I will get ready a good dinner for him, for Unktomi is always hungry," added the young wife.

When Unktomi came, his yellow mouth opened with delight at the fine feast spread for him. After he had eaten he was told what the crow had said.

"The crow means," said Unktomi, "that the villagers and chief who bound and deserted you are in sad plight. They have hardly anything to eat and are starving."

When the girl heard this she made a bundle of choicest meat and called the crow.

"Take this to the starving villagers," she bade him.

He took the bundle in his beak, flew away to the starving village and dropped the bundle before the chief's teepee. The chief came out and the crow called loudly, "Kaw, Kaw! The children who were forsaken have much meat; those who forsook them have none."

"What can he mean?" cried the astonished villagers.

"Let us send for Unktomi," said one, "he is a great judge; he will tell us."


They divided the bundle of meat among the starving people, saving the biggest piece for Unktomi.

When Unktomi had come and eaten, the villagers told him of the crow and asked what the bird's words meant.

"He means," said Unktomi, "that the two children whom you forsook have tepees full of dried meat enough for all the village."

The villagers were filled with astonishment at this news. To find whether or not it was true, the chief called seven young men and sent them out to see. They came to the three tepees and there met the girl's brother and husband just going out to hunt (which they did now only for sport).

The girl's brother invited the seven young men into the third or sacred lodge, and after they had smoked a pipe and knocked out the ashes on a buffalo bone the brother gave them meat to eat, which the seven devoured greedily. The next day he loaded all seven with packs of meat, saying, "Take this meat to the villagers and lead them hither."

While they awaited the return of the young men with the villagers, the girl made two bundles of meat, one of the best and choicest pieces, and the other of liver, very dry and hard to eat.

After a few days the camp arrived. The young woman's mother opened the door and ran in crying: "Oh, my dear daughter, how glad I am to see you." But the daughter received her coldly and gave her the bundle of dried liver to eat. But when the old woman who had saved the children's lives came in, the young girl received her gladly, called her grandmother, and gave her the package of choice meat with marrow.

Then the whole village camped and ate of the stores of meat all the winter until spring came; and withal they were so many, there was such abundance of stores that there was still much left.

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THE BRAVE WHO WENT ON THE WARPATH ALONE AND WON THE NAME OF THE LONE WARRIOR

There was once a young man whose parents were not overburdened with the riches of this world, and consequently could not dress their only son in as rich a costume as the other young men of the tribe, and on account of not being so richly clad as they, he was looked down upon and shunned by them. He was never invited to take part in any of their sports; nor was he ever asked to join any of the war parties.

In the village lived an old man with an only daughter. Like the other family, they were poor, but the daughter was the belle of the tribe. She was the most sought after by the young men of the village, and warriors from tribes far distant came to press their suit at winning her for their bride. All to no purpose; she had the same answer for them as she had for the young men of the village.

The poor young man was also very handsome despite his poor clothes, but having never killed an enemy nor brought home any enemies' horses he was not (according to Indian rules) allowed to make love to any young or old woman. He tried in vain to join some of the war parties, that he might get the chance to win his spurs as a warrior. To all his pleadings, came the same answer: "You are not fit to join a war party. You have no horses, and if you should get killed our tribe would be laughed at and be made fun of as you have such poor clothes, and we don't want the enemy to know that we have any one of our tribe who dresses so poorly as you do."

Again, and again, he tried different parties, only to be made fun of and insulted.

One night he sat in the poor tepee of his parents. He was in deep study and had nothing to say. His father, noticing his melancholy mood, asked him what had happened to cause him to be so quiet, as he was always of a jolly disposition. The son answered and said:

"Father, I am going on the warpath alone. In vain I have tried to be a member of one of the war parties. To all of my pleadings I have got nothing but insults in return."

"But my son, you have no gun nor ammunition. Where can you get any and how can you get it? We have nothing to buy one for you with," said the father.

"I don't need any weapons. I am going to bring back some of the enemies' horses, and I don't need a gun for that."

Early the next morning (regardless of the old couple's pleadings not to go unarmed) the young man left the village and headed northwest, the direction always taken by the war parties.

For ten days he traveled without seeing any signs of a camp. The evening of the tenth day, he reached a very high butte, thickly wooded at the summit. He ascended this butte, and as he sat there between two large boulders, watching the beautiful rays of the setting sun, he was suddenly startled to hear the neigh of a horse. Looking down into the beautiful valley which was threaded by a beautiful creek fringed with timber, he noticed close to the base of the butte upon which he sat, a large drove of horses grazing peacefully and quietly. Looking closer, he noticed at a little distance from the main drove, a horse with a saddle on his back. This was the one that had neighed, as the drove drifted further away from him. He was tied by a long lariat to a large sage bush.

Where could the rider be, he said to himself. As if in answer to his question, there appeared not more than twenty paces from him a middle aged man coming up through a deep ravine. The man was evidently in search of some kind of game, as he held his gun in readiness for instant use, and kept his eyes directed at every crevice and clump of bush. So intent was he on locating the game he was trailing, that he never noticed the young man who sat like a statue not twenty paces away. Slowly and cautiously the man approached, and when he had advanced to within a few paces of the young man he stopped and turning around, stood looking down into the valley. This was the only chance that our brave young friend had. Being unarmed, he would stand no show if the enemy ever got a glimpse of him. Slowly and noiselessly he drew his hunting knife (which his father had given him on his departure from home) and holding it securely in his right hand, gathered himself and gave a leap which landed him upon the unsuspecting enemy's shoulders. The force with which he landed on the enemy caused him (the enemy) to lose his hold on his gun, and it went rattling down into the chasm, forty feet below.

Down they came together, the young man on top. No sooner had they struck the ground than the enemy had out his knife, and then commenced a hand to hand duel. The enemy, having more experience, was getting the best of our young friend. Already our young friend had two ugly cuts, one across his chest and the other through his forearm.

He was becoming weak from the loss of blood, and could not stand the killing pace much longer. Summoning all his strength for one more trial to overcome his antagonist, he rushed him toward the chasm, and in his hurry to get away from this fierce attack, the enemy stepped back one step too far, and down they both went into the chasm. Interlocked in each other's arms, the young man drove his knife into the enemy's side and when they struck the bottom the enemy relaxed his hold and straightened out stiff and dead.

Securing his scalp and gun, the young man proceeded down to where the horse was tied to the sage bush, and then gathering the drove of horses proceeded on his return to his own village. Being wounded severely he had to ride very slowly. All the long hours of the night he drove the horses towards his home village.

In the meantime, those at the enemies' camp wondered at the long absence of the herder who was watching their drove of horses, and finally seven young men went to search for the missing herder. All night long they searched the hillside for the horses and herder, and when it had grown light enough in the morning they saw by the ground where there had been a fierce struggle.

Following the tracks in the sand and leaves, they came to the chasm where the combatants had fallen over, and there, lying on his back staring up at them in death, was their herder. They hastened to the camp and told what they had found. Immediately the warriors mounted their war ponies (these ponies are never turned loose, but kept tied close to the tepee of the owner), and striking the trail of the herd driven off by our young friend, they urged forth their ponies and were soon far from their camp on the trail of our young friend. All day long they traveled on his trail, and just as the sun was sinking they caught sight of him driving the drove ahead over a high hill. Again they urged forth their tired ponies. The young man, looking back along the trail, saw some dark objects coming along, and, catching a fresh horse, drove the rest ahead at a great rate. Again all night he drove them, and when daylight came he looked back (from a high butte) over his trail and saw coming over a distant raise, two horsemen. These two undoubtedly rode the best ponies, as he saw nothing of the others. Driving the horses into a thick belt of timber, he concealed himself close to the trail made by the drove of horses, and lay in ambush for the two daring horsemen who had followed him so far. Finally they appeared on the butte from where he had looked back and saw them following him. For a long time they sat there scouring the country before them in hopes that they might see some signs of their stolen horses. Nothing could they see. Had they but known, their horses were but a few hundred yards from them, but the thick timber securely hid them from view. Finally one of them arose and pointed to the timber. Then leaving his horse in charge of his friend, he descended the butte and followed the trail of the drove to where they had entered the timber. Little did he think that he was standing on the brink of eternity. The young man hiding not more than a hundred yards from him could have shot him there where he stood, but wanting to play fair, he stepped into sight. When he did, the enemy took quick aim and fired. He was too hasty. Had he taken more careful aim he might have killed our young friend, but his bullet whizzed harmlessly over the young man's head and buried itself in a tree. The young man took good aim and fired. The enemy threw up both hands and fell forward on his face. The other one on the hill, seeing his friend killed, hastily mounted his horse and leading his friend's horse, made rapidly off down the butte in the direction from whence he had come. Waiting for some time to be sure the one who was alive did not come up and take a shot at him, he finally advanced upon the fallen enemy and securing his gun, ammunition and scalp, went to his horse and drove the herd on through the woods and crossing a long flat prairie, ascended a long chain of hills and sat looking back along his trail in search of any of the enemy who might continue to follow him.

Thus he sat until the long shadows of the hills reminded him that it would soon be sunset, and as he must get some sleep, he wanted to find some creek bend where he could drive the bunch of ponies and feel safe as to their not straying off during the night. He found a good place for the herd, and catching a fresh horse, he picketed him close to where he was going to sleep, and wrapping himself in his blanket, was soon fast asleep. So tired and sleepy was he that a heavy rain which had come up, during the night, soaked him through and through, but he never awakened until the sun was high in the east.

He awoke and going to the place where he had left the herd, he was glad to find them all there. He mounted his horse and started his herd homeward again. For two days he drove them, and on the evening of the second day he came in sight of the village.

The older warriors, hearing of the young man going on this trip alone and unarmed, told the parents to go in mourning for their son, as he would never come back alive. When the people of the village saw this large drove of horses advancing towards them, they at first thought it was a war party of the enemy, and so the head men called the young warriors together and fully prepared for a great battle. They advanced upon the supposed enemy. When they got close enough to discern a lone horseman driving this large herd, they surrounded the horses and lone warrior, and brought him triumphantly into camp. On arriving in the camp (or village) the horses were counted and the number counted up to one hundred and ten head.

The chief and his criers (or heralds) announced through the whole village that there would be a great war dance given in honor of the Lone Warrior.

The whole village turned out and had a great war dance that was kept up three days and three nights. The two scalps which the young man had taken were tied to a pole which was placed in the center of the dance circle. At this dance, the Lone Warrior gave to each poor family five head of horses.

Being considered eligible now to pay his respects to any girl who took his fancy, he at once went to the camp of the beautiful girl of the tribe, and as he was always her choice, she at once consented to marry him.

The news spread through the village that Lone Warrior had won the belle of the nation for his bride, and this with the great feat which he had accomplished alone in killing two enemies and bringing home a great herd of horses, raised him to the rank of chief, which he faithfully filled to the end of his days. And many times he had to tell his grandchildren the story of how he got the name of the Lone Warrior.


 

 



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The Dogs Hold An Election

Once a long time ago, the dogs were trying to elect a president. So one of them said, "I nominate the bulldog for president. He's strong and can fight."

"But he can't run," said another dog. "What good is a fighter who can't run?"

But the other dogs cried: Naw, he can run all right, but he can't fight. When he catches up with somebody, what happens then? He get the hell beaten out of him, that's what! So all he is good for is running away."

Then an ugly mutt jumped up and said: "I nominate the dog for president who smells good under his tail."

And right away another ugly mutt jumped up and said: "I second that motion."

At once all the dogs started sniffing under each other's tails. A big chorus went up:

"Phew, he doesn't smell good under his tail."

"No, neither does this one."

"He's no presidential timber!"

"No he's no good either."

"This one sure isn't people's choice."

"Wow, this ain't my candidate!"

So when you go for a walk, just watch the dogs. They are still sniffing underneath each other's tails.

They are looking for a good leader and won't stop until they find him."

"And yes some dogs even check out humans."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Faithful Lovers

There once lived a chief's daughter who had many relations. All the young men in the village wanted to have her for wife, and were all eager to fill her skin bucket when she went to the brook for water.

There was a young man in the village who was industrious and a good hunter; but he was poor and of a mean family. He loved the maiden and when she went for water, he threw his robe over her head while he whispered in her ear, "Be my wife. I have little but I am young and strong. I will treat you well, for I love you."

For a long time the maiden did not answer, but one day she whispered back. "Yes, you may ask my father's leave to marry me. But first you must do something noble. I belong to a great family and have many relations. You must go on a war party and bring back the scalp of an enemy."

The young man answered modestly, "I will try to do as you bid me. I am only a hunter, not a warrior. Whether I shall be brave or not I do not know. But I will try to take a scalp for your sake."

So he made a war party of seven, himself and six other young men. They wandered through the enemy's country, hoping to get a chance to strike a blow. But none came, for they found no one of the enemy.

"Our medicine is unfavorable," said their leader at last. "We shall have to return home."

Before they started they sat down to smoke and rest beside a beautiful lake at the foot of a green knoll that rose from its shore. The knoll was covered with green grass and somehow, as they looked at it, they had a feeling that there was something about it that was mysterious or uncanny.

But there was a young man in the party named the jester, for he was venturesome and full of fun. Gazing at the knoll he said, "Let's and jump on its top."

"No," said the young lover, "it looks mysterious. Sit still and finish your smoke.

"Oh, come on, who's afraid," said the jester, laughing. "Come on you--come on!" and springing to his feet he ran up the side of the knoll.

Four of the young men followed. Having reached the top of the knoll all five began to jump and stamp about in sport, calling, "Come on, come on," to the others.

Suddenly they stopped--the knoll had begun to move toward the water. It was a gigantic turtle.

The five men cried out in alarm and tried to run--too late! Their feet by some power were held fast to the monster's back

"Help us--drag us away," they cried; but the others could do nothing. In a few moments the waves had closed over them

The other two men, the lover and his friend, went on, but with heavy hearts, for they had forebodings of evil. After some days, they came to a river. Worn with fatigue the lover threw himself down on the bank.

"I will sleep awhile," he said, "for I am wearied and worn out."

"And I will go down to the water and see if I can chance upon a dead fish. At this time of the year the high water may have left one stranded on the seashore," said his friend

And as he had said, he found a fish which he cleaned, and then called to the lover.

"Come and eat the fish with me. I have cleaned it and made a fire and it is now cooking."

"No, you eat it; let me rest," said the lover.

"Oh, come on," said the friend.

"No, let me rest," the lover answered.

"But you are my friend. I will not eat unless you share it with me," the friend said.

"Very well," said the lover, "I will eat the fish with you, but you must first make me a promise. If I eat the fish, you must promise, pledge yourself, to fetch me all the water that I can drink."

"I promise," said the other, and the two ate the fish out of their war-kettle. For there had been but one kettle for the party.

When they had eaten, the kettle was rinsed out and the lover's friend brought it back full of water. This the lover drank at a drought.

"Bring me more," he said.

Again his friend filled the kettle at the river and again the lover drank it dry. "More!" he cried.

"Oh, I am tired. Can't you go to the river and drink your fill from the stream?" asked his friend.

"Remember your promise." he said.

"Yes, but I am weary. Go now and drink," said the friend.

"Ek-hey, I feared it would be so. Now trouble is coming upon us," said the lover sadly. He walked to the river, sprang in, and lying down in the water with his head toward land, drank greedily.

By and by he called to his friend. "Come hither, you who have been my sworn friend. See what comes of your broken promise."

The friend came and was amazed to see that the lover was now a fish from his feet to his middle. Sick at heart he ran off a little way and threw himself upon the ground in grief. By and by he returned. The lover was now a fish to his neck.

"Cannot I cut off the part and restore you by a sweat bath?" the friend asked.

"No, it is too late. But tell the chief's daughter that I loved her to the last and that I die for her sake. Take this belt and give it to her. She gave it to me as a pledge of her love for me," and he being then turned to a great fish, swam to the middle of the river and there remained, only his great fin remaining above the water.

The friend went home and told his story. There was great mourning over the death of the five young men, and for the lost lover. In the river the great fish remained, its fin just above the surface, and was called by the Indians "Fish that Bars," because it barred navigation.

Canoes had to be portaged at great labor around the obstruction.

The chief's daughter mourned for her lover as for a husband, nor would she be comforted. "He was lost for love of me, and I shall remain as his widow," she wailed.

In her mother's tepee she sat, with her head covered with her robe, silent, working, working.

"What is my daughter doing," her mother asked. But the maiden did not reply.

The days lengthened into moons until a year had passed. And then the maiden arose. In her hands were beautiful articles of clothing, enough for three men. There were three pairs of moccasins, three pairs of leggings, three belts, three shirts, three head dresses with beautiful feathers, and sweet smelling tobacco.

"Make a new canoe of bark," she said, which was made for her.

Into the canoe she stepped and floated slowly down the river toward the great fish.

"Come back my daughter," her mother cried in agony. "The great fish will eat you."

She answered nothing.

Her canoe came to the place where the great fin arose and stopped, its prow grating on the monster's back. The maiden stepped out boldly. One by one she laid her presents on the fish's back, scattering the feathers and tobacco over his broad spine.

"Oh, fish," she cried, "Oh, fish, you who were my lover, I shall not forget you. Because you were lost for love of me, I shall never marry. All my life I shall remain a widow. Take these presents. And now leave the river, and let the waters run free, so my people may once more descend in their canoes."

She stepped into her canoe and waited. Slowly the great fish sank, his broad fin disappeared,

and the waters of the St. Croix (Stillwater) were free

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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THE FOUR BROTHERS; OR INYANHOKSILA (STONE BOY)

Alone and apart from their tribe dwelt four orphan brothers. They had erected a very comfortable hut, although the materials used were only willows, hay, birch bark, and adobe mud. After the completion of their hut, the oldest brother laid out the different kinds of work to be done by the four of them. He and the second and third brothers were to do all the hunting, and the youngest brother was to do the house work, cook the meals, and keep plenty of wood on hand at all times.

As his older brothers would leave for their hunting very early every morning, and would not return till late at night, the little fellow always found plenty of spare time to gather into little piles fine dry wood for their winter use.

Thus the four brothers lived happily for a long time. One day while out gathering and piling up wood, the boy heard a rustling in the leaves and looking around he saw a young woman standing in the cherry bushes, smiling at him.

"Who are you, and where did you come from?" asked the boy, in surprise. "I am an orphan girl and have no relatives living. I came from the village west of here. I learned from rabbit that there were four orphan brothers living here all alone, and that the youngest was keeping house for his older brothers, so I thought I would come over and see if I couldn't have them adopt me as their sister, so that I might keep house for them, as I am very poor and have no relations, neither have I a home."

She looked so pitiful and sad that the boy thought to himself, "I will take her home with me, poor girl, no matter what my brothers think or say." Then he said to her: "Come on, tanke (sister). You may go home with me; I am sure my older brothers will be glad to have you for our sister."

When they arrived at the hut, the girl hustled about and cooked up a fine hot supper, and when the brothers returned they were surprised to see a girl sitting by the fire in their hut. After they had entered the youngest brother got up and walked outside, and a short time after the oldest brother followed him out. "Who is that girl, and where did she come from?" he asked his brother. Whereupon the brother told him the whole story. Upon hearing this the oldest brother felt very sorry for the poor orphan girl and going back into the hut he spoke to the girl, saying: "Sister, you are an orphan, the same as we; you have no relatives, no home. We will be your brothers, and our poor hut shall be your home. Henceforth call us brothers, and you will be our sister."

"Oh, how happy I am now that you take me as your sister. I will be to you all as though we were of the same father and mother," said the girl. And true to her word, she looked after everything of her brothers and kept the house in such fine shape that the brothers blessed the day that she came to their poor little hut. She always had an extra buckskin suit and two pairs of moccasins hanging at the head of each one's bed. Buffalo, deer, antelope, bear, wolf, wildcat, mountain lion and beaver skins she tanned by the dozen, and piled nicely in one corner of the hut.

When the Indians have walked a great distance and are very tired, they have great faith in painting their feet, claiming that paint eases the pain and rests their feet.

After their return from a long day's journey, when they would be lying down resting, the sister would get her paint and mix it with the deer tallow and rub the paint on her brother's feet, painting them up to their ankles. The gentle touch of her hands, and the soothing qualities of the tallow and paint soon put them into a deep, dreamless steep.

Many such kind actions on her part won the hearts of the brothers, and never was a full blood sister loved more than was this poor orphan girl, who had been taken as their adopted sister. In the morning when they arose, the sister always combed their long black silken scalp locks and painted the circle around the scalp lock a bright vermillion.

When the hunters would return with a goodly supply of beef, the sister would hurry and relieve them of their packs, hanging each one high enough from the ground so the prowling dogs and coyotes could not reach them. The hunters each had a post on which to hang his bow and flint head arrows. (Good hunters never laid their arrows on the ground, as it was considered unlucky to the hunter who let his arrows touch the earth after they had been out of the quiver). They were all perfectly happy, until one day the older brother surprised them all by saying: "We have a plentiful supply of meat on hand at present to last us for a week or so. I am going for a visit to the village west of us, so you boys all stay at home and help sister. Also gather as much wood as you can and I will be back again in four days. On my return we will resume our hunting and commence getting our year's supply of meat."

He left the next morning, and the last they saw of him was while he stood at the top of the long range of hills west of their home. Four days had come and gone and no sign of the oldest brother.

"I am afraid that our brother has met with some accident," said the sister. "I am afraid so, too,"said the next oldest. "I must go and search for him; he may be in some trouble where a little help would get him out." The second brother followed the direction his brother had taken, and when he came to the top of the long range of hills he sat down and gazed long and steadily down into the long valley with a beautiful creek winding through it. Across the valley was a long plain stretching for miles beyond and finally ending at the foot of another range of hills, the counterpart of the one upon which he sat.

After noting the different landmarks carefully, he arose and slowly started down the slope and soon came to the creek he had seen from the top of the range. Great was his surprise on arriving at the creek to find what a difference there was in the appearance of it from the range and where he stood. From the range it appeared to be a quiet, harmless, laughing stream. Now he saw it to be a muddy, boiling, bubbling torrent, with high perpendicular banks. For a long time he stood, thinking which way to go, up or down stream. He had just decided to go down stream, when, on chancing to look up, he noticed a thin column of smoke slowly ascending from a little knoll. He approached the place cautiously and noticed a door placed into the creek bank on the opposite side of the stream. As he stood looking at the door, wondering who could be living in a place like that, it suddenly opened and a very old appearing woman came out and stood looking around her. Soon she spied the young man, and said to him: "My grandchild, where did you come from and whither are you bound?" The young man answered: "I came from east of this ridge and am in search of my oldest brother, who came over in this direction five days ago and who has not yet returned."

"Your brother stopped here and ate his dinner with me, and then left, traveling towards the west," said the old witch, for such she was. "Now, grandson, come across on that little log bridge up the stream there and have your dinner with me. I have it all cooked now and just stepped outside to see if there might not be some hungry traveler about, whom I could invite in to eat dinner with me." The young man went up the stream a little distance and found a couple of small logs which had been placed across the stream to serve as a bridge. He crossed over and went down to the old woman's dugout hut. "Come in grandson, and eat. I know you must be hungry."

The young man sat down and ate a real hearty meal. On finishing he arose and said: "Grandmother, I thank you for your meal and kindness to me. I would stay and visit with you awhile, as I know it must be very lonely here for you, but I am very anxious to find my brother, so I must be going. On my return I will stop with my brother and we will pay you a little visit."

"Very well, grandson, but before you go, I wish you would do me a little favor. Your brother did it for me before he left, and cured me, but it has come back on me again. I am subject to very severe pains along the left side of my backbone, all the way from my shoulder blade down to where my ribs attach to my backbone, and the only way I get any relief from the pain is to have some one kick me along the side." (She was a witch, and concealed in her robe a long sharp steel spike. It was placed so that the last kick they would give her, their foot would hit the spike and they would instantly drop off into a swoon, as if dead.)

"If I won't hurt you too much, grandmother, I certainly will be glad to do it for you," said the young man, little thinking he would be the one to get hurt.

"No, grandson, don't be afraid of hurting me; the harder you kick the longer the pain stays away." She laid down on the floor and rolled over on to her right side, so he could get a good chance to kick the left side where she said the pain was located.

As he moved back to give the first kick, he glanced along the floor and he noticed a long object wrapped in a blanket, lying against the opposite wall. He thought it looked strange and was going to stop and investigate, but just then the witch cried out as if in pain. "Hurry up, grandson, I am going to die if you don't hurry and start in kicking." "I can investigate after I get through with her," thought he, so he started in kicking and every kick he would give her she would cry: "Harder, kick harder." He had to kick seven times before he would get to the end of the pain, so he let out as hard as he could drive, and when he came to the last kick he hit the spike, and driving it through his foot, fell down in a dead swoon, and was rolled up in a blanket by the witch and placed beside his brother at the opposite side of the room.

When the second brother failed to return, the third went in search of the two missing ones. He fared no better than the second one, as he met the old witch who served him in a similar manner as she had his two brothers.

"Ha! Ha!" she laughed, when she caught the third, "I have only one more of them to catch, and when I get them I will keep them all here a year, and then I will turn them into horses and sell them back to their sister. I hate her, for I was going to try and keep house for them and marry the oldest one, but she got ahead of me and became their sister, so now I will get my revenge on her. Next year she will be riding and driving her brothers and she won't know it."

When the third brother failed to return, the sister cried and begged the last one not to venture out in search of them. But go he must, and go he did, only to do as his three brothers had done.

Now the poor sister was nearly distracted. Day and night she wandered over hills and through woods in hopes she might find or hear of some trace of them. Her wanderings were in vain. The hawks had not seen them after they had crossed the little stream. The wolves and coyotes told her that they had seen nothing of her brothers out on the broad plains, and she had given them up for dead.

One day, as she was sitting by the little stream that flowed past their hut, throwing pebbles into the water and wondering what she should do, she picked up a pure white pebble, smooth and round, and after looking at it for a long time, threw it into the water. No sooner had it hit the water than she saw it grow larger. She took it out and looked at it and threw it in again. This time it had assumed the form of a baby. She took it out and threw it in the third time and the form took life and began to cry: "Ina, ina" (mother, mother). She took the baby home and fed it soup, and it being an unnatural baby, quickly grew up to a good sized boy. At the end of three months he was a good big, stout youth. One day he said: "Mother, why are you living here alone? To whom do all these fine clothes and moccasins belong?" She then told him the story of her lost brothers. "Oh, I know now where they are. You make me lots of arrows. I am going to find my uncles." She tried to dissuade him from going, but he was determined and said: "My father sent me to you so that I could find my uncles for you, and nothing can harm me, because I am stone and my name is "Stone Boy."

The mother, seeing that he was determined to go, made a whole quiver full of arrows for him, and off he started. When he came to the old witches hut, she was nowhere to be seen, so he pushed the door in and entered. The witch was busily engaged cooking dinner.

"Why, my dear grandchild, you are just in time for dinner. Sit down and we will eat before you continue your journey." Stone boy sat down and ate dinner with the old witch. She watched him very closely, but when she would be drinking her soup he would glance hastily around the room. Finally he saw the four bundles on the opposite side of the room, and he guessed at once that there lay his four uncles. When he had finished eating he took out his little pipe and filled it with "kini-kinic," and commenced to smoke, wondering how the old woman had managed to fool his smart uncles. He couldn't study it out, so when he had finished his smoke he arose to pretend to go. When the old woman saw him preparing to leave, she said: "Grandson, will you kick me on the left side of my backbone. I am nearly dead with pain and if you kick me good and hard it will cure me." "All right, grandma," said the boy. The old witch lay down on the floor and the boy started in to kick. At the first kick he barely touched her. "Kick as hard as you can, grandson; don't be afraid you will hurt me, because you can't." With that Stone Boy let drive and broke two ribs. She commenced to yell and beg him to stop, but he kept on kicking until he had kicked both sides of her ribs loose from the backbone. Then he jumped on her backbone and broke it and killed the old witch.

He built a big fire outside and dragged her body to it, and threw her into the fire. Thus ended the old woman who was going to turn his uncles into horses.

Next he cut willows and stuck them into the ground in a circle. The tops he pulled together, making a wickiup. He then took the old woman's robes and blankets and covered the wickiup so that no air could get inside. He then gathered sage brush and covered the floor with a good thick bed of sage; got nice round stones and got them red hot in the fire, and placed them in the wickiup and proceeded to carry his uncles out of the hut and lay them down on the soft bed of sage. Having completed carrying and depositing them around the pile of rocks, he got a bucket of water and poured it on the hot rocks, which caused a great vapor in the little Mickie-up. He waited a little while and then listened and heard some breathing inside, so he got another bucket and poured that on also. After awhile he could hear noises inside as though some one were moving about. He went again and got the third bucket and after he had poured that on the rocks, one of the men inside said: "Whoever you are, good friend, don't bring us to life only to scald us to death again." Stone boy then said: "Are all of you alive?" "Yes," said the voice. "Well, come out," said the boy. And with that he threw off the robes and blankets, and a great cloud of vapor arose and settled around the top of the highest peak on the long range, and from that did Smoky Range derive its name.

The uncles, when they heard who the boy was, were very happy, and they all returned together to the anxiously waiting sister. As soon as they got home, the brothers worked hard to gather enough wood to last them all winter. Game they could get at all times of the year, but the heavy fall of snow covered most of the dry wood and also made it very difficult to drag wood through the deep snow. So they took advantage of the nice fall weather and by the time the snow commenced falling they had enough wood gathered to last them throughout the winter. After the snow fell a party of boys swiftly coasted down the big hill west of the brothers' hut. The Stone boy used to stand and watch them for hours at a time. His youngest uncle said: "Why don't you go up and coast with them?" The boy said: "They may be afraid of me, but I guess I will try once, anyway." So the next morning when the crowd came coasting, Stone boy started for the hill. When he had nearly reached the bottom of the coasting hill all of the boys ran off excepting two little fellows who had a large coaster painted in different colors and had little bells tied around the edges, so when the coaster was in motion the bells made a cheerful tinkling sound. As Stone boy started up the hill the two little fellows started down and went past him as though shot from a hickory bow.

When they got to the end of their slide, they got off and started back up the hill. It being pretty steep, Stone boy waited for them, so as to lend a hand to pull the big coaster up the hill. As the two little fellows came up with him he knew at once that they were twins, as they looked so much alike that the only way one could be distinguished from the other was by the scarfs they wore. One wore red, the other black. He at once offered to help them drag their coaster to the top of the hill. When they got to the top the twins offered their coaster to him to try a ride.

At first he refused, but they insisted on his taking it, as they said they would sooner rest until he came back. So he got on the coaster and flew down the hill, only he was such an expert he made a zigzag course going down and also jumped the coaster off a bank about four feet high, which none of the other coasters dared to tackle. Being very heavy, however, he nearly smashed the coaster. Upon seeing this wonderful jump, and the zigzag course he had taken going down, the twins went wild with excitement and decided that they would have him take them down when he got back. So upon his arrival at the starting point, they both asked him at once to give them the pleasure of the same kind of a ride he had taken. He refused, saying: "We will break your coaster. I alone nearly smashed it, and if we all get on and make the same kind of a jump, I am afraid you will have to go home without your coaster."

"Well, take us down anyway, and if we break it our father will make us another one." So he finally consented. When they were all seated ready to start, he told them that when the coaster made the jump they must look straight ahead. "By no means look down, because if you do we will go over the cut bank and land in a heap at the bottom of the gulch."

They said they would obey what he said, so off they started swifter than ever, on account of the extra weight, and so swiftly did the sleigh glide over the packed, frozen snow, that it nearly took the twins' breath away. Like an arrow they approached the jump. The twins began to get a little nervous. "Sit steady and look straight ahead," yelled Stone boy. The twin next to Stone boy, who was steering behind, sat upright and looked far ahead, but the one in front crouched down and looked into the coulee. Of course, Stone boy, being behind, fell on top of the twins, and being so heavy, killed both of them instantly, crushing them to a jelly.

The rest of the boys, seeing what had happened, hastened to the edge of the bank, and looking down, saw the twins laying dead, and Stone boy himself knocked senseless, lying quite a little distance from the twins. The boys, thinking that all three were killed, and that Stone boy had purposely steered the sleigh over the bank in such a way that it would tip and kill the twins, returned to the village with this report. Now, these twins were the sons of the head chief of the Buffalo Nation. So at once the chief and his scouts went over to the hill to see if the boys had told the truth.

When they arrived at the bank they saw the twins lying dead, but where was Stone boy? They looked high and low through the gulch, but not a sign of him could they find. Tenderly they picked up the dead twins and carried them home, then held a big council and put away the bodies of the dead in Buffalo custom.

A few days after this the uncles were returning from a long journey. When they drew near their home they noticed large droves of buffalo gathered on their side of the range. Hardly any buffalo ever ranged on this east side of the range before, and the brothers thought it strange that so many should so suddenly appear there now.

When they arrived at home their sister told them what had happened to the chief's twins, as her son had told her the whole story upon his arrival at home after the accident.

"Well, probably all the buffalo we saw were here for the council and funeral," said the older brother. "But where is my nephew?" (Stone boy) he asked his sister. "He said he had noticed a great many buffalo around lately and he was going to learn, if possible, what their object was,"said the sister. "Well, we will wait until his return."

When Stone boy left on his trip that morning, before the return of his uncles, he was determined to ascertain what might be the meaning of so many buffalo so near the home of himself and uncles. He approached several bunches of young buffalo, but upon seeing him approaching they would scamper over the hills. Thus he wandered from bunch to bunch, scattering them all. Finally he grew tired of their cowardice and started for home. When he had come to within a half mile or so of home he saw an old shaggy buffalo standing by a large boulder, rubbing on it first one horn and then the other. On coming up close to him, the boy saw that the bull was so old he could hardly see, and his horns so blunt that he could have rubbed them for a year on that boulder and not sharpened them so as to hurt anyone.

"What are you doing here, grandfather?" asked the boy.

"I am sharpening my horns for the war," said the bull.

"What war?" asked the boy.

"Haven't you heard," said the old bull, who was so near sighted he did not recognize Stone boy. "The chief's twins were killed by Stone boy, who ran them over a cut bank purposely, and the chief has ordered all of his buffalo to gather here, and when they arrive we are going to kill Stone boy and his mother and his uncles."

"Is that so? When is the war to commence?"

"In five days from now we will march upon the uncles and trample and gore them all to death."

"Well, grandfather, I thank you for your information, and in return will do you a favor that will save you so much hard work on your blunt horns." So saying he drew a long arrow from his quiver and strung his bow, attached the arrow to the string and drew the arrow half way back. The old bull, not seeing what was going on, and half expecting some kind of assistance in his horn sharpening process, stood perfectly still. Thus spoke Stone boy:

"Grandfather, you are too old to join in a war now, and besides if you got mixed up in that big war party you might step in a hole or stumble and fall and be trampled to death. That would be a horrible death, so I will save you all that suffering by just giving you this." At this word he pulled the arrow back to the flint head and let it fly. True to his aim, the arrow went in behind the old bulls foreleg, and with such force was it sent that it went clear through the bull and stuck into a tree two hundred feet away.

Walking over to the tree, he pulled out his arrow. Coolly straightening his arrow between his teeth and sighting it for accuracy, he shoved it back into the quiver with its brothers, exclaiming: "I guess, grandpa, you won't need to sharpen your horns for Stone boy and his uncles."

Upon his arrival home he told his uncles to get to work building three stockades with ditches between and make the ditches wide and deep so they will hold plenty of buffalo. "The fourth fence I will build myself," he said.

The brothers got to work early and worked until very late at night. They built three corrals and dug three ditches around the hut, and it took them three days to complete the work. Stone boy hadn't done a thing towards building his fence yet, and there were only two days more left before the charge of the buffalo would commence. Still the boy didn't seem to bother himself about the fence. Instead he had his mother continually cutting arrow sticks, and as fast as she could bring them he would shape them, feather and head them. So by the time his uncles had their fences and corrals finished he had a thousand arrows finished for each of his uncles. The last two days they had to wait, the uncles joined him and they finished several thousand more arrows. The evening before the fifth day he told his uncles to put up four posts, so they could use them as seats from which to shoot.

While they were doing this, Stone boy went out to scout and see how things looked. At daylight he came hurriedly in saying, "You had better get to the first corral; they are coming." "You haven't built your fence, nephew." Whereupon Stone Boy said: "I will build it in time; don't worry, uncle." The dust on the hill sides rose as great clouds of smoke from a forest fire. Soon the leaders of the charge came in sight, and upon seeing the timber stockade they gave forth a great snort or roar that fairly shook the earth. Thousands upon thousands of mad buffalo charged upon the little fort. The leaders hit the first stockade and it soon gave way. The maddened buffalo pushed forward by the thousands behind them; plunged forward, only to fall into the first ditch and be trampled to death by those behind them. The brothers were not slow in using their arrows, and many a noble beast went down before their deadly aim with a little flint pointed arrow buried deep in his heart.

The second stockade stood their charge a little longer than did the first, but finally this gave way, and the leaders pushed on through, only to fall into the second ditch and meet a similar fate to those in the first. The brothers commenced to look anxiously towards their nephew, as there was only one more stockade left, and the second ditch was nearly bridged over with dead buffalo, with the now thrice maddened buffalo attacking the last stockade more furiously than before, as they could see the little hut through the openings in the corral.

"Come in, uncles," shouted Stone boy. They obeyed him, and stepping to the center he said: "Watch me build my fence." Suiting the words, he took from his belt an arrow with a white stone fastened to the point and fastening it to his bow, he shot it high in the air. Straight up into the air it went, for two or three thousand feet, then seemed to stop suddenly and turned with point down and descended as swiftly as it had ascended. Upon striking the ground a high stone wall arose, enclosing the hut and all who were inside. Just then the buffalo broke the last stockade only to fill the last ditch up again. In vain did the leaders butt the stone wall. They hurt themselves, broke their horns and mashed their snouts, but could not even scar the wall.

The uncles and Stone boy in the meantime rained arrows of death into their ranks.

When the buffalo chief saw what they had to contend with, he ordered the fight off. The crier or herald sang out: "Come away, come away, Stone boy and his uncles will kill all of us."

So the buffalo withdrew, leaving over two thousand of their dead and wounded on the field, only to be skinned and put away for the feasts of Stone boy and his uncles, who lived to be great chiefs of their own tribe, and whose many relations soon joined them on the banks of Stone Boy Creek.

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THE HERMIT, OR THE GIFT

In a deep forest, far from the villages of his people, lived a hermit. His tent was made of buffalo skins, and his dress was made of deer skin. Far from the haunts of any human being this old hermit was content to spend his days.

All day long he would wander through the forest studying the different plants of nature and collecting precious roots, which he used as medicine. At long intervals some warrior would arrive at the tent of the old hermit and get medicine roots from him for the tribe, the old hermit's medicine being considered far superior to all others.

After a long day's ramble in the woods, the hermit came home late, and being very tired, at once lay down on his bed and was just dozing off to sleep, when he felt something rub against his foot. Awakening with a start, he noticed a dark object and an arm was extended to him, holding in its hand a flint pointed arrow.

The hermit thought, "This must be a spirit, as there is no human being around here but myself!"

A voice then said: "Hermit, I have come to invite you to my home." "How (yes), I will come," said the old hermit. Wherewith he arose, wrapped his robe about him and followed.

Outside the door he stopped and looked around, but could see no signs of the dark object.

"Whoever you are, or whatever you be, wait for me, as I don't know where to go to find your house," said the hermit. Not an answer did he receive, nor could he hear any noises as though anyone was walking through the brush. Re-entering his tent he retired and was soon fast asleep. The next night the same thing occurred again, and the hermit followed the object out, only to be left as before.

He was very angry to think that anyone should be trying to make sport of him, and he determined to find out who this could be who was disturbing his night's rest.

The next evening he cut a hole in the tent large enough to stick an arrow through, and stood by the door watching. Soon the dark object came and stopped outside of the door, and said:

"Grandfather, I came to -- ," but he never finished the sentence, for the old man let go his arrow, and he heard the arrow strike something which produced a sound as though he had shot into a sack of pebbles. He did not go out that night to see what his arrow had struck, but early next morning he went out and looked at the spot about where he thought the object had stood. There on the ground lay a little heap of corn, and from this little heap a small line of corn lay scattered along a path. This he followed far into the woods. When he came to a very small knoll the trail ended. At the end of the trail was a large circle, from which the grass had been scraped off clean.

"The corn trail stops at the edge of this circle," said the old man, "so this must be the home of whoever it was that invited me." He took his bone knife and hatchet and proceeded to dig down into the center of the circle. When he had got down to the length of his arm, he came to a sack of dried meat. Next he found a sack of Indian turnips, then a sack of dried cherries; then a sack of corn, and last of all another sack, empty except that there was about a cupful of corn in one corner of it, and that the sack had a hole in the other corner where his arrow had pierced it. From this hole in the sack the corn was scattered along the trail, which guided the old man to the cache.

From this the hermit taught the tribes how to keep their provisions when traveling and were overloaded. He explained to them how they should dig a pit and put their provisions into it and cover them with earth. By this method the Indians used to keep provisions all summer, and when fall came they would return to their cache, and on opening it would find everything as fresh as the day they were placed there.

The old hermit was also thanked as the discoverer of corn, which had never been known to the Indians until discovered by the old hermit.

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The Legend of Standing Rock

A Dakota had married an Arikara woman, and by her had one child.

By and by he took another wife.

The first wife was jealous and pouted. When time came for the village to break camp she refused to move from her place on the tent floor. The tent was taken down, but she sat on the ground with her babe on her back The rest of the camp with her husband went on

At noon her husband halted the line. "Go back to your sister-in-law," he said to his two brothers. "Tell her to come on and we will await you here. But hasten, for I fear she may grow desperate and kill herself."

The two rode off and arrived at their former camping place in the evening. The woman still sat on the ground.

The elder spoke, "Sister-in-law, get up. We have come for you. The camp awaits you."

She did not answer, and he put out his hand and touched her head. She had turned to stone!

The two brothers lashed their ponies and came back to camp. They told their story, but were not believed.

"The woman has killed herself and my brothers will not tell me," said the husband.

However, the whole village broke camp and came back to the place where they had left the woman. Sure enough, she sat there still, a block of stone.

The Indians were greatly excited. They chose out a handsome pony, made a new travois and placed the stone in the carrying net. Pony and travois were both beautifully painted and decorated with streamers and colors.

The stone was thought "wakan" (holy), and was given a place of honor in the center of the camp. Whenever the camp moved the stone and travois were taken along. Thus the stone woman was carried for years, and finally brought to Standing Rock Agency, and now rests upon a brick pedestal in front of the agency office.

From this stone Standing Rock Agency derives its name.

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The Legend Of The Dream Catcher

Long ago when the world was young, an old Lakota spiritual leader was on a high mountain and had a vision, Iktomi the great trickster and teacher of wisdom, appeared in the form of a spider.

Iktomi spoke to him in a sacred language that only spiritual leaders of the Lakota understand.

As he spoke Iktomi, the spider, took the elders' willow hoop which had feathers, horse hair, and beads on it and began to spin a web.

He spoke to the elder about the cycles of life... and how we begin our lives as infants and we move on to childhood. and then adulthood. Finally, we get to old age where we must be taken care of like infants, completing the circle.

"But," Iktomi said as he continued to spin his web, "in each time of life there are many forces... some good and some bad. If you listen to the good forces, they will steer you in the right direction. But if you listen to the bad forces. they will hurt you and steer you in the wrong direction."

He continued, "There are many and different directions that can help or interfere with the harmony of nature, and also with the great spirit and all of his wonderful teachings."

All the while the spider spoke, he continued to weave his web, starting form the outside and weaving in towards the center.

When Iktomi finished speaking, he gave the Lakota elder the web and said... "See, the web is a perfect circle but there is a hole in the center of the circle."

He said, "Use the web to help yourself and your people to reach your goals and make use of your people's ideas, dreams and visions.

"If you believe in the Great Spirit, the web will catch your good ideas... and the bad ones will go through the hole."

The Lakota elder passed on his vision to his people and now the Sioux Indians use the dream catcher as the web of their life.

It is hung above their sleeping mats or hung in their lodges to sift their dreams and visions.

The good in their dreams are captured in the web and carried with them... but the evil in their dreams escapes through the hole in the center of the web and no longer are a part of them.

They believe that the dream catcher hold the destiny of their future.

 

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The Little Mice

Once a prairie mouse busied herself all fall storing away a cache of beans. Every morning she was out early with her empty cast off snake skin, which she filled with ground beans and dragged home with her teeth.

The little mouse had a cousin who was fond of dancing and talking, but who did not like work. She was not careful to get her cache of beans and the season was already well gone before she thought to bestir herself.

When she came to realize her need, she found she had no packing bag. So she went to her hard working cousin and said, "Cousin, I have no beans stored for the winter and the season is nearly gone. I have no snake skin to gather the beans in, Will you lend me one?"

"But why have you no packing bag? Where were you in the moon when the snakes cast off their skins?" the cousin asked.

I was here," said the lazy cousin.

"What were you doing?" asked the hard working cousin.

"I was busy talking and dancing," replied the lazy cousin.

"And now you are punished," said the other. "It is so with lazy, careless people. But I will let you have the snake skin. Now go, and by hard work try to recover your wasted time."

 

 

 

 




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The Lost Wife

A Dakota girl married a man whom promised to treat her kindly, but he did not keep his word. He was unreasonable, fault-finding, and often beat her. Frantic form his cruelty she ran away. The whole village turned out to search for her, but no trace of the missing wife was found.

Meanwhile, the fleeing woman had wandered about all that day and the next night. The next day she met a man, who asked her who she was. She did not know it, but he was not really a man, but the chief of the wolves.

"Come with me," he said, and he led her to a large village.

She was amazed to see so many wolves... gray, black white,and timber. It seemed as if all the wolves in the world were there.

the wolf chief led the young woman to a great tepee and invited her in. He asked her what she eat for food.

"Buffalo meat," she answered.

he called two wolves and bade them bring what the young woman wants. They bounded away and soon returned with the shoulder of a fresh killed buffalo calf.

"How do you prepare it for eating?" asked the wolf chief.

"By boiling it," answered the young woman.

Again he called the two wolves. Away they bounded and soon brought into the tepee a small bundle. In it were punk, flint and steel.. stolen from a camp of men.

"How do you make the meat ready?" asked the wolf chief.

"I cut into slices," answered the young woman.

the two wolves were called and in a short time fetched in a knife in it's sheath. The young woman cut up the meat cooked it and eat it.

Thus she lived for a year, all the wolves being very kind to her.

At the end of that time the wolf chief said to her. "Your people are going on a buffalo hunt . Tomorrow at noon they will be here. You must then go out and meet them or they will kill us."

The next day about noon the young woman went to the top of a neighboring knoll. Coming toward were some young men riding ponies. She stood up and held her hands so that they could see her.

They wondered who she was, and when they were close by looked at her closely.

in a moment the earth seemed covered with wolves. They fell greedily on the meat pile and in short had eaten the last scrap.

The young woman then joined her own people.

Her husband wanted her to come live with him again. For a long time she refused. But at last they reconciled.



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THE MAN AND THE OAK

There once lived a Sioux couple who had two children, a boy and a girl. Every fall this family would move away from the main camp and take up their winter quarters in a grove of timber some distance from the principal village. The reason they did this was that he was a great hunter and where a village was located for the winter the game was usually very scarce. Therefore, he always camped by himself in order to have an abundance of game adjacent to his camp.

All summer he had roamed around following the tribe to wherever their fancy might take them. During their travels this particular year there came to the village a strange girl who had no relatives there. No one seemed very anxious to take her into their family, so the great hunter's daughter, taking a fancy to the poor girl, took her to their home and kept her. She addressed her as sister, and the parents, on account of their daughter, addressed her as daughter.

This strange girl became desperately in love with the young man of the family, but being addressed as daughter by the parents, she could not openly show her feelings as the young man was considered her brother.

In the fall when the main village moved into a large belt of timber for their winter quarters, the hunter moved on to another place two days' travel from the main winter camp, where he would not be disturbed by any other hunters.

The young man had a tent by himself, and it was always kept nice and clean by his sister, who was very much attached to him. After a long day's hunt in the woods, he would go into his tent and lie down to rest, and when his supper was ready his sister would say, "My brother is so tired. I will carry his supper to him."

Her friend, whom she addressed as sister, would never go into the young man's tent. Along towards spring there came one night into the young man's tent a woman. She sat down by the door and kept her face covered so that it was hidden from view. She sat there a long time and finally arose and went away. The young man could not imagine who this could be. He knew that it was a long distance from the village and could not make out where the woman could have come from. The next night the woman came again and this time she came a little nearer to where the young man lay. She sat down and kept her face covered as before. Neither spoke a word. She sat there for a long time and then arose and departed. He was very much puzzled over the actions of this woman and decided to ascertain on her next visit who she was.

He kindled a small fire in his tent and had some ash wood laid on it so as to keep fire a long time, as ash burns very slowly and holds fire a long time.

The third night the woman came again and sat
down still nearer his bed. She held her blanket open just a trifle, and he, catching up one of the embers, flashed it in her face; jumping up she ran hurriedly out of the tent. The next morning he noticed that his adopted sister kept her face hidden with her blanket. She chanced to drop her blanket while in the act of pouring out some soup, and when she did so he noticed a large burned spot on her cheek.

He felt so sorry for what he had done that he could eat no breakfast, but went outside and lay down under an oak tree. All day long he lay there gazing up into the tree, and when he was called for supper he refused, saying that he was not hungry, and for them not to bother him, as he would soon get up and go to bed. Far into the night he lay thus, and when he tried to arise he could not, as a small oak tree grew through the center of his body and held him fast to the ground.

In the morning when the family awoke they found the girl had disappeared, and on going outside the sister discovered her brother held fast to the earth by an oak tree which grew very rapidly. In vain were the best medicine men of the tribe sent for. Their medicine was of no avail. They said: "If the tree is cut down the young man will die."

The sister was wild with grief, and extending her hands to the sun, she cried: "Great Spirit, relieve my suffering brother. Any one who releases him I will marry, be he young, old, homely or deformed."

Several days after the young man had met with the mishap, there came to the tent a very tall man, who had a bright light encircling his body. "Where is the girl who promised to marry any one who would release her brother?" "I am the one," said the young man's sister. "I am the all-powerful lightning and thunder. I see all things and can kill at one stroke a whole tribe. When I make my voice heard the rocks shake loose and go rattling down the hillside. The brave warriors cower shivering under some shelter at the sound of my voice. The girl whom you had adopted as your sister was a sorceress. She bewitched your brother because he would not let her make love to him. On my way here I met her traveling towards the west, and knowing what she had done, I struck her with one of my blazing swords, and she lies there now a heap of ashes. I will now release your brother."

So saying he placed his hand on the tree and instantly it crumbled to ashes. The young man arose, and thanked his deliverer.

Then they saw a great black cloud approaching, and the man said: "Make ready, we shall go home on that cloud." As the cloud approached near to the man who stood with his bride, it suddenly lowered and enveloped them and with a great roar and amidst flashes of lightning and loud peals of thunder the girl ascended and disappeared into the west with her Thunder and Lightning husband.


 

 



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The Man Who Was Afraid of Nothing

Now, there were four ghosts sitting together, talking, smoking ghost smoke, having a good time, as far as it's possible for ghosts to have a good time. One of them said: "I've heard of a young man nothing can scare. He's not afraid of us, so they say."

The second ghost said: "I bet I could scare him."

The third ghost said: "We must try to make him shiver and run and hide."

The fourth ghost said: "Let's bet; let's make a wager. Whoever can scare him the most, wins." And they agreed to bet their ghost horses.

So this young man who was never afraid came waling along one night. The moon was shining. Suddenly in his path the first ghost materialized, taking the form of a skeleton. "Hou, friend," said the ghost, clicking his teeth together, make a sound like a water drum.

"Hou, cousin," said the young man, "you're in my way. Get off the road and let me pass."

"Not until we have played the hoop-and-stick game. If you lose, I'll make you into a skeleton like me."

The young man laughed. He bent the skeleton into a big hope, tying it with some grass. He took one of the skeleton's leg bones for his game stick and rolled the skeleton along, scoring again and again with the leg bone. "Well, I guess I won this game," said the young man. "How about some shinny ball?"

"Ouch!" said the skull. "You're hurting me; you're giving me a headache."

"Well, you asked for it. Who proposed this game, you or me? You're a silly fellow." They young man kicked the skull aside and walked on.

Further on he met the second ghost also in the form of a skeleton, who jumped up at him and grabbed him with bony hands. "Let's dance, friend," said skeleton said.

"A very good idea, cousin ghost," said the young man. "What shall we use for a drum and drumstick? I know!" Taking the ghost's thighbone and skull, the young man danced and sang, beating on the skull with the bone.

"Stop, stop!" cried the skull. "This is no way to dance. You're hurting me; you're giving me a headache."

"You're lying, ghost," said the young man. "Ghosts can't feel pain."

"I don't know about other ghosts," said the skull, "but me, I'm hurting."

"For a ghost you're awfully sensitive," said the young man. "Really, I'm disappointed. There we were having a good time, and you spoiled the fun with your whining. Groan somewhere else." The young man kicked the skull aside and scattered the rest of the bones all over.

"Now see what you've done," complained the ghost, "it will take me hours to get all my bones together. You're a bad man."

"Stop your whining," said the young man. "It gives you something to do." Then he went on.

Soon he came upon the third ghost, another skeleton. "This is getting monotonous," said the young man. "Are you the same as before? Did I meet you further back?"

"No," said the ghost. "Those were my cousins. They're soft. I'm tough. Let's wrestle. If I win, I'll make you into a skeleton like me."

My friend," said the young man, "I don't feel like wrestling with you, I feel like sledding. There's enough snow on the hill for that. I should have buffalo ribs for it, but your rib cage will go."

The young man took the ghost's rib cage and used it as a sled. "This is fun!" he said, whizzing down the hill.

"Stop, stop," cried the ghost's skull. "You're breaking my ribs!"

The young man said: "Friend, you look funny without a rib cage. You've grown so short. Here!" And he threw the ribs into a stream.

"Look what you've done!" What can I do without my ribs? I need them."

"Jump in the water and dive for them," said the young man. "You look as if you need a bath. It'll do you good, and your woman will appreciate it."

"What do you mean? I am a woman!" said the ghost, insulted.

With skeletons I can't tell, you pretty thing," he said, and walked on.

Then he came upon the chief ghost, a skeleton riding a skeleton horse. "I've come to kill you," said the skeleton.

The young man made faces at the ghost. He rolled his eyes; he showed his teeth; he gashed them; he made weird noises. "I'm a ghost myself, a much more terrible ghost than you are," he said.

The skeleton got scared and tried to turn his ghost horse, but the young man seized it by the bridle. "A horse is just what I want," he said. "I've walked enough. Get off!" He yanked the skeleton from its mount and broke it to pieces. The skeleton was whimpering, but the young man mounted the skeleton horse and rode it into camp. Day was just breaking, and some women who were up early to get water saw him and screamed loudly. They ran away while the whole village was awakened by their shrieking. The people looked out of their tepees and became frightened when they saw him on the ghost horse. As soon as the sun appeared, however, the skeleton vanished. The young man laughed.

The story of his ride on the skeleton horse was told all through the camp. Later he joined a group of men and started to brag about putting the four skeleton ghosts to flight. People shook their heads, saying, "This young man is really brave. Nothing frightens him. He is the bravest man who ever lived."

Just then a tiny spider was crawling up this young man's sleeve. When someone called his attention to it, he cried, "Eeeeeeeeech!" Get this bug off me! Please, someone take it off, I can't stand spiders! Eeeeeeeech!" He shivered, he writhed, he carried on. A little girl laughed and took the spider off him.

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THE MYSTERIOUS BUTTE

A young man was once hunting and came to a steep hill. The east side of the hill suddenly dropped off to a very steep bank. He stood on this bank, and at the base he noticed a small opening. On going down to examine it more closely, he found it was large enough to admit a horse or buffalo. On either side of the door were figures of different animals engraved into the wall.

He entered the opening and there, scattered about on the floor, lay many bracelets, pipes and many other things of ornament, as though they had been offerings to some great spirit. He passed through this first room and on entering the second it was so dark that he could not see his hands before his face, so becoming scared, he hurriedly left the place, and returning home told what he had seen.

Upon hearing this the chief selected four of his most daring warriors to go with this young man and investigate and ascertain whether the young man was telling the truth or not. The five proceeded to the butte, and at the entrance the young man refused to go inside, as the figures on either side of the entrance had been changed.

The four entered and seeing that all in the first chamber was as the young man had told, they went on to the next chamber and found it so dark that they could not see anything. They continued on, however, feeling their way along the walls. They finally found an entrance that was so narrow that they had to squeeze into it sideways. They felt their way around the walls and found another entrance, so low down that they had to crawl on their hands and knees to go through into the next chamber.

On entering the last chamber they found a very sweet odor coming from the opposite direction. Feeling around and crawling on their hands and knees, they discovered a hole in the floor leading downward. From this hole came up the sweet odor. They hurriedly held a council, and decided to go no further, but return to the camp and report what they had found. On getting to the first chamber one of the young men said: "I am going to take these bracelets to show that we are telling the truth." "No," said the other three, "this being the abode of some Great Spirit, you may have some accident befall you for taking what is not yours." "Ah! You fellows are like old women," said he, taking a fine bracelet and encircling his left wrist with it.

When they reached the village they reported what they had seen. The young man exhibited the bracelet to prove that it was the truth they had told.

Shortly after this, these four young men were out fixing up traps for wolves. They would raise one end of a heavy log and place a stick under, bracing up the log. A large piece of meat was placed about five feet away from the log and this space covered with poles and willows. At the place where the upright stick was put, a hole was left open, large enough to admit the body of a wolf.

The wolf, scenting the meat and unable to get at it through the poles and willows, would crowd into the hole and working his body forward, in order to get the meat, would push down the brace and the log thus released would hold the wolf fast under its weight.

The young man with the bracelet was placing his bait under the log when he released the log by knocking down the brace, and the log caught his wrist on which he wore the bracelet. He could not release himself and called loud and long for assistance. His friends, hearing his call, came to his assistance, and on lifting the log found the young man's wrist broken. "Now," said they, "you have been punished for taking the wristlet out of the chamber of the mysterious butte."

Some time after this a young man went to the butte and saw engraved on the wall a woman holding in her hand a pole, with which she was holding up a large amount of beef which had been laid across another pole, which had broken in two from the weight of so much meat.

He returned to the camp and reported what he had seen. All around the figure he saw marks of buffalo hoofs, also marked upon the wall.

The next day an enormous herd of buffalo came near to the village, and a great many were killed. The women were busy cutting up and drying the meat. At one camp was more meat than at any other. The woman was hanging meat upon a long tent pole, when the pole broke in two and she was obliged to hold the meat up with another pole, just as the young man saw on the mysterious butte.

Ever after that the Indians paid weekly visits to this butte, and thereon would read the signs that were to govern their plans.

This butte was always considered the prophet of the tribe.

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Origin of the Lakota Peace Pipe

Long, long ago, two young and handsome Lakota were chosen by their band to find out where the buffalo were. While the men were riding in the buffalo country, they saw someone in the distance walking toward them.

As always they were on the watch for any enemy. So they hid in some bushes and waited. At last the figure came up the slope. To their surprise, the figure walking toward them was a woman.

When she came closer, she stopped and looked at them. They knew that she could see them, even in their hiding place. On her left arm she carried what looked like a stick in a bundle of sagebrush. Her face was beautiful.

One of the men said, "She is more beautiful than anyone I have ever seen. I want her for my wife."

But the other man replied, "How dare you have such a thought? She is wondrously beautiful and holy--far above ordinary people."

Though still at a distance, the woman heard them talking. She laid down her bundle and spoke to them. "Come. What is it you wish?"

The man who had spoken first went up to her and laid his hands on her as if to claim her. At once, from somewhere above, there came a whirlwind. Then there came a mist, which hid the man and the woman. When the mist cleared, the other man saw the woman with the bundle again on her arm. But his friend was a pile of bones at her feet.

The man stood silent in wonder and awe. Then the beautiful woman spoke to him. "I am on a journey to your people. Among them is a good man whose name is Bull Walking Upright. I am coming to see him especially.

"Go on ahead of me and tell your people that I am on my way. Ask them to move camp and to pitch their tents in a circle. Ask them to leave an opening in the circle, facing the north. In the center of the circle, make a large tepee, also facing the north. There I will meet Bull Walking Upright and his people."

The man saw to it that all her directions were followed. When she reached the camp, she removed the sagebrush from the gift she was carrying. The gift was a small pipe made of red stone. On it was carved the tiny outline of a buffalo calf.

The pipe she gave to Bull Walking Upright, and then she taught him the prayers he should pray to the Strong One Above. "When you pray to the Strong One Above, you must use this pipe in the ceremony. When you are hungry, unwrap the pipe and lay it bare in the air. Then the buffalo will come where the men can easily hunt and kill them. So the children, the men, and the women will have food and be happy."

The beautiful woman also told him how the people should behave in order to live peacefully together. She taught them the prayers they should say when praying to their Mother Earth. She told him how they should decorate themselves for ceremonies.

"The earth," she said, "is your mother. So, for special ceremonies, you will decorate yourselves as your mother does--in black and red, in brown and white. These are the colors of the buffalo also.

"Above all else, remember that this is a peace pipe that I have given you. You will smoke it before all ceremonies. You will smoke it before making treaties. It will bring peaceful thoughts into your minds. If you will use it when you pray to the Strong One above and to Mother Earth you will be sure to receive the blessings that you ask."

When the woman had completed her message, she turned and slowly walked away. All the people watched her in awe. Outside the opening of the circle, she stopped for an instant and then lay down on the ground. She rose again in the form of a black buffalo cow. Again she lay down and then arose in the form of a red buffalo cow. A third time she lay down, and arose as a brown buffalo cow. The fourth and last time she had the form of a spotlessly white buffalo cow. Then she walked toward the north into the distance and finally disappeared over a far-off hill.

Bull Walking Upright kept the peace pipe carefully wrapped most of the time. Every little while he called all his people together, untied the bundle, and repeated the lessons he had been taught by the beautiful woman. And he used it in prayers and other ceremonies until he was more than one hundred years old.

When he became feeble, he held a great feast. There he gave the pipe and the lessons to Sunrise, a worthy man. In a similar way the pipe was passed down from generation to generation. "As long as the pipe is used," the beautiful woman had said, "Your people will live and will be happy. As soon as it is forgotten, the people will perish."

Another version of this Lakota Lore may be found on my Feature Lore Pages in Decembers Lore titled White Buffalo Woman.

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The Pet Donkey

There was a chief's daughter once who had a great many relations so that everybody knew she belonged to a great family.

When she grew up she married and there were born to her twin sons. This caused great rejoicing in her father's camp, and all the village women cam to see the babies. She was very happy.

As the babies grew older, their grandmother made for them two saddle bags and brought out a donkey.

"My two grandchildren," said the old woman. "shall ride as is becoming to children having so many relations. Here is this donkey. He is patient and surefooted. He shall carry the babies in the saddle bags, one on either side of his back."

It happened one day that the chief's daughter and her husband were making ready to go on a camping journey. The father, who was quite prod of his children, brought out his finest pony, and put the saddle bags on the pony's back.

"There." he said my sons shall ride on the pony, not on a donkey , let the donkey carry the pots and kettles."

So his wife loaded the donkey with these things. She tied the tepee poles into two great bundles, one on either side of the donkey's back; across them she put the travois net and threw in the pots and pan and kettles and laid the skin tent across the donkey's back.

But no sooner done then the donkey began to rear and bray and kick. He broke the tepee poles and kicked the pots and kettles into bits and tore the skin tent. The more he was beaten the more he kicked.

At last they told the grandmother. She laughed. "Did I not tell you the donkey was for the children," she cried. "He knows the babies are the chief's grandchildren. Think you he would be dishonored with pots and kettles?" and she fetched the children and slung them over the donkey's back, where upon he became quite again.

the camping party left the village and went on their journey. But the next day as they passed a place overgrown with bushes, a band of enemies rushed out, lashing their ponies and sounding their war whoop. All was excitement. The men seized their lances.

After a long battle the enemy fled. But when the camping party came together again .. where were the donkey and the two babies? No one knew. For a long time they searched, but in vain. At last they turned to go back to the village, the father mournful, the mother wailing.

When they came to the grandmother's tepee, there stood the good donkey with the two babies in the saddle bags.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Pet Rabbit

A little girl owned a pet rabbit which she loved dearly. She carried it on her back like a babe, made for it a little pair of moccasins, and at night shared with it her own robe.

Now the little girl had a cousin who loved her very dearly and wished to do her honor; so her cousin said to herself, "I love my little cousin well and will ask her to let me carry her rabbit around;" (for thus do Indian women when they wish to honor a friend; they ask permission to carry about the friend's babe).

She then went to the little girl and said, "Cousin, let me carry your pet rabbit about on my back. Thus shall I show you how I love you."

Her mother, too, said to her: "Oh no, do not let our little grandchild go away from our tepee."

But the cousin answered: "Oh, do let me carry it. I do so want to show my cousin honor."

At last they let her go away with the pet rabbit on her back. When the little girl's cousin came home to her tepee, some rough boys who were playing about began to make sport of her. To tease the little girl they threw stones and sticks at the pet rabbit.

At last a stick struck the little rabbit upon the head and killed it.

When her pet was brought home dead, the little rabbit's adopted mother wept bitterly. She cut off her hair for mourning and all her little girl friends wailed with her.

Her mother, too, mourned with them.

"Alas!" they cried, "alas, for the little rabbit. He was always kind and gentle. Now your child is dead and you will be lonesome."

The little girl's mother called in her little friends and made a great mourning feast for the little rabbit. As he lay in the tepee his adopted mother's little friends brought many precious things and covered his body.

At the feast were given away robes and kettles and blankets and knives and great wealth in honor of the little rabbit. Him they wrapped in a robe with his little moccasins on and buried him in a high place upon a scaffold.

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The Raccoon And The Craw Fish

Sharp and cunning is the raccoon, say the Indians, by whom he is named Spotted Face.

A craw fish one evening wandered along a river bank, looking for something dead to feast upon. A raccoon was also out looking for something to eat. He spied the craw fish and formed a plan to catch him.

He lay down on the bank and feigned to be dead. By and by the craw fish came near by.

"Ho," he thought, "here is a feast indeed; but is he really dead. I will go near and pinch him with my claws and find out."

So he went near and pinched the raccoon on the nose and then on his soft paws. The raccoon never moved. The craw fish then pinched him on the ribs and tickled him so that the raccoon could hardly keep from laughing. The craw fish at last left him.

"The raccoon is surely dead," he thought. And he hurried back to the craw fish village and reported his find to the chief.

All the villagers were called to go down to the feast. The chief bade the warriors and young men to paint their faces and dress in their gayest for a dance.

So they marched in a long line, first the warriors, with their weapons in hand, then the women with their babies and children, to the place where the raccoon lay.

They formed a great circle about him and danced, singing...

"We shall have a great feast on the spotted-faced beast, with soft smooth paws!"

"He is dead! He is dead! We shall dance!"

"We shall have a good time We shall feast on his flesh."

But as they danced, the raccoon suddenly sprang to his feet saying, "Who is that you say you are going to eat? He has a spotted face, has he? He has soft, smooth paws, has he? I'll break your ugly backs. I'll break your rough bones. I'll crunch your ugly, rough paws."

And he rushed among the craw fish, killing them by scores. The craw fish warriors fought bravely and the women ran screaming, all to no purpose.

They did not feast on the raccoon; the raccoon feasted on them!

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The Resuscitation of the only Daughter

There once lived an old couple who had an only daughter. She was a beautiful girl, and was very much courted by the young men of the tribe, but she said that she preferred single life, and to all their heart-touching tales of deep affection for her she always had one answer. That was "No."

One day this maiden fell ill and day after day grew worse. All the best medicine men were called in, but their medicines were of no avail, and in two weeks from the day that she was taken ill she lay a corpse. Of course there was great mourning in the camp. They took her body several miles from camp and rolled it in fine robes and blankets, then they laid her on a scaffold which they had erected. (This was the custom of burial among the Indians). They placed four forked posts into the ground and then lashed strong poles lengthwise and across the ends and made a bed of willows and stout ash brush. This scaffold was from five to seven feet from the ground. After the funeral the parents gave away all of their horses, fine robes and blankets and all of the belongings of the dead girl. Then they cut their hair off close to their heads, and attired themselves in the poorest apparel they could secure.

When a year had passed the friends and relatives of the old couple tried in vain to have them set aside their mourning. "You have mourned long enough," they would say. "Put aside your mourning and try and enjoy a few more pleasures of this life while you live. You are both growing old and can't live very many more years, so make the best of your time." The old couple would listen to their advice and then shake their heads and answer: "We have nothing to live for. Nothing we could join in would be any amusement to us, since we have lost the light of our lives."

So the old couple continued their mourning for their lost idol. Two years had passed since the death of the beautiful girl, when one evening a hunter and his wife passed by the scaffold which held the dead girl. They were on their return trip and were heavily loaded down with game, and therefore could not travel very fast. About half a mile from the scaffold a clear spring burst forth from the side of a bank, and from this trickled a small stream of water, moistening the roots of the vegetation bordering its banks, and causing a growth of sweet green grass. At this spring the hunter camped and tethering his horses, at once set about helping his wife to erect the small tepee which they carried for convenience in traveling.

When it became quite dark, the hunter's dogs set up a great barking and growling. "Look out and see what the dogs are barking at," said the hunter to his wife. She looked out through the door and then drew back saying: "There is the figure of a woman advancing from the direction of the girl's scaffold."

"I expect it is the dead girl; let her come, and don't act as if you were afraid," said the hunter. Soon they heard footsteps advancing and the steps ceased at the door. Looking down at the lower part of the door the hunter noticed a pair of small moccasins, and knowing that it was the visitor, said: "Whoever you are, come in and have something to eat."

At this invitation the figure came slowly in and sat down by the door with head covered and with a fine robe drawn tightly over the face. The woman dished up a fine supper and placing it before the visitor, said: "Eat, my friend, you must be hungry." The figure never moved, nor would it uncover to eat. "Let us turn our back towards the door and our visitor may eat the food," said the hunter. So his wife turned her back towards the visitor and made herself very busy cleaning the small pieces of meat that were hanging to the back sinews of the deer which had been killed. (This the Indians use as thread.) The hunter, filling his pipe, turned away and smoked in silence. Finally the dish was pushed back to the woman, who took it and after washing it, put it away. The figure still sat at the door, not a sound coming from it, neither was it breathing. The hunter at last said: "Are you the girl that was placed upon that scaffold two years ago?" It bowed its head two or three times in assent. "Are you going to sleep here tonight; if you are, my wife will make down a bed for you." The figure shook its head.

"Are you going to come again tomorrow night to us?" It nodded assent.

For three nights in succession the figure visited the hunter's camp. The third night the hunter noticed that the figure was breathing. He saw one of the hands protruding from the robe. The skin was perfectly black and was stuck fast to the bones of the hand. On seeing this the hunter arose and going over to his medicine sack which hung on a pole, took down the sack and, opening it, took out some roots and mixing them with skunk oil and vermillion, said to the figure:

"If you will let us rub your face and hands with this medicine it will put new life into the skin and you will assume your complexion again and it will put flesh on you." The figure assented and the hunter rubbed the medicine on her hands and face. Then she arose and walked back to the scaffold. The next day the hunter moved camp towards the home village. That night he camped within a few miles of the village. When night came, the dogs, as usual, set up a great barking, and looking out, the wife saw the girl approaching.

When the girl had entered and sat down, the hunter noticed that the girl did not keep her robe so closely together over her face. When the wife gave her something to eat, the girl reached out and took the dish, thus exposing her hands, which they at once noticed were again natural. After she had finished her meal, the hunter said: "Did my medicine help you?" She nodded assent. "Do you want my medicine rubbed all over your body?" Again she nodded. "I will mix enough to rub your entire body, and I will go outside and let my wife rub it on for you." He mixed a good supply and going out left his wife to rub the girl. When his wife had completed the task she called to her husband to come in, and when he came in he sat down and said to the girl: "Tomorrow we will reach the village. Do you want to go with us?" She shook her head. "Will you come again to our camp tomorrow night after we have camped in the village?" She nodded her head in assent. "Then do you want to see your parents?" She nodded again, and arose and disappeared into the darkness.

Early the next morning the hunter broke camp and traveled far into the afternoon, when he arrived at the village. He instructed his wife to go at once and inform the old couple of what had happened. The wife did so and at sunset the old couple came to the hunter's tepee. They were invited to enter and a fine supper was served them. Soon after they had finished their supper the dogs of the camp set up a great barking. "Now she is coming, so be brave and you will soon see your lost daughter," said the hunter. Hardly had he finished speaking when she entered the tent as natural as ever she was in life. Her parents clung to her and smothered her with kisses.

They wanted her to return home with them, but she would stay with the hunter who had brought her back to life, and she married him, becoming his second wife. A short time after taking the girl for his wife, the hunter joined a war party and never returned, as he was killed on the battlefield.

A year after her husband's death she married again. This husband was also killed by a band of enemies whom the warriors were pursuing for stealing some of their horses. The third husband also met a similar fate to the first. He was killed on the field of battle.

She was still a handsome woman at the time of the third husband's death, but never again married, as the men feared her, saying she was holy, and that any one who married her would be sure to be killed by the enemy.

So she took to doctoring the sick and gained the reputation of being the most skilled doctor in the nation. She lived to a ripe old age and when she felt death approaching she had them take her to where she had rested once before, and crawling to the top of the newly erected scaffold, wrapped her blankets and robes about her, covered her face carefully, and fell into that sleep from which there is no more awakening.

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THE SIOUX WHO MARRIED THE CROW CHIEF'S DAUGHTER

A war party of seven young men, seeing a lone tepee standing on the edge of a heavy belt of timber, stopped and waited for darkness, in order to send one of their scouts ahead to ascertain whether the camp which they had seen was the camp of friend or enemy.

When darkness had settled down on them, and they felt secure in not being detected, they chose one of their scouts to go on alone and find out what would be the best direction for them to advance upon the camp, should it prove to be an enemy.

Among the scouts was one who was noted for his bravery, and many were the brave acts he had performed. His name was Big Eagle. This man they selected to go to the lone camp and obtain the information for which they were waiting.

Big Eagle was told to look carefully over the ground and select the best direction from which they should make the attack. The other six would await his return. He started on his mission, being careful not to make any noise. He stealthily approached the camp. As he drew near to the tent he was surprised to note the absence of any dogs, as these animals are always kept by the Sioux to notify the owners by their barking of the approach of anyone. He crawled up to the tepee door, and peeping through a small aperture, he saw three persons sitting inside.

An elderly man and woman were sitting at the right of the fireplace, and a young woman at the seat of honor, opposite the door.

Big Eagle had been married and his wife had died five winters previous to the time of this episode. He had never thought of marrying again, but when he looked upon this young woman he thought he was looking upon the face of his dead wife. He removed his cartridge belts and knife, and placing them, along with his rifle, at the side of the tent, he at once boldly stepped inside the tepee, and going over to the man, extended his hand and shook first the man's hand, then the old woman's, and lastly the young woman's. Then he seated himself by the side of the girl, and thus they sat, no one speaking.

Finally, Big Eagle made signs to the man, explaining as well as possible by signs, that his wife had died long ago, and when he saw the girl she so strongly resembled his dead wife that he wished to marry her, and he would go back to the enemy's camp and live with them, if they would consent to the marriage of their daughter.

The old man seemed to understand, and Big Eagle again made signs to him that a party were lying in wait just a short distance from his camp. Noiselessly they brought in the horses, and taking down the tent, they at once moved off in the direction from whence they had come. The war party waited all night, and when the first rays of dawn disclosed to them the absence of the tepee, they at once concluded that Big Eagle had been discovered and killed, so they hurriedly started on their trail for home.

In the meantime, the hunting party, for this it was that Big Eagle had joined, made very good time in putting a good distance between themselves and the war party. All day they traveled, and when evening came they ascended a high hill, looking down into the valley on the other side. There stretched for two miles, along the banks of a small stream, an immense camp. The old man made signs for Big Eagle to remain with the two women where he was, until he could go to the camp and prepare them to receive an enemy into their village.

The old man rode through the camp and drew up at the largest tepee in the village. Soon Big Eagle could see men gathering around the tepee. The crowd grew larger and larger, until the whole village had assembled at the large tepee. Finally they dispersed, and catching their horses, mounted and advanced to the hill on which Big Eagle and the two women were waiting. They formed a circle around them and slowly they returned to the village, singing and riding in a circle around them.

When they arrived at the village they advanced to the large tepee, and motioned Big Eagle to the seat of honor in the tepee. In the village was a man who understood and spoke the Sioux language. He was sent for, and through him the oath of allegiance to the Crow tribe was taken by Big Eagle. This done he was presented with the girl to wife, and also with many spotted ponies.

Big Eagle lived with his wife among her people for two years, and during this time he joined in four different battles between his own people (the Sioux) and the Crow people, to whom his wife belonged.

In no battle with his own people would he carry any weapons, only a long willow coup-stick, with which he struck the fallen Sioux.

At the expiration of two years he concluded to pay a visit to his own tribe, and his father-in-law, being a chief of high standing, at once had it heralded through the village that his son-in-law would visit his own people, and for them to show their good will and respect for him by bringing ponies for his son-in-law to take back to his people.

Hearing this, the herds were all driven in and all day long horses were brought to the tent of Big Eagle, and when he was ready to start on his homeward trip, twenty young men were elected to accompany him to within a safe distance of his village. The twenty young men drove the gift horses, amounting to two hundred and twenty head, to within one day's journey of the village of Big Eagle, and fearing for their safety from his people, Big Eagle sent them back to their own village.

On his arrival at his home village, they received him as one returned from the dead, as they were sure he had been killed the night he had been sent to reconnoiter the lone camp. There was great feasting and dancing in honor of his return, and the horses were distributed among the needy ones of the village.

Remaining at his home village for a year, he one day made up his mind to return to his wife's people. A great many fancy robes, dresses, war bonnets, moccasins, and a great drove of horses were given him, and his wife, and he bade farewell to his people for good, saying, "I will never return to you again, as I have decided to live the remainder of my days with my wife's people."

On his arrival at the village of the Crows, he found his father-in-law at the point of death. A few days later the old man died, and Big Eagle was appointed to fill the vacancy of chief made by the death of his father-in-law.

Subsequently he took part in battles against his own people, and in the third battle was killed on the field. Tenderly the Crow warriors bore him back to their camp, and great was the mourning in the Crow village for the brave man who always went into battle unarmed, save only the willow wand which he carried.

Thus ended the career of one of the bravest of Sioux warriors who ever took the scalp of an enemy, and who for the love of his dead wife, gave up home, parents, and friends, to be killed on the field of battle by his own tribe.


 

 



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The Snake Brothers

For a long time people have been saying that somewhere near Soldiers Creek a giant rattlesnake has it's den. It is supposed to be a full twelve feet long, and very old. Nobody has seen it for years, but some people have smelled it and heard it's giant rattles. It smells something powerful, they say.

We Sioux think of rattlesnakes as our cousins. They always give warning before they strike, as if they wanted to say: "Uncle, don't step on me; then we'll get along."

A long time ago, so long that it is not our oldest winter count, there were four brothers, all of them young and good hunters, who went out scouting for buffalo. They had not hunted long before they saw a lone buffalo and killed him with their arrows.

All at once they heard a voice, the voice of the buffalo making human talk: "Take the meat to nourish yourselves, but put the skin, head hooves, and tail together, every part in it's place. Do this for sure."

The youngest brother said: "Let's do as the voice told us." But the other three didn't want to bother. "That was a foolish voice," they said, "maybe no voice at all--maybe we only imagined it. We'll take the skin home, and it will make a fine winter robe." The youngest brother had to argue long and hard--finally had to take the skin and offer to fight them for it--before they let him do what the voice had directed.

While the other three feasted on buffalo hump and lay down to get some rest, the youngest brother went to the top of a hill and spread out the skin, skull, hooves, and tail--just as the voice had told them. He said a prayer to the buffalo who gave his flesh so that the people might live.

As he prayed, all the parts of the buffalo joined together before his eyes and came alive again, forming themselves into a whole animal once more. It was a fine, strong buffalo, who bellowed loudly and then walked slowly away to disappear into the hills. The youngest brother watched the buffalo as long as his eyes could follow it. Only then did he join the others round the fire.

He ate some of what his brothers had left. But they had taken the best meat--the tongue and back fat-- and made fun of him for having missed it. They said: "Now we're going up the hill to get the skin back, whether you like it or not." But the skin and the other parts were gone, and they would not believe the youngest brother when he told them what had happened. "You're trying to fool us," they said. "You buried it all somewhere."

After that, The four brothers stretched out to sleep. In the middle of the night the oldest woke up, saying: "What's that noise I hear every time I move?" It was a rattling sound that came from his feet. He looked down and in the dim light of the dying fire, saw that his feet had grown rattles. He called to the others: "Help! Something has happened to my feet!"

But only the youngest brother came to look; the others tried but could not. "Somthing's the matter with my legs too," cried the second-oldest, whose feet had stuck together so he could not force them apart. "And look at mine!" cried the third brother. His legs were not only joined together but rounded, like a snakes tail. "I think we are being punished," said the oldest brother, "for not having obeyed that voice!"

While they were talking, the change moved up to their hips. "Now I know we are being punished," said the second brother. "We are being turned into snakes." "My body is already covered with scales!" cried the third brother. By then the change had moved up to their necks.

"Don't worry, misunkala, younger brother," said the other three. "Though we are snakes, we remain your brothers. We will always look after our village and our people. You see that hill over there? It has a big hole--the entrance to the home of the snakes. We will go in there, but whenever you need help, stand outside and call us. Come to us in a little while; alone at first, the second time with all the people. Now we must leave you." They could not say more, because their heads were changing into snakes' heads and they could only hiss.

"Elder brothers," said the youngest, weeping. "It was your fate to become snakes. I believe this was destined to happen to you, that the Great Spirit planned it so. I will come back as you have told me to, first alone, then with the rest of the people. Goodbye."

He saw that his snake brothers had trouble crawling like snakes, they still had to learn how. Though they were as big and heavy and people, he dragged them one by one to the hole in the hillside. When they were at the entrance to their snake home, they began to wiggle. The youngest brother watched them crawl in and disappear, one after the other. He heard them rattle, and then the sound of their rattles grew fainter and fainter and at last stopped. He dried his tears and gathered up the buffalo meat to take to the people. After all, that was what he had come to do.

When he reached the lodges of his people, he told them: "You see me come back alone. My three older brothers are gone, but do not mourn for them. They are still alive, though they have been turned into snakes, as the Great Spirit willed. They now live inside the hill which is the snakes' home, and there you will meet them someday."

Four-times-four days later, the youngest brother prepared to go with a war party against the Pahani on a horse-stealing raid. He painted his face black for war. Then he took his best pony and rode out to the hill where he had left his brothers. Standing before the hole at the foot of the hill, he called: "Elder brothers, I have come alone, as you have told me, and I need your help."

At once the big head of a giant rattlesnake thrust out of the hole. It's tongue flickered in and out as if in greeting. The young man knew that his was his eldest brother. Then two more big snakes' heads appeared, and he could sense that these were his second and third brothers. They crawled up to him, putting their heads on his arms and shoulders, hissing at him and looking at him with their yellow eyes.

"Brothers, I need you help, he said. "I am going to count coup upon the Pahani."

Many more snakes came out of the hole and set up a mighty rattling which made the earth tremble. One of the big snakes, the oldest brother, went back into the hole and reappeared pushing a medicine bundle before him.

"Eldest brother," said the youngest, "I know that you are bringing me snake medicine. It will give me speed and enable me to wiggle out of bad situations. it will make me feared by the enemy. It will cause me to strike swiftly with a deadly weapon. Thank you, my brothers."

It was as he had said. In war he struck quickly, with the speed of a rattlesnake. His enemies were afraid of him. He counted many coups on them and returned unharmed with a crowd of Pahani horses. The people were happy, and he told them: "Now we must give thanks to my elder brothers."

So all the people went with him to the hill which was the snakes' home. Thee he called for his elder brothers to show themselves, and they appeared with much hissing and rattling. The people made offerings to them of tobacco and good read meat, and the snake brothers were contented. From then on, they protected the people with powerful snake medicine every time they had to go to war.

And from then on, the people were successful in everything they undertook. If the rattlesnake brothers have not died in the meantime, they are still helping us today. That's why we never kill rattlesnakes.

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The Story of The Peace Pipe

wo young men were out strolling one night talking of love affairs. They passed around a hill and came to a little ravine.

Suddenly they saw coming up from the ravine a beautiful woman. She was painted and her dress was of the very finest material.

" What a beautiful girl !" said one of the young men. " Already I love her. I will steal her and make her my wife."

" No," said the other. " Don't harm her. She may be holy."

The young woman approached and held out a pipe which she first offered to the sky, then to the earth and then advanced. holding it out in her extended hands.

" I know what you two have been saying; one of you is good, the other is wicked." she said.

She laid the pipe on the ground and at once became a buffalo cow. The cow pawed the ground and , stuck her tail straight out behind her, and then lifted the pipe from the ground again in her hoofs. Immediately she became a young woman again.

" I am come to give you this gift." she said. " It is the peace pipe. Hereafter all treaties and ceremonies shall be performed after smoking it. It shall bring peaceful thoughts into your minds.

You shall offer it to the Great Mystery and mother earth."

The two young men ran to the village and told what they had seen and heard. All the village came out where the young woman was.

She repeated to them what she had already told the young men and added, "When you set free the ghost ( the spirit of deceased persons ) you must have a white buffalo cow skin."

She gave the pipe to the medicine men of the village, turned again to a buffalo cow and fled away to the land of the buffaloes.

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THE STORY OF THE PET CRANE

There was once upon a time a man who did not care to live with his tribe in a crowded village, but preferred a secluded spot in the deep forest, there to live with his wife and family of five children. The oldest of the children (a boy) was twelve years of age, and being the son of a distinguished hunter, soon took to roaming through the forest in search of small game.

One day during his ramblings, he discovered a crane's nest, with only one young crane occupying it. No doubt some fox or traveling weasel had eaten the rest of the crane's brothers and sisters. The boy said to himself, "I will take this poor little crane home and will raise him as a pet for our baby. If I leave him here some hungry fox will be sure to eat the poor little fellow." He carried the young crane home and it grew to be nearly as tall as the boy's five-year-old sister.

Being brought up in a human circle, it soon grew to understand all the family said. Although it could not speak it took part in all the games played by the children. The father of the family was, as I have before mentioned, a great hunter. He always had a plentiful supply of deer, antelope, buffalo and beaver meats on hand, but there came a change. The game migrated to some other locality, where no deadly shot like "Kutesan" (Never Miss) would be around to annihilate their fast decreasing droves. The hunter started out early one morning in hopes of discovering some of the game which had disappeared as suddenly as though the earth had swallowed them. The hunter traveled the whole day, all to no purpose. It was late in the evening when he staggered into camp. He was nearly dead with fatigue. Hastily swallowing a cup of cherry bark tea (the only article of food they had in store), he at once retired and was soon in the sweet land of dreams. The children soon joined their father and the poor woman sat thinking how they could save their dear children from starvation. Suddenly out upon the night air rang the cry of a crane. Instantly the pet crane awoke, stepped outside and answered the call. The crane which had given the cry was the father of the pet crane, and learning from Mr. Fox of the starving condition of his son and his friends, he flew to the hunting grounds of the tribe, and as there had been a good kill that day, the crane found no trouble in securing a great quantity of fat. This he carried to the tent of the hunter and, hovering over the tent he suddenly let the fat drop to the earth and at once the pet crane picked it up and carried it to the woman.

Wishing to surprise the family on their awakening in the morning she got a good stick for a light, heaped up sticks on the dying embers, and started up a rousing fire and proceeded to melt or try out the fat, as melted fat is considered a favorite dish. Although busily occupied she kept her ears open for any strange noises coming out of the forest, there being usually some enemies lurking around. She held her pan in such a position that after the fat started to melt and quite a lot of the hot grease accumulated in the pan, she could plainly see the tent door reflected in the hot grease, as though she used a mirror.

When she had nearly completed her task, she heard a noise as though some footsteps were approaching. Instantly her heart began to beat a tattoo on her ribs, but she sat perfectly quiet, calling all her self-control into play to keep from making an outcry. This smart woman had already studied out a way in which to best this enemy, in case an enemy it should be. The footsteps, or noise, continued to advance, until at last the woman saw reflected in the pan of grease a hand slowly protruding through the tent door, and the finger pointed, as if counting, to the sleeping father, then to each one of the sleeping children, then to her who sat at the fire. Little did Mr. Enemy suppose that the brave woman who sat so composed at her fire, was watching every motion he was making. The hand slowly withdrew, and as the footsteps slowly died away, there rang out on the still night air the deep fierce howl of the prairie wolf. (This imitation of a prairie wolf is the signal to the war party that an enemy has been discovered by the scout whom they have sent out in advance).

At once she aroused her husband and children. Annoyed at being so unceremoniously disturbed from his deep sleep, the husband crossly asked why she had awakened him so roughly. The wife explained what she had seen and heard. She at once pinned an old blanket around the crane's shoulders and an old piece of buffalo hide on his head for a hat or head covering. Heaping piles of wood onto the fire she instructed him to run around outside of the hut until the family returned, as they were going to see if they could find some roots to mix up with the fat. Hurriedly she tied her blanket around her middle, put her baby inside of it, and then grabbed her three year old son and packed him on her back. The father also hurriedly packed the next two and the older boy took care of himself.

Immediately upon leaving the tent they took three different directions, to meet again on the high hill west of their home. The reflection from the fire in the tent disclosed to them the poor pet crane running around the tent. It looked exactly like a child with its blanket and hat on.

Suddenly there rang out a score of shots and war whoops of the dreaded Crow Indians. Finding the tent deserted they disgustedly filed off and were swallowed up in the darkness of the deep forest.

The next morning the family returned to see what had become of their pet crane. There, riddled to pieces, lay the poor bird who had given up his life to save his dear friends

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The Story Of The Rabbits

The Rabbit nation were very much depressed in spirits on account of being run over by all other nations. They, being very obedient to their chief, obeyed all his orders to the letter. One of his orders was, that upon the approach of any other nation that they should follow the example of their chief and run up among the rocks and down into their burrows, and not show themselves until the strangers had passed.

This they always did. Even the chirp of a little cricket would send them all scampering to their dens.

One day they held a great council, and after talking over everything for some time, finally left it to their medicine man to decide.

The medicine man arose and said, "My friends, we are of no use on this earth. There isn't a nation on earth that fears us, and we are so timid that we cannot defend ourselves, so the best thing for us to do is to rid the earth of our nation, by all going over to the big lake and drowning ourselves."

This they decided to do. So, going to the lake they were about to jump in, when they heard a splashing in the water. Looking, they saw a lot of frogs jumping into the lake.

"We will not drown ourselves," said the medicine man, "we have found a nation who are afraid of us. It is the frog nation."

Had it not been for the frogs we would have had no rabbits, as the whole nation would have drowned themselves and the rabbit race would have been extinct.

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STORY OF THE TWO YOUNG FRIENDS

here were once in a very large Indian camp two little boys who were fast friends. One of the boys, "Chaske" (meaning first born), was the son of a very rich family, and was always dressed in the finest of clothes of Indian costume. The other boy, "Hake" (meaning last born), was an orphan and lived with his old grandmother, who was very destitute, and consequently could not dress the boy in fine raiment. So poorly was the boy dressed that the boys who had good clothes always tormented him and would not play in his company.

Chaske did not look at the clothes of any boy whom he chose as a friend, but mingled with all boys regardless of how they were clad, and would study their dispositions. The well dressed he found were vain and conceited. The fairly well dressed he found selfish and spiteful. The poorly clad he found to be generous and truthful, and from all of them he chose "Hake" for his "Koda" (friend). As Chaske was the son of the leading war chief he was very much sought after by the rest of the boys, each one trying to gain the honor of being chosen for the friend and companion of the great chief's son; but, as I have before said, Chaske carefully studied them all and finally chose the orphan Hake.

It was a lucky day for Hake when he was chosen for the friend and companion of Chaske. The orphan boy was taken to the lodge of his friend's parents and dressed up in fine clothes and moccasins. (When the Indians' sons claim any one as their friend, the friend thus chosen is adopted into the family as their own son).

Chaske and Hake were inseparable. Where one was seen the other was not far distant. They played, hunted, trapped, ate and slept together. They would spend most of the long summer days hunting in the forests.

Time went on and these two fast friends grew up to be fine specimens of their tribe. When they became the age to select a sweetheart they would go together and make love to a girl. Each helping the other to win the affection of the one of his choice. Chaske loved a girl who was the daughter of an old medicine man. She was very much courted by the other young men of the tribe, and many a horse loaded with robes and fine porcupine work was tied at the medicine man's tepee in offering for the hand of his daughter, but the horses, laden as when tied there, were turned loose, signifying that the offer was not accepted.

The girl's choice was Chaske's friend Hake. Although he had never made love to her for himself, he had always used honeyed words to her and was always loud in his praises for his friend Chaske. One night the two friends had been to see the girl, and on their return Chaske was very quiet, having nothing to say and seemingly in deep study. Always of a bright, jolly and amiable disposition, his silence and moody spell grieved his friend very much, and he finally spoke to Chaske, saying: "Koda, what has come over you? You who were always so jolly and full of fun? Your silence makes me grieve for you and I do not know what you are feeling so downhearted about. Has the girl said anything to you to make you feel thus?"

"Wait, friend," said Chaske, "until morning, and then I will know how to answer your inquiry. Don't ask me anything more tonight, as my heart is having a great battle with my brain."

Hake bothered his friend no more that night, but he could not sleep. He kept wondering what "Pretty Feather" (the girl whom his friend loved) could have said to Chaske to bring such a change over him. Hake never suspected that he himself was the cause of his friend's sorrow, for never did he have a thought that it was himself that Pretty Feather loved.

The next morning after they had eaten breakfast, Chaske proposed that they should go out on the prairies, and see if they would have the good luck to kill an antelope. Hake went out and got the band of horses, of which there were over a hundred. They selected the fleetest two in the herd, and taking their bows and arrows, mounted and rode away towards the south.

Hake was overjoyed to note the change in his friend. His old time jollity had returned. They rode out about five miles, and scaring up a drove of antelope they started in hot pursuit, and as their horses were very fleet of foot soon caught up to the drove, and each singling out his choice quickly dispatched him with an arrow. They could easily have killed more of the antelope, but did not want to kill them just for sport, but for food, and knowing that they had now all that their horses could pack home, they dismounted and proceeded to dress their kill.

After each had finished packing the kill on his horse, Chaske said: "Let us sit down and have a smoke before we start back. Besides, I have something to tell you which I can tell better sitting still than I can riding along." Hake came and sat down opposite his friend, and while they smoked Chaske said:

"My friend, we have been together for the last twenty years and I have yet the first time to deceive you in any way, and I know I can truthfully say the same of you. Never have I known you to deceive me nor tell me an untruth. I have no brothers or sisters. The only brother's love I know is yours. The only sister's love I will know will be Pretty Father's, for brother, last night she told me she loved none but you and would marry you and you only. So, brother, I am going to take my antelope to my sister-in-law's tent and deposit it at her door. Then she will know that her wish will be fulfilled. I thought at first that you had been playing traitor to me and had been making love to her for yourself, but when she explained it all to me and begged me to intercede for her to you, I then knew that I had judged you wrongfully, and that, together with my lost love, made me so quiet and sorrowful last night. So now, brother, take the flower of the nation for your wife, and I will be content to continue through life a lonely bachelor, as never again can I give any woman the place which Pretty Feather had in my heart."

Their pipes being smoked out they mounted their ponies and Chaske started up in a clear, deep voice the beautiful love song of Pretty Feather and his friend Hake.

Such is the love between two friends, who claim to be as brothers among the Indians. Chaske gave up his love of a beautiful woman for a man who was in fact no relation to him.

Hake said, "I will do as you say, my friend, but before I can marry the medicine man's daughter, I will have to go on the warpath and do some brave deed, and will start in ten days." They rode towards home, planning which direction they would travel, and as it was to be their first experience on the warpath, they would seek advice from the old warriors of the tribe.

On their arrival at the village Hake took his kill to their own tent, while Chaske took his to the tent of the Medicine Man, and deposited it at the door and rode off towards home.

The mother of Pretty Feather did not know whether to take the offering or not, but Pretty Feather, seeing by this offering that her most cherished wish was to be granted, told her mother to take the meat and cook it and invite the old women of the camp to a feast in honor of the son-in-law who was soon to keep them furnished with plenty of meat. Hake and his friend sought out all of the old warriors and gained all the information they desired. Every evening Hake visited his intended wife and many happy evenings they spent together.

The morning of the tenth day the two friends left the village and turned their faces toward the west where the camps of the enemy are more numerous than in any other direction. They were not mounted and therefore traveled slowly, so it took about ten days of walking before they saw any signs of the enemy. The old warriors had told them of a thickly wooded creek within the enemies' bounds. The old men said, "That creek looks the ideal place to camp, but don't camp there by any means, because there is a ghost who haunts that creek, and any one who camps there is disturbed all through the night, and besides they never return, because the ghost is Wakan (holy), and the enemies conquer the travelers every time." The friends had extra moccasins with them and one extra blanket, as it was late in the fall and the nights were very cold.

They broke camp early one morning and walked all day. Along towards evening, the clouds which had been threatening all day, hurriedly opened their doors and down came the snowflakes thick and fast. Just before it started snowing the friends had noticed a dark line about two miles in advance of them. Chaske spoke to his friend and said: "If this storm continues we will be obliged to stay overnight at Ghost Creek, as I noticed it not far ahead of us, just before the storm set in." "I noticed it also," said Hake. "We might as well entertain a ghost all night as to lie out on these open prairies and freeze to death." So they decided to run the risk and stay in the sheltering woods of Ghost Creek. When they got to the creek it seemed as if they had stepped inside a big tepee, so thick was the brush and timber that the wind could not be felt at all. They hunted and found a place where the brush was very thick and the grass very tall. They quickly pulled the tops of the nearest willows together and by intertwining the ends made them fast, and throwing their tent robe over this, soon had a cosy tepee in which to sleep. They started their fire and cooked some dried buffalo meat and buffalo tallow, and were just about to eat their supper when a figure of a man came slowly in through the door and sat down near where he had entered. Hake, being the one who was doing the cooking, poured out some tea into his own cup, and putting a piece of pounded meat and marrow into a small plate, placed it before the stranger, saying: "Eat, my friend, we are on the warpath and do not carry much of a variety of food with us, but I give you the best we have."

The stranger drew the plate towards him, and commenced eating ravenously. He soon finished his meal and handed the dish and cup back. He had not uttered a word so far. Chaske filled the pipe and handed it to him. He smoked for a few minutes, took one last draw from the pipe and handed it back to Chaske, and then he said: "Now, my friends, I am not a living man, but the wandering spirit of a once great warrior, who was killed in these woods by the enemy whom you two brave young men are now seeking to make war upon. For years I have been roaming these woods in hopes that I might find some one brave enough to stop and listen to me, but all who have camped here in the past have run away at my approach or fired guns or shot arrows at me. For such cowards as these I have always found a grave. They never returned to their homes. Now I have found two brave men whom I can tell what I want done, and if you accomplish what I tell you to do, you will return home with many horses and some scalps dangling from your belts. Just over this range of hills north of us, a large village is encamped for the winter. In that camp is the man who laid in ambush and shot me, killing me before I could get a chance to defend myself. I want that man's scalp, because he has been the cause of my wanderings for a great many years. Had he killed me on the battlefield my spirit would have at once joined my brothers in the happy hunting grounds, but being killed by a coward, my spirit is doomed to roam until I can find some brave man who will kill this coward and bring me his scalp. This is why I have tried every party who have camped here to listen to me, but as I have said before, they were all cowards. Now, I ask you two brave young men, will you do this for me?"

"We will," said the friends in one voice. "Thank you, my boys. Now, I know why you came here, and that one of you came to earn his feathers by killing an enemy, before he would marry; the girl he is to marry is my granddaughter, as I am the father of the great Medicine Man. In the morning there will pass by in plain sight of here a large party. They will chase the buffalo over on that flat. After they have passed an old man leading a black horse and riding a white one will come by on the trail left by the hunting party. He will be driving about a hundred horses, which he will leave over in the next ravine.

He will then proceed to the hunting grounds and get meat from the different hunters. After the hunters have all gone home he will come last, singing the praises of the ones who gave him the meat. This man you must kill and scalp, as he is the one I want killed. Then take the white and black horse and each mount and go to the hunting grounds. There you will see two of the enemy riding about picking up empty shells. Kill and scalp these two and each take a scalp and come over to the high knoll and I will show you where the horses are, and as soon as you hand me the old man's scalp I will disappear and you will see me no more. As soon as I disappear, it will start in snowing. Don't be afraid as the snow will cover your trail, but nevertheless, don't stop traveling for three days and nights, as these people will suspect that some of your tribe have done this, and they will follow you until you cross your own boundary lines."

When morning came, the two friends sat in the thick brush and watched a large party pass by their hiding place. So near were they that the friends could hear them laughing and talking. After the hunting party had passed, as the spirit had told them, along came the old man, driving a large band of horses and leading a fine looking coal black horse. The horse the old man was riding was as white as snow. The friends crawled to a little brush covered hill and watched the chase after the shooting had ceased. The friends knew it would not be long before the return of the party, so they crawled back to their camp and hurriedly ate some pounded meat and drank some cherry tea. Then they took down their robe and rolled it up and got everything in readiness for a hurried flight with the horses. Scarcely had they got everything in readiness when the party came by, singing their song of the chase. When they had all gone the friends crawled down to the trail and lay waiting for the old man. Soon they heard him singing. Nearer and nearer came the sounds of the song until at last at a bend in the road, the old man came into view. The two friends arose and advanced to meet him. On he came still singing. No doubt he mistook them for some of his own people. When he was very close to them they each stepped to either side of him and before he could make an outcry they pierced his cowardly old heart with two arrows. He had hardly touched the ground when they both struck him with their bows, winning first and second honors by striking an enemy after he has fallen. Chaske having won first honors, asked his friend to perform the scalping deed, which he did. And wanting to be sure that the spirit would get full revenge, took the whole scalp, ears and all, and tied it to his belt. The buffalo beef which the old man had packed upon the black horse, they threw on the top of the old man. Quickly mounting the two horses, they hastened out across the long flat towards the hunting grounds. When they came in sight of the grounds there they saw two men riding about from place to place. Chaske took after the one on the right, Hake the one on the left. When the two men saw these two strange men riding like the wind towards them, they turned their horses to retreat towards the hills, but the white and the black were the swiftest of the tribe's horses, and quickly overtook the two fleeing men. When they came close to the enemy they strung their arrows onto the bowstring and drove them through the two fleeing hunters. As they were falling they tried to shoot, but being greatly exhausted, their bullets whistled harmlessly over the heads of the two friends. They scalped the two enemies and took their guns and ammunition, also secured the two horses and started for the high knoll. When they arrived at the place, there stood the spirit. Hake presented him with the old man's scalp and then the spirit showed them the large band of horses, and saying, "Ride hard and long," disappeared and was seen no more by any war parties, as he was thus enabled to join his forefathers in the happy hunting grounds.

The friends did as the spirit had told them. For three days and three nights they rode steadily. On the fourth morning they came into their own boundary. From there on they rode more slowly, and let the band of horses rest and crop the tops of long grass. They would stop occasionally, and while one slept the other kept watch. Thus they got fairly well rested before they came in sight of where their camp had stood when they had left. All that they could see of the once large village was the lone tent of the great Medicine Man. They rode up on to a high hill and farther on towards the east they saw smoke from a great many tepees. They then knew that something had happened and that the village had moved away.

"My friend," said Chaske, "I am afraid something has happened to the Medicine Man's lodge, and rather than have you go there, I will go alone and you follow the trail of our party and go on ahead with the horses. I will take the black and the white horses with me and I will follow on later, after I have seen what the trouble is."

"Very well, my friend, I will do as you say, but I am afraid something has happened to Pretty Feather." Hake started on with the horses, driving them along the broad trail left by the hundreds of travois. Chaske made slowly towards the tepee, and stopping outside, stood and listened. Not a sound could he hear. The only living thing he saw was Pretty Father's spotted horse tied to the side of the tent. Then he knew that she must be dead. He rode off into the thick brush and tied his two horses securely. Then he came back and entered the tepee. There on a bed of robes lay some one apparently dead. The body was wrapped in blankets and robes and bound around and around with parfleche ropes. These he carefully untied and unwound. Then he unwrapped the robes and blankets and when he uncovered the face, he saw, as he had expected to, the face of his lost love, Pretty Feather. As he sat gazing on her beautiful young face, his heart ached for his poor friend. He himself had loved and lost this beautiful maiden, and now his friend who had won her would have to suffer the untold grief which he had suffered.

What was that? Could it have been a slight quivering of the nostrils that he had seen, or was it mad fancy playing a trick on him? Closer he drew to her face, watching intently for another sign. There it was again, only this time it was a long, deep drawn breath. He arose, got some water and taking a small stick slowly forced open her mouth and poured some into it. Then he took some sage, dipped it into the water and sprinkled a little on her head and face. There were many parfleche bags piled around the tepee, and thinking he might find some kind of medicine roots which he could use to revive her he started opening them one after the other. He had opened three and was just opening the fourth, when a voice behind him asked: "What are you looking for?" Turning quickly, he saw Pretty Feather looking at him. Overjoyed, he cried, "What can I do so that you can get up and ride to the village with me? My friend and I just returned with a large band of horses and two scalps. We saw this tent and recognized it. My friend wanted to come, but I would not let him, as I feared if he found anything had happened to you he would do harm to himself, but now he will be anxious for my return, so if you will tell me what you need in order to revive you, I will get it, and we can then go to my friend in the village." "At the foot of my bed you will find a piece of eagle fat. Build a fire and melt it for me. I will drink it and then we can go."

Chaske quickly started a fire, got out the piece of fat and melted it. She drank it at one drought, and was about to arise when she suddenly said: "Roll me up quick and take the buffalo hair rope and tie it about my spotted horse's neck; tie his tail in a knot and tie him to the door. Then run and hide behind the trees. There are two of the enemy coming this way."

Chaske hurriedly obeyed her orders, and had barely concealed himself behind the trees, when there came into view two of the enemy. They saw the horse tied to the door of the deserted tent, and knew that some dead person occupied the tepee, so through respect for the dead, they turned out and started to go through the brush and trees, so as not to pass the door. (The Indians consider it a bad omen to pass by the door of a tepee occupied by a dead body, that is, while in the enemy's country). So by making this detour they traveled directly towards where Chaske was concealed behind the tree. Knowing that he would be discovered, and there being two of them, he knew the only chance he had was for him to kill one of them before they discovered him, then he stood a better chance at an even combat. On they came, little thinking that one of them would in a few minutes be with his forefathers.

Chaske noiselessly slipped a cartridge into the chamber of his gun, threw it into action and took deliberate aim at the smaller one's breast. A loud report rang out and the one he had aimed at threw up his arms and fell heavily forward, shot through the heart.

Reloading quickly Chaske stepped out from behind the tree. He could easily have killed the other from his concealed position, but, being a brave young man, he wanted to give his opponent a fair chance. The other had unslung his gun and a duel was then fought between the two lone combatants. They would spring from side to side like two great cats. Then advance one or two steps and fire. Retreat a few steps, spring to one side and fire again. The bullets whistled past their heads, tore up the earth beneath their feet, and occasionally one would hit its mark, only to cause a flesh wound.

Suddenly the enemy aimed his gun and threw it upon the ground. His ammunition was exhausted, and slowly folding his arms he stood facing his opponent, with a fearless smile upon his face, expecting the next moment to fall dead from a bullet from the rifle of Chaske. Not so. Chaske was too honorable and noble to kill an unarmed man, and especially one who had put up such a brave fight as had this man. Chaske advanced and picked up the empty gun. The Toka (enemy) drew from a scabbard at his belt a long bowie knife, and taking it by the point handed it, handle first, to Chaske. This signified surrender. Chaske scalped the dead Toka and motioned
for his prisoner to follow him. In the meantime Pretty Feather had gotten up and stood looking at the duel. When she heard the first shot she jumped up and cut a small slit in the tent from which she saw the whole proceedings. Knowing that one or both of them must be wounded, she hurriedly got water and medicine roots, and when they came to the tent she was prepared to dress their wounds.

Chaske had a bullet through his shoulder and one through his hand. They were very painful but not dangerous. The prisoner had a bullet through his leg, also one through the muscle of his left arm. Pretty Feather washed and dressed their wounds, and Chaske went and brought the black and white horses and mounting Pretty Feather upon the white horse, and the prisoner on her spotted one, the three soon rode into the village, and there was a great cry of joy when it was known that Pretty Feather had come back to them again.

Hake, who was in his tent grieving, was told that his friend had returned and with him Pretty Feather. Hearing this good news he at once went to the Medicine Man's tent and found the Medicine Man busily dressing the wounds of his friend and a stranger. The old Medicine Man turned to Hake and said:

"Son-in-law, take your wife home with you. It was from grief at your absence that she went into a trance, and we, thinking she was dead, left her for such. Hadn't it been for your friend here, she would surely have been a corpse now. So take her and keep her with you always, and take as a present from me fifty of my best horses."

Hake and his beautiful bride went home, where his adopted mother had a fine large tent put up for them. Presents of cooking utensils, horses, robes and finely worked shawls and moccasins came from every direction, and last of all Chaske gave as a present to his friend the Toka man whom he had taken as prisoner. On presenting him with this gift, Chaske spoke thus:

"My friend, I present to you, that you may have him as a servant to look after your large band of horses, this man with whom I fought a two hours' duel, and had his ammunition lasted he would probably have conquered me, and who gave me the second hardest fight of my life.

The hardest fight of my life was when I gave up Pretty Feather. You have them both. To the Toka (enemy) be kind, and he will do all your bidding. To Pretty Feather be a good husband."

So saying, Chaske left them, and true to his word, lived the remainder of his days a confirmed bachelor.


 

 



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Unktome, ( Spider ) The Two Widows, And The Red Plums

There once lived, in a remote part of a great forest, two widowed sisters, with their little babies. One day there came to their tent a visitor who was called Unktomi (spider). He had found some nice red plums during his wanderings in the forest, and he said to himself, "I will keep these plums and fool the two widows with them." After the widows had bidden him be seated, he presented them with the plums.

On seeing them they exclaimed "hi nu, hi nu (an exclamation of surprise), where did you get these fine plums?" Unktomi arose and pointing to a crimson tipped cloud, said: "You see that red cloud? Directly underneath it is a patch of plums. So large is the patch and so red and beautiful are the plums that it is the reflection of them on the cloud that you see."

"Oh, how we wish some one would take care of our babies, while we go over there and pick some," said the sisters. "Why, I am not in any particular hurry, so if you want to go I will take care of my little nephews until you return." (Unktomi always claimed relationship with everyone he met). "Well brother," said the older widow, "take good care of them and we will be back as soon as possible."

The two then took a sack in which to gather the plums, and started off towards the cloud with the crimson lining. Scarcely had they gone from Unktomi's sight when he took the babies out of their swinging hammocks and cut off first one head and then the other. He then took some old blankets and rolled them in the shape of a baby body and laid one in each hammock. Then he took the heads and put them in place in their different hammocks. The bodies he cut up and threw into a large kettle. This he placed over a rousing fire. Then he mixed Indian turnips and arikara squash with the baby meat and soon had a kettle of soup. Just about the time the soup was ready to serve the widows returned. They were tired and hungry and not a plum had they. Unktomi, hearing the approach of the two, hurriedly dished out the baby soup in two wooden dishes and then seated himself near the door so that he could get out easily. Upon the entrance of the widows, Unktomi exclaimed: "Sisters, I had brought some meat with me and I cooked some turnips and squash with it and made a pot of fine soup. The babies have just fallen asleep, so don't waken them until you have finished eating, for I know that you are nearly starved." The two fell to at once and after they had somewhat appeased their appetites, one of them arose and went over to see how her baby was resting. Noting an unnatural color on her baby's face, she raised him up only to have his head roll off from the bundle of blankets. "'My son! my son!" she cried out. At once the other hastened to her baby and grabbed it up, only to have the same thing happen. At once they surmised who had done this, and caught up sticks from the fire with which to beat Unktomi to death. He, expecting something like this to happen, lost very little time in getting outside and down into a hole at the roots of a large tree. The two widows not being able to follow Unktomi down into the hole, had to give up trying to get him out, and passed the rest of the day and night crying for their beloved babies. In the meantime Unktomi had gotten out by another opening, and fixing himself up in an entirely different style, and painting his face in a manner that they would not recognize him, he cautiously approached the weeping women and inquired the cause of their tears.

Thus they answered him: "Unktomi came here and fooled us about some plums, and while we were absent killed our babies and made soup out of their bodies. Then he gave us the soup to eat, which we did, and when we found out what he had done we tried to kill him, but he crawled down into that hole and we could not get him out."

"I will get him out," said the mock stranger, and with that he crawled down into the hole and scratched his own face all over to make the widows believe he had been fighting with Unktomi. "I have killed him, and that you may see him I have enlarged the hole so you can crawl in and see for yourselves, also to take some revenge on his dead body." The two foolish widows, believing him, crawled into the hole, only to be blocked up by Unktomi, who at once gathered great piles of wood and stuffing it into the hole, set it on fire, and thus ended the last of the family who were foolish enough to let Unktomi tempt them with a few red plums.

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THE "WASNA" (PEMMICAN) MAN AND THE UNKTOMI (SPIDER)

Once upon a time there appeared from out of a large belt of timber a man attired in the fat of the buffalo. On his head he wore the honeycomb part of the stomach. To this was attached small pieces of fat. The fat which covered the stomach he wore as a cloak. The large intestines he wore as leggings, and the kidney fat as his moccasins.

As he appeared he had the misfortune to meet "Unktomi" (spider) with his hundreds of starving children. Upon seeing the fat, Unktomi and his large family at once attacked the man, who, in order to save his life, started to run away, but so closely did Unktomi and his family pursue him that in order to make better time and also get a little better start, he threw off his head covering, which the Unktomi family hastily devoured, and were again closing in upon him. He then threw off his cloak and they devoured that, and were close upon him again, when he threw off his leggings. These were hastily eaten up, and, as they drew near to a lake, the man threw off the kidney fat, and, running to the edge of the lake, dived down into the water and kept beneath the surface, swimming to the opposite shore. After the Unktomi family had eaten the kidney fat they came to the waters edge, and the grease was floating on the surface of the water which they lapped up, until there was not a grease spot left floating on the surface.

The small morsels had only sharpened their appetites, and as they saw the man sitting on the opposite shore, Unktomi and his family proceeded around the lake and came upon two men sitting on the shore. Unktomi saw that the other man was "Wakapapi" (pounded beef). The family surrounded the two and Unktomi ordered them to fight. Fearing Unktomi and his large family, they at once commenced to fight and Pounded Meat was soon killed. The hungry family at once fell to eating him. So busy were they that none noticed the fat man sneak off and disappear.

When they had finished the pounded beef man they looked around to fall upon the fat man, but nowhere could he be seen. Unktomi said, "I will track him and when I find him, I will return for you, so stay here and await my return."

He followed the fat man's tracks until farther east on the shore of the lake he found the fat man in the act of skinning a deer, which he had killed. (He had held on to his bow and arrows when he jumped into the lake). "My," said Unktomi, "this will make a fine meal for my hungry children. I will go after them, so hurry and cut the meat up into small pieces so they each can have a piece."

"All right, go ahead and get your family," said Fat Man. During Unktomi's absence, the fat man hurriedly cut the meat up into small pieces and carried them up into a tree that stood near to the shore. When he had carried it all up he threw sand and dirt upon the blood, and so left no trace of the deer.

On the arrival of Unktomi and his family, no signs of the fat man or the deer could be found. They wandered about the spot looking for tracks which might lead them to where the fat man had cached the meat, as Unktomi said he could not have carried it very far. Now the fat man was up in the tree and sat watching them. The reflection of the tree was in the water, and some of the children going close to the shore, discovered it as they looked at the reflection. The fat man cut a piece of meat and extending it towards them, drew back his hand and put the meat into his mouth.

"Come quick, father, here he is eating the meat," said the children. Unktomi came and seeing the reflection, thought the fat man was down in the lake. "Wait, I will bring him up for you." So saying, he dived down, but soon arose without anything. Again and again he tried, but could not reach the bottom. He told the children to gather rock for him. These he tied around his neck and body, and dived down for the last time. The last the children saw of their father was the bubbles which arose to the surface of the lake. The rocks being too heavy for him, held him fast to the bottom, and some hungry fish soon made a feast out of the body of poor "Unktomi."


 

 



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THE WONDERFUL TURTLE

Near to a Chippewa village lay a large lake, and in this lake there lived an enormous turtle. This was no ordinary turtle, as he would often come out of his home in the lake and visit with his Indian neighbors. He paid the most of his visits to the head chief, and on these occasions would stay for hours, smoking and talking with him.

The chief, seeing that the turtle was very smart and showed great wisdom in his talk, took a great fancy to him, and whenever any puzzling subject came up before the chief, he generally sent for Mr. Turtle to help him decide.

One day there came a great misunderstanding between different parties of the tribe, and so excited became both sides that it threatened to cause bloodshed. The chief was unable to decide for either faction, so he said, "I will call Mr. Turtle. He will judge for you."

Sending for the turtle, the chief vacated his seat for the time being, until the turtle should hear both sides, and decide which was in the right. The turtle came, and taking the chief's seat, listened very attentively to both sides, and thought long before he gave his decision. After thinking long and studying each side carefully, he came to the conclusion to decide in favor of both. This would not cause any hard feelings. So he gave them a lengthy speech and showed them where they were both in the right, and wound up by saying:

"You are both in the right in some ways and wrong in others. Therefore, I will say that you both are equally in the right."

When they heard this decision, they saw that the turtle was right, and gave him a long cheer for the wisdom displayed by him. The whole tribe saw that had it not been for this wise decision there would have been a great shedding of blood in the tribe. So they voted him as their judge, and the chief, being so well pleased with him, gave to him his only daughter in marriage.

The daughter of the chief was the most beautiful maiden of the Chippewa nation, and young men from other tribes traveled hundreds of miles for an opportunity to make love to her, and try to win her for a wife. It was all to no purpose. She would accept no one, only him whom her father would select for her. The turtle was very homely, but as he was prudent and wise, the father chose him, and she accepted him.

The young men of the tribe were very jealous, but their jealousy was all to no purpose. She married the turtle. The young men would make sport of the chief's son-in-law. They would say to him: "How did you come to have so flat a stomach?" The turtle answered them, saying:

"My friends, had you been in my place, you too would have flat stomachs. I came by my flat stomach

 

 



in this way: The Chippewa and Sioux had a great battle, and the Sioux, too numerous for the Chippewa, were killing them off so fast that they had to run for their lives. I was on the Chippewa side and some of the Sioux were pressing five of us, and were gaining on us very fast. Coming to some high grass, I threw myself down flat on my face, and pressed my stomach close to the ground, so the pursuers could not see me. They passed me and killed the four I was with. After they had gone back, I arose and lo! my stomach was as you see it now. So hard had I pressed to the ground that it would not assume its original shape again."

After he had explained the cause of his deformity to them, they said: "The Turtle is brave. We will bother him no more." Shortly after this the Sioux made an attack upon the Chippewa, and every one deserted the village. The Turtle could not travel as fast as the rest and was left behind. It being an unusually hot day in the fall, the Turtle grew very thirsty and sleepy. Finally scenting water, he crawled towards the point from whence the scent came, and coming to a large lake jumped in and had a bath, after which he swam towards the center and dived down, and finding some fine large rocks at the bottom, he crawled in among them and fell asleep. He had his sleep out and arose to the top.

Swimming to shore he found it was summer. He had slept all winter. The birds were singing, and the green grass and leaves gave forth a sweet odor.
He crawled out and started out looking for the Chippewa camp. He came upon the camp several days after he had left his winter quarters, and going around in search of his wife, found her at the extreme edge of the village. She was nursing her baby, and as he asked to see it, she showed it to him. When he saw that it was a lovely baby and did not resemble him in any respect, he got angry and went off to a large lake, where he contented himself with catching flies and insects and living on seaweed the remainder of his life.


 

 



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Two Ghostly Lovers

Long ago there lived a young, good-looking man whom no woman could resist. He was an elk charmer--a man who had elk medicine, which carries love power. When this man played the siyotanka, the flute, it produced a magic sound. At night a girl hearing it would just get up and go to him, forsaking her father and mother, her own lover, or husband. Maybe her mind told her to stay, but her heart was already beating faster and her feet were running.

Yet the young man, the elk charmer himself, was a lover with a stone heart. He wanted only to conquer women, the way a warrior conquers an enemy. After they came to him once, he had no more use for them. So in spite of his wonderful powers, he did not act as a young man should and was not well liked.

One day when the elk charmer went out to hunt buffalo, he did not return to the village. His parents waited for him day after day, but he never came back. At last they went to a special kind of medicine man who has "finding stones" that give him the power to locate lost things and lost people.

After this holy man had used his finding stones, he told the parents: "I have sad news for you. Your son is dead, and not from sickness or an accident. He was killed. He is lying out there on the prairie."

The medicine man described the spot where they would find the body, it was as he had said. out on the prairie their son was lying dead, stabbed through the heart. Whether he had been killed by an enemy warrior, or a wronged husband from his own tribe, or even a discarded, thrown-away girl, no one ever knew.

His parents dressed him in his finest war shirt, which he had loved more than all his women, and in dead man's moccasins, whose soles are beaded with spirit-land designs. They put his body up on the funeral scaffold, and then the tribe left that part of the country. For it was a very bad thing, this killing which was probably within the tribe. It was, in fact, the very worst thing that could happen, even though everybody was thinking that the young man had brought it on himself.

One evening many days' ride away, when the people had already forgotten this sad happening and were feasting in their tepees, all the dogs in camp started howling. Then the coyotes in the hills took up their mournful cry. Nobody could discover the reason for all this howling and yipping. But when it finally stopped, the people could hear the hooting of many owls, speaking of death and ghostly things. The laughter in the camp stopped. The fires were put out, and the entry flaps to the tepees were closed.

People tried to sleep, but instead they found themselves listening. They knew a spirit was coming. Finally they heard the unearthly sounds of a ghost flute and a voice they knew very well--the voice of the dead young man with the elk medicine. They heard this voice singing:

Weeping I roam.
I thought I was the only one
Who had known many loves,
Many girls, many women,
Too many of them.
Now I am having a hard time.
I am roaming, roaming,
And I have to keep roaming
As long as the world stands.

After that night, the people heard the song many times. A lone girl coming home late from a dance, a young woman up before sunrise to get water from the stream, would hear the ghostly song mixed with the sound of the flute. And they would see the shape of a man wrapped in a gray blanket hovering above the ground, for even as a ghost this young man would not leave the girls alone.

Well, it happened long ago, but even now the old-timers at Rosebud, Pine Ridge, and Cheyenne River are still singing this ghost song.

Now, there was another young man who also had a cold heart. He too made love to too many girls and soon threw them away. he was a brave warrior though. He was out a few times with a girl who was in love with him, and he said he would marry her. But he didn't really mean it; he was like many other men who make the same promise only to get under a girl's blanket. One day he said: "I have to go away on a horse stealing raid, I'll be back soon, and then I'll marry you." She told him: "I'll wait for you forever!"

The young warrior went off and never came back; he forgot all about her. The girl, however, waited for a long time.

Well, this young man roamed about for years and had many loves. Then one time when he was hunting, he saw a fine tipi. It had a sun-and-moon design painted on it. He recognized it immediately: it was the tipi of the girl he had left long ago. "Is she still good-looking and loving?" he wondered. "I'll find out!"

He went inside, and there was the girl, lovelier than ever. She was dressed in a white, richly quilled buckskin dress. She smiled at him. "My lover, have you come back at last?"

After serving him a fine meal, she helped him take off his moccasins and his war shirt. She traced his scars from many fights with her fingers. "My warrior," she said, "lie down here beside me, on this soft, soft buffalo robe." He lay down and made love to her, and it was sweeter than he had ever experienced, sweeter than he could have imagined. Then she said: "Rest and sleep now."

The young man--though not very young anymore--woke up in the morning and saw the morning sun shining into the tipi. But the tipi was no longer bright and new; it was ragged and rotting. The buffalo robe under which they had slept was almost hairless and full of holes. He lifted the robe and pulled it aside to look at the girl, and instead of a living, beautiful woman, he found a skeleton. A few strands of black hair still adhered to the skull, which seemed to smile at him. They young girl had died there long ago, waiting for him to come back. He had made love to a spirit. He had embraced bones. He had kissed a skull. He had coupled with a skeleton!

As the thought sank in, the warrior cried aloud, jumped up, and began running in great fearm running he knew not where. When he finally came to, he was witko, mad. He spoke in strange sounds. His eyes wandered. His thoughts went astray. he was never right in his mind again.

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Uktome And The Arrowheads

There were once upon a time two young men who were very great friends, and were constantly together. One was a very thoughtful young man, the other very impulsive, who never stopped to think before he committed an act.

One day these two friends were walking along, telling each other of their experiences in love making. They ascended a high hill, and on reaching the top, heard a ticking noise as if small stones or pebbles were being struck together.

Looking around they discovered a large spider sitting in the midst of a great many flint arrowheads. The spider was busily engaged making the flint rocks into arrow heads. They looked at the spider, but he never moved, but continued hammering away on a piece of flint which he had nearly completed into another arrowhead.

"Let's hit him," said the thoughtless one. "No," said the other, "he is not harming any one; in fact, he is doing a great good, as he is making the flint arrowheads which we use to point our arrows."

"Oh, you are afraid," said the first young man. "He can't harm you. just watch me hit him." So saying, he picked up an arrowhead and throwing it at "Unktomi," hit him on the side. As Unktomi rolled over on his side, got up and stood looking at them, the young man laughed and said:

"Well, let us be going, as your grandfather, "Unktomi," doesn't seem to like our company." They started down the hill, when suddenly the one who had hit Unktomi took a severe fit of coughing. He coughed and coughed, and finally small particles of blood came from his mouth. The blood kept coming thicker and in great gushes. Finally it came so thick and fast that the man could not get his breath and fell upon the ground dead.

The thoughtful young man, seeing that his friend was no more, hurried to the village and reported what had happened. The relatives and friends hurried to the hill, and sure enough, there lay the thoughtless young man still and cold in death. They held a council and sent for the chief of the Unktomi tribe. When he heard what had happened, he told the council that he could do nothing to his Unktomi, as it had only defended itself.

Said he: "My friends, seeing that your tribe was running short of arrowheads, I set a great many of my tribe to work making flint arrowheads for you. When my men are thus engaged they do not wish to be disturbed, and your young man not only disturbed my man, but grossly insulted him by striking him with one of the arrowheads which he had worked so hard to make. My man could not sit and take this insult, so as the young man walked away the Unktomi shot him with a very tiny arrowhead.

This produced a hemorrhage, which caused his death. So now, my friends, if you will fill and pass the peace pipe, we will part good friends and my tribe shall always furnish you with plenty of flint arrowheads." So saying, Unktomi Tanka finished his peace smoke and returned to his tribe.

Ever after that, when the Indians heard a ticking in the grass, they would go out of their way to get around the sound, saying, Unktomi is making arrowheads; we must not disturb him.

Thus it was that Unktomi Tanka (Big Spider) had the respect of this tribe, and was never after disturbed in his work of making arrowheads

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Winnona The Child-Woman
This comes from "Old Indian Days" - Ohiyesa (Charles Eastman), 1858-1939

Braver than the bravest,
You sought honors at deaths door;
Could you not remember
One who weeps at home --
Could you not remember me?
Braver than the bravest,
You sought honors more than love;
Dear, I weep, yet I am not a coward;
My heart weeps for thee --
My heart weeps when I remember thee!
-- Sioux Love Song

*****

The sky is blue overhead, peeping through window-like openings in a roof of green leaves. Right between a great pine and a birch tree their soft doeskin shawls are spread, and there sit two Sioux maidens amid their fineries -- variously colored porcupine quills for embroidery laid upon sheets of thin birch-bark, and moccasin tops worked in colors like autumn leaves.
It is Winona and her friend Miniyata.

They have arrived at the period during which the young girl is carefully secluded from her brothers and cousins and future lovers, and retires, as it were, into the nunnery of the woods, behind a veil of thick foliage. Thus she is expected to develop fully her womanly qualities.
In meditation and solitude, entirely alone or with a chosen companion of her own sex and age, she gains a secret strength, as she studies the art of womanhood from nature herself.

Winona has the robust beauty of the wild lily of the prairie, pure and strong in her deep colors of yellow and scarlet against the savage plain and horizon, basking in the open sun like a child, yet soft and woman-like, with drooping head when observed.
Both girls are beautifully robed in loose gowns of soft doeskin, girded about the waist with the usual very wide leather belt.

"Come, let us practice our sacred dance," says one to the other.
Each crowns her glossy head with a wreath of wild flowers, and they dance with slow steps around the white birch, singing meanwhile the sacred songs.

Now upon the lake that stretches blue to the eastward there appears a distant canoe, a mere speck, no bigger than a bird far off against the shining sky.

"See the lifting of the paddles!" exclaims Winona.

"Like the leaping of a trout upon the water!" suggests Miniyata.

"I hope they will not discover us, yet I would like to know who they are," remarks the other, innocently.

The birch canoe approaches swiftly, with two young men plying the light cedar paddles. The girls now settle down to their needlework, quite as if they had never laughed or danced or woven garlands, bending over their embroidery in perfect silence. Surely they would not wish to attract attention, for the two sturdy young warriors have already landed.
They pick up the canoe and lay it well up on the bank, out of sight. Then one procures a strong pole. They lift a buck deer from the canoe -- not a mark upon it, save for the bullet wound; the deer looks as if it were sleeping! They tie the hind legs together and the foreleg also and carry it between them on the pole.

Quickly and cleverly they do all this; and now they start forward and come unexpectedly upon the maidens' retreat! They pause for an instant in mute apology, but the girls smile their forgiveness, and the youths hurry on toward the village.

Winona has attended her first maidens' feast and is considered eligible to marriage. She may receive young men, but not in public or in a social way, for such was not the custom of the Sioux. When he speaks, she need not answer him unless she chooses.

The Indian woman in her quiet way preserves the dignity of the home. From our standpoint the white man is a law-breaker! The "Great Mystery," we say, does not adorn the woman above the man. His law is spreading horns, or flowing mane, or gorgeous plumage for the male; the female he made plain, but comely, modest and gentle.
She is the foundation of man's dignity and honor. Upon her rests the life of the home and of the family. I have often thought that there is much in this philosophy of an untutored people. Had her husband remained long enough in one place, the Indian woman, I believe, would have developed no mean civilization and culture of her own.

It was no disgrace to the chief's daughter in the old days to work with her hands. Indeed, their standard of worth was the willingness to work, but not for the sake of accumulation, only in order to give.
Winona has learned to prepare skins, to remove the hair and tan the skin of a deer so that it may be made into moccasins within three days. She has a bone tool for each stage of the conversion of the stiff raw-hide into velvety leather. She has been taught the art of painting tents and raw-hide cases, and the manufacture of garments of all kinds.

Generosity is a trait that is highly developed in the Sioux woman. She makes many moccasins and other articles of clothing for her male relatives, or for any who are not well provided. She loves to see her brother the best dressed among the young men, and the moccasins especially of a young brave are the pride of his woman-kind. Her own person is neatly attired, but ordinarily with great simplicity. Her doeskin gown has wide, flowing sleeves; the neck is low, but not so low as is the evening dress of society.

Her moccasins are plain; her leggings close-fitting and not as high as her brother's. She parts her smooth, jet-black hair in the middle and plaits it in two. In the old days she used to do it in one plait wound around with wampum. Her ornaments, sparingly worn, are beads, elks' teeth, and a touch of red paint. No feathers are worn by the woman, unless in a sacred dance. She is supposed to be always occupied with some feminine pursuit or engaged in some social affair, which also is strictly feminine as a rule.

Even her language is peculiar to her sex, some words being used by women only, while others have a feminine termination. There is an etiquette of sitting and standing, which is strictly observed. The woman must never raise her knees or cross her feet when seated. She seats herself on the ground sidewise, with both feet under her.

Notwithstanding her modesty and undemonstrative ways, there is no lack of mirth and relaxation for Winona among her girl companions.

In summer, swimming and playing in the water is a favorite amusement. She even imitates with the soles of her feet the peculiar, resonant sound that the beaver makes with her large, flat tail upon the surface of the water. She is a graceful swimmer, keeping the feet together and waving them backward and forward like the tail of a fish.

Nearly all her games are different from those of the men. She has a sport of wand-throwing which develops fine muscles of the shoulder and back. The wands are about eight feet long, and taper gradually from an inch and a half to half an inch in diameter. Some of them are artistically made, with heads of bone and horn, so that it is remarkable to what a distance they may be made to slide over the ground. In the feminine game of ball, which is something like "shinny," the ball is driven with curved sticks between two goals. It is played with from two or three to a hundred on a side, and a game between two bands or villages is a picturesque event.

A common indoor diversion is the "deers foot" game, played with six deer hoofs on a string, ending in a bone or steel awl. The object is to throw it in such a way as to catch one or more hoofs on the point of the awl, a feat which requires no little dexterity. Another is played with marked plum-stones in a bowl, which are thrown like dice and count according to the side that is turned uppermost.

Winona's wooing is a typical one. As with any other people, love-making is more or less in vogue at all times of the year, but more especially at midsummer, during the characteristic reunions and festivities of that season. The young men go about usually in pairs, and the maidens do likewise. They may meet by chance at any time of day, in the woods or at the spring, but oftenest seek to do so after dark, just outside the teepee. The girl has her companion, and he has his, for the sake of propriety or protection. The conversation is carried on in a whisper, so that even these chaperones do not hear.

At the sound of the drum on summer evenings, dances are begun within the circular rows of tepees, but without the circle the young men promenade in pairs. Each provides himself with the plaintive flute and plays the simple cadences of his people, while his person is completely covered with his fine robe, so that he cannot be recognized by the passerby. At every pause in the melody he gives his yodel-like love-call, to which the girls respond with their musical, sing-song laughter.

Matosapa has loved Winona since the time he saw her at the lakeside in her parlor among the pines. But he has not had much opportunity to speak until on such a night, after the dances are over. There is no outside fire; but a dim light from within the skin tepees sheds a mellow glow over the camp, mingling with the light of a young moon. Thus these lovers go about like ghosts. Matosapa has already circled the tepees with his inseparable brother-friend, Brave Elk.

"Friend, do me an honor to-night!" he exclaims, at last. "Open this first door for me, since this will be the first time I shall speak to a woman!"

"Ah," suggests Brave Elk, "I hope you have selected a girl whose grandmother has no cross dogs!"

"The prize that is won at great risk is usually valued most," replies Matosapa.

"Ho, kola! I shall touch the door-flap as softly as the swallow alight upon her nest. But I warn you, do not let your heart beat too loudly, for the old woman's ears are still good!"

So, joking and laughing, they proceed toward a large buffalo tent with a horse's tail suspended from the highest pole to indicate the rank of the owner. They have ceased to blow the flute some paces back, and walk noiselessly as a panther in quest of a doe.

Brave Elk opens the door. Matosapa enters the tent. As was the wont of the Sioux, the well-born maid has a little teepee within a teepee -- a private apartment of her own. He passes the sleeping family to this inner shrine. There he gently awakens Winona with proper apologies. This is not unusual or strange to her innocence, for it was the custom of the people. He sits at the door, while his friend waits outside, and tells his love in a whisper.

To this she does not reply at once; even if she loves him, it is proper that she should be silent. The lover does not know whether he is favorably received or not, upon this his first visit. He must now seek her outside upon every favorable occasion. No gifts are offered at this stage of the affair; the trafficking in ponies and "buying" a wife is entirely a modern custom.

Matosapa has improved every opportunity, until Winona has at last shyly admitted her willingness to listen. For a whole year he has been compelled at intervals to repeat the story of his love. Through the autumn hunting of the buffalo and the long, cold winter he often presents her kinsfolk with his game.

At the next midsummer the parents on both sides are made acquainted with the betrothal, and they at once begin preparations for the coming wedding. Provisions and delicacies of all kinds are laid aside for a feast. Matosapa's sisters and his girl cousins are told of the approaching event, and they too prepare for it, since it is their duty to dress or adorn the bride with garments made by their own hands.

With the Sioux of the old days, the great natural crises of human life, marriage and birth, were considered sacred and hedged about with great privacy. Therefore the union is publicly celebrated after and not before its consummation. Suddenly the young couple disappear. They go out into the wilderness together, and spend some days or weeks away from the camp. This is their honeymoon, away from all curious or prying eyes. In due time they quietly return, he to his home and she to hers, and now at last the marriage is announced and invitations are given to the feast.

The bride is ceremoniously delivered to her husband's people, together with presents of rich clothing collected from all her clan, which she afterward distributes among her new relations. Winona is carried in a travois handsomely decorated, and is received with equal ceremony. For several days following she is dressed and painted by the female relatives of the groom, each in her turn, while in both clans the wedding feast is celebrated.

To illustrate womanly nobility of nature, let me tell the story of Dowanhotaninwin, Her-Singing-Heard. The maiden was deprived of both father and mother when scarcely ten years old, by an attack of the Sacs and Foxes while they were on a hunting expedition. Left alone with her grandmother, she was carefully reared and trained by this sage of the wild life.

Nature had given her more than her share of attractiveness, and she was womanly and winning as she was handsome. Yet she remained unmarried for nearly thirty years -- a most unusual thing among us; and although she had worthy suitors in every branch of the Sioux nation, she quietly refused every offer.

Certain warriors who had distinguished themselves against the particular tribe who had made her an orphan, persistently sought her hand in marriage, but failed utterly. One summer the Sioux and the Sacs and Foxes were brought together under a flag of truce by the Commissioners of the Great White Father, for the purpose of making a treaty with them. During the short period of friendly intercourse and social dance and feast, a noble warrior of the enemy's tribe courted Dowanhotaninwin.

Several of her old lovers were vying with one another to win her at the same time, that she might have inter-tribal celebration of her wedding. Behold! the maiden accepted the foe of her childhood -- one of those who had cruelly deprived her of her parents! By night she fled to the Sac and Fox camp with her lover. It seemed at first an insult to the Sioux, and there was almost an outbreak among the young men of the tribe, who were barely restrained by their respect for the Commissioners of the Great Father. But her aged grandfather explained the matter publicly in this fashion:

"Young men, hear ye! Your hearts are strong; let them not be troubled by the act of a young woman of your tribe! This has been her secret wish since she became a woman. She deprecates all tribal warfare. Her young heart never forgot its early sorrow; yet she has never blamed the Sacs and Foxes or held them responsible for the deed. She blames rather the customs of war among us. She believes in the formation of a blood brotherhood strong enough to prevent all this cruel and useless enmity. This was her high purpose, and to this end she reserved her hand. Forgive her, forgive her, I pray!"

In the morning there was a great commotion. The herald of the Sacs and Foxes entered the Sioux camp, attired in ceremonial garb and bearing in one hand an American flag and in the other a peace-pipe. He made the rounds singing a peace song, and delivering to all an invitation to attend the wedding feast of Dowanhotaninwin and their chief's son. Thus all was well. The simplicity, high purpose, and bravery of the girl won the hearts of the two tribes, and as long as she lived she was able to keep the peace between them.



 


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Dance In A Buffalo Skull


It was night upon the prairie. Overhead the stars were twinkling bright their red and yellow lights. The moon was young. A silvery thread among the stars, it soon drifted low beneath the horizon. Upon the ground the land was pitchy black.

There are night people on the plain who love the dark. Amid the black level land they meet to frolic under the stars. Then when their sharp ears hear any strange footfalls nigh they scamper away into the deep shadows of night.

There they are safely hid from all dangers, they think.

Thus it was that one very black night, afar off from the edge of the level land, out of the wooded river bottom glided forth two balls of fire. They came farther and farther into the level land. They grew larger and brighter. The dark hid the body of the creature with those fiery eyes. They came on and on, just over the tops of the prairie grass. It might have been a wildcat prowling low on soft, stealthy feet.

Slowly but surely the terrible eyes drew nearer and nearer to the heart of the level land. There in a huge old buffalo skull was a gay feast and dance! Tiny little field mice were singing and dancing in a circle to the boom-boom of a wee, wee drum. They were laughing and talking among themselves while their chosen singers sang loud a merry tune.

They built a small open fire within the center of their queer dance house. The light streamed out of the buffalo skull through all the curious sockets and holes. A light on the plain in the middle of the night was an unusual thing.

But so merry were the mice they did not hear the "king, king" of sleepy birds, disturbed by the unaccustomed fire.

A pack of wolves, fearing to come nigh this night fire, stood together a little distance away, and, turning their pointed noses to the stars, howled and yelped most dismally. Even the cry of the wolves was unheeded by the mice within the lighted buffalo skull.

They were feasting and dancing; they were singing and laughing--those funny little furry fellows. All the while across the dark from out the low river bottom came that pair of fiery eyes. Now closer and more swift, now fiercer and glaring, the eyes moved toward the buffalo skull. All unconscious of those fearful eyes, the happy mice nibbled at dried roots and venison. The singers had started another song.

The drummers beat the time, turning their heads from side to side in rhythm. In a ring around the fire hopped the mice, each bouncing hard on his two hind feet. Some carried their tails over their arms, while others trailed them proudly along. Ah, very near are those round yellow eyes! Very low to the ground they seem to creep--creep toward the buffalo skull.

All of a sudden they slide into the eye-sockets of the old skull. "Spirit of the buffalo!" squeaked a frightened mouse as he jumped out from a hole in the back part of the skull.

"A cat! A cat!" cried other mice as they scrambled out of holes both large and snug. Noiseless they ran away into the dark.

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Iktomi And The Coyote


Afar off upon a large level land, a summer sun was shining bright. Here and there over the rolling green were tall bunches of coarse gray weeds. Iktomi in his fringed buckskins walked alone across the prairie with a black bare head glossy in the sunlight.

He walked through the grass without following any well-worn footpath. From one large bunch of coarse weeds to another he wound his way about the great plain. He lifted his foot lightly and placed it gently forward like a wildcat prowling noiselessly through the thick grass. He stopped a few steps away from a very large bunch of wild sage.

From shoulder to shoulder he tilted his head. Still farther he bent from side to side, first low over one hip and then over the other. Far forward he stooped, stretching his long thin neck like a duck, to see what lay under a fur coat beyond the bunch of coarse grass. A sleek gray-faced prairie wolf!

His pointed black nose tucked in between his four feet drawn snugly together; his handsome bushy tail wound over his nose and feet; a coyote fast asleep in the shadow of a bunch of grass! - this is what Iktomi spied.

Carefully he raised one foot and cautiously reached out with his toes. Gently, gently he lifted the foot behind and placed it before the other. Thus he came nearer and nearer to the round fur ball lying motionless under the sage grass. Now Iktomi stood beside it, looking at the closed eyelids that did not quiver the least bit.

Pressing his lips into straight lines and nodding his head slowly, he bent over the wolf. He held his ear close to the coyote's nose, but not a breath of air stirred from it. "Dead!" said he at last. "Dead, but not long since he ran over these plains! See! there in his paw is caught a fresh feather. He is nice fat meat!"

Taking hold of the paw with the bird feather fast on it, he exclaimed, "Why, he is still warm! I'll carry him to my dwelling and have a roast for my evening meal. Ah-ha!" he laughed, as he seized the coyote by its two fore paws and its two hind feet and swung him over head across his shoulders.

The wolf was large and the teepee was far across the prairie. Iktomi trudged along with his burden, smacking his hungry lips together. He blinked his eyes hard to keep out the salty perspiration streaming down his face. All the while the coyote on his back lay gazing into the sky with wide open eyes. His long white teeth fairly gleamed as he smiled and smiled. "To ride on one's own feet is tiresome, but to be carried like a warrior from a brave fight is great fun!" said the coyote in his heart."

He had never been borne on any one's back before and the new experience delighted him. He lay there lazily on Iktomi's shoulders, now and then blinking blue winks. Did you never see a birdie blink a blue wink? This is how it first became a saying among the plains people.

When a bird stands aloof watching your strange ways, a thin bluish white tissue slips quickly over his eyes and as quickly off again; so quick that you think it was only a mysterious blue wink. Sometimes when children grow drowsy they blink blue winks, while others who are too proud to look with friendly eyes upon people blink in this cold bird-manner.

The coyote was affected by both sleepiness and pride. His winks were almost as blue as the sky. In the midst of his new pleasure the swaying motion ceased. Iktomi had reached his dwelling place.

The coyote felt drowsy no longer, for in the next instant he was slipping out of Iktomi's hands. He was falling, falling through space, and then he struck the ground with such a bump he did not wish to breathe for a while. He wondered what Iktomi would do, thus he lay still where he fell. Humming a dance-song, one from his bundle of mystery songs, Iktomi hopped and darted about at an imaginary dance and feast.

He gathered dry willow sticks and broke them in two against his knee. He built a large fire out of doors. The flames leaped up high in red and yellow streaks. Now Iktomi returned to the coyote who had been looking on through his eyelashes.

Taking him again by his paws and hind feet, he swung him to and fro. Then as the wolf swung toward the red flames, Iktomi let him go. Once again the coyote fell through space. Hot air smote his nostrils. He saw red dancing fire, and now he struck a bed of cracking embers.

With a quick turn he leaped out of the flames. From his heels were scattered a shower of red coals upon Iktomi's bare arms and shoulders.

Dumbfounded, Iktomi thought he saw a spirit walk out of his fire.

His jaws fell apart. He thrust a palm to his face, hard over his mouth!

He could scarce keep from shrieking. Rolling over and over on the grass and rubbing the sides of his head against the ground, the coyote soon put out the fire on his fur. Iktomi's eyes were almost ready to jump out of his head as he stood cooling a burn on his brown arm with his breath.

Sitting on his haunches, on the opposite side of the fire from where Iktomi stood, the coyote began to laugh at him. "Another day, my friend, do not take too much for granted. Make sure the enemy is stone dead before you make a fire!"

Then off he ran so swiftly that his long bushy tail hung out in a straight line with his back

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Iktomi And The Ducks


One day Iktomi sat hungry within his teepee. Suddenly he rushed out, dragging after him his blanket. Quickly spreading it on the ground, he tore up dry tall grass with both his hands and tossed it fast into the blanket.

Tying all the four corners together in a knot, he threw the light bundle of grass over his shoulder. Snatching up a slender willow stick with his free left hand, he started off with a hop and a leap. From side to side bounced, the bundle on his back, as he ran light-footed over the uneven ground.

Soon he came to the edge of the great level land. On the hilltop he paused for breath. With wicked smacks of his dry parched lips, as if tasting some tender meat, he looked straight into space toward the marshy river bottom. With a thin palm shading his eyes from the western sun, he peered far away into the lowlands, munching his own cheeks all the while.

"Ah-ha!" grunted he, satisfied with what he saw. A group of wild ducks were dancing and feasting in the marshes. With wings outspread, tip to tip, they moved up and down in a large circle. Within the ring, around a small drum, sat the chosen singers, nodding their heads and blinking their eyes.

They sang in unison a merry dance-song, and beat a lively tattoo on the drum.
Following a winding footpath near by, came a bent figure of a Lakota brave. He bore on his back a very large bundle. With a willow cane he propped himself up as he staggered along beneath his burden.

"Ho! who is there?" called out a curious old duck, still bobbing up and down in the circular dance. Hereupon the drummers stretched their necks till they strangled their song for a look at the stranger passing by.

"Ho, Iktomi! Old fellow, pray tell us what you carry in your blanket. Do not hurry off! Stop! halt!" urged one of the singers.

"Stop! stay! Show us what is in your blanket!" cried out other voices.

"My friends, I must not spoil your dance. Oh, you would not care to see if you only knew what is in my blanket. Sing on! dance on! I must not show you what I carry on my back," answered Iktomi, nudging his own sides with his elbows.

This reply broke up the ring entirely. Now all the ducks crowded about Iktomi. "We must see what you carry! We must know what is in your blanket!" they shouted in both his ears. Some even brushed their wings against the mysterious bundle.

Nudging himself again, wily Iktomi said, "My friends, 't is only a pack of songs I carry in my
blanket."

"Oh, then let us hear your songs!" cried the curious ducks.

At length Iktomi consented to sing his songs. With delight all the ducks flapped their wings and cried together, "Hoye! hoye!" Iktomi, with great care, laid down his bundle on the ground.
"I will build first a round straw house, for I never sing my songs in the open air," said he.

Quickly he bent green willow sticks, planting both ends of each pole into the earth. These he covered thick with reeds and grasses. Soon the straw hut was ready. One by one the fat ducks waddled in through a small opening, which was the only entranceway. Beside the door Iktomi stood smiling, as the ducks, eying his bundle of songs, strutted into the hut.

In a strange low voice Iktomi began his queer old tunes. All the ducks sat round-eyed in a circle about the mysterious singer. It was dim in that straw hut, for Iktomi had not forgot to cover up the small entrance way. All of a sudden his song burst into full voice. As the startled ducks sat uneasily on the ground, Iktomi changed his tune into a minor strain. These were the words he sang:

"Istokmus wacipo, tuwayatunwanpi kinhan ista nishashapi kta," which is, "With eyes closed you must dance. He who dares to open his eyes, forever red eyes shall have."

Up rose the circle of seated ducks and holding their wings close against their sides began to dance to the rhythm of Iktomi's song and drum. With eyes closed they did dance! Iktomi ceased to beat his drum. He began to sing louder and faster. He seemed to be moving about in the center of the ring.

No duck dared blink a wink. Each one shut his eyes very tight and danced even harder. Up and down! Shifting to the right of them they hopped round and round in that blind dance. It was a difficult dance for the curious folk.

At length one of the dancers could close his eyes no longer! It was a Skiska who peeped the least tiny blink at Iktomi within the center of the circle. "Oh! oh!" squawked he in awful terror! "Run! fly! Iktomi is twisting your heads and breaking your necks! Run out and fly! fly!" he cried. Hereupon the ducks opened their eyes.

There beside Iktomi's bundle of songs lay half of their crowd - flat on their backs. Out they flew through the opening Skiska had made as he rushed forth with his alarm. But as they soared high into the blue sky they cried to one another: "Oh! your eyes are red-red!" "And yours are red-red!" For the warning words of the magic minor strain had proven true.

"Ah-ha!" laughed Iktomi, untying the four corners of his blanket, "I shall sit no more hungry within my dwelling." Homeward he trudged along with nice fat ducks in his blanket. He left the little straw hut for the rains and winds to pull down. Having reached his own teepee on the high level lands, Iktomi kindled a large fire out of doors. He planted sharp-pointed sticks around the leaping flames. On each stake he fastened a duck to roast. A few he buried under the ashes to bake.

Disappearing within his teepee, he came out again with some huge seashells. These were his dishes. Placing one under each roasting duck, he muttered, "The sweet fat oozing out will taste well with the hard-cooked breasts."

Heaping more willows upon the fire, Iktomi sat down on the ground with crossed legs. A long chin between his knees pointed toward the red flames, while his eyes were on the browning ducks. Just above his ankles he clasped and un clasped his long bony fingers. Now and then he sniffed impatiently the savory odor.

The brisk wind which stirred the fire also played with a squeaky old tree beside Iktomi's wigwam. From side to side the tree was swaying and crying in an old man's voice, "Help! I'll break! I'll fall!"

Iktomi shrugged his great shoulders, but did not once take his eyes from the ducks. The dripping of amber oil into pearly dishes, drop by drop, pleased his hungry eyes.

Still the old tree man called for help. "He! What sound is it that makes my ear ache!" exclaimed Iktomi, holding a hand on his ear. He rose and looked around. The squeaking came from the tree. Then he began climbing the tree to find the disagreeable sound. He placed his foot right on a cracked limb without seeing it. Just then a whiff of wind came rushing by and pressed together the broken edges. There in a strong wooden hand Iktomi's foot was
caught.

"Oh! my foot is crushed!" he howled like a coward. In vain he pulled and puffed to free himself.

While sitting a prisoner on the tree he spied, through his tears, a pack of gray wolves roaming over the level lands. Waving his hands toward them, he called in his loudest voice, "He! Gray
wolves! Don't you come here! I'm caught fast in the tree so that my duck feast is getting cold. Don't you come to eat up my meal."

The leader of the pack upon hearing Iktomi's words turned to his comrades and said: "Ah! hear the foolish fellow! He says he has a duck feast to be eaten! Let us hurry there for our share!"

Away bounded the wolves toward Iktomi's lodge. From the tree Iktomi watched the hungry wolves eat up his nicely browned fat ducks. His foot pained him more and more. He heard them crack the small round bones with their strong long teeth and eat out the oily marrow.

Now severe pains shot up from his foot through his whole body. "Hin-hin-hin!" sobbed Iktomi. Real tears washed brown streaks across his red-painted cheeks.

Smacking their lips, the wolves began to leave the place, when Iktomi cried out like a pouting child, "At least you have left my baking under the ashes!"

"Ho! Po!" shouted the mischievous wolves; "he shays more ducks are to be found under the ashes! Come! Let us have our fill this once!" Running back to the dead fire, they pawed out the ducks with such rude haste that a cloud of ashes rose like gray smoke over them.

"Hin-hin-hin!" moaned Iktomi, when the wolves had scampered off. All too late, the sturdy breeze returned, and, passing by, pulled apart the broken edges of the tree. Iktomi was released. But alas! he had no duck feast.

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Iktomi And The Fawn


In one of his wanderings through the wooded lands, Iktomi saw a rare bird sitting high in a tree-top. Its long fan-like tail feathers had caught all the beautiful colors of the rainbow. Handsome in the glistening summer sun sat the bird of rainbow plumage.

Iktomi hurried hither with his eyes fast on the bird. He stood beneath the tree looking long and wistfully at the peacock's bright feathers.

At length he heaved a sigh and began: "Oh, I wish I had such pretty feathers! How I wish I were not I! If only I were a handsome feathered creature how happy I would be! I'd be so glad to sit upon a very high tree and bask in the summer sun like you!" said he suddenly, pointing his bony finger up toward the peacock, who was eying the stranger below, turning his head from side to side. "I beg of you make me into a bird with green and purple feathers like yours!" implored Iktomi, tired now of playing the brave in beaded buckskins.

The peacock then spoke to Iktomi: "I have a magic power. My touch will change you in a moment into the most beautiful peacock if you can keep one condition."

"Yes! yes!" shouted Iktomi, jumping up and down, patting his lips with his palm, which caused his voice to vibrate in a peculiar fashion.

"Yes! yes! I could keep ten conditions if only you would change me into a bird with long, bright tail feathers. Oh, I am so ugly! I am so tired of being myself! Change me! Do!"

Hereupon the peacock spread out both his wings, and scarce moving them, he sailed slowly down upon the ground. Right beside Iktomi he alighted. Very low in Iktomi's ear the peacock whispered, "Are you willing to keep one condition, though hard it be?"

"Yes! yes! I've told you ten of them if need be!" exclaimed Iktomi, with some impatience.

"Then I pronounce you a handsome feathered bird. No longer are you Iktomi the mischief-maker." saying this the peacock touched Iktomi with the tips of his wings. Iktomi vanished at the touch. There stood beneath the tree two handsome peacocks. While one of the pair strutted about with a head turned aside as if dazzled by his own bright-tinted tail feathers, the other bird soared slowly upward.

He sat quiet and unconscious of his gay plumage. He seemed content to perch there on a large limb in the warm sunshine. After a little while the vain peacock, dizzy with his bright colors, spread out his wings and lit on the shame branch with the elder bird. "Oh!" he exclaimed, "how hard to fly! Brightly tinted feathers are handsome, but I wish they were light enough to fly!"

Just there the elder bird interrupted him. "That is the one condition. Never try to fly like other birds. Upon the day you try to fly you shall be changed into your former self."

"Oh, what a shame that bright feathers cannot fly into the sky!" cried the peacock. Already he grew restless. He longed to soar through space. He yearned to fly above the trees high upward to the sun.

"Oh, there I see a flock of birds flying thither! Oh! oh!" said he, flapping his wings, "I must try my wings! I am tired of bright tail feathers. I want to try my wings."

"No, no!" clucked the elder bird. The flock of chattering birds flew by with whirring wings.

"Oop! Oop!" called some to their mates.

Possessed by an irrepressible impulse the Iktomi peacock called out, "He! I want to come! Wait for me!" and with that he gave a lunge into the air. The flock of flying feathers wheeled about and lowered over the tree whence came the peacock's cry.

Only one rare bird sat on the tree, and beneath, on the ground, stood a brave in brown buckskins. "I am my old self again!" groaned Iktomi in a shad voice.

"Make me over, pretty bird. Try me this once again!" he pleaded in vain.

"Old Iktomi wants to fly! Ah! We cannot wait for him!" sang the birds as they flew away.

Muttering unhappy vows to himself, Iktomi had not gone far when he chanced upon a bunch of long slender arrows. One by one they rose in the air and shot a straight line over the prairie. Others shot up into the blue sky and were soon lost to sight.

Only one was left. He was making ready for his flight when Iktomi rushed upon him and wailed, "I want to be an arrow! Make me into an arrow! I want to pierce the blue Blue overhead. I want to strike yonder summer sun in its center. Make me into an arrow!"

"Can you keep a condition? One condition, though hard it be?" the arrow turned to ask.

"Yes! Yes!" shouted Iktomi, delighted.

Hereupon the slender arrow tapped him gently with his sharp flint beak. There was no Iktomi, but two arrows stood ready to fly.

"Now, young arrow, this is the one condition. Your flight must always be in a straight line. Never turn a curve nor jump about like a young fawn," said the arrow magician. He spoke slowly and sternly. At once he set about to teach the new arrow how to shoot in a long straight line. "This is the way to pierce the Blue overhead," said he; and off he spun high into the sky.

While he was gone a herd of deer came trotting by. Behind them played the young fawns together. They frolicked about like kittens. They bounced on all fours like balls. Then they pitched forward, kicking their heels in the air.

The Iktomi arrow watched them so happy on the ground. Looking quickly up into the sky, he said in his heart, "The magician is out of sight. I'll just romp and frolic with these fawns until he returns. Fawns! Friends, do not fear me. I want to jump and leap with you. I long to be happy as you are," said he.

The young fawns stopped with stiff legs and stared at the speaking arrow with large brown wondering eyes.

"See! I can jump as well as you!" went on Iktomi. He gave one tiny leap like a fawn. All of a sudden the fawns snorted with extended nostrils at what they beheld. There among them stood Iktomi in brown buckskins, and the strange talking arrow was gone.

"Oh! I am myself. My old self!" cried Iktomi, pinching himself and plucking imaginary pieces out of his jacket. "Hin-hin-hin! I wanted to fly!"

The real arrow now returned to the earth. He alighted very near Iktomi. From the high sky he had seen the fawns playing on the green. He had seen Iktomi make his one leap, and the charm was broken. Iktomi became his former self. "Arrow, my friend, change me once more!" begged Iktomi.

"No, no more," replied the arrow. Then away he shot through the air in the direction his comrades had flown.

By this time the fawns gathered close around Iktomi. They poked their noses at him trying to know who he was.

Iktomi's tears were like a spring shower. A new desire dried them quickly away. Stepping boldly to the largest fawn, he looked closely at the little brown spots all over the furry face.

"Oh, fawn! What beautiful brown spots on your face! Fawn, dear little fawn, can you tell me how those brown spots were made on your face?"

"Yes," said the fawn. "When I was very, very small, my mother marked them on my face with a red hot fire. She dug a large hole in the ground and made a soft bed of grass and twigs in it. Then she placed me gently there. She covered me over with dry sweet grass and piled dry cedar on top. From a neighbor's fire she brought hither a red, red ember. This she tucked carefully in at my head. This is how the brown spots were made on my face."

"Now, fawn, my friend, will you do the same for me? Won't you mark my face with brown, brown spots just like yours?" asked Iktomi, always eager to be like other people.

"Yes. I can dig the ground and fill it with dry grass and sticks. If you will jump into the pit, I'll cover you with sweet smelling grass and cedar wood," answered the fawn.

"Say," interrupted Iktomi, "will you be sure to cover me with a great deal of dry grass and twigs? You will make sure that the spots will be as brown as those you wear."

"Oh, yes. I'll pile up grass and willows once oftener than my mother did."

"Now let us dig the hole, pull the grass, and gather sticks," cried Iktomi in glee.

Thus with his own hands he aids in making his grave. After the hole was dug and cushioned with grass, Iktomi, muttering something about brown spots, leaped down into it. Lengthwise, flat on his back, he lay.

While the fawn covered him over with cedar, a far-away voice came up through them, "Brown, brown spots to wear forever!" A red ember was tucked under the dry grass. Off scampered the fawns after their mothers; and when a great distance away they looked backward.

They saw a blue smoke rising, writhing upward till it vanished in the blue ether.

"Is that Iktomi's spirit?" asked one fawn of another.

"No! I think he would jump out before he could burn into smoke and cinders," answered his comrade.

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Iktomi And The Muskrat


Beside a white lake, beneath a large grown willow tree, sat Iktomi on the bare ground. The heap of smoldering ashes told of a recent open fire. With ankles crossed together around a pot of soup, Iktomi bent over some delicious boiled fish.

Fast he dipped his black horn spoon into the soup, for he was ravenous. Iktomi had no regular meal times. Often when he was hungry he went without food. Well hidden between the lake and the wild rice, he looked nowhere save into the pot of fish.

Not knowing when the next meal would be, he meant to eat enough now to last some time.

"Hau, hau, my friend!" said a voice out of the wild rice.

Iktomi started. He almost choked with his soup. He peered through the long reeds from where he sat with his long horn spoon in mid-air.

"Hau, my friend!" said the voice again, this time close at his side.

Iktomi turned and there stood a dripping muskrat who had just come out of the lake. "Oh, it is my friend who startled me. I wondered if among the wild rice some spirit voice was talking. Hau, hau, my friend!" said Iktomi.

The muskrat stood smiling. On his lips hung a ready "Yes, my friend," when Iktomi would ask, "My friend, will you sit down beside me and share my food?" That was the custom of the plains people. Yet Iktomi sat silent.

He hummed an old dance-song and beat gently on the edge of the pot with his buffalo-horn spoon. The muskrat began to feel awkward before such lack of hospitality and wished himself under water.

After many heart throbs Iktomi stopped drumming with his horn ladle, and looking upward into the muskrat's face, he said: "My friend, let us run a race to see who shall win this pot of fish. If I win, I shall not need to share it with you. If you win, you shall have half of it." Springing to his feet, Iktomi began at once to tighten the belt about his waist.

"My friend Ikto, I cannot run a race with you! I am not a swift runner, and you are nimble as a deer. We shall not run any race together," answered the hungry muskrat.

For a moment Iktomi stood with a hand on his long protruding chin. His eyes were fixed upon something in the air. The muskrat looked out of the corners of his eyes without moving his head. He watched the wily Iktomi coming up with a plot. "Yes, yes," said Iktomi, suddenly turning his gaze upon the unwelcome visitor; "I shall carry a large stone on my back. That will slacken my usual speed; and the race will be a fair one."

Saying this he laid a firm hand upon the muskrat's shoulder and started off along the edge of the lake. When they reached the opposite side Iktomi pried about in search of a heavy stone. He found one half-buried in the shallow water.

Pulling it out upon dry land, he wrapped it in his blanket. "Now, my friend, you shall run on the left side of the lake, I on the other. The race is for the boiled fish in yonder kettle!" said Iktomi.

The muskrat helped to lift the heavy stone upon Iktomi's back.

Then they parted. Each took a narrow path through the tall reeds fringing the shore. Iktomi found his load a heavy one. Perspiration hung like beads on his brow. His chest heaved hard and fast. He looked across the lake to see how far the muskrat had gone, but nowhere did he see any sign of him.

"Well, he is running low under the wild rice!" said he. Yet as he scanned the tall grasses on the lake shore, he saw not one stir as if to make way for the runner. "Ah, has he gone so fast ahead that the disturbed grasses in his trail have quieted again?" exclaimed Iktomi.

With that thought he quickly dropped the heavy stone. "No more of this!" said he, patting his chest with both hands. Off with a springing bound, he ran swiftly toward the goal. Tufts of reeds and grass fell flat under his feet. Hardly had they raised their heads when Iktomi was many paces gone.

Soon he reached the heap of cold ashes. Iktomi halted stiff as if he had struck an invisible cliff. His black eyes showed a ring of white about them as he stared at the empty ground. There was no pot of boiled fish! There was no water-man in sight!

"Oh, if only I had shared my food like a real Lakota, I would not have lost it all! Why did I not know the muskrat would run through the water? He swims faster than I could ever run! That is what he has done. He has laughed at me for carrying a weight on my back while he shot hither like an arrow!"

Crying thus to himself, Iktomi stepped to the water's brink. He stooped forward with a hand on each bent knee and peeped far into the deep water. "There!" he exclaimed, "I see you, my friend, sitting with your ankles wound around my little pot of fish!

My friend, I am hungry. Give me a bone!"

"Ha! ha! ha!" laughed the water-man, the muskrat.

The sound did not rise up out of the lake, for it came down from overhead. With his hands still on his knees, Iktomi turned his face upward into the great willow tree. Opening wide his mouth he begged, "My friend, my friend, give me a bone to gnaw!"

"Ha! ha!" laughed the muskrat, and leaning over the limb he sat upon, he let fall a small sharp bone which dropped right into Iktomi's throat. Iktomi almost choked to death before he could get it out.

In the tree the muskrat sat laughing loud. "Next time, say to a visiting friend, 'Be seated beside me, my friend. Let me share with you my food.'"

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Iktomi And The Turtle


The huntsman Patkasha (turtle) stood bent over a newly slain deer. The red-tipped arrow he drew from the wounded deer was unlike the arrows in his own quiver. Another's stray shot had killed the deer.

Patkasha had hunted all the morning without so much as spying an ordinary blackbird. At last returning homeward, tired and heavy-hearted that he had no meat for the hungry mouths in his wigwam, he walked slowly with downcast eyes.

Kind ghosts pitied the unhappy hunter and led him to the newly slain deer, that his children should not cry for food. When Patkasha stumbled upon the deer in his path, he exclaimed: "Good spirits have pushed me hither! "Thus he leaned long over the gift of the friendly ghosts.

"Hau, my friend!" said a voice behind his ear, and a hand fell on his shoulder. It was not a spirit this time. It was old Iktomi.

"Hau, Iktomi!" answered Patkasha, still stooping over the deer.

"My friend, you are a skilled hunter," began Iktomi, smiling a thin smile which spread from one ear to the other.

Suddenly raising up his head Patkasha's black eyes twinkled as he asked: "Oh, you really say so?"

"Yes, my friend, you are a skillful fellow. Now let us have a little contest. Let us see who can jump over the deer without touching a hair on his hide," suggested Iktomi.

"Oh, I fear I cannot do it!" cried Patkasha, rubbing his funny, thick palms together.

"Have no cowards doubt, Patkasha. I say you are a skillful fellow who finds nothing hard to do." With these words Iktomi led Patkasha a short distance away. In little puffs Patkasha laughed uneasily. "Now, you may jump first," said Iktomi.

Patkasha, with doubled fists, swung his fat arms to and fro, all the while biting hard his under lip.

Just before the run and leap Iktomi put in: "Let the winner have the deer to eat! "It was too late now to say no. Patkasha was more afraid of being called a coward than of losing the deer.

"Ho-wo," he replied, still working his short arms. At length he started off on the run. So quick and small were his steps that he seemed to be kicking the ground only. Then the leap!

But Patkasha tripped upon a stick and fell hard against the side of the deer.

"He-he-he!" exclaimed Iktomi, pretending disappointment that his friend had fallen. Lifting him to his feet, he said: "Now it is my turn to try the high jump!" Hardly was the last word spoken than Iktomi gave a leap high above the deer. "The game is mine!" laughed he, patting the sullen Patkasha on the back.

"My friend, watch the deer while I go to bring my children," said Iktomi, darting lightly through the tall grass. Patkasha was always ready to believe the words of scheming people and to do the little favors any one asked of him.

However, on this occasion, he did not answer "Yes, my friend." He realized that Iktomi's flattering tongue had made him foolish. He turned up his nose at Iktomi, now almost out of sight, as much as to say: "Oh, no, Iktomi; I do not hear your words!"

Soon there came a murmur of voices. The sound of laughter grew louder and louder. All of a sudden it became hushed. Old Iktomi led his young Iktomi brood to the place where he had left the turtle, but it was vacant. Nowhere was there any sign of Patkasha or the deer.

Then the babes did howl!

"Be still!" said father Iktomi to his children. "I know where Patkasha lives. Follow me. I shall take you to the turtle's dwelling."

He ran along a narrow footpath toward the creek nearby. Close upon his heels came his children with tear-streaked faces.

"There!" said Iktomi in a loud whisper as he gathered his little ones on the bank. "There is Patkasha broiling venison! There is his teepee, and the savory fire is in his front yard! "The young Iktomi stretched their necks and rolled their round black eyes like newly hatched birds.

They peered into the water. "Now, I will cool Patkasha's fire. I shall bring you the broiled venison. Watch closely. When you see the black coals rise to the surface of the water, clap your hands and shout aloud, for soon after that sign I shall return to you with some tender meat."

Thus saying Iktomi plunged into the creek.

Splash! Splash!

The water leaped upward into spray. Scarcely had it become leveled and smooth than there bubbled up many black spots. The creek was seething with the dancing of round black things.

"The cooled fire! The coals!" laughed the brood of Iktomi. Clapping together their little hands, they chased one another along the edge of the creek. They shouted and hooted with great glee.

"Alas!" said a gruff voice across the water. It was Patkasha. In a large willow tree leaning far over the water he sat upon a large limb.

On the very same branch was a bright burning fire over which Patkasha broiled the venison. By this time the water was calm again. No more danced those black spots on its surface, for they were the toes of old Iktomi.

He was drowned. The Iktomi children hurried away from the creek, crying and calling for their water-dead father.

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Iktomi


Iktomi is a spider fairy. He wears brown deerskin leggings with long soft fringes on either side, and tiny beaded moccasins on his feet.

His long black hair is parted in the middle and wrapped with red, red bands. Each round braid hangs over a small brown ear and falls forward over his shoulders.

He even paints his funny face with red and yellow, and draws big black rings around his eyes. He wears a deerskin jacket, with bright colored beads sewed tightly on it. Iktomi dresses like a real Lakota brave. In truth, his paint and deerskins are the best part of him--if ever dress is part of man or fairy.

Iktomi is a wily fellow. His hands are always kept in mischief. He prefers to spread a snare rather than to earn the smallest thing with honest hunting. Why! he laughs outright with wide open mouth when some simple folk are caught in a trap, sure and fast.

He never dreams another lives so bright as he. Often his own conceit leads him hard against the common sense of simpler people. Poor Iktomi cannot help being a little imp. And so long as he is a naughty fairy, he cannot find a single friend.

No one helps him when he is in trouble. No one really loves him. Those who come to admire his handsome beaded jacket and long fringed leggings soon go away sick and tired of his vain, vain words and heartless laughter.

Thus Iktomi lives alone in a cone-shaped wigwam upon the plain

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Iktomis' Blanket


Alone within his teepee sat Iktomi. The sun was but a hands breadth from the western edge of land. "Those, bad, bad gray wolves! They ate up all my nice fat ducks!" muttered he, rocking his body to and fro. He was cuddling the evil memory he bore those hungry wolves.

At last he ceased to sway his body backward and forward, but sat still and stiff as a stone image. "Oh! I'll go to Inyan, the great-grandfather, and pray for food!" he exclaimed. At once he hurried forth from his teepee and, with his blanket over one shoulder, drew nigh to a huge rock on a hillside. With half-crouching, half-running strides, he fell upon Inyan with outspread hands.

"Grandfather! pity me. I am hungry. I am starving. Give me food. Great-grandfather, give me meat to eat!" he cried. All the while he stroked and caressed the face of the great stone god.

The all-powerful Great Spirit, who makes the trees and grass, can hear the voice of those who pray in many varied ways. The hearing of Inyan, the large hard stone, was the one most sought after. He was the great-grandfather, for he had sat upon the hillside many, many seasons. He had seen the prairie put on a snow-white blanket and then change it for a bright green robe more than a thousand times.

Still unaffected by the myriad moons he rested on the everlasting hill, listening to the prayers of Indian warriors. Before the finding of the magic arrow he had sat there. Now, as Iktomi prayed and wept before the great-grandfather, the sky in the west was red like a glowing face. The sunset poured a soft mellow light upon the huge gray stone and the solitary figure beside it. It was the smile of the Great Spirit upon the grandfather and the wayward child.

The prayer was heard. Iktomi knew it.

"Now, grandfather, accept my offering; 'tis all I have," said Iktomi as he spread his half-worn blanket upon Inyan's cold shoulders. Then Iktomi, happy with the smile of the sunset sky, followed a footpath leading toward a thicketed ravine. He had not gone many paces into the shrubbery when before him lay a freshly wounded deer!

"This is the answer from the red western sky!" cried Iktomi with hands uplifted. Slipping a long thin blade from out his belt, he cut large chunks of choice meat. Sharpening some willow sticks, he planted them around a wood-pile he had ready to kindle. On these stakes he meant to roast the venison.

While he was rubbing briskly two long sticks to start a fire, the sun in the west fell out of the sky below the edge of land. Twilight was over all. Iktomi felt the cold night air upon his bare neck and shoulders. "Ough!" he shivered as he wiped his knife on the grass. Tucking it in a beaded case hanging from his belt, Iktomi stood erect, looking about. He shivered again.

"Ough! Ah! I am cold. I wish I had my blanket!" whispered he, hovering over the pile of dry sticks and the sharp stakes round about it. Suddenly he paused and dropped his hands at his sides.

"The old great-grandfather does not feel the cold as I do. He does not need my old blanket as I do. I wish I had not given it to him. Oh! I think I'll run up there and take it back!" said he, pointing his long chin toward the large gray stone.

Iktomi, in the warm sunshine, had no need of his blanket, and it had been very easy to part with a thing which he could not miss. But the chilly night wind quite froze his ardent thank-offering. Thus running up the hillside, his teeth chattering all the way, he drew near to Inyan, the sacred symbol.

Seizing one corner of the half-worn blanket, Iktomi pulled it off with a jerk. "Give my blanket back, old grandfather! You do not need it. I do!"

This was very wrong, yet Iktomi did it, for his wit was not wisdom. Drawing the blanket tight over his shoulders, he descended the hill with hurrying feet. He was soon upon the edge of the ravine.

A young moon, like a bright bent bow, climbed up from the southwest horizon a little way into the sky. In this pale light Iktomi stood motionless as a ghost amid the thicket. His woodpile was not yet kindled. His pointed stakes were still bare as he had left them. But where was the deer - the venison he had felt warm in his hands a moment ago?

It was gone.

Only the dry rib bones lay on the ground like giant fingers from an open grave. Iktomi was troubled. At length, stooping over the white dried bones, he took hold of one and shook it. The bones, loose in their sockets, rattled together at his touch. Iktomi let go his hold. He sprang back amazed. And though he wore a blanket his teeth chattered more than ever.

Then his blunted sense will surprise you, little reader; for instead of being grieved that he had taken back his blanket, he cried aloud, "Hin-hin-hin! If only I had eaten the venison before going for my blanket!"

Those tears no longer moved the hand of the Generous Giver. They were selfish tears. The Great Spirit does not heed them ever.

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Lya, The Camp Eater


From the tall grass came the voice of a crying babe. The hunts men who were passing nigh heard and halted. The tallest one among them hastened toward the high grass with long, cautious strides. He waded through the growth of green with just a head above it all.

Suddenly exclaiming "Hunhe!" he dropped out of sight. In another instant he held up in both his hands a tiny little baby, wrapped in soft brown buckskins.

"Oh ho, a wood-child!" cried the men, for they were hunting along the wooded river bottom where this babe was found. While the hunters were questioning whether or no they should carry it home, the wee Indian baby kept up his little howl.

"His voice is strong!" said one.

"At times it sounds like an old man's voice!" whispered a superstitious fellow, who feared some bad spirit hid in the small child to cheat them by and by.

"Let us take it to our wise chieftain," at length they said; and the moment they started toward the camp ground the strange wood-child ceased to cry.

Beside the chieftain's teepee waited the hunters while the tall man entered with the child.

"Hau! hau!" nodded the kind-faced chieftain, listening to the queer story. Then rising, he took the infant in his strong arms; gently he laid the black-eyed babe in his daughter's lap.

"This is to be your little son!" said he, smiling.

"Yes, father," she replied. Pleased with the child, she smoothed the long black hair fringing his round brown face.

"Tell the people that I give a feast and dance this day for the naming of my daughter's little son," bade the chieftain.

In the meanwhile among the men waiting by the entrance way, one said in a low voice: "I have heard that bad spirits come as little children into a camp which they mean to destroy."

"No! no! Let us not be overcautious. It would be cowardly to leave a baby in the wild wood where prowl the hungry wolves!" answered an elderly man.

The tall man now came out of the chieftain's teepee. With a word he sent them to their dwellings half running with joy. "A feast! a dance for the naming of the chieftain's grandchild!" cried he in a loud voice to the village people.

"What? what?" asked they in great surprise, holding a hand to the ear to catch the words of the crier. There was a momentary silence among the people while they listened to the ringing voice of the man walking in the center ground.

Then broke forth a rippling, laughing babble among the cone-shaped tepees . All were glad to hear of the chieftain's grandson. They were happy to attend the feast and dance for its naming. With excited fingers they twisted their hair into glossy braids and painted their cheeks with bright red paint.

To and fro hurried the women, handsome in their gala-day dress. Men in loose deerskins, with long tinkling metal fringes, strode in small numbers toward the center of the round camp ground. Here underneath a temporary shade-house of green leaves they were to dance and feast.

The children in deerskins and paints, just like their elders, were jolly little men and women. Beside their eager parents they skipped along toward the green dance house. Here seated in a large circle, the people were assembled, the proud chieftain rose with the little baby in his arms. The noisy hum of voices was hushed. Not a tinkling of a metal fringe broke the silence.

The crier came forward to greet the chieftain, then bent attentively over the small babe, listening to the words of the chieftain. When he paused the crier spoke aloud to the people: "This woodland child is adopted by the chieftain's eldest daughter. His name is Chaske. He wears the title of the eldest son. In honor of Chaske the chieftain gives this feast and dance! These are the words of him you see holding a baby in his arms."

"Yes! Yes! Hinnu! How!" came from the circle.

At once the drummers beat softly and slowly their drum while the chosen singers hummed together to find the common pitch. The beat of the drum grew louder and faster. The singers burst forth in a lively tune.

Then the drum beats subsided and faintly marked the rhythm of the singing. Here and there bounced up men and women, both young and old. They danced and sang with merry light hearts.

Then came the hour of feasting. Late into the night the air of the camp ground was alive with the laughing voices of women and the singing in unison of young men.

Within her father's teepee sat the chieftain's daughter. Proud of her little one, she watched over him asleep in her lap. Gradually a deep quiet stole over the camp ground, as one by one the people fell into pleasant dreams.

Now all the village was still.

Alone sat the beautiful young mother watching the babe in her lap, asleep with a gaping little mouth. Amid the quiet of the night, her ear heard the far-off hum of many voices. The faint sound of murmuring people was in the air. Upward she glanced at the smoke hole of the wigwam and saw a bright star peeping down upon her. "Spirits in the air above?" she wondered. Yet there was no sign to tell her of their nearness.

The fine small sound of voices grew larger and nearer. "Father! rise! I hear the coming of some tribe. Hostile or friendly--I cannot tell. Rise and see!" whispered the young woman.

"Yes, my daughter!" answered the chieftain, springing to his feet. Though asleep, his ear was ever alert. Thus rushing out into the open, he listened for strange sounds. With an eagle eye he scanned the camp ground for some sign. Returning he said: "My daughter, I hear nothing and see no sign of evil nigh."

"Oh! the sound of many voices comes up from the earth about me!" exclaimed the young mother. Bending low over her babe she gave ear to the ground. Horrified was she to find the mysterious sound came out of the open mouth of her sleeping child!

"Why so unlike other babes!" she cried within her heart as she slipped him gently from her lap to the ground. "Mother, listen and tell me if this child is an evil spirit come to destroy our camp!" she whispered loud.

Placing an ear close to the open baby mouth, the chieftain and his wife, each in turn heard the voices of a great camp. The singing of men and women, the beating of the drum, the rattling of deer-hoofs strung like bells on a string, these were the sounds they heard.

"We must go away," said the chieftain, leading them into the night. Out in the open he whispered to the frightened young woman: "Lya, the camp-eater, has come in the guise of a babe. Had you gone to sleep, he would have jumped out into his own shape and would have devoured our camp. He is a giant with spindling legs. He cannot fight, for he cannot run. He is powerful only in the night with his tricks. We are safe as soon as day breaks."

Then moving closer to the woman, he whispered: "If he wakes now, he will swallow the whole tribe with one hideous gulp! Come, we must flee with our people." Thus creeping from teepee to teepee a secret alarm signal was given. At midnight the tepees were gone and there was left no sign of the village shave heaps of dead ashes.

So quietly had the people folded their wigwam and bundled their tent poles that they slipped away unheard by the sleeping Lya babe. When the morning sun arose, the babe awoke.

Seeing himself deserted, he threw off his baby form in a hot rage. Wearing his own ugly shape, his huge body toppled to and fro, from side to side, on a pair of thin legs far too small for their burden. Though with every move he came dangerously nigh to falling, he followed in the trail of the fleeing people.

"I shall eat you in the sight of a noon-day sun!" cried Lya in his vain rage, when he spied them encamped beyond a river. By some unknown cunning he swam the river and sought his way toward the teepees.

"Hin! hin!" he grunted and growled. With perspiration beading his brow he strove to wiggle his slender legs beneath his giant form.

"Ha! ha!" laughed all the village people to see Iya made foolish with anger. "Such spindle legs cannot stand to fight by daylight!" shouted the brave ones who were terror-struck the night before by the name "Lya."

Warriors with long knives rushed forth and slew the camp-eater. Lo! there rose out of the giant a whole Indian tribe: their camp ground, their teepees in a large circle, and the people laughing and dancing.

"We are glad to be free!" said these strange people. Thus Iya was killed; and no more are the camp grounds in danger of being swallowed up in a single night.

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Manstin, The Rabbit


Manstin was an adventurous brave, but very kind-hearted. Stamping a moccasin clad foot as he drew on his buckskin leggings, he said: "Grandmother, beware of Iktomi! Do not let him lure you into some cunning trap. I am going to the North country on a long hunt."

With these words of caution to the bent old rabbit grandmother with whom he had lived since he was a tiny babe, Manstin started off toward the north. He was scarce over the great high hills when he heard the shrieking of a human child. "Wan!" he said, pointing his long ears toward the direction of the sound; "Wan! that is the work of cruel Double-Face. Shameless coward! he delights in torturing helpless creatures!"

Muttering indistinct words, Manstin ran up the last hill and lo! in the ravine beyond stood the terrible monster with a face in front and one in the back of his head!

This brown giant was without clothes save for a wild-cat-skin about his loins. With a wicked gleaming eye, he watched the little black-haired baby he held in his strong arm. In a laughing voice he hummed an Indian mother's lullaby, "A-boo! A-boo!" and at the same time he switched the naked baby with a thorny wild-rose bush.

Quickly Manstin jumped behind a large sage bush on the brow of the hill. He bent his bow and the sinewy string twang ed. Now an arrow stuck above the ear of Double-Face. It was a poisoned arrow, and the giant fell dead. Then Manstin took the little brown baby and hurried away from the ravine.

Soon he came to a teepee from whence loud wailing voices broke. It was the teepee of the stolen baby and the mourners were its heart-broken parents. When gallant Manstin returned the child to the eager arms of the mother there came a sudden terror into the eyes of both the Lakotas. They feared lest it was Double-Face come in a new guise to torture them.

The rabbit understood their fear and said: "I am Manstin, the kind-hearted,--Manstin, the noted huntsman. I am your friend. Do not fear."

That night a strange thing happened. While the father and mother slept, Manstin took the wee baby. With his feet placed gently yet firmly upon the tiny toes of the little child, he drew upward by each small hand the sleeping child till he was a full- grown man. With a forefinger he traced a slit in the upper lip; and when on the morrow the man and woman awoke they could not distinguish their own son from Manstin, so much alike were the braves.

"Henceforth we are friends, to help each other," said Manstin, shaking a right hand in farewell. "The earth is our common ear, to carry from its uttermost extremes one's slightest wish for the other!"

"Ho! Be it so!" answered the newly made man. Upon leaving his friend, Manstin hurried away toward the North country whither he was bound for a long hunt. Suddenly he came upon the edge of a wide brook. His alert eye caught sight of a rawhide rope staked to the water's brink, which led away toward a small round hut in the distance. The ground was trodden into a deep groove beneath the loosely drawn rawhide rope.

"Hun-he!" exclaimed Manstin, bending over the freshly made footprints in the moist bank of the brook. "A man's footprints!" he said to himself. "A blind man lives in yonder hut! This rope is his guide by which he comes for his daily water!" surmised Manstin, who knew all the peculiar contrivances of the people.

At once his eyes became fixed upon the solitary dwelling and hither he followed his curiosity,--a real blind man's rope. Quietly he lifted the door-flap and entered in. An old toothless grandfather, blind and shaky with age, sat upon the ground. He was not deaf however. He heard the entrance and felt the presence of some stranger.

"Hau, grandchild," he mumbled, for he was old enough to be grandparent to every living thing, "hau! I cannot see you. Pray, speak your name!"

"Grandfather, I am Manstin," answered the rabbit, all the while looking with curious eyes about the wigwam.

"Grandfather, what is it so tightly packed in all these buckskin bags placed against the tent poles?" he asked.

"My grandchild, those are dried buffalo meat and venison. These are magic bags which never grow empty. I am blind and cannot go on a hunt. Hence a kind Maker has given me these magic bags of choicest foods."

Then the old, bent man pulled at a rope which lay by his right hand. "This leads me to the brook where I drink! And this," said he, turning to the one on his left, "and this takes me into the forest, where I feel about for dry sticks for my fire."

"Grandfather, I wish I lived in such sure luxury! I would lean back against a tent pole, and with crossed feet I would smoke sweet willow bark the rest of my days," sighed Manstin.

"My grandchild, your eyes are your luxury! You would be unhappy without them!" the old man replied.

"Grandfather, I would give you my two eyes for your place!" cried Manstin.

"
Hau! You have said it. Arise. Take out your eyes and give them to me. Henceforth you are at home here in my stead."

At once Manstin took out both his eyes and the old man put them on! Rejoicing, the old grandfather started away with his young eyes while the blind rabbit filled his dream pipe, leaning lazily against the tent pole.

For a short time it was a most pleasant pastime to smoke willow bark and to eat from the magic bags. Manstin grew thirsty, but there was no water in the small dwelling. Taking one of the rawhide ropes he started toward the brook to quench his thirst. He was young and unwilling to trudge slowly in the old man's footpath.

He was full of glee, for it had been many long moons since he had tasted such good food. Thus he skipped confidently along jerking the old weather-eaten rawhide spasmodically till all of a sudden it gave way and Manstin fell headlong into the water.

"En! En!" he grunted kicking frantically amid stream. All along the slippery bank he vainly tried to climb, till at last he chanced upon the old stake and the deeply worn footpath. Exhausted and inwardly disgusted with his mishaps, he crawled more cautiously on all fours to his wigwam door.

Dripping with his recent plunge he sat with chattering teeth within his unfired wigwam. The sun had set and the night air was chilly, but there was no fire-wood in the dwelling.

"Hin!" murmured Manstin and bravely tried the other rope. "I go for some fire-wood!" he said, following the rawhide rope which led into the forest. Soon he stumbled upon thickly strewn dry willow sticks. Eagerly with both hands he gathered the wood into his outspread blanket. Manstin was naturally an energetic fellow.

When he had a large heap, he tied two opposite ends of blanket together and lifted the bundle of wood upon his back, but alas! he had unconsciously dropped the end of the rope and now he was lost in the wood!

"Hin! hin!" he groaned. Then pausing a moment, he set his fan-like ears to catch any sound of approaching footsteps. There was none. Not even a night bird twittered to help him out of his predicament. With a bold face, he made a start at random.

He fell into some tangled wood where he was held fast. Manstin let go his bundle and began to lament having given away his two eyes.

"Friend, my friend, I have need of you! The old oak tree grandfather has gone off with my eyes and I am lost in the woods!" he cried with his lips close to the earth.

Scarcely had he spoken when the sound of voices was audible on the outer edge of the forest.

Nearer and louder grew the voices--one was the clear flute tones of a young brave and the other the tremulous squeaks of an old grandfather. It was Manstin's friend with the Earth Ear and the old grandfather. "Here Manstin, take back your eyes," said the old man, "I knew you would not be content in my stead, but I wanted you to learn your lesson. I have had pleasure seeing with your eyes and trying your bow and arrows, but since I am old and feeble I much prefer my own teepee and my magic bags!"

Thus talking the three returned to the hut. The old grandfather crept into his wigwam, which is often mistaken for a mere oak tree by little Indian girls and boys. Manstin, with his own bright eyes fitted into his head again, went on happily to hunt in the North country.

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The Badger And The Bear


On the edge of a forest there lived a large family of badgers. In the ground their dwelling was made. Its walls and roof were covered with rocks and straw. Old father badger was a great hunter. He knew well how to track the deer and buffalo.

Every day he came home carrying on his back some wild game. This kept mother badger very busy, and the baby badgers very chubby. While the well-fed children played about, digging little make-believe dwellings, their mother hung thin sliced meats upon long willow racks. As fast as the meats were dried and seasoned by sun and wind, she packed them carefully away in a large thick bag.

This bag was like a huge stiff envelope, but far more beautiful to see, for it was painted all over with many bright colors. These firmly tied bags of dried meat were laid upon the rocks in the walls of the dwelling. In this way they were both useful and decorative. One day father badger did not go off for a hunt. He stayed at home, making new arrows. His children sat about him on the ground floor.

Their small black eyes danced with delight as they watched the gay colors painted upon the arrows. All of a sudden there was heard a heavy footfall near the entrance way. The oval-shaped door-frame was pushed aside. In stepped a large black foot with great big claws. Then the other clumsy foot came next. All the while the baby badgers stared hard at the unexpected comer. After the second foot, in peeped the head of a big black bear!

His black nose was dry and parched. Silently he entered the dwelling and sat down on the ground by the doorway. His black eyes never left the painted bags on the rocky walls. He guessed what was in them. He was a very hungry bear. Seeing the racks of red meat hanging in the yard, he had come to visit the badger family.

Though he was a stranger and his strong paws and jaws frightened the small badgers, the father said, "Hau, how, friend! Your lips and nose look feverish and hungry. Will you eat with us?"

"Yes, my friend," said the bear. "I am starved. I saw your racks of red fresh meat, and knowing your heart is kind, I came hither. Give me meat to eat, my friend."

Hereupon the mother badger took long strides across the room, and as she had to pass in front of the strange visitor, she said: "Ah han! Allow me to pass!" which was an apology.

"Hau, hau!" replied the bear, drawing himself closer to the wall and crossing his shins together.

Mother badger chose the most tender red meat, and soon over a bed of coals she broiled the venison.

That day the bear had all he could eat. At nightfall he rose, and smacking his lips together (that is the noisy way of saying "the food was very good!") he left the badger dwelling. The baby badgers, peeping through the door-flap after the shaggy bear, saw him disappear into the woods near by.

Day after day the crackling of twigs in the forest told of heavy footsteps. Out would come the shame black bear. He never lifted the door-flap, but thrusting it aside entered slowly in. Always in the shame place by the entrance way he sat down with crossed shins. His daily visits were so regular that mother badger placed a fur rug in his place. She did not wish a guest in her dwelling to sit upon the bare hard ground.

At last one time when the bear returned, his nose was bright and black. His coat was glossy. He had grown fat upon the badger's hospitality. As he entered the dwelling a pair of wicked gleams shot out of his shaggy head.

Surprised by the strange behavior of the guest who remained standing upon the rug, leaning his round back against the wall, father badger queried, "Hau, my friend! What?"

The bear took one stride forward and shook his paw in the badger's face. He said: "I am strong, very strong!"

"Yes, yes, so you are," replied the badger. From the farther end of the room mother badger muttered over her bead work: "Yes, you grew strong from our well-filled bowls."

The bear smiled, showing a row of large sharp teeth. "I have no dwelling. I have no bags of dried meat. I have no arrows. All these I have found here on this spot," said he, stamping his heavy foot. "I want them! See! I am strong!" repeated he, lifting both his terrible paws.

Quietly the father badger spoke, "I fed you. I called you friend, though you came here a stranger and a beggar. For the shake of my little ones leave us in peace."

Mother badger, in her excited way, had pierced hard through the buckskin and stuck her fingers repeatedly with her sharp awl until she had laid aside her work. Now, while her husband was talking to the bear, she motioned with her hands to the children. On tiptoe they hastened to her side.

For reply came a low growl. It grew louder and more fierce. "Wa-ough!" he roared, and by force hurled the badgers out. First the father badger; then the mother. The little badgers he tossed by pairs. He threw them hard upon the ground.

Standing in the entranceway and showing his ugly teeth, he snarled, "Be gone!" The father and mother badger, having gained their feet, picked up their kicking little babes, and, wailing aloud, drew the air into their flattened lungs till they could stand alone upon their feet. No sooner had the baby badgers caught their breath than they howled and shrieked with pain and fright. Ah! what a dismal cry was theirs as the whole badger family went forth wailing from out their own dwelling!

A little distance away from their stolen house the father badger built a small round hut. He made it of bent willows and covered it with dry grass and twigs. This was shelter for the night; but alas! it was empty of food and arrows. All day father badger prowled through the forest, but without his arrows he could not get food for his children. Upon his return, the cry of the little ones for meat, the shad quiet of the mother with bowed head, hurt him like a poisoned arrow wound. "I'll beg meat for you!" said he in an unsteady voice.

Covering his head and entire body in a long loose robe he halted beside the big black bear. The bear was slicing red meat to hang upon the rack. He did not pause for a look at the comer. As the badger stood there unrecognized, he saw that the bear had brought with him his whole family. Little cubs played under the high-hanging new meats. They laughed and pointed with their wee noses upward at the thin sliced meats upon the poles.

"Have you no heart, Black Bear? My children are starving. Give me a small piece of meat for them," begged the badger.

"Wa-ough!" growled the angry bear, and pounced upon the badger. "Be gone!" said he, and with his big hind foot he sent father badger sprawling on the ground. All the little ruffian bears hooted and shouted "ha-ha!" to see the beggar fall upon his face.

There was one, however, who did not even smile. He was the youngest cub. His fur coat was not as black and glossy as those his elders wore. The hair was dry and dingy. It looked much more like kinky wool. He was the ugly cub.

Poor little baby bear! He had always been laughed at by his older brothers. He could not help being himself. He could not change the differences between himself and his brothers. Thus again, though the rest laughed aloud at the badger's fall, he did not see the joke. His face was long and earnest. In his heart he was shad to see the badgers crying and starving. In his breast spread a burning desire to share his food with them. "I shall not ask my father for meat to give away. He would say 'No!' Then my brothers would laugh at me," said the ugly baby bear to himself.

In an instant, as if his good intention had passed from him, he was singing happily and skipping around his father at work. Singing in his small high voice and dragging his feet in long strides after him, as if a prankish spirit oozed out from his heels, he strayed off through the tall grass. He was ambling toward the small round hut.

When directly in front of the entranceway, he made a quick side kick with his left hind leg. Lo! there fell into the badger's hut a piece of fresh meat. It was tough meat, full of sinews, yet it was the only piece he could take without his father's notice. Thus having given meat to the hungry badgers, the ugly baby bear ran quickly away to his father again.

On the following day the father badger came back once more. He stood watching the big bear cutting thin slices of meat. "Give..." he began, when the bear turning upon him with a growl, thrust him cruelly aside.

The badger fell on his hands. He fell where the grass was wet with the blood of the newly carved buffalo. His keen starving eyes caught sight of a little red clot lying bright upon the green. Looking fearfully toward the bear and seeing his head was turned away, he snatched up the small thick blood.

Underneath his girdled blanket he hid it in his hand. On his return to his family, he said within himself : "I'll pray the Great Spirit to bless it."

Thus he built a small round lodge. Sprinkling water upon the heated heap of sacred stones within, he made ready to purge his body. "The buffalo blood, too, must be purified before I ask a blessing upon it," thought the badger.

He carried it into the sacred vapor lodge. After placing it near the sacred stones, he sat down beside it. After a long silence, he muttered: "Great Spirit, bless this little buffalo blood." Then he arose, and with a quiet dignity stepped out of the lodge.

Close behind him some one followed. The badger turned to look over his shoulder and to his great joy he beheld a Lakota brave in handsome buckskins. In his hand he carried a magic arrow. Across his back dangled a long fringed quiver.

In answer to the badger's prayer, the avenger had sprung from out the red globules.

"My son!" exclaimed the badger with extended right hand.

"Hau, father," replied the brave; "I am your avenger!"

Immediately the badger told the sad story of his hungry little ones and the stingy bear. Listening closely the young man stood looking steadily upon the ground. At length the father badger moved away. "Where?" queried the avenger.

"My son, we have no food. I am going again to beg for meat," answered the badger.

"Then I go with you," replied the young brave. This made the old badger happy. He was proud of his son. He was delighted to be called "father" by the first human creature.

The bear saw the badger coming in the distance. He narrowed his eyes at the tall stranger walking beside him. He spied the arrow. At once he guessed it was the avenger of whom he had heard long, long ago.

As they approached, the bear stood erect with a hand on his thigh. He smiled upon them. "How, badger, my friend! Here is my knife. Cut your favorite pieces from the deer," said he, holding out a long thin blade.

"Hau!" said the badger eagerly. He wondered what had inspired the big bear to such a generous deed.

The young avenger waited till the badger took the long knife in his hand. Gazing full into the black bear's face, he said: "I come to do justice. You have returned only a knife to my poor father. Now return to him his dwelling."

His voice was deep and powerful. In his black eyes burned a steady fire. The long strong teeth of the bear rattled against each other, and his shaggy body shook with fear.

"Ahow!" cried he, as if he had been shot. Running into the dwelling he gasped, breathless and trembling, "Come out, all of you! This is the badger's dwelling. We must flee to the forest for fear of the avenger who carries the magic arrow."

Out they hurried, all the bears, and disappeared into the woods. Singing and laughing, the badgers returned to their own dwelling.

Then the avenger left them. "I go," said he in parting, "over the earth."

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The Bear And The Rabbit Hunt Buffalo

Once upon a time there lived as neighbors a bear and a rabbit. The rabbit was a good shot, and the bear being very clumsy could not use the arrow to good advantage.

The bear was very unkind to the rabbit. Every morning, the bear would call over to the rabbit and say, "Take your bow and arrows and come with me to the other side of the hill. A large herd of buffalo are grazing there, and I want you to shoot some of them for me, as my children are crying for meat."

The rabbit, fearing to arouse the bear's anger by refusing, consented, and went with the bear, and shot enough buffalo to satisfy the hungry family. Indeed, he shot and killed so many that there was lots of meat left after the bear and his family had loaded themselves, and packed all they could carry home.

The bear being very gluttonous, and not wanting the rabbit to get any of the meat, said, "Rabbit, you come along home with us and we will return and get the remainder of the meat."

The poor rabbit could not even taste the blood from the butchering, as the bear would throw earth on the blood and dry it up. Poor Rabbit would have to go home hungry after his hard day's work.

The bear was the father of five children. The youngest boy was very kind to the rabbit. The mother bear, knowing that her youngest was a very hearty eater, always gave him an extra large
piece of meat. What the baby bear did not eat, he would take outside with him and pretend to play ball with it, kicking it toward the rabbit's house, and when he got close to the door he would give the meat such a great kick, that it would fly into the rabbit's house, and in this way poor Rabbit would get his meal unknown to the papa bear.


Baby bear never forgot his friend Rabbit. Papa bear often wondered why his baby would go outside after each meal. He grew suspicious and asked the baby where he had been.

"Oh, I always play ball outside, around the house, and when I get tired playing I eat up my meat ball and then come in."

The baby bear was too cunning to let papa bear know that he was keeping his friend rabbit from starving to death. Nevertheless, papa bear suspected baby and said: "Baby, I think you go over to the rabbit's after every meal."

The four older brothers were very handsome, but baby bear was a little puny fellow, whose coat couldn't keep out much cold, as it was short and shaggy, and of a dirty brown color. The three older brothers were very unkind to baby bear, but the fourth one always took baby's part, and was always kind to his baby brother.

Rabbit was getting tired of being ordered and bullied around by papa bear. He puzzled his brain to scheme some way of getting even with Mr. Bear for abusing him so much. He studied all night long, but no scheme worth trying presented itself. Early one morning Mr. Bear presented himself at Rabbit's door.

"Say, Rabbit, my meat is all used up, and there is a fine herd of buffalo grazing on the hillside. Get your bow and arrows and come with me. I want you to shoot some of them for me."

"Very well," said Rabbit, and he went and killed six buffalo for Bear. Bear got busy butchering and poor Rabbit, thinking he would get a chance to lick up one mouthful of blood, stayed very close to the bear while he was cutting up the meat.

The bear was very watchful lest the rabbit get something to eat. Despite bear's watchfulness, a small clot of blood rolled past and behind the bear's feet. At once Rabbit seized the clot and hid it in his bosom. By the time Rabbit got home, the blood clot was hardened from the warmth of his body, so, being hungry, it put Mr. Rabbit out of sorts to think that after all his trouble he could not eat the blood.

Very badly disappointed, he lay down on his floor and gazed up into the chimney hole. Disgusted with the way things had turned out, he grabbed up the blood clot and threw it up through the hole.

Scarcely had it hit the ground when he heard the voice of a baby crying, "Ate! Ate!" (father, father). He went outside and there he found a big baby boy. He took the baby into his house and threw him out through the hole again. This time the boy was large enough to say "Ate, Ate, he-cun-sin-lo." (Father, father, don't do that).

But nevertheless, he threw him up and out again. On going out the third time, there stood a handsome youth smiling at him. Rabbit at once adopted the youth and took him into his house, seating him in the seat of honor (which is directly opposite the entrance), and saying: "My son, I want you to be a good, honest, straightforward man. Now, I have in my possession a fine outfit, and you, my son, shall wear it."

Suiting his action to his words, he drew out a bag from a hollow tree and on opening it, drew out a fine buckskin shirt (tanned white as snow), worked with porcupine quills. Also a pair of red
leggings worked with beads. Moccasins worked with colored hair. A fine otter skin robe. White weasel skins to intertwine with his beautiful long black locks. A magnificent center eagle feather. A rawhide covered bow, accompanied by a quiver full of flint arrowheads.

The rabbit, having dressed his son in all the latest finery, sat back and gazed long and lovingly at his handsome son. Instinctively Rabbit felt that his son had been sent him for the purpose of being instrumental in the downfall of Mr. Bear, as events will show.

The morning following the arrival of Rabbit's son, Mr. Bear again presents himself at the door, crying out: "You lazy, ugly rabbit, get up and come out here. I want you to shoot some more buffalo for me."

"Who is this, who speaks so insultingly to you, father?" asked the son.

"It is a bear who lives near here, and makes me kill buffalo for his family, and he won't let me take even one little drop of blood from the killing, and consequently, my son, I have nothing in my house for you to eat."

The young man was anxious to meet Mr. Bear but Rabbit advised him to wait a little until he and Bear had gone to the hunt. So the son obeyed, and when he thought it time that the killing was done, he started out and arrived on the scene just as Mr. Bear was about to proceed with his butchering.

Seeing a strange shadow on the ground beside him, Mr. Bear looked up and gazed into the fearless eyes of rabbit's handsome son.

"Who is this?" asked Mr. Bear of poor little Rabbit.

"I don't know," answered Rabbit.

"Who are you?" asked the bear of Rabbit's son. "Where did you come from?"

The rabbit's son not replying, the bear spoke thus to him: "Get out of here, and get out quick, too."

At this speech the rabbit's son became angered, and fastened an arrow to his bow and drove the arrow through the bear's heart. Then he turned on Mrs. Bear and served her likewise. During the melee, Rabbit shouted: "My son, my son, don't kill the two youngest. The baby has kept me from starving and the other one is good and kind to his baby brother."

So the three older brothers who were unkind to their baby brother met a similar fate to that of their selfish parents.

This is the reason that bears travel only in pairs.

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The Signs Of Corn
When corn is to be planted by the Indians, it is the work of the women folk to see to the sorting and cleaning of the best seed. It is also the women's work to see to the planting. (This was in olden times.)

After the best seed has been selected, the planter measures the corn, lays down a layer of hay, then a layer of corn. Over this corn they sprinkle warm water and cover it with another layer of hay, then bind hay about the bundle and hang it up in a spot where the warm rays of the sun can strike it.

While the corn is hanging in the sun, the ground is being prepared to receive it. Having finished the task of preparing the ground, the woman takes down her seed corn which has by this time sprouted. Then she proceeds to plant the corn.

Before she plants the first hill, she extends her hoe heavenwards and asks the Great Spirit to bless her work, that she may have a good yield. After her prayer she takes four kernels and plants one at the north, one at the south, one at the east and one at the west sides of the first hill. This is asking the Great Spirit to give summer rain and sunshine to bring forth a good crop.

For different growths of the corn, the women have an interpretation as to the character of the one who planted it.

1st... Where the corn grows in straight rows and the cob is full of kernels to the end, this signifies that the planter of this corn is of an exemplary character, and is very truthful and thoughtful.

2nd... If the rows on the ears of corn are irregular and broken, the planter is considered careless and unthoughtful. Also disorderly and slovenly about her house and person.

3rd... When an ear of corn bears a few scattering kernels with spaces producing no corn, it is said that is a good sign that the planter will live to a ripe old age. So old will they be that like the corn, their teeth will be few and far between.

4th... When a stalk bears a great many nubbins, or small ears growing around the large one, it is a sign that the planter is from a large and respectable family.

After the corn is gathered, it is boiled into sweet corn and made into hominy; parched and mixed with buffalo tallow and rolled into round balls, and used at feasts, or carried by the warriors on the warpath as food.

When there has been a good crop of corn, an ear is always tied at the top of the medicine pole of the sun dance, in thanks to the Great Spirit for his goodness to them in sending a bountiful crop.

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STORY OF PRETTY FEATHERED FOREHEAD

There was once a baby boy who came into the world with a small cluster of different colored feathers grown fast to his forehead. From this he derived his name, "Pretty Feathered Forehead." He was a very pleasant boy as well as handsome, and he had the respect of the whole tribe. When he had grown up to be a young man, he never, like other young men, made love to any of the tribe's beauties. Although they were madly in love with him, he never noticed any of them. There were many handsome girls in the different camps, but he passed them by.

One day he said: "Father, I am going on a visit to the Buffalo nation." The father gave his consent, and away went the son. The father and mother suspected the object of their son's visit to the Buffalo nation, and forthwith commenced preparing a fine reception for their intended daughter-in-law. The mother sewed together ten buffalo hides and painted the brave deeds of her husband on them. This she made into a commodious tent, and had work bags and fine robes and blankets put inside. This was to be the tent of their son and daughter-in-law. In a few weeks the son returned, bringing with him a beautiful Buffalo girl. The parents of the boy gave a big feast in honor of the occasion, and the son and his wife lived very happily together.

In the course of time a son came to the young couple, and the father was very proud of his boy.

When the boy became a year old, the father said to his wife: "I am going for a visit to the Elk nation." The mother was very sad, as she knew her husband was going after another wife. He returned, bringing with him a very beautiful elk girl. When the Buffalo woman saw the elk girl she was very downcast and sad, but the husband said: "Don't be sad; she will do all the heavy work for you."

They lived quite happily together for a long time. The Elk girl also became the mother of a fine boy. The two boys had grown up large enough to play around. One day the Elk woman was tanning hides outside and the two boys were playing around near their mothers, when all at once the buffalo boy ran across the robe, leaving his tracks on the white robe which his step-mother had nearly completed. This provoked the elk woman and she gave vent to her feelings by scolding the boy: "You clumsy flat mouth, why couldn't you run around my work, instead of across it?" The buffalo cow standing in the door, heard every word that the elk woman had said, and when she heard her son called flat mouth it made her very angry, although she did not say a word to any one. She hurriedly gathered some of her belongings and, calling her son, she started off in a westerly direction.

The husband being absent on a hunting expedition did not return until late in the afternoon. Upon his return his oldest boy always ran out to meet him, but this time as the boy did not put in an appearance, the father feared that something had happened to the boy. So hurriedly going to his tent he looked around, but failing to see the boy or his mother, he asked his elk wife, where the boy and his mother were. The elk wife answered: "She took her boy on her back and started off in that direction," (pointing towards the west). "How long has she been gone?" "Since early morning." The husband hurriedly caught a fresh horse and, without eating anything, rode off in the direction taken by his buffalo wife and boy. Near dark he ascended a high hill and noticed a small tent down in the valley. It was a long distance down to the tent, so it was very late when he arrived there. He tethered his horse and went into the tent and found the boy and his mother fast asleep. Upon lying down beside them the boy awoke, and upon seeing his father, motioned to him to go outside with him.

On going outside the boy told his father that it would be useless for him to try and coax his mother to return, as she was too highly insulted by the elk wife to ever return. Then the boy told about what the elk wife had said and that she had called him flat mouth. "My mother is determined to return to her people, but if you want to follow us you may, and perhaps, after she has visited with her relatives a little while, you may induce her to return with you. In the morning we are going to start very early, and as the country we will travel through is very hard soil, I will stamp my feet hard so as to leave my tracks imprinted in the softest places, then you will be able to follow the direction we will take."

The two went into the tent and were soon fast asleep. The father, being very much fatigued, slept very soundly, and when he awoke the sun was beating down upon him. The mother and boy were nowhere to be seen. The tent had been taken down from over him so carefully that he had not been awakened. Getting his horse, he mounted and rode after the two who had left him sleeping. He had no trouble in following the trail, as the boy had stamped his feet hard and left his little tracks in the soft places.

That evening he spied the little tent again and on getting to it found them both asleep. The boy awoke and motioned for his father to go outside. He again told his father that the next day's travel would be the hardest of all. "We will cross a great plain, but before we get there we will cross a sandy hollow. When you get to the hollow, look at my tracks; they will be deep into the sand, and in each track you will see little pools of water. Drink as much as you can, as this is the only chance you will get to have a drink, there being no water from there to the big ridge, and it will be dark by the time you get to the ridge. The relations of my mother live at that ridge and I will come and talk to you once more, before I leave you to join my mother's people."

Next morning, as before, he awoke to find himself alone. They had left him and proceeded on their journey. He mounted again and when he arrived at the sandy hollow, sure enough, there, deep in the sand, were the tracks of his son filled to the top with water. He drank and drank until he had drained the last one. Then he arose and continued on the trail, and near sundown he came in sight of their little tent away up on the side of the ridge. His horse suddenly staggered and fell forward dead, having died of thirst.

From there he proceeded on foot. When he got to where the tent stood he entered, only to find it empty. "I guess my son intends to come here and have his last talk with me," thought the father. He had eaten nothing for three days, and was nearly famished. He lay down, but the pangs of hunger kept sleep away. He heard footsteps outside and lay in readiness, thinking it might be an enemy. Slowly opening the covering of the door, his son looked in and seeing his father lying awake, drew back and ran off up the ridge, but soon returned bringing a small parcel with him. When he entered he gave the parcel to his father and said: "Eat, father; I stole this food for you, so I could not get very much." The father soon ate what his son had brought. When he had finished, the son said: "Tomorrow morning the relatives of my mother will come over here and take you down to the village. My mother has three sisters who have their work bags made identically the same as mother's. Were they to mix them up they could not each pick out her own without looking inside so as to identify them by what they have in them. You will be asked to pick out mother's work bag, and if you fail they will trample you to death. Next they will tell you to pick out my mother from among her sisters, and you will be unable to distinguish her from the other three, and if you fail they will bury you alive. The last they will try you on, in case you meet the first and second tests successfully, will be to require you to pick me out from my three cousins, who are as much like me as my reflection in the water. The bags you can tell by a little pebble I will place on my mother's. You can pick my mother out by a small piece of grass which I will put in her hair, and you can pick me out from my cousins, for when we commence to dance, I will shake my head, flop my ears and switch my tail. You must choose quickly, as they will be very angry at your success, and if you lose any time they will make the excuse that you did not know, that they may have an excuse to trample you to death."

The boy then left, after admonishing his father to remember all that he had told him. Early next morning the father heard a great rumbling noise, and going outside, he saw the whole hillside covered with buffalo. When he appeared they set up a loud bellowing and circled around him. One old bull came up and giving a loud snort, passed on by, looking back every few steps. The man, thinking he was to follow this one, did so, and the whole herd, forming a half circle around him, escorted him down the west side of the range out on to a large plain, where there stood a lone tree. To this tree the old bull led him and stopped when he reached the tree. A large rock at the foot of the tree served as a seat for the man. As soon as he was seated there came four female buffaloes, each bearing a large work box. They set the boxes down in a row in front of the man, and the herd crowded around closer in order to get a good view. The old bull came to the front and stood close to the bags, which had been taken out of the four boxes.

The man stood up, and looking at the bags, noticed a small pebble resting on the one next to the left end. Stepping over he pulled the bag towards him and secretly pushed the little pebble off the bag, so that no one would notice it. When they saw that he had selected the right one, they set up a terrific bellow.

Then came the four sisters and stood in a line before the man. Glancing along from the one on the right to the last one on the left, he stepped forward and placed his hand on the one next to the right. Thanks to his boy, if he hadn't put that little stem of grass on his mother's hair, the father could never have picked out his wife, as the four looked as much alike as four peas. Next came the four boy calves, and as they advanced they commenced dancing, and his son was shaking his head and flopping his ears and switching his tail. The father was going to pick out his boy, when a fainting spell took him, and as he sank to the ground the old bull sprang forward on top of him, and instantly they rushed upon him and he was soon trampled to a jelly. The herd then moved to other parts.

The elk wife concluded that something had happened to her husband and determined upon going in search of him. As she was very fleet of foot it did not take her long to arrive at the lone tree. She noticed the blood splashed on the base of the tree, and small pieces of flesh stamped into the earth. Looking closer, she noticed something white in the dust. Stooping and picking it out of the dust, she drew forth the cluster of different colored feathers which had been fastened to her husband's forehead. She at once took the cluster of feathers, and going to the east side of the ridge, heated stones and erected a wickiup, placed the feathers inside, and getting water, she sprinkled the stones, and this caused a thick vapor in the wickiup. She continued this for a long
time, when she heard something moving inside the wickiup. Then a voice spoke up, saying: "Whoever you are, pour some more water on and I will be all right." So the woman got more water and poured it on the rocks. "That will do now, I want to dry off." She plucked a pile of sage and in handing it in to him, he recognized his elk wife's hand.

They went back home and shortly after the buffalo, hearing about him coming back to life, decided to make war on him and kill him and his wife, she being the one who brought him back to life. The woman, hearing of this, had posts set in the ground and a strong platform placed on top. When the buffalo came, her husband, her son and herself, were seated upon the bough platform, and the buffalo could not reach them. She flouted her red blanket in their faces, which made the buffalo wild with rage. The hunter's friends came to his rescue, and so fast were they

killing the buffalo that they took flight and rushed away, never more to bother Pretty Feather Forehead.

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The Toad And The Boy


The water-fowls were flying over the marshy lakes. It was now the hunting season. Indian men, with bows and arrows, were wading waist deep amid the wild rice.

Near by, within their wigwam, the wives were roasting wild duck and making down pillows. In the largest teepee sat a young mother wrapping red porcupine quills about the long fringes of a buckskin cushion. Beside her lay a black-eyed baby boy cooing and laughing. Reaching and kicking upward with his tiny hands and feet, he played with the dangling strings of his heavy-beaded bonnet hanging empty on a tent pole above him.

At length the mother laid aside her red quills and white sinew-threads. The babe fell fast asleep. Leaning on one hand and softly whispering a little lullaby, she threw a light cover over her baby. It was almost time for the return of her husband.

Remembering there were no willow sticks for the fire, she quickly girdled her blanket tight about her waist, and with a short-handled ax slipped through her belt, she hurried away toward the wooded ravine. She was strong and swung an ax as skillfully as any man. Her loose buckskin dress was made for such freedom.

Soon carrying easily a bundle of long willows on her back, with a loop of rope over both her shoulders, she came striding homeward. Near the entrance way she stooped low, at once shifting the bundle to the right and with both hands lifting the noose from over her head.

Having thus dropped the wood to the ground, she disappeared into her teepee. In a moment she came running out again, crying,

"My son! My little son is gone!"

Her keen eyes swept east and west and all around her. There was nowhere any sign of the child. Running with clinched fists to the nearest tepees, she called: "Has any one seen my baby? He is gone! My little son is gone!"

"Hinnu! Hinnu!" exclaimed the women, rising to their feet and rushing out of their wigwam. "We have not seen your child! What has happened?" queried the women.

With great tears in her eyes the mother told her story.

"We will search with you," they said to her as she started off. They met the returning husbands, who turned about and joined in the hunt for the missing child. Along the shore of the lakes, among the high-grown reeds, they looked in vain. He was nowhere to be found.

After many days and nights the search was given up. It was sad, indeed, to hear the mother wailing aloud for her little son. It was growing late in the autumn. The birds were flying high toward the south. The tepees around the lakes were gone, save one lonely dwelling.

Till the winter snow covered the ground and ice covered the lakes, the wailing woman's voice was heard from that solitary wigwam. From some far distance was also the sound of the father's voice singing a sad song.

Thus ten summers and as many winters have come and gone since the strange disappearance of the little child. Every autumn with the hunters came the unhappy parents of the lost baby to search again for him.

Toward the latter part of the tenth season when, one by one, the tepees were folded and the families went away from the lake region, the mother walked again along the lake shore weeping.

One evening, across the lake from where the crying woman stood, a pair of bright black eyes peered at her through the tall reeds and wild rice. A little wild boy stopped his play among the tall grasses. His long, loose hair hanging down his brown back and shoulders was carelessly tossed from his round face. He wore a loin cloth of woven sweet grass.

Crouching low to the marshy ground, he listened to the wailing voice. As the voice grew hoarse and only sobs shook the slender figure of the woman, the eyes of the wild boy grew dim and wet. At length, when the moaning ceased, he sprang to his feet and ran like a nymph with swift outstretched toes. He rushed into a small hut of reeds and grasses.

"Mother! Mother! Tell me what voice it was I heard which pleased my ears, but made my eyes grow wet!" said he, breathless.

"Han, my son," grunted a big, ugly toad. "It was the voice of a weeping woman you heard. My son, do not say you like it. Do not tell me it brought tears to your eyes. You have never heard me weep. I can please your ear and break your heart. Listen!" replied the great old toad.

Stepping outside, she stood by the entrance way. She was old and badly puffed out. She had reared a large family of little toads, but none of them had aroused her love, nor ever grieved her. She had heard the wailing human voice and marveled at the throat which produced the strange sound.

Now, in her great desire to keep the stolen boy awhile longer, she ventured to cry as the Lakota woman does. In a gruff, coarse voice she broke forth: "Hin-hin, doe-skin! Hin-hin, Ermine, Ermine! Hin-hin, red blanket, with white border!"

Not knowing that the syllables of a Lakota's cry are the names of loved ones gone, the ugly toad mother sought to please the boy's ear with the names of valuable articles. Having shrieked in a torturing voice and mouthed extravagant names, the old toad rolled her tearless eyes with great satisfaction.

Hopping back into her dwelling, she asked: "My son, did my voice bring tears to your eyes? Did my words bring gladness to your ears? Do you not like my wailing better?"

"No, no!" pouted the boy with some impatience. "I want to hear the woman's voice! Tell me, mother, why the human voice stirs all my feelings!"

The toad mother said within her breast, "The human child has heard and seen his real mother. I cannot keep him longer, I fear. Oh, no, I cannot give away the pretty creature I have taught to call me 'mother' all these many winters."

"Mother," went on the child voice, "tell me one thing. Tell me why my little brothers and sisters are all unlike me."

The big, ugly toad, looking at her pudgy children, said: "The eldest is always best." This reply quieted the boy for a while. Very closely watched the old toad mother her stolen human son.

When by chance he started off alone, she shoved out one of her own children after him, saying: "Do not come back without your big brother." Thus the wild boy with the long, loose hair sits every day on a marshy island hid among the tall reeds.

But he is not alone. Always at his feet hops a little toad brother.

One day an Indian hunter, wading in the deep waters, spied the boy. He had heard of the baby stolen long ago. "This is he!" murmured the hunter to himself as he ran to his wigwam.

"I saw among the tall reeds a black-haired boy at play!" shouted he to the people.

At once the unhappy father and mother cried out, "'Tis he, our boy!" Quickly he led them to the lake. Peeping through the wild rice, he pointed with unsteady finger toward the boy playing all unawares.

"'Tis he! 'tis he!" cried the mother, for she knew him. In silence the hunter stood aside, while the happy father and mother caressed their baby boy grown tall.

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The Tree Bound


It was a clear summer day. The blue, blue sky dropped low over the edge of the green level land. A large yellow sun hung directly overhead. The singing of birds filled the summer space between earth and sky with sweet music.

Again and again sang a yellow-breasted birdie--"Koda Ni Lakota!" He insisted upon it. "Koda Ni Lakota!" which was, "Friend, you're a Lakota! Friend, you're a Lakota!"

Perchance the birdie meant the avenger with the magic arrow, for there across the plain he strode. He was handsome in his paint and feathers, proud with his great buckskin quiver on his back and a long bow in his hand. Afar to an eastern camp of cone-shaped tepees he was going.

There over the Indian village hovered a large red eagle threatening the safety of the people. Every morning rose this terrible red bird out of a high chalk bluff and spreading out his gigantic wings soared slowly over the round camp ground.

Then it was that the people, terror-stricken, ran screaming into their lodges. Covering their heads with their blankets, they sat trembling with fear. No one dared to venture out till the red eagle had disappeared beyond the west, where meet the blue and green.

In vain tried the chieftain of the tribe to find among his warriors a powerful marksman who could send a death arrow to the man-hungry bird.

At last to urge his men to their utmost skill he bade his crier proclaim a new reward. Of the chieftain's two beautiful daughters he would have his choice who brought the dreaded red eagle with an arrow in its breast.

Upon hearing these words, the men of the village, both young and old, both heroes and cowards, trimmed new arrows for the contest. At gray dawn there stood indistinct under the shadow of the bluff many human figures; silent as ghosts and wrapped in robes girdled tight about their waists, they waited with chosen bow and arrow.

Some cunning old warriors stayed not with the group. They crouched low upon the open ground. But all eyes alike were fixed upon the top of the high bluff. Breathless they watched for the soaring of the red eagle. From within the dwellings many eyes peeped through the small holes in the front lapels of the teepee. With shaking knees and hard-set teeth, the women peered out upon the Lakota men prowling about with bows and arrows.

At length when the morning sun also peeped over the eastern horizon at the armed Lakotas, the red eagle walked out upon the edge of the cliff. Pluming his gorgeous feathers, he ruffled his neck and flapped his strong wings together. Then he dived into the air. Slowly he winged his way over the round camp ground; over the men with their strong bows and arrows! In an instant the long bows were bent.

Strong straight arrows with red feathered tips sped upward to the blue sky. Ah! slowly moved those indifferent wings, untouched by the poison-beaked arrows. Off to the west beyond the reach of arrow, beyond the reach of eye, the red eagle flew away. A sudden clamor of high-pitched voices broke the deadly stillness of the dawn. The women talked excitedly about the invulnerable red of the eagle's feathers, while the would-be heroes sulked within their wigwam.

"He-he-he!" groaned the chieftain.

On the evening of the shame day sat a group of hunters around a bright burning fire. They were talking of a strange young man whom they spied while out upon a hunt for deer beyond the bluffs. They saw the stranger taking aim. Following the point of his arrow with their eyes, they beheld a herd of buffalo.

The arrow sprang from the bow! It darted into the skull of the foremost buffalo. But unlike other arrows it pierced through the head of the creature and spinning in the air lit into the next buffalo head. One by one the buffalo fell upon the sweet grass they were grazing. With straight quivering limbs they lay on their sides.

The young man stood calmly by, counting on his fingers the buffalo as they dropped dead to the ground. When the last one fell, he ran thither and picking up his magic arrow wiped it carefully on the soft grass. He slipped it into his long fringed quiver.

"He is going to make a feast for some hungry tribe of men or beasts!" cried the hunters among themselves as they hastened away. They were afraid of the stranger with the sacred arrow.

When the hunter's tale of the stranger's arrow reached the ears of the chieftain, his face brightened with a smile. He sent forth fleet horsemen, to learn of him his birth, his name, and his deeds. "If he is the avenger with the magic arrow, sprung up from the earth out of a clot of buffalo blood, bid him come hither. Let him kill the red eagle with his magic arrow. Let him win for himself one of my beautiful daughters," he had said to his messengers, for the old story of the badger's man-son was known all over the level lands.

After four days and nights the braves returned. "He is coming," they said. "We have seen him. He is straight and tall; handsome in face, with large black eyes. He paints his round cheeks with bright red, and wears the penciled lines of red over his temples like our men of honored rank. He carries on his back a long fringed quiver in which he keeps his magic arrow. His bow is long and strong. He is coming now to kill the big red eagle."

All around the camp ground from mouth to ear passed those words of the returned messengers.

Now it chanced that immortal Iktomi, fully recovered from the brown burnt spots, overheard the people talking. At once he was filled with a new desire. "If only I had the magic arrow, I would kill the red eagle and win the chieftain's daughter for a wife," said he in his heart.

Back to his lonely wigwam he hastened. Beneath the tree in front of his teepee he sat upon the ground with chin between his drawn-up knees. His keen eyes scanned the wide plain. He was watching for the avenger.

"'He is coming!' said the people," muttered old Iktomi. All of a sudden he raised an open palm to his brow and peered afar into the west. The summer sun hung bright in the middle of a cloudless sky. There across the green prairie was a man walking bareheaded toward the east.

"Ha! ha! 'tis he! the man with the magic arrow!" laughed Iktomi.

And when the bird with the yellow breast sang loud again--"Koda Ni Lakota! Friend, you're a Lakota!" Iktomi put his hand over his mouth as he threw his head far backward, laughing at both the bird and man.

"He is your friend, but his arrow will kill one of your kind! He is a Lakota, but soon he'll grow into the bark on this tree! Ha! ha! ha!" he laughed again. The young avenger walked with swaying strides nearer and nearer toward the lonely wigwam and tree. Iktomi heard the swish! swish! of the stranger's feet through the tall grass.

He was passing now beyond the tree, when Iktomi, springing to his feet, called out: "Hau, hau, my friend! I see you are dressed in handsome deerskins and have red paint on your cheeks. You are going to some feast or dance, may I ask?"

Seeing the young man only smiled Iktomi went on: "I have not had a mouthful of food this day. Have pity on me, young brave, and shoot yonder bird for me!"

With these words Iktomi pointed toward the tree-top, where sat a bird on the highest branch. The young avenger, always ready to help those in distress, sent an arrow upward and the bird fell. In the next branch it was caught between the forked prongs.

"My friend, climb the tree and get the bird. I cannot climb so high. I would get dizzy and fall," pleaded Iktomi.

The avenger began to scale the tree, when Iktomi cried to him: "My friend, your beaded buckskins may be torn by the branches. Leave them safe upon the grass till you are down again."

"You are right," replied the young man, quickly slipping off his long fringed quiver. Together with his dangling pouches and tinkling ornaments, he placed it on the ground. Now he climbed the tree un hindered. Soon from the top he took the bird.

"My friend, toss to me your arrow that I may have the honor of wiping it clean on soft deerskin!" exclaimed Iktomi.

"Hau!" said the brave, and threw the bird and arrow to the ground. At once Iktomi seized the arrow. Rubbing it first on the grass and then on a piece of deerskin, he muttered indistinct words all the while.

The young man, stepping downward from limb to limb, hearing the low muttering, said: "Iktomi, I cannot hear what you say!"

"Oh, my friend, I was only talking of your big heart." Again stooping over the arrow Iktomi continued his repetition of charm words.

"Grow fast, grow fast to the bark of the tree," he whispered. Still the young man moved slowly downward. Suddenly dropping the arrow and standing erect, Iktomi said aloud: "Grow fast to the bark of the tree!"

Before the brave could leap from the tree he became tight-grown to the bark.

"Ah! ha!" laughed the bad Iktomi. "I have the magic arrow! I have the beaded buckskins of the great avenger!" Hooting and dancing beneath the tree, he said: "I shall kill the red eagle; I shall wed the chieftain's beautiful daughter!"

"Oh, Iktomi, set me free!" begged the tree-bound Lakota brave. But Iktomi's ears were like the fungus on a tree. He did not hear with them. Wearing the handsome buckskins and carrying proudly the magic arrow in his right hand, he started off eastward. Imitating the swaying strides of the avenger, he walked away with a face turned slightly skyward.

"Oh, set me free! I am glued to the tree like its own bark! Cut me loose!" moaned the prisoner.

A young woman, carrying on her strong back a bundle of tightly bound willow sticks, passed near by the lonely teepee. She heard the wailing man's voice. She paused to listen to the shad words. Looking around she saw nowhere a human creature. "It may be a spirit," thought she.

"Oh! cut me loose! set me free! Iktomi has played me false! He has made me bark of his tree!" cried the voice again.

The young woman dropped her pack of firewood to the ground. With her stone axe she hurried to the tree. There before her astonished eyes clung a young brave close to the tree. Too shy for words, yet too kind-hearted to leave the stranger tree-bound, she cut loose the whole bark. Like an open jacket she drew it to the ground. With it came the young man also.

Free once more, he started away. Looking backward, a few paces from the young woman, he waved his hand, upward and downward, before her face. This was a sign of gratitude used when words failed to interpret strong emotion.

When the bewildered woman reached her dwelling, she mounted a pony and rode swiftly across the rolling land. To the camp ground in the east, to the chieftain troubled by the red eagle, she carried her story.

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The Warlike Seven


Once seven people went out to make war: the Ashes, the Fire, the Bladder, the Grasshopper, the Dragon Fly, the Fish, and the Turtle.

As they were talking excitedly, waving their fists in violent gestures, a wind came and blew the Ashes away.

"Ho!" cried the others, "he could not fight, this one!"

The six went on running to make war more quickly. They descended a deep valley, the Fire going foremost until they came to a river. The Fire said "Hsss-tchu!" and was gone.

"Ho!" hooted the others, "he could not fight, this one!"

Therefore the five went on the more quickly to make war. They came to a great wood.

While they were going through it, the Bladder was heard to sneer and to say, "He! you should rise above these, brothers." With these words he went upward among the tree-tops; and the thorn apple pricked him. He fell through the branches and was nothing!

"You see this!" said the four, "this one could not fight."

Still the remaining warriors would not turn back. The four went boldly on to make war.

The Grasshopper with his cousin, the Dragon Fly, went foremost. They reached a marshy place, and the mire was very deep. As they waded through the mud, the Grasshopper's legs stuck, and he pulled them off!

He crawled upon a log and wept, "You see me, brothers, I cannot go!"

The Dragon Fly went on, weeping for his cousin. He would not be comforted, for he loved his cousin dearly. The more he grieved, the louder he cried, till his body shook with great violence. He blew his red swollen nose with a loud noise so that his head came off his slender neck, and he was fallen upon the grass.

"You see how it is, said the Fish, lashing his tail impatiently, "these people were not warriors!" "Come!" he said, "let us go on to make war."

Thus the Fish and the Turtle came to a large camp ground.

"Ho!" exclaimed the people of this round village of tepees, "Who are these little ones? What do they seek?"

Neither of the warriors carried weapons with them, and their unimposing stature misled the curious people. The Fish was spokesman. With a peculiar omission of syllables, he said: "Shu . . . hi pi!"

"Wan! What? What?" clamored eager voices of men and women.

Again the Fish said: "Shu . . . hi pi!"

Everywhere stood young and old with a palm to an ear. Still no one guessed what the Fish had mumbled! From the bewildered crowd witty old Iktomi came forward. "He, listen!" he shouted, rubbing his mischievous palms together, for where there was any trouble brewing, he was always in the midst of it.

"This little strange man says, 'Zuya unhipi! We come to make war!'"

"Uun!" resented the people, suddenly stricken glum.

"Let us kill the silly pair! They can do nothing! They do not know the meaning of the phrase. Let us build a fire and boil them both!"

"If you put us on to boil," said the Fish, "there will be trouble."

"Ho ho!" laughed the village folk. "We shall see." And so they made a fire.

"I have never been so angered!" said the Fish.

The Turtle in a whispered reply said: "We shall die!"

When a pair of strong hands lifted the Fish over the sputtering water, he put his mouth downward. "Whssh!" he said. He blew the water all over the people, so that many were burned and could not see.

Screaming with pain, they ran away. "Oh, what shall we do with these dreadful ones?" they said.

Others exclaimed: "Let us carry them to the lake of muddy water and drown them!"

Instantly they ran with them. They threw the Fish and the Turtle into the lake. Toward the center of the large lake the Turtle dived. There he peeped up out of the water and, waving a hand at the crowd, sang out, "This is where I live!"

The Fish swam hither and thither with such frolicsome darts that his back fin made the water fly. "E Han!" whooped the Fish, "this is where I live!"

"Oh, what have we done!" said the frightened people, "this will be our undoing."

Then a wise chief said: "Lya, the Eater, shall come and swallow the lake!"

So one went running. He brought Lya, the Eater; and you drank all day at the lake till his belly was like the earth.

Then the Fish and the Turtle dived into the mud; and Lya said: "They are not in me."

Hearing this the people cried greatly.

Iktomi, wading in the lake had been swallowed like a gnat in the water. Within the great Lya he was looking skyward. So deep was the water in the Eaters stomach that the surface of the swallowed lake almost touched the sky.

"I will go that way," said Iktomi, looking at the concave within arm's reach. He struck his knife upward in the Eaters stomach, and the water falling out drowned those people of the village.

Now when the great water fell into its own bed, the Fish and the Turtle came to the shore.

They went home painted victors and loud-voiced singers.

(This ends the Iktomi Stories as told by Zitkala-Sa)

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Thunder Gods

North America is rich in thunder-gods. Of these a typical example is Haokah, the god of the Sioux. The countenance of this divinity was divided into halves, one of which expressed grief and the other cheerfulness---than is, on occasion he could either weep with the rain or smile with the sun. Heat affected him as cold, and cold was to him as heat. He beat the tattoo of the thunder on his great drum, using the wind as a drum-stick. In some phases he is reminiscent of Jupiter, for he hurls the lightning to earth in the shape of thunderbolts. He wears a pair of horns, perhaps to typify his connexion with the lightning, or else with the chase, for many American thunder-gods are mighty hunters. This double conception arises from their possession of the lightning-spear, or arrow, which also gives them in some cases the character of a war-god. Strangely enough, such gods of the chase often resembled in appearance the animals they hunted. For example, Tsul 'Kalu (Slanting Eyes), a hunter-god the Cherokee Indians, seems to resemble a deer. He is of giant proportions, and dwells in a great mountain of the Blue Ridge Range, in North-western Virginia. He appears to have possessed all the game in the district as his private property. A Cherokee thunder-god is Asgaya Gigagei (Red Man). The facts that he is described as being of a red color, thus typifying the lightning and that the Cherokees were originally a mountain people, leave little room for doubt that he is a thunder-god, for it is around the mountain peaks that the heavy thunder-clouds gather, and the red lightning flashing from their depths looks like the moving limbs of the half-hidden deity. We also find occasionally invoked in the Cherokee religious formulae a pair of twin deities known as the 'Little Men, or 'Thunder-boys.' This reminds us that in Peru twins were always regarded as sacred to the lightning, since they were emblematic of the thunder-and-lightning twins, Apacatequil and Piguerao. All these thunder-gods are analogous to the Aztec Tlaloc, the Kiche Hurakan, and the Otomi Mixcoatl. A well-known instance of the thunder- or hunter-god who possesses animal characteristics will occur to those who are familiar with the old English Legend of Herne the Hunter, with his deer's head and antlers.

The Dakota Indians worshiped a deity whom they addressed as Waukheon (Thunder-bird). This being was engaged in constant strife with the water-god Unktahe, was was a cunning sorcerer, and a controller of dreams and witchcraft. Their conflict probably symbolizes the atmospheric changes which accompany the different seasons.

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