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Smokyriversongs' Look At Indian Life And The Lore
Nez Perce - Ottawa













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Nez Perce Indian Lore:

 


Coyote And The Mallard Ducks

Coyote was traveling up the river when he saw five mallard ducks girls swimming on the other side. He hid himself in the bushes and became aroused right away. Then he thought out a plan to satisfy himself.

Coyote lengthened his penis and let it fall into the river. It floated on top of the water. Coyote didn't like this, so he pulled it back in and tied a rock to it to keep it below the surface of the water. He threw his penis back in and tied a smaller rock to it. This was just right. It floated just below the surface of the water, where no one could see it. He sent it across to where the girls were swimming. He began copulating with the oldest girl.

Now, these girls did not know what was wrong with their older sister, the way she was moving around in the water and making strange sounds.
Then they saw what was happening and they grabbed the penis and tried to pull it out. When they couldn't, they got out on the bank and held down their older sister and tried to pull it out that way, but they couldn't and they began laughing about it.

When Coyote had satisfied himself, he called over to the girls and said,
"My sisters, what is the problem over there?"
They told him. He said,
"Cut the thing off with some wire grass."

They did, and Coyote cut the other end off where he was and middle section of the penis fell in the river and became a ledge.

The eldest girl became ill then. Coyote went down the river a short distance, swam across and then came upstream to the girls' camp where the oldest girl was almost dead.

The girls recognized Coyote and said,
"Coyote, the medicine man, has come."
They asked him to cure the sick girl. He told them that he would do it, but they had to close up all the chinks in the lodge so no one could see it and steal his medicine by watching. He told them to leave him alone with the girl for a while.

He got the sisters together around the lodge and told them to sing a song and keep time on a log with sticks.
"Keep time on the log very carefully, for now I am going to take it out."
Coyote began singing,
"I will stick it back on, I will stick it back on."

He went into the lodge and copulated again with the mallard duck girl and recovered the end of his penis. The girl was cured.

After that everyone said the medicine of Coyote was very powerful.

 


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Cry-Because-He-Had-No-Wife

Once there was a little boy. He was an orphan. This boy cried day and night and would never be quiet. His grandmother asked him one day, "What makes you cry?"

He said, "I cry because I want a wife."

Now his grandparents knew of a girl who lived toward the east and they sent him there.

As he went along the trail, he came to a giant's house. He went in to see the giant, who asked him to stay to breakfast. The giant had five roasts on the fire. He had four large roasts and one small one.
He said to the boy, "Pick out the roast you want for breakfast."
The boy picked out the small roast.

Now, the four large roasts were the legs of people that the giant had killed. The small roast was venison. The boy knew this from what his grandmother had told him.
She said, "Never eat too much."

After breakfast he went on. On the road he came to a great rock cliff. Its name was Cliff-Giant and it crushed people. The other giant had told him of this one, and how to get by it.
He had said, "Turn yourself into a little dog and very slowly follow the trail under the Rock-Cliff. Keep your eye on Rock-Cliff. When you see it move, run fast."
He did this and escaped.

Then he went on. He could see at a distance the place where the girl lived. Until he came in sight of this lodge he had never left off crying.
Now, this girl had a great horse which would kill people before they could reach her lodge. That was her guard. The boy picked up two large stones and ran, still crying, toward the lodge. The animal ran at the boy, but the boy spat all over one of the stones.
When the horse came close, he threw the stone behind him. Then the horse stopped to stamp on the stone and the boy ran on. He was almost in reach of the lodge when he threw the other stone. The horse stopped to stamp on that, and the boy reached the lodge and jumped in.

Very soon the girl entered. She knew him at once and called him by name Iwapnep ftswitki, Cry-because-he-had-no-wife. She talked to him and asked him if he wanted a bath.
So she built a fire, heated water, and prepared him a bath.
When he had taken the bath he became of man's size.

Next morning they started toward his home. When they reached this, his grandparents were very old, because he had been gone many years.
The girl said to her husband: "You tell your grandparents to do nothing wrong to-night. If they obey, I will give them a bath that will make them young again."
In the morning she did so; but they had not obeyed her directions so they did not become young again.
The next night they were both dead.

Then the girl and her husband started for her old home. They rode back on the great horse but he did not go very well.
They made a whip out of black haw.
The whip said to them, "I can outlast all other whips."

They made a whip out of smoke-wood (Coyote-rope).
This whip said, "When the giant gets too close, throw me down and I will tangle up the giant."

They made a whip out of mud.
This whip said, "Throw me down and I will mire the giant."

They made a whip out of slide-rock.
This whip said, "Throw me down and the giant will have trouble in getting by."

They made a whip out of red haw.
This whip said, "Throw me down, and I will tear the giant's flesh."

They made a whip out of big mountains.
This whip said, "Throw me down and the giant will not be able to get past me."

When they had finished all the whips, they started to pass the giant's house.
The giant rushed out and cried, "Give me your wife!"
The boy answered, "Get me a drink of water and I will give you my wife."
When the giant went to get the water, the boy whipped up the horse and hurried on.

They had gone some ways when the giant came out. They threw down the whip of black haw.
He almost overtook them and they threw down the whip of smoke-wood. It tangled up the giant until they got away.
When the giant almost overtook them again, they threw down the mud whip and he was mired.
When the giant almost overtook them the fourth time, they threw down the slide-rock whip and the giant had great trouble in getting by.
When the giant almost overtook them the fifth time, they threw down the red-haw whip, and it tore the flesh of the giant.
And when the giant almost overtook them the sixth time, they threw down the whip of high mountains and he could not cross it.

Thus they escaped.

 


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How Beaver Stole Fire From The Pines

Once, before there were any people in the world, the different animals and trees lived and moved about and talked together just like human beings.
The pine trees had the secret of fire and guarded it jealously, so that no matter how cold it was, they alone could warm themselves.
At length an unusually cold winter came, and all the animals were in danger of freezing to death. But all their attempts to discover the pines' secret were in vain, until Beaver at last hit upon a plan.

At a certain place on the Grande Ronde River in Idaho, the pines were about to hold a great council. They had built a large fire to warm themselves after bathing in the icy water, and sentinels were posted to prevent intruders from stealing their fire secret.
But Beaver had hidden under the bank near the fire before the sentries had taken their places, and when a live coal rolled down the bank, he seized it, hid it in his breast, and ran away as fast as he could.

The pines immediately raised a hue and cry and started after him. Whenever he was hard pressed, Beaver darted from side to side to dodge his pursuers, and when he had a good start, he kept a straight course.
The Grande Ronde River preserves the direction Beaver took in his flight, and this is why it is tortuous in some parts of its course and straight in others.

After running for a long time, the pines grew tired. So most of them halted in a body on the river banks, where they remain in great numbers to this day, forming a growth so dense that hunters can hardly get through.
A few pines kept chasing Beaver, but they finally gave out one after another, and they remain scattered at intervals along the banks of the river in the places where they stopped.

There was one cedar running in the forefront of the pines, and although he despaired of capturing Beaver, he said to the few trees who were still in the chase,
"We can't catch him,but I'll go to the top of the hill yonder and see how far ahead he is."
So he ran to the top of the hill and saw Beaver just diving into Big Snake River where the Grande Ronde enters it. Further pursuit was out of the question.

The cedar stood and watched Beaver dart across Big Snake River and give fire to some willows on the opposite bank, and re-cross farther on and give fire to the birches, and so on to several other kinds of trees.
Since then, all who have wanted fire have got it from these particular trees, because they have fire in them and give it up readily when their wood is rubbed together in the ancient way.

Cedar still stands alone on the top of the hill where he stopped, near the junction of the Grande Ronde and Big Snake rivers. He is very old, so old that his top is dead, but he still stands as a testament to the story's truth.
That the chase was a very long one is shown by the fact that there are no cedar within a hundred miles up stream from him. The old people point him out to the children as they pass by.
"See," they say, "here is old Cedar standing in the very spot where he stopped chasing Beaver."

 


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The First Moccasins
There was once a great chief on the Plains who had very tender feet.
Other mighty chiefs laughed at him; little chiefs only smiled as he hobbled past; and though they did not dare to smile, the people of the tribe also enjoyed the big chief's discomfort. All of them were in the same canoe, having no horses and only bare feet, but luckily very few of them had tender feet.
The unhappy medicine man who was advisor to the Chief-of-the- Tender-Feet was afraid and troubled.

Each time he was called before the chief he was asked,
'What are you going to do about it?"
The 'it' meant the chief's tender feet.

Forced by fear, the medicine man at last hit upon a plan. Though he knew that it was not the real answer to the chief's foot problem, nevertheless it was a good makeshift.
The medicine man had some women of the tribe weave a long, narrow mat of reeds, and when the big chief had to go anywhere, four braves unrolled the mat in front of him so that he walked in comfort.
One day, the braves were worn out from seeing that the chief's feet were not worn out. They carelessly unrolled the mat over a place where flint arrowheads had been chipped. The arrowheads had long ago taken flight, but the needle-sharp chips remained.
When the big chief's tender feet were wounded by these chips, he uttered a series of whoops which made the nearby aspen tree leaves quiver so hard that they have been trembling ever since.

That night the poor medicine man was given an impossible task by the angry chief:
'Cover the whole earth with mats so thick that my feet will not suffer. If you fail, you will die when the moon is round.'

The frightened maker of magic crept back to his lodge. He did not wish to be put to death on the night of the full moon, but he could think of no way to avoid it.
Suddenly he saw the hide of an elk which he had killed pegged to the ground, with two women busily scraping the hair from the hide, and an idea flashed into his groping mind.
He sent out many hunters; many women were busy for many days; many braves with hunting knives cut, and women sewed with bone needles and rawhide sinews.

On the day before the moon was round, the medicine man went to the chief and told him that he had covered as much of the earth as was possible in so short a time.
When the chief looked from the door of his lodge, he saw many paths of skin stretching as far as he could see. Long strips which could be moved from place to place connected the main leather paths.

Even the chief thought that this time the magic of the medicine man had solved tenderfoot transportation for all time - but this was not to be !

One day, as the big chief was walking along one of his smooth, tough leather paths, he saw a pretty maiden of the tribe gliding ahead of him, walking on the hard earth on one side of the chief's pathway.

She glanced back when she heard the pitter- patter of his feet on the elk hide pathway and seemed to smile.
The chief set off on the run to catch up with her, his eyes fixed on the back of She-Who-Smiled, and so his feet strayed from the narrow path and landed in a bunch of needle-sharp thorns!
The girl ran for her life when she heard the hideous howls of the chief, and Indians in the distant village thought that they were being attacked by wildcats.

Two suns later, when the chief was calm enough to speak again, he had his medicine man brought before him and told the unhappy man that next day, when the sun was high, he would be sent with all speed to the land of shadows.

That night, the medicine man climbed to the top of a high hill in search of advice from friendly spirits on how to cover the entire earth with leather.
He slept, and in a dream vision he was shown the answer to his problem. Amid vivid flashes of lightning, he tore down the steep hillside, howling louder than the big chief at times, as jagged rocks wounded his bare feet and legs. He did not stop until he was safely inside his lodge.

He worked all night and until the warriors who were to send him on the shadow trail came for him, just before noon the next day.

He was surrounded by the war-club armed guards. He was clutching close to his heart something tightly rolled in a piece of deerskin. His cheerful smile surprised those who saw him pass.
'Wah, he is brave!' said the men of the tribe.
'He is very brave!' said the women of the tribe.

The big chief was waiting just outside his lodge. He gave the guards swift, stern orders. Before the maker of magic could be led away, he asked leave to say a few words to the chief.
'Speak!' said the chief, sorry to lose a clever medicine man who was very good at most kinds of magic.

Even the chief knew that covering the entire earth with leather was an impossible task.

The medicine man quickly knelt beside the chief, unrolled the two objects which he took from his bundle and slipped one of them on each foot of the chief.
The chief seemed to be wearing a pair of bear's hairless feet, instead of bare feet, and he was puzzled at first as he looked at the elk hide handicraft of his medicine man.

'Big chief,' the medicine man exclaimed joyfully, 'I have found the way to cover the earth with leather! For you, O chief, from now on the earth will always be covered with leather.'

And so it was.




 

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The Man Who Married a Bear

A man name Five-Times-Surrounded-in-War (Pákatamápaütx) lived with his father at Asotin, and in the spring of the year the youth would go away from home and lose himself till fall. He would tell no one where he had been. Now, he really was accustomed to go up the Little Salmon (Hune'he) branch of the Grande Ronde River to fish for salmon. It was the second year that he went there that this thing happened.

A bear girl lived just below the forks of Asotin Creek, and from that place she used to go over onto the Little Salmon, where Five-Times-Surrounded-in-War had a camp made of boughs. One day, after fishing, he was lying in his camp not quite asleep. He heard the noise of someone walking in the woods. He heard the noise of walking go all around the camp. The grizzly-bear girl was afraid to go near the man, and soon she went away and left him Next morning he tried to track her; and while he could see the tracks in the grass, he could not tell what it was that made them. Next day the youth hunted deer in order to have dried meat for the winter; and that evening the grizzly-bear girl, dressed up as a human being, came into his camp. Five-Times-Surrounded-in-War had just finished his supper when he heard the footfalls, and, looking out into the forest, he saw a fine girl come into the open. He wondered if this person was what he had heard the night before.

He asked the girl to tell him what she wanted, and she came and sat down beside him. The youth was bashful and could not talk to her, although she was a pretty girl. Then he said, "Where are you camping?" And she told him that three days before she had come from the forks of Asotin Creek.

"I came to see you, and to find out whether or not you would marry me."

Now, Five-Times-Surrounded-in-War did not know of anyone who lived above the mouth of Asotin Creek, and for that reason he told the girl he would take home his meat and salmon and return in ten days. So the girl went back to the forks of Asotin Creek, and the youth to the mouth of the stream with his meat. Then they returned and met; and the youth fell deeply in love with the girl, and married her.

So they lived in his camp until she said to him, "Now we will go to my home."

And when they arrived, he saw that she had a fine supply of winter food -- dried salmon, dried meat, camas, kaus, sanitx, service berries, and huckle berries. But what most surprised him was that they went into a hole in the ground, because then he knew she must be a bear.

It grew late in the fall, and they had to stay in the cave, for the girl could not go out. In the dead of winter they were still in the cave when the snow began to settle and harden. One night, near midnight, when both were asleep in their beds, the grizzly-bear girl dreamed, and roared out in her sleep. She told her husband to build a fire and make a light. Then the grizzly-bear girl sang a song, and blood came running from her mouth. She said, "This blood you see coming from my mouth is not my blood. It is the blood of men. Down at the mouth of Asotin Creek the hunters are making ready for a bear hunt. They have observed this cave, and five hunters are coming here to see if a bear is in it." The grizzly-bear girl in her sleep knew that the hunters were making ready.

Next morning the five hunters went up to that place, and that same morning the grizzly-bear girl donned a different dress from what she usually wore, a dress that was painted red. She told her husband, "Soon after the sun leaves the earth, these hunters will be here, and then I will do my killing."

They arrived, and Five-Times-Surrounded-in-War heard them talking. He heard them say that something must be living in the cave. When the first hunter came to the door of the cave, the grizzly-bear girl rushed out and killed him. Then the four other hunters went home and told the news, and ten hunters made ready to come up and kill the bear. They camped close by for the night.

About midnight the grizzly-bear girl had another dream. She sang a song, and told her husband, "I will leave you as soon as the sun is up. This blood you see coming out of my mouth is my own blood. The hunters are close by, and will soon be here."

Soon the youth could hear the hunters talking. Then they took a pole and hung an empty garment near the mouth of the cave, and the bear rushed out at this decoy. When she turned to go back, they fired, and killed her. The youth in the cave heard the hunters say, "Watch out! There must be another one in the cave."

So he decided he would go out; and when he came into the light, the hunters recognized him. He went home with them and told the story.

This was the year before the French trappers came, and Five-Times-Surrounded-in-War went away with them. In a year he returned, and after that he disappeared.

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      Yellow Jacket And Ant

Envy will cause good friends to become enemies. Ant was jealous of Yellow Jacket eating salmon, even though he himself had as much food and comforts of living. Ant invaded his neighbor's privacy and destroyed their friendship. Because neither would liste n to his warning, Coyote turned them both into stone as an example for the Human Beings who were coming.

The Yellow Jackets and the Ants all lived together on the hillside about ten miles above Tse-me-na-kem (Lewiston, Idaho). on the Clearwater River. The two families were quite friendly, although every once in a while members would get into an argument , which is no more than natural.

There was quite a bit of jealousy between the Chief of the Yellow Jackets and the Chief of the Ants. This was not real hatred, but each saw to it that his rights were not harmed. On the whole, the two bosses got along pretty well, considering their go sniping wives and their many children.

Chief Yellow Jacket was used to eating his meals on top of a certain rock, and he liked dried salmon the best. One day, he was seated on this rock, calmly eating a big dish of dried salmon which his wife had set before him.

Along came Chief Ant, and seeing Chief Yellow Jacket calmly eating his dinner, he became very angry. It is true that there were other rocks around for him to use, and he could have had dried salmon if he wished, but the sight of Chief Yellow Jacket ma de him very angry. "Hey there, you Yellow Jacket," he shouted at him, "What are you doing on the rock? I have as much right there as you. You can't eat there without asking me."

Chief Yellow Jacket looked up in surprise. "Why, Ant, what are you shouting about? I have always eaten my dinner on this rock."

"That makes no difference," said the Ant. "Why didn't you ask me about it?"

Yellow Jacket had by this time become very angry too. He rattled his wings and snapped his legs and yelled, "None of your business, you little runt."

"Don't call me a runt," shouted Ant. "Nobody can insult me that way."

So saying that, Ant climbed up the side of the rock, and he and Yellow Jacket began to fight all over it. They fought face to face, and with arms locked about each other, they reared up on their hind legs, biting and poking for all they were worth.

Suddenly a great voice boomed out, "Here, you Ant and Yellow Jacket, stop that fighting."

It was Coyote, who happened to be passing down on the other side of the river. He had seen them struggling, but neither of them heard him because they were too busy fighting.

Again Coyote shouted, "You, Ant, and you, Yellow Jacket, I order you to stop fighting. My subjects cannot fight. There is plenty of room and plenty of food for all of us, so why be foolish?"

This time they heard, but neither of them would stop. A third time Coyote warned them, "This is the last time. I'm going to tell you now. Stop fighting or I shall turn you both into stone. You will no longer be great, for the La-te-tel-wit (Human Beings) are coming.

They paid no heed, so Coyote used his magic medicine, waved his paws, and just as Ant and Yellow Jacket were arched together, Coyote turned them to stone.

To this day they remain for all to see, locked in each others arms on top of the big rock where Yellow Jacket ate his meals, but which became a battle ground because of greed.

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Ntlakyapamuk Indian Lore:

 

The Girl Who Married the Crow

A girl belonging to a village of four underground lodges near Lytton refused all suitors who had come from Spences Bridge, Nicola, Kamloops, and Lillooet, although they brought as marriage gifts robes, dent alia, and other valuables. Her parents and the chief of the village were angry with her for refusing so many good suitors. Therefore she became sad, and would have committed suicide had not her brothers talked kindly with her.

One morning, when she had gone to the river to bathe and to draw water for the house, she thought, "I wish a man from far away would come and take me!"

Crow-Man, who lived at the mouth of the river, heard her. He said, "A pretty girl far away wants a husband. I wish I could go to her!"

At once a man appeared to him and said, "I will help you, if you will do as I direct you. You must shut your eyes and pray to me, and I shall grant your desire. Now begin!"

Crow-Man knelt down and prayed that he might be enabled to go to the girl. His eyes closed while he was praying. Then his helper told him to open his eyes and look at himself. He saw that he had been transformed into a crow, with wings and with black feathers all over his body. He was afraid, and remained silent. His helper told him that he would not be a crow always, but only for the journey to the girl. He said, "Now, fly up the river! And early in the morning you will see a girl bathing near four underground lodges. She is the wife that you desire!"

It was springtime, when crows come up the river. Three mornings the girl had repeated her supplication for a husband. Early the fourth morning she went to the accustomed place, put down her bark water baskets, took off her clothes, and went to bathe. She had just made her supplication when a crow came up the river and passed close to her head.

She called him nasty names and said, "Why do you fly so close to my head, you black ugly bird? You will blind me with the dirt of your feet." It was Crow-Man, who was acting under the instructions of his helper. He flew past out of sight, alighted on the ground, shut his eyes, and prayed. When he opened his eyes, he was a man again. He walked back to where the girl was washing herself in the water, and sat down on her clothes. Presently she saw him, and asked him to leave. She pleaded with him to go away, but he paid no heed.

When she had asked him four times, he replied, "If you will become my wife, I will release your clothes."

She assented, saying, "You must be my husband, for you have seen my naked body."

Crow-Man shut his eyes and prayed. When he opened them again, a large beaver skin robe was there, and a dugout cedar canoe. He gave the robe to his wife. They embarked in the canoe and went downstream.

As the girl did not return, the people looked for her. They found her clothes and the water baskets, and thought that she had drowned herself.

She lived in her husband's country for a while, and bore a son to him. When the boy was growing up, he wished to see his grandparents. Every day he asked for them. Finally his parents determined to take him to see them. They went up the river in a canoe loaded with presents of many kinds, and eventually reached Lytton. They moored their canoe at the watering place. The weather was warm, and the woman's parents were living in a mat tent. Her younger sister came down to draw water and discovered them. She went back with the news; and the parents cleaned their house, and made ready to receive their son-in-law. He gave his father-in-law all the presents, and the people danced to welcome them. He made up his mind to live there and became an adopted member of the tribe

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The Woman Who Became A Horse

A chief had many horses,and among them a stallion which his wife often rode. The woman and stallion became enamored of each other and cohabited. The woman grew careless of her household duties and always wanted to look after the horses.

When the people moved camp and the horses were brought in, it was noticed that the stallion headed right for the woman and sniffed about her as a stallion would a mare. After this she was watched.

When her husband learned the truth, he shot the stallion. The woman cried and would not go to bed.At daybreak she was gone, no one knew to where. About a year after this it was discovered that she had gone off with some wild horses. One day the people were traveling over a large open place they saw a band of horses, and the woman among them. She had partly changed into a horse. Her pubic had had grown so long that it resembled a tail. She also a a lot of hair on her body. and the hair on her head had grown to resemble a horse's mane. her arms and legs had also changed considerable, but her face was still human, and bore some resemblance to her original self.

The chief sent some young men to chase her. All the wild horses ran away, but she could not run as fast as they, and was run down and lassoed. She was brought into her husband's lodge, and the people watched her for some time, trying to tame her, but she continued to act and whinny like a horse. At last they let her go free. The following year they saw her again. She had become almost entirely a horse, and had a colt by her side. She had many children afterwards.

 

 

 

 

 

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Ojibwa Indian Lore:

 

How Dogs Came To The People

Two Ojibwa Indians in a canoe had been blown from shore by a great wind.

They had gone far and were hungry and lost. They had little strength left to paddle, so they drifted before the wind, At last their canoe was blown onto a beach and they were glad, but not for long. Looking for tracks of animals, they saw some huge footprints which they knew must be those of a giant. They were afraid and hid in the bushes. As they crouched low, a big arrow thudded into the ground close beside them. Then a huge giant came towards them. A caribou hung from his belt, but the man was so big that it looked like a rabbit. He told them that he did not hurt people and he liked to be a friend to little people, who seem to the giant to be so helpless.

he asked the two lost Indians to come home with him, and since they had no food and their weapons had been lost in the storm at sea, they were glad to go with him. An evil Widigo spirit came to the lodge of the giant and told the two men that the giant had other men hidden away in the forest because he liked to eat them. The Windigo pretended to be a friend, but he was the one who wanted to eat the men.

the Windigo became very angry when the giant would not give him the two men, finally the giant became angry too. He took a big stick and turned over a bowl with it. A strange animal which the Indians had never seen before lay on the floor, looking up at them. It looked like a wolf to them, but the giant called the animal "Dog." The giant told him to kill the evil Windigo spirit. The beast sprang to it's feet, shook it's self and started to grow. the more he shook himself the more he grew and the fiercer he became. He sprang at the Windigo and killed him; then the dog grew small again and crept back under the bowl.

the giant saw that the Indians were surprised and pleased with the Dog and said that he would give it to them, though it was a pet. He told the men that he would command the dog to take them home.

They had no idea how this could be done, though they had seen that the giant was a maker of magic, but they thanked the friendly giant for his great gift. the giant took the men and the dog to the seashore and gave the dog a command. At once it began to grow bigger, until it was nearly as big as a horse. The giant put the tow men onto the back of the dog and told them to hold on very tightly. As the dog ran into the sea. he grew still bigger and when the water was deep enough he started to swim strongly away form the shore.

After a long time, the two Ojibwa began to see a part of the seacoast which they knew, and soon the dog headed for shore. As he neared the beach, he became smaller, so that the Indians had to swim for the last part of their journey. the dog left them close to their lodges and disappeared into the forest. When the men told their tribe of their adventure, the people thought that the men were speaking falsely. "Show us even the little mystery animal, Dog, and we shall believe you," the chief said.

A few moons came and went and then, one morning while the tribe slept. the dog returned to the two men. It allowed allowed them to pet it and took food from their hands.

The tribe was very surprised to see this new creature. It stayed with the tribe.

And that as the Indians tell it is how the first dog came to the people.

 


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The Girls Who Wish To Marry Stars

At the time of which my story speaks people were camping just as we are here. In the wintertime they used birchbark wigwam. All the animals could then talk together. Two girls, who were very foolish, talked foolishly and were in no respect like the other girls of their tribe, made their bed out-of-doors and slept right out under the stars. The very fact that they sleep outside during the winter proves how foolish they were.

One of these girls asked the other, "With what star would you like to sleep, the white one or the red one?" The other girl answered, "I'd like to sleep with the red star." "Oh, that's alright," said the first one, "I would like to sleep with the white star. He's the younger, the red star is the older." Then the two girls fell asleep. When they awoke, they found themselves in another world, the star world. There were four of them there, the two girls and the two stars who had become men. The white star was very, very old and was grey-headed, while the younger star was redheaded. He was the red star. The girls stayed a long time in this star world, and the one who had chosen the white star was very sorry, for he was so old.

There was an old woman up in this star world who sat over a hole in the sky, and, whenever she moved, she showed them the hole and said, "That's where you came from." They looked down through and saw their people playing down below, and then the girls grew very sorry and very homesick. One evening, near sunset,s the old woman move a little way from the hole.

The younger girl heard the noise of the mite win stopped; it was her spirit that made the noise. She was the guardian of the mite win.

One morning the old woman told the girls, "If you want to go down where you came from, we will let you down, but get to work and gather roots to make a string-made rope, twisted. The two of you make coils of rope as high as your heads when you are sitting. Two coils will be enough." The two girls worked for days until they had accomplished this. They made plenty of rope and tied it to a big basket. They then got into the basket and the people of the star world lowered them down. They descended right into an Eagle's nest, but the people above thought they were on the ground and stopped lowering them. They were obliged to stay in the nest, because they could do nothing to help themselves.

Said one, "We'll have to stay here until someone comes to get us." Bear passed by. The girls cried out, "Bear, come and get us. You are going to get married sometime. Now is your chance!" Bear thought. "They are not very good-looking women." He pretended to climb up and than said, "I can't climb up any farther." And he went away, for the girls didn't suit him. Next came Lynx. The girls cried out again, "Lynx come up and get us. You will go after women someday!" Lynx answered, "I can't, for I have no claws," and he went away. Then an ugly-looking man, Wolverine, passed and the girls spoke to him. "Hey, Wolverine, come and get us." Wolverine started to climb up and he thought it a very fortunate thing to have these women and he was very glad. When he refaced them, they placed their hair ribbons in the nest. Then Wolverine agreed to take one girl at a time, so he took the first one down and went back for the next. Then Wolverine went away with his two wives and enjoyed himself greatly, as he was ugly and nobody else would have him. They went far into the woods, and then they sat down and began to talk. "Oh!" cried one of the girls, "I forgot my hair ribbon." Then the Wolverine said, "I will run back for it." And he started off to get the hair ribbons. Then the girls hid and told the trees, whenever Wolverine should come back and whistle for them, to answer him by whistling. Wolverine soon returned and began to whistle for his wives, and the trees all around him whistled in answer. Wolverine, realizing that he had been tricked, gave up the search and departed very angry.

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Ojibway Indian Lore:

 


A Gust Of Wind

Before there was a man, two women, an old one and her daughter, were the only humans on earth. The old woman had not needed a man in order to conceive.
Ahki, the earth, also was like a woman - female - but not as she is now, because trees and many animals had not yet been made.

Well, the young woman, the daughter, took her basket out one day to go berrying. She had gathered enough and was returning home when a sudden gust of wind lifted her buckskin dress up high, baring her body.
Geesis, the sun, shone on that spot for a short moment and entered the body of the young woman, though she hardly noticed it.
She was aware of the gust of wind but paid no attention.

Time passed. The young woman said to the old one:
"I don't know what's wrong with me, but something is."

More time passed. The young woman's belly grew bigger, and she said:
"Something is moving inside me. What can it be?"
"When you were going berrying, did you meet anyone?" The old woman asked.
"I met nobody. The only thing that happened was a big gust of wind which lifted my buckskin dress. the sun was shining."
The old woman said:
"I think you're going to have a child. Geesis, the sun, is the only one who could have done it, so you will be the mother of a sun child."

The young woman gave birth to two boys, both *manitos*, - supernatural. They were the first human males on this earth - Geesis's sons, sons of the sun.

The young mother made cradle boards and put the twins in these, hanging them up or carrying them on her back, but never letting the babies touch the earth.
Why didn't she? Did the Old Woman tell her not to? Nobody knows.
If she had put the cradle boards on the ground, the babies would have walked upright from the moment of their birth, like deer babies. but because their mother would not let them touch earth for some months, it now takes human babies a year or so to walk. It was that young woman's fault.

One of the twins was Stone Boy, a rock. He said:
"Put me in the fire and heat me up until I glow red hot."
They did, and he said:
"Now pour cold water over me."
They did this also. That was the first sweat bath.

The other boy, named Wene-boozhoo, looked like all human boys. He became mighty and could do anything; he even talked to the animals and gave them their names.

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Cloud Catcher and the Moon Woman

Here is the myth of Endymion and Diana, as told on the shores of Saginaw Bay, in Michigan, by Indians who never heard of Greeks. Cloud Catcher, a handsome youth of the Ojibway, offended his family by refusing to fast during the ceremony of his coming of age, and was put out of the paternal wigwam. It was so fine a night that the sky served him as well as a roof, and he had a boy's confidence in his ability to make a living, and something of fame and fortune, maybe. He dropped upon a tuft of moss to plan for his future, and drowsily noted the rising of the moon in which he seemed to see a face. On awakening he found that it was not day, yet the darkness was half dispelled by light that rayed from a figure near him--the form of a lovely woman.

"Cloud Catcher, I have come for you," she said. And as she turned away he felt impelled to rise and follow. But, instead of walking, she began to move into the air with the flight of an eagle, and, endowed with a new power, he too ascended beside her. The earth was dim and vast below, stars blazed as they drew near them, yet the radiance of the woman seemed to dull their glory. Presently they passed through a gate of clouds and stood on a beautiful plain, with crystal ponds and brooks watering noble trees and leagues of flowery meadow; birds of brightest colors darted here and there, singing like flutes; the very stones were agate, jasper and chalcedony. An immense lodge stood on the plain, and within were embroideries and ornaments, couches of rich furs, pipes and arms cut from jasper and tipped with silver. While the young man was gazing around him with delight, the brother of his guide appeared and reproved her, advising her to send the young man back to earth at once, but, she flatly refused to do so, he gave a pipe and bow and arrows to Cloud Catcher, as a token of his consent to their marriage, and wished them happiness, which, in fact, they had.

This brother, who was commanding, tall, and so dazzling in his gold and silver ornaments that one could hardly look upon him, was abroad all day, while his sister was absent for a part of the night. He permitted Cloud Catcher to go with him on one of his daily walks, and as they crossed the lovely Sky Land they glanced down through open valley bottoms on the green earth below. The rapid pace they struck gave to Cloud Catcher an appetite and he asked if there were no game. "Patience," counseled his companion. On arriving at a spot where a large hole had been broken through the sky they reclined on mats, and the tall man loosing one of his silver ornaments flung it into a group of children playing before a lodge. On of the little ones fell and was carried within, amid lamentations. Then the villagers left their sports and labors and looked up at the sky. The tall man cried, in a voice of thunder, "Offer a sacrifice and the child shall be well again." A white dog was killed, roasted, and in a twinkling it shot up the the feet of Cloud Catcher, who, being empty, attacked it voraciously.

Many such walks and feasts came after, and the sights of earth and taste of meat filled the mortal with longing to see his people again. He told his wife that he wanted to go back. She consented, after a time, saying, "Since you are better pleased with the cares, the ills, the labor, and the poverty of the world than with the comfort and abundance of Sky Land, you may return; but remember you are still my husband, and beware how you venture to take an earthly maiden for a wife."

She arose lightly, clasped Cloud Catcher by the wrist, and began to move with him through the air. The motion lulled him and he fell asleep, waking at the door of his father's lodge.

His relatives gathered and gave him welcome, and he learned that he had been in the sky for a year. He took the privatations of a hunter's and warrior's life less kindly than he though to, and after a time he enlivened its monotony by taking to wife a bright-eyed girl of his tribe. In four days she was dead. The lesson was unheeded and he married again. Shortly after, he stepped from his lodge one evening and never came back. The woods were filled with a strange radiance on that night, and it is asserted that Cloud Catcher was taken back to the lodge of the Sun and Moon, and is now content to live in heaven..

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Okanagon Indian Lore:

 

 

The Mother Of All The People

Old One, or Chief, made earth out of a woman, and she said she would be the mother of all the people. the the earth was once a human being, and she is alive yet; but she has been transformed, and we can not see her in the same way we see a person, Nevertheless, she has legs, arms, head, heart, hair,flesh,bones and blood.

The soil is her flesh, the trees and vegetation are her hair, the rocks her bones and the wind her breath.

She lies spread out and we live on her. She shivers and contacts a cold, and expands and perspires when hot. when she moves we have an earthquake. Old One, after transforming her, took some of the flesh and rolled it into balls, as people do with mud or clay. These he transformed into the beings of the ancient world.

 

 

 

 

 

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Okanogan Indian Lore:

 


Creation Of The Animal People

The earth was once a human being: Old One made her out of a woman.
"You will the mother of all people," he said.

Earth is alive yet, but she has been changed. The soil is her flesh, the rocks are her bones, the wind is her breath, trees and grass are her hair. She lives spread out, and we live on her. When she moves, we have an earthquake.

After taking the woman and changing her to earth, Old One gathered some of her flesh and rolled it into balls, as people do with mud or clay.
He made the first group of these balls into the ancients, the beings of the early world. The ancients were people, yet also animals. In form some looked human while some walked on all fours like animals. Some could fly like birds; others could swim like fishes.
All had the gift of speech, as well as greater powers and cunning than either animals or people. But deer were never among the ancients; they were always animals, even as they are today.

Besides the ancients, real people and real animals lived on the earth at that time. Old One made the people out of the last balls of mud he took from the earth. He rolled them over and over, shaped them like Indians, and blew on them to bring them alive.
They were so ignorant that they were the most helpless of all the creatures Old One had made. Old One made people and animals into males and females so that they might breed and multiply. Thus all living things came from the earth. When we look around, we see part of our mother everywhere.

The difficulty with the early world was that most of the ancients were selfish and some were monsters, and there was much trouble among them.
They were also very stupid in some ways. Though they knew they had to hunt in order to live, they did not know which creatures were deer and which were people, and sometimes they ate people by mistake.

At last Old One said,
"There will soon be no people if I let things go on like this."
So he sent Coyote to kill all the monsters and other evil beings among the ancients and teach the Indians how to do things.

And Coyote began to travel on the earth, teaching the Indians, making life easier and better for them, and performing many wonderful deeds.

 


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The Bear Woman

It was late fall, and people were in the mountains hunting. Six people were living together: a man and his wife, his parents, and his two sisters.

One day when out hunting, the man came on a patch of lily roots. On his return home he said to his wife, "I saw a fine patch of large lilies. Tomorrow morning we shall move there and stay for a few days, so that you can dig them."

They set up a lodge near the place. And on the following morning early, on his way to hunt, he showed his wife the place and left her there to dig.

In the afternoon a large grizzly bear appeared at the place. The woman was intent on her work and did not notice the bear until he was close to her. He said to her, "I want you to be my wife."

She agreed, for she knew he would kill her if she refused. He took her on his back and carried her to his house. Towards evening the hunter returned carrying a load of deer meat. His wife was not there. He thought, "She is late and will come soon."

He roasted meat for both of them. He ate, and then took his bow and arrows and went in search of his wife. He saw where she had been digging roots. He called, but received no answer. It grew dark, and he returned to his camp. He could not sleep. At daybreak he went out again. He saw the tracks of the grizzly bear going away, but no tracks of his wife leaving the spot. He thought she might have gone to his parents' camp, or the bear might have killed her, but he saw neither her tracks nor signs of a struggle with the bear.

He went to the camp. His father told him that she had not arrived. He related what he had seen, and his father said, "The grizzly bear has not killed her. He has married her."

The man could neither sleep nor eat. At last the fourth night he slept, for he was very tired. His wife appeared to him in a dream and said, "The grizzly has taken me." She told him where the bear's house was. She said, "Every morning at daybreak he takes me to dig roots at a certain place. If you are strong, you can kill him; but he is very fierce and endowed with magic power. You must fix your arrows as I direct you, and sit where I tell you. I have prepared a hiding place for you, where you may sit on a boulder. Prepare medicine to wash me with, for otherwise, when the bear dies, I shall die too through his power. If he kills you, I shall kill myself. Get young fir-tops and konęlps [veratrum californium, du Rand], and soak them in water. With these you must rub me. Prepare one arrow by rubbing it with fat of snakes, and the other arrow anoint with rattlesnake poison. Sit down on the rock in the place that I have prepared; and on the fourth morning, when I bring the bear past close to the rock, shoot him in the throat."

The hunter prepared everything as directed. He made two new arrows with detachable fore shafts. He made them very carefully, and put good stone heads on them. He searched for snakes, and anointed the fore shafts of his arrows and the points. Early in the morning he was at the place indicated.

The grizzly bear's house was a cave in a cliff, and at daybreak the man saw the smoke from his fire coming out through a hole in the top of the cliff. Soon he saw his wife and the bear emerge from the entrance. Her face was painted, and she carried her root digger. She dug roots, and the bear gathered them. The man returned home and told what he had seen to his father, who said, "I have a strong guardian spirit, and I shall protect you. Do not be afraid. Act according the directions your wife has given to you in your dream, and kill the bear."

On the fourth morning at daybreak he was sitting on the rock. His wife and the bear drew near. She was digging in circles, and the grizzly bear followed her. When she made the fourth circle, she passed quite close to the rock.

He aimed an arrow at his wife, and she cried, "Husbands never kill their wives!" He lowered his bow and laughed.

The bear stood up and was angry. He abused the woman, calling her bad names. Just then he was close to the rock. The hunter spoke to him, and the bear turned to look at the hunter, who shot him right in the throat. The grizzly bear tried to pull out the arrow, but could remove only the shaft. He rushed at the hunter, but could not reach him. The hunter shot his second arrow with such great force that the shaft fell off. The bear fell over and died. Then his wife swooned, and would have died through the bear's power, had not her husband rubbed her with fir-tops and veratrum.

She revived and stood up. She said, "I warn you not to have connection with me. The influence of the bear is still over me. Build a lodge of fir brush for me some distance away from the people. Let your sisters feed me, and wash me with fir and veratrum leaves. You may speak to me from a distance. Next spring, when the snow is almost gone, I shall be your wife again."

In the spring she washed at a stream, using hot water, and her sisters-in-law rubbed her with fir boughs. The hunter also washed. Then she went into his lodge, and lived with him as before.

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Onondaga Indian Lore:

 


The Peace Queen
A brave of the Oneida tribe hunted in the forest. The red buck flashed past him, but not swifter than his arrow, for as the deer leaped he loosed his shaft and it pierced the dappled hide.

The young man strode toward the carcass, knife in hand, but as he seized the horns, the branches parted, and the angry face of an Onondaga warrior lowered between them.

"Leave the buck, Oneida," he commanded fiercely. "It is the spoil of my bow. I wounded the beast before you saw it."

The Oneida laughed. "My brother may have shot at the buck," he said, "but of what use is that if he did not slay it?"

"The carcass is mine by right of forest law," cried the other in a rage. "Will you give it up, or will you fight?" The Oneida drew himself up and regarded the Onondaga scornfully. "As my brother pleases," he replied.

Next moment, the two were locked in a life-and-death struggle. The Onondaga was tall and strong as a great tree of the forest. The Oneida, lithe as a panther, fought with all the courage of youth. They swayed back and forth, till their breathing came thick and fast and the falling sweat blinded their eyes. At length they could struggle no longer, and by a mutual impulse, they sprang apart.

"Ho! Onondaga," cried the younger man, "of what use is it to struggle like this for a buck? Is there no meat in the lodges of your people that they must fight for it like the mountain lion?"

"Peace, young man!" answered the grave Onondaga, "I would not have fought for the buck if your evil tongue had not angered me. But I am older than you, and, I think, wiser. Let us seek the lodge of the Peace Queen close by, and she will award the buck to him who has the best right to it."

"It is well," said the Oneida, and side by side they sought the lodge of the Peace Queen.

Now the Five Nations in their wisdom had set apart a Seneca maiden dwelling alone in the forest as judge over quarrels between braves. This maiden was regarded by the men of all tribes as sacred and as being apart from other women. She could not become the bride of any man.

As the Peace Queen heard the angry shouting of the braves outside her lodge, she stepped outside, not at all pleased that they should thus profane the vicinity of her dwelling. "Peace!" she cried. "If you have a grievance, enter and state it. It is not fitting that braves should quarrel where the Peace Queen dwells."

At her words, the men stood ashamed. They entered the lodge and told the story of their meeting and the circumstances of their quarrel.

When they had finished, the Peace Queen smiled scornfully. "So two such braves as you can quarrel about a buck?" she said. "Go, Onondaga, as the elder, and take one half of the animal, and bear it back to your wife and children."

But the Onondaga stood his ground. "O Queen," he said, "my wife is in the Land of Spirits, taken from me by the Plague Demon. But my lodge does not lack food. I would marry again, and your eyes have looked into my heart as the sun pierces the darkness of the forest. Will you come to my lodge and cook my venison?"

But the Peace Queen shook her head. "You know that the Five Nations have placed Genetaska apart to be Peace Queen," she replied firmly, "and that her vows may not be broken. Go in peace." The Onondaga was silent.

Then spoke the Oneida. "O Peace Queen," he said, gazing steadfastly at Genetaska, whose eyes dropped before his glance," I know that you are set apart by the Five Nations. But it is in my mind to ask you to go with me to my lodge, for I love you. What says Genetaska?"

The Peace Queen blushed and answered: "To you also I say, go in peace," but her voice was a whisper which ended with a stifled sob.

The two warriors departed, good friends now that they possessed a common sorrow. But the Peace Maiden had forever lost her peace. For she could not forget the young Oneida brave, so tall, so strong, and so gentle.

Summer darkened into autumn, and autumn whitened into winter. Many warriors came to the Peace Lodge for the settlement of disputes. Outwardly Genetaska was calm and untroubled, but although she gave solace to others, her own breast could find none.

One day she sat by the lodge fire, which had burned down to a heap of cinders. She was thinking, dreaming of the young Oneida. Her thoughts went out to him as birds fly southward to seek the sun. Suddenly a crackling of twigs under a firm step roused her from her reverie. Quickly she glanced upward. Before her stood the youth of her dreams, pale and worn.

"Peace Queen," he said softly, "you have brought darkness to the soul of the Oneida. No longer may he follow the hunt. The deer need not fear him. No longer may he bend the bow or throw the tomahawk in contest, or listen to the tale during the long nights round the camp-fire. You have his heart in your keeping. Say, will you not give him yours?"

Softly the Peace Queen murmured: "I will."

Hand in hand like two joyous children they sought his canoe, which bore them swiftly westward. No longer was Genetaska Peace Queen, for her vows were broken by the power of love.

The two were happy. But not so the men of the Five Nations. They were angry because the Peace Queen had broken her vows, and knew how foolish they had been to trust to the word of a young and beautiful woman. So with one voice they abolished the office of Peace Queen, and war and tumult returned once more to the people.



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The Vampire Skeleton

The married couple encounters death; the child avoids it. To make the point more emphatic, the mythmaker has the skeleton appear as a fox, which the Onondaga recognize, or at one time recognized, as a symbol of sexual love. Here again is the familiar anguish of the culture myth; love breeds death. Or, to put it another way, death is the price of love. As the mythmaker reminds us, there is only one escape; to remain a child.

In old times the Onondaga lived on a much larger reservation than now-a great land-but they made hunting parties to the Adirondacks. A party once went off in which there were an old man, his daughter and her husband, and their little boy. They went one day and camped, and another day and camped, and then separated. The old man, his daughter, and her husband turned one way, but the little boy accidentally went the other way with his uncle.

The three kept on, and late in the day found an empty cabin in clearing. There was an Indian bedstead on each side within, and as no one seemed to live there, they resolved to stay for the night. They gathered plenty of fuel, stripping long pieces from the shagbark hickory, built a fine fire, spread their deerskins on the bedsteads, and went to sleep-the old man on one side, the man and his wife on the other.

When the fire became low and it grew dark in the cabin, the young people were awakened by a sound like a dog gnawing a bone. They stirred about, and the noise ceased, but was followed by something like rattling bones overhead. They got up and put on more fuel, and were going back to bed when they saw something like water flowing from the other couch. It was blood, and the old man was dead. His clothes were torn open and his ribs broken and gnawed. They covered him up and lay down again. The same thing happened the second time, and this time they saw it was a terrible skeleton, feeding on the dead man. They were frightened and in whispers devised a plan of escape. They made a great fire, and the wife said, "Husband, I must go to the spring and get some water; I am so thirsty." She went out quietly, but a little way off ran with all her might toward her own country.

When her husband thought she had a good start, he made a very big fire, to last a great while, and then he said, "What has become of my wife? I am afraid she is drowned in the spring. I must go and see." So he went out, and a little way off he, too, ran with all his might, and when he overtook his wife, he caught her by the arm and they both ran on together. By and by, the fire went down, the skeleton came again, and when he found they were both gone he started to give chase. Soon they heard him howling terribly behind them, and they ran faster.

It happened that night that the Onondga were holding a feast, and it now drew near morning. The man and woman heard the drum sounding far off, tum-tum, tum-tum, and they ran harder, and shouted, but the skeleton did the same. Then they heard the drum again, TUM-TUM, tum-tum, and it was nearer, and they shouted again. Their friends heard the distress cry, and came to their rescue with all their arms. The skeleton fled. The fugitives fell down fainting, and did not regain their senses for hours; then they told their story.

A council was held, and the warriors started for the dreadful spot. They found the hut and a few traces of the old man. In the loft were some scattered articles, and a bark coffin. In this was the skeleton of a man left unburied by his friends. They determined to destroy everything, and fuel was gathered on all sides and fire applied. The warriors stood around with bent bows and raised hatchets. The fire grew hot, the cabin fell in, and out of the flames rushed a fox with red and fiery eyes; it dashed through the ranks and disappeared in the forest. The dreadful skeleton was seen no more.

 

 

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Osage Indian Lore:

 


The Spider And The People
From the earliest days, when they came together on this earth, the Osage people have been divided into two groups. These groups were the Sky people and the Earth people. The fifteen clans of the Earth People lived in the southern half of the village. The nine clans of the Sky People lived in the northern half of the village.

These clans looked to the animals as their teachers, to serve as symbols for them to live strong lives. Each clan had more than one animal as its symbol. One of these clans was called the Isolated Earth People. This is the story of how the spider became one of the symbols of that clan.

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One day, the chief of the Isolated Earth people was hunting in the forest. He was also hunting for a symbol to give life to his people. He came upon the tracks of a huge deer.The chief became very excited.

"Grandfather Deer," he said,"surely you will show yourself to me."You are going to become the symbol of my people."

He began to follow the tracks. His eyes were on nothing else as he followed those tracks, and he ran faster and faster through the forest. Suddenly, he ran right into a huge spider's web that had been strung between the trees, across the trail. When he got up, he was very angry. He struck at the spider who was sitting at the edge of the web. But the spider jumped out of reach. Then the spider spoke to the man.

"Grandson," the spider said, "why do you run through the woods looking at nothing but the ground?"

The chief felt foolish, but he had to answer the spider. "I was following the tracks of a great deer," the chief said. "I am seeking a symbol of strength for my people."

"I can be such a symbol,"said the spider.

"How can you be a symbol of strength?" said the chief. "You are small and weak, and I didn't even see you as I followed the great Deer."

"Grandson," said the spider, "look upon me. I am patient. I watch and I wait. Then all things come to me. If your people learn this, they will be strong indeed."

The chief saw that this was so. Thus the Spider became one of the symbols of the people.



 


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The Wisdom of the Willow Tree

What is the meaning of life?

Why is it that people grow old and die?

Although he was young, those questions troubled the mind of Little One. He asked the elders about them, but their answers did not satisfy him. At last he knew there was only one thing to do. He would have to seek the answers in his dreams.

Little One rose early in the morning and prayed to Wah-Kon-Tah for help. Then he walked away from the village, across the prairie and toward the hills. He took nothing with him, no food or water. He was looking for a place where none of his people would see him, a place where a vision could come to him.

Little One walked a long way. Each night he camped in a different place, hoping that it would be the right one to give him a dream that could answer his questions. But no such dream came to him.

At last he came to a hill that rose above the land like the breast of a turkey. A spring burst from the rocks near the base of a great elm tree. It was such a beautiful place that it seemed to be filled with the power of Wah-Kon-Tah. Little One sat down by the base of that elm tree and waited as the sun set. But though he slept, again no sign was given to him.

When he woke the next morning, he was weak with hunger. I must go back home, he thought. He was filled with despair, but his thoughts were of his parents. He had been gone a long time. Even though it was expected that a young man would seek guidance alone in this fashion, Little One knew they would be worried. "If I do not return while I still have the strength to walk," he said, "I will die here and my family may never find my body."

So Little One began to follow the small stream that was fed by the spring. It flowed out of the hills in the direction of his village, and he trusted it to lead him home. He walked and walked until he was not far from his village. But as he walked along that stream, he stumbled and fell among the roots of an old willow tree. Little One clung to the roots of the willow tree. Although he tried to rise, his legs were too weak.

"Grandfather," he said to the willow tree, "It is not possible for me to go on."

Then the ancient willow spoke to him. "Little One," it said, "all the Little Ones always cling to me for support as they walk along the great path of life. See the base of my trunk, which sends forth those roots that hold me firm in the earth. They are the sign of my old age. They are darkened and wrinkled with age, but they are still strong. Their strength comes from relying on the earth. When the Little Ones use me as a symbol, they will not fail to see old age as they travel along the path of life."

Those words gave strength to Little One's spirit. He stood again and began to walk. Soon his own village was in sight, and as he sat down to rest for a moment in the grass of the prairie, looking at his village, another vision came to him. He saw before him the figure of an old man. The old man was strangely familiar, even though Little One had never seen him before.

"Look upon me," the old man said. "What do you see?"

"I see an old man whose face is wrinkled with age," Little One said.

"Look upon me again," the old man said.

Then Little One looked, and as he looked, the lesson shown him by the willow tree filled his heart. "I see an aged man in sacred clothing," Little One said, "The fluttering down of the eagle adorns his head. I see you, my grandfather. I see an aged man with the stem of the pipe between his lips. I see you, my grandfather. Your are firm and rooted to the earth like the ancient willow. I see you standing among the days that are peaceful and beautiful. I see you, my grandfather. I see you standing as you will stand in your lodge, my grandfather."

The ancient man smiled. Little One had seen truly. "My young brother," the old man said, "your mind is fixed upon the days that are peaceful and beautiful." And then he was gone.

Now Little One's heart was filled with peace, and as he walked into the village, his mind was troubled no longer with those questions about the meaning of life. For he knew that the old man he had seen was himself. The ancient man was Little One as he would be when he became an elder, filled with that great peace and wisdom which would give strength to all of the people.

From that day on, Little One began to spend more time listening to the words his elders spoke, and of all the young men in the village, he was the happiest and the most content.





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Otoe Indian Lore:


The Story Of Kutoyis
There once lived on the banks of the Missouri an old couple who had one daughter, their only child.
When she grew to be a woman she had a suitor who was cruel and overbearing, but as she loved him her parents offered no opposition to their marriage. Indeed, they gave the bride the best part of their possessions for a dowry, so that she and her husband were rich, while her father and mother lived in a poor lodge and had very little to eat.

The wicked son-in-law took advantage of their kindness in every way. He forced the old man to accompany him on his hunting expeditions, and then refused to share the game with him. Sometimes one would kill a buffalo and sometimes the other, but always it was the younger man who got the best of the meat and who made himself robes and moccasins from the hide.

Thus the aged couple were nearly perishing from cold and hunger. Only when her husband was out hunting would the daughter venture to carry a morsel of meat to her parents.

On one occasion the younger man called in his overbearing way to his father-in-law, bidding him help in a buffalo-hunt.
The old man, reduced by want almost to a skeleton, was too much afraid of the tyrant to venture to disobey him, so he accompanied him in the chase.
Ere long they encountered a fine buffalo, whereupon both drew their bows and fired. But it was the arrow of the elder man which pierced the animal and brought it to the ground. The old man set himself to skin the buffalo, for his son-in-law never shared in these tasks, but left them to his companion.
While he was thus engaged the latter observed a drop of blood on one of his arrows which had fallen to the ground.

Thinking that even a drop of blood was better than nothing, he replaced the arrow in its quiver and set off home. As it happened, no more of the buffalo than that fell to his share, the rest being appropriated by his son-in-law.

On his return the old man called to his wife to heap fuel on the fire and put on the kettle. She, thinking he had brought home some buffalo-meat, hastened to do his bidding. She waited curiously till the water in the kettle had boiled; then to her surprise she saw him place in it an arrow with a drop of blood on it.

How Kutoyis was Born

"Why do you do that ?" she asked.

"Something will come of it," he replied. "My spirit tells me so."

They waited in silence.

Then a strange sound was heard in their lonely little lodge - the crying of a child. Half fearfully, half curiously, the old couple lifted the lid of the kettle, and there within was a little baby boy.

"He shall bring us good luck," said the old man. They called the child Kutoyis - Drop of Blood - and wrapped him up as is customary.

"Let us tell our son-in-law," said the old man, "that it is a little girl, and he will let it live. If we say it is a boy he will surely kill it."

Kutoyis became a great favorite in the little lodge to which he had come. He was always laughing, and his merriment won the hearts of the old people. One day, while they thought him much too young to speak, they were astonished to hear his voice.

"Lash me up and hang me from the lodge pole," said he, "and I shall become a man."

When they had recovered from their astonishment they lashed him to the lodge pole. In a moment he had burst the lashings and grown before their eyes into a tall, strong man. Looking round the lodge, which seemed scarcely large enough to hold him, Kutoyis perceived that there was no food about.

"Give me some arrows," said he, "and I will bring you food."

"We have no arrows," replied the old man," only four arrow-heads."

Kutoyis fetched some wood, from which he cut a fine bow, and shafts to fit the flint arrow-heads. He begged the old to lead him to a good hunting-ground, and when he had done so they quickly killed a magnificent buffalo.

Meanwhile the old man had told Kutoyis how badly his son-in-law had treated him, and as they were skinning the buffalo who should pass by but the subject of their conversation. Kutoyis hid behind the dead animal to see what would happen, and a moment later the angry voice of the son-in-law was heard.

Getting no reply, the cowardly hunter fitted an arrow to his bow and shot it at his father-in-law. Enraged at the cruel act, Kutoyis rose from his hiding-place behind the dead buffalo and fired all his arrows at the young man, whom he slew.
He afterward gave food in plenty to the old man and his wife, and bade them return to their home. They were delighted to find themselves once more free from persecution, but their daughter wept so much that finally Kutoyis asked her whether she would have another husband or whether she wished to follow her first spouse to the Land of Shadows, as she must do if she persisted in lamenting him.

The lady chose the former alternative as the lesser evil, and Kutoyis found her an excellent husband, with whom she lived happily for a long time.

Kutoyis on his Travels

At length Kutoyis tired of his monotonous life, and desired to see more of the world. So his host directed him to a distant village, where he was welcomed by two old women. They set before their handsome guest the best fare at their disposal, which was buffalo-meat of a rather unattractive appearance.

"Is there no good meat ?" queried Kutoyis.

The old women explained that one of the lodges was occupied by a fierce bear, who seized upon all the good meat and left only the dry, poor sort for his neighbors. Without hesitation Kutoyis went out and killed a buffalo calf, which he presented to the women, desiring them to place the best parts of the meat in a prominent position outside the lodge, where the big bear could not fail to see it.

This they did, and sure enough one of the bear-cubs shortly passed by and seized the meat. Kutoyis, who had been lying in wait, rushed out and hit the animal as hard as he could. The cub carried his tale of woe to his father, and the big bear, growling threats of vengeance, gathered his whole family round him and rushed to the lodge of the old women, intending to kill the bold hunter. However, Kutoyis was more than a match for all of them, and very soon the bears were slain. Still he was unsatisfied, and longed for further adventures.

"Tell me," said he, "where shall I find another village?"

The Wrestling Woman

"There is a village by the Big River," said the old women, "but you must not go there, for a wicked woman dwells in it who wrestles with and slays all who approach."

No sooner did Kutoyis hear this than he determined to seek the village, for his mission was to destroy evil beings who were a danger to his fellow-men. So in spite of the dissuasion of the old women he departed.

As he had been warned, the woman came out of her lodge on the approach of the stranger and invited him to wrestle with her.

"I cannot," said he, pretending to be frightened. The woman mocked and jeered at him, while he made various excuses, but all the time he was observing how the land lay. When he drew nearer he saw that she had covered the ground with sharp flints, over which she had strewn grass. At last he said: "Very well, I will wrestle with you."

It was no wonder that she had killed many braves, for she was very strong. But Kutoyis was still stronger. With all her skill she could not throw him, and at last she grew tired, and was herself thrown on the sharp flints, on which she bled to death. The people rejoiced greatly when they heard of her death, and Kutoyis was universally acclaimed as a hero.

Kutoyis did many other high deeds before he departed to the Shadow land, and when he went he left sorrow in many lodges.



 


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Ottawa Indian Lore:

 

Origin Of Our Tribal Flower...

The Trailing Arbutus

Many, many moons ago, there lived an old man alone in his lodge beside a stream in the thick woods. He was heavily clad in furs; for it was winter, and all the world was covered with snow and ice.

The winds swept through the woods; searching every bush and tree for birds to chill, and chasing evil spirits over high hills, through tangled swamps, and valleys deep. The old man went about, and peered vainly in the deep snow for pieces of wood to sustain the fire in his lodge.

Sitting down by the last dying embers, he cried to Kigi Manito Waw-kwi (the God of Heaven) that he might not perish. The winds howled, and blew aside the door of his lodge, when in came a most beautiful maiden. Her cheeks were like red roses; her eyes were large, and glowed like the fawns in the moonlight; her hair was long and black as the ravens plumes, and touched the ground as she walked; her hands were covered with willow-buds; on her head were wreaths of wild flowers; her clothing was sweet grass and ferns; her moccasins were fair white lilies; and, when she breathed, the air of the lodge became warm and fragrant.

The old man said, "My daughter, I am indeed glad to see you. My lodge is cold and cheerless; yet it will shield you from the tempest. But tell me who you are, that you should come to my lodge in such strange clothing. Come, sit down here, and tell me of your country and your victories, and I will tell you of my exploits. For I am Manito."

He then filled two pipes with tobacco, that they might smoke together as they talked. When the smoke had warmed the old man's tongue, again he said, "I am Manito. I blow my breath, and the lakes and streams become flint." The maiden answered, "I breathe, and flowers spring up on all the plains."

The old man replied, "I breathe, and the snow covers all the earth." "I shake my tresses," returned the maiden, "and warm rains fall from the clouds."

"When I walk about," answered the old man, "leaves wither and fall from the trees. At my command the animals hide themselves in the ground, and the fowls forsake the waters and fly away. Again I say, 'I am Manito.'"

The maiden made answer: "When I walk about, the plants lift up their heads, and the naked trees robe themselves in living green; the birds come back; and all who see me sing for joy. Music is everywhere."

As they talked the air became warmer and more fragrant in the lodge; and the old man's head drooped upon his breast, and he slept. Then the sun came back, and the bluebirds came to the top of the lodge and sang, "We are thirsty. We are thirsty."

And Sabin (the river) replied, "I am free. Come, come and drink." And while the old man was sleeping, the maiden passed her hand over his head; and he began to grow small. Streams of water poured out of his mouth; very soon he became a small mass upon the ground; and his clothing turned to withered leaves.

Then the maiden kneeled upon the ground, took from her bosom the most precious pink and white flowers, and, hiding them under the faded leaves, and breathing upon them, said: "I give you all my virtues, and all the sweetness of my breath; and all who would pick thee shall do so on bended knees."

Then the maiden moved away through the woods and over the plains; all the birds sang to her; and wherever she stepped, and nowhere else, grows our tribal flower... the trailing arbutus.

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The Great Flood

One very remarkable character reported in our legends, dimly seen through the mist of untold centuries, is Kwi-wi-sens Neaw-bo-zhoo, meaning, "The greatest clown-boy in the world." When he became a man, he was not only a great prophet among his people, but a giant of such marvelous strength, that he could wield his war-club with force enough to shatter in pieces the largest pine-tree.

His hunting dog was a monstrous black wolf, as large as a full grown buffalo, with long, soft hair, and eyes that shone in the night like the moon.

The deity of the sea saw the charming beauty of this wolf dog, and was so extremely jealous of him, that he was determined to take his life. So he appeared before him in the form of a deer; and as the dog rushed to seize him, he was grasped by the deity and drowned in the depths of the sea. He then made a great barbecue and invited as his guests, whales, serpents, and all the monsters of the deep, that they might exult and rejoice with him that he had slain the dog of the prophet. When the seer-clown learned of the fate of his noble dog, through cunning Waw-goosh (the fox), whose keen eyes saw the deception that cost the wolf-dog his life, he sought to take revenge upon the sea-god. So he went at once to the place where the latter was accustomed to come on land with his monster servants to bathe in the sunshine, and there concealed himself among the tall rushes until the "caravan of the deep" came ashore.

When they had fallen fast asleep, he drew his giant bow, twice as long as he was tall, and shot a poisoned arrow that pierced Neben Manito, the water-god, through the heart. Neben Manito rolled into the sea, and cried, "Revenge! Revenge!" Then all the assembled monsters of the deep rushed headlong after the slayer of their king. The prophet fled in consternation before the outraged creatures that hurled after him mountains of

water, which swept down the forests like grass before the whirlwind. He continued to flee before the raging flood, but could find no dry land. In sore despair he then called upon the God of Heaven to save him, when there appeared before him a great canoe, in which were pairs of all kinds of land-beasts and birds, being rowed by a most beautiful maiden, who let down a rope and drew him up into the boat.

The flood raged on; but, though mountains of water were continually being hurled after the prophet, he was safe. When he had floated on the water many days, he ordered Aw-milk (the beaver) to dive down and, if he could reach the bottom, to bring up some earth. Down the latter plunged, but in a few minutes came floating to the surface lifeless. The prophet pulled him into the boat, blew into his mouth, and he became alive again.

He then said to Waw-jashk (the musk-rat), "You are the best diver among all the animal creation. Go down to the bottom and bring me up some earth, out of which I will create a new world; for we cannot much longer live on the face of the deep."

Down plunged the musk-rat; but, like the beaver, he, too, soon came to the surface lifeless, and was drawn

into the boat, whereupon the prophet blew into his mouth, and he became alive again. In his paw, however, was found a small quantity of earth, which the prophet rolled into a small ball, and tied to the neck of Ka-ke-gi (the raven), saying, "Go thou, and fly to and fro over the surface of the deep, that dry land may appear." The raven did so; the waters rolled away; the world resumed its former shape; and, in course of time, the maiden

and prophet were united and re peopled the world.

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