Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Legend of the White Horse Plain

An Assiniboin | Cree | Sioux Legend
The Legend of the White Horse Plain by Margaret Arnett MacLeod

Manitoba Pageant, January 1958, Volume 3, Number 2

This article was published originally in Manitoba Pageant by the Manitoba Historical Society on the above date. We make it available here as a free, public service in hopes it will continue to be useful. Gateway to the west is a name frequently used to designate the city of Winnipeg, since it stands on the eastern edge of the Canadian prairies.

The city looks west over a small area which was known as the White Horse plain. There, in the lee of a ridge to the west and north, the hamlet of Grantown was founded in 1824. This nucleus of settlement, 18 miles west of present day Winnipeg, was later renamed and is today the village of St. Francois Xavier.

The ridge was early called the Coteau de Festin, since from time immemorial it had been noted as a gathering place for the Indians - a place where they held dog feasts, sun dances and other celebrations.

This beginning of the western prairies is a storied place, the only area around Winnipeg which has left us a legend - the legend of White Horse plain. For more than two and a half centuries this region has been called the White Horse plain. It carried that name for more than 50 years before the first white man set foot in the west, for over a hundred years before Manitoba existed; for so long indeed that the actual occurrence which named it has been almost forgotten by its people, leaving only the legend it engendered.

The legend as given here is the version which was most widely corroborated for me by old residents of White Horse plain and others.

In an early period of the seventeenth century, when only Indians roamed the western plains, the most northerly nation, the Crees, were being pushed farther and farther towards Hudson Bay by their traditional enemies, their fierce neighbors to the south, the Sioux.

Finally the Sioux gained a foothold in the wealthy Cree country as far north as Lake Winnipeg and the point north of the tip of Lake Superior, now known as Sioux Lookout. It was a serious situation for the Cree. They were desperate. In this barren land they faced near starvation and possible extinction. Then came their salvation, the arrival of the white men at Hudson Bay with whom they soon began to trade. Before long they had the white man's guns and were making effective war with them against the bows and arrows of the Sioux. So the invaders in turn were pushed farther and farther back into their own territory, and the Cree became the great warriors, more invincible than ever the Sioux had been.

As a consequence of this, the Crees' nearest neighbors to the south, the Assiniboines, a branch of the Sioux who formerly had protected the Sioux from the incursions of the Crees, were glad not only to make peace but later to ally themselves with this powerful and irresistible nation which fought their enemies with fire.

Against this alliance the Sioux, though flaming inwardly, could do nothing. Nevertheless they kept a jealous eye on the movements of both.

Early one summer in the 1690s, a large band of Assiniboines was camped on the banks of the Assiniboine river about ten miles west of the centre of present day Winnipeg. The chief of these Assiniboines had a beautiful daughter, and to his lodge came two suitors for her hand - a Cree chief from Lake Winnipegosis and a Sioux chief from Devil's Lake.

The Cree was the favored suitor for he had to offer in exchange for a bride that rarity, that coveted prize of the prairies, a horse as white as the winter snows, a Blanco Diablo which came from that famed breed in Mexico. Nimble of foot, swift as the wind, strong and sturdy, a "white devil" could out-run and out-last any other horse, and go three or four days longer than any other without food or water.

The prospect of such a gift was irresistible, and the father succumbed. But not all the Assiniboines in the camp favored the alliance with the Crees, notably a powerful medicine man. The memory of Cree war parties with Assiniboine scalps flying in the wind was ever before his eyes and he nursed in his heart the old bitterness.

"Is it not enough", he thundered at his chief, "that you should make peace with the enemies of our forefathers? Now you will disgrace us by mingling our blood with that of our foes!" But his protests were in vain. So he sought by his magic and exhortations to strengthen in the camp the hatred against the Crees.

The marriage was planned for a time when the Sioux chief was to be on a war expedition, but they counted without the medicine man. Secretly he sent off word of his rival's success to the young Sioux.

On the day appointed for the ceremonies, the Cree bridegroom, gorgeous in the trappings of his chief-dom, arrived from Lake Winnipegosis mounted on a fine grey steed, and leading the white horse loaded with additional presents for his prospective father-in-law.

The gifts were presented and the Cree claimed his bride. Then, with the feasting and merrymaking scarce begun, suddenly there was an alarm - a cloud of dust in the distance. The flouted and vengeful suitor with an escort of Sioux warriors was fast approaching over the prairie.

All was confusion in the camp. Cries of Sioux and Cree sympathizers alike filled the air. "Up, up! Away! It is your only chance!" cried the bride's father to the Cree. "Take your horses and flee!"

The bridegroom ran with his bride to the tethered horses, helped her mount the white steed, jumped to the grey in a flash and they were off. Westward they flew, but not unobserved. The Sioux with his party was quickly in pursuit.

But even the time gained at the start and the swift pace of their fleeing ponies did not save the bridal couple. Though they doubled back on their tracks to mislead their pursuers and at times were hidden by patches of bush, once out on the open plain again the white horse was the mark that betrayed them.

On, they sped over the prairie. The frightened girl held back the pace of her horse to that of her husband's grey, and the Sioux were gaining on them.

Finally at a point just east of the present day village of St. Francois Xavier,the avenging arrows of the Sioux sped to the hearts of the fleeing couple and killed them both.

The grey horse was wounded, but the white steed escaped into the deep woods. For years it roamed the plain, thus giving its name to the region, and the Indians, believing that the soul of the girl had passed into its body, feared to approach it. As time passed the belief grew that, in ghostly form the white horse continued its wild wanderings.

Today there are old residents in the district who recall the tragic story of the Cree chief and his Assiniboine bride, and relate the legend of the Blanco Diablo, which some believe still haunts the Plain.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Badger carries Darkness: Coyote and Bobcat scratch each other

A White Mountain Apache Legend
Coyote was traveling along. Badger always used to carry darkness on his back. Coyote met him. "My cross-cousin, what's in the bag you carry?" he asked. He was hungry and he thought Badger had food in his sack.

Because he thought there was food in there, Coyote wanted to stay around where Badger was and maybe get something to eat. So the two traveled on together for a way. Then Coyote was thinking he would offer to carry the load and let Badger rest.

After quite a while Coyote said, "My cross-cousin, you look tired. You have a heavy load there. Why don't you let me carry it and you rest ?" "No, I'm not tired. I always travel this way," Badger said.

After a while Coyote said again, "My cross-cousin, I think you are tired. Let me carry the load for you just a little way and you rest for a while." "All right, you carry this, my bed, if you want. I know you are thinking it's something to eat, but it's not. I carry this always. I'll let you have it, though." "I'm just saying this because I want to carry it for you and because you are giving out. I will carry it a little way," Coyote answered.

So Badger took his pack off and gave it to Coyote and they started on again. After a while Coyote said to Badger, "I want to stop to urinate behind this bush. You keep on ahead and don't bother to wait for me." So Badger went on ahead.

As soon as Coyote got behind the bush he started to untie the pack, as that was all he wanted to do in the first place. When he untied the pack, it started to get dark. Darkness was all coming out. Coyote got scared and hollered after Badger, "wa-'a, my cross-cousin, I'm having a bad time here. It must be that you are packing bad things with you. I can hardly see at all." Badger came back and said, "I told you not to open my pack. Now you have done it and started this. I already told you that there was no food in it. You have done something bad." Then Badger spread his arms and gathered in all the darkness and shoved it into the sack again, tying the mouth tight. Coyote felt mad on account of being fooled and said "You just carry badness."

Badger went on by himself. After a while he met Porcupine; The two sat down and told stories about old times. Badger said, "I was living when the sky fell out onto the earth," and he set his pack down. "That's quite a while ago but I was living before that," said Porcupine. "I was living when the sky and the earth were rubbing together. Do you know about the time when that happened ? Which of us is older now ?"

Later Coyote started on his way and met Bobcat. They stopped to talk to each other. Then they said, "Let's scratch each other's back in turn and see who has the sharpest claws." Bobcat said, "I have no claws," He had claws all right, but they were sheathed so you could not see them. "Let me see!" said Coyote. Bobcat let him look and it seemed as if he had no claws at all. Then Coyote let Bobcat look at his claws and there was far more of them showing than of Bobcat's. "If I scratch your back nothing will happen. It will just pull a little hair and skin off you. But if you scratch my back, you will rip me right down," Bobcat said. "I want you to scratch me first," Bobcat said. "No" Coyote said, "you come first." Finally after a long argument Coyote thought it would be all right to do it first, because he thought this was going to be an easy game for him. He told Bobcat to sit up so he could scratch him from neck to tail. When he was ready Coyote raked him down the back as hard as he could and pulled a lot of fur and hide off Bobcat's back. '"Eye'ya-, you hurt me, my cross-cousin, on my back," Bobcat said. Coyote just laughed at him and thought it was funny. It really did not hurt Bobcat at all, but he made believe it did. Now it was Bobcat's turn, and Coyote sat with his back to him. "My finger nails are not long, you will just barely feel them," Bobcat said. But when he got ready, he unsheathed his claws and gave Coyote a terrible rake with them, all down his back, taking off hide and flesh. Coyote jumped up and yelled, "You have killed me, my cross-cousin!"

Further on Skunk and Bear were sitting together, telling stories. Bear said to Skunk, "You stink too much where your rear end is." Skunk said, "You stink too much where your rear end is." They argued about it for a while and then said, "Let's see who is the worst one to stink. We will both try it and see which is the best at this." Skunk said, "I think that I am the best one. Come here and smell me." But Bear said, "When I break wind it is the most powerful. I think I am best." They kept on arguing, each saying he was the best one to make a bad smell. "It will knock you over, the smell I make," each said. "All right, you try it first!" said one "No, you try it first!" Finally they agreed and Skunk said, "I will put my head close to your buttocks so I will smell you well." Bear started now and blew out hard, all he had, ka+, ka+, ka+ it went and made a terrible smell. Skunk stuck his nose in the ground and shook himself. He got out of the way as quick as he could. After a while he recovered and came back, saying, "My cross-cousin, I think you are the best. You smell the worst, but I will try all the same to make a worse one." So Bear put his nose by Skunk's buttocks. Now Skunk started to squirt and blow out at the same time. It was terrible and when Bear smelt it he stuck his nose in the ground. It was as if he had had his senses knocked out. It pretty near killed him.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Apache Creation Legend

An Apache Legend
In the beginning nothing existed: no Earth, no Sky, no Sun, no Moon. Only darkness was everywhere.

Suddenly from the darkness emerged a thin disc, one side yellow and the other side white, appearing suspended in midair. Within the disc sat a small bearded man, Creator, the One Who Lives Above.

As if waking from a long nap, he rubbed his eyes and face with both hands.

When he looked into the endless darkness, light appeared above. He looked down and it became a sea of light. To the East, he created yellow streaks of dawn. To the West, tints of many colors appeared everywhere. There were also clouds of different colors.

Creator wiped his sweating face and rubbed his hands together, thrusting them downward. Behold! A shining cloud upon which sat a little girl.

"Stand up and tell me where are you going," said Creator. But she did not reply. He rubbed his eyes again and offered his right hand to the Girl-Without- Parents.

"Where did you come from?" she asked, grasping his hand.

"From the East where it is now light," he replied, stepping upon her cloud.

"Where is the Earth?" she asked.

"Where is the sky?" he asked, and sang, "I am thinking, thinking, thinking what I shall create next." He sang four times, which was the magic number.

Creator brushed his face with his hands, rubbed them together, then flung them wide open! Before them stood Sun-God. Again Creator rubbed his sweaty brow and from his hands dropped Small-Boy.

Creator, Sun-God, Girl-Without-Parents, and Small-Boy sat in deep thought upon the small cloud.

"What shall we make next?" asked Creator. "This cloud is much too small for us to live upon."

Then he created Tarantula, Big Dipper, Wind, Lightning-Maker, and some Western clouds in which to house Lightning-Rumbler, which he just finished.

Creator sang, "Let us make Earth. I am thinking of the Earth, Earth, Earth; I am thinking of the Earth," he sang four times.

All four gods shook hands. In doing so, their sweat mixed together and Creator rubbed his palms, from which fell a small round, brown ball, not much larger than a bean.

Creator kicked it, and it expanded. Girl-Without-Parents kicked the ball, and it enlarged more. Sun-God and Small-Boy took turns giving it hard kicks, and each time the ball expanded. Creator told Wind to go inside the ball and to blow it up.

Tarantula spun a black cord and, attaching it to the ball, crawled away fast to the East, pulling on the cord with all his strength. Tarantula repeated with a blue cord to the South, a yellow cord to the West, and a white cord to the North. With mighty pulls in each direction, the brown ball stretched to immeasurable size--it became the Earth! No hills, mountains, or rivers were visible; only smooth, treeless, brown plains appeared.

Creator scratched his chest and rubbed his fingers together and there appeared Hummingbird.

"Fly North, South, East, and West and tell us what you see," said Creator.

"All is well," reported Hummingbird upon his return. "The Earth is most beautiful, with water on the West side."

But the Earth kept rolling and dancing up and down. So Creator made four giant posts--black, blue, yellow, and white to support the Earth. Wind carried the four posts, placing them beneath the four cardinal points of the Earth. The Earth sat still.

Creator sang, "World is now made and now sits still," which he repeated four times.

Then he began a song about the sky. None existed, but he thought there should be one. After singing about it four times, twenty- eight people appeared to help make a sky above the Earth. Creator chanted about making chiefs for the Earth and sky.

He sent Lightning-Maker to encircle the world, and he returned with three uncouth creatures, two girls and a boy found in a turquoise shell. They had no eyes, ears, hair, mouths, noses, or teeth. They had arms and legs, but no fingers or toes.

Sun-God sent for Fly to come and build a sweat house. Girl-Without-Parents covered it with four heavy clouds. In front of the East doorway she placed a soft, red cloud for a foot-blanket to be used after the sweat.

Four stones were heated by the fire inside the sweat house. The three uncouth creatures were placed inside. The others sang songs of healing on the outside, until it was time for the sweat to be finished. Out came the three strangers who stood upon the magic red cloud-blanket. Creator then shook his hands toward them, giving each one fingers, toes, mouths, eyes, ears, noses and hair.

Creator named the boy, Sky-Boy, to be chief of the Sky-People. One girl he named Earth-Daughter, to take charge of the Earth and its crops. The other girl he named Pollen-Girl, and gave her charge of health care for all Earth- People.

Since the Earth was flat and barren, Creator thought it fun to create animals, birds, trees, and a hill. He sent Pigeon to see how the world looked. Four days later, he returned and reported, "All is beautiful around the world. But four days from now, the water on the other side of the Earth will rise and cause a mighty flood."

Creator made a very tall pinion tree. Girl-Without-Parents covered the tree framework with pinion gum, creating a large, tight ball.

In four days, the flood occurred. Creator went up on a cloud, taking his twenty-eight helpers with him. Girl-Without-Parents put the others into the large, hollow ball, closing it tight at the top.

In twelve days, the water receded, leaving the float-ball high on a hilltop. The rushing floodwater changed the plains into mountains, hills, valleys, and rivers. Girl-Without-Parents led the gods out from the float-ball onto the new Earth. She took them upon her cloud, drifting upward until they met Creator with his helpers, who had completed their work making the sky during the flood time on Earth.

Together the two clouds descended to a valley below. There, Girl-Without- Parents gathered everyone together to listen to Creator.

"I am planning to leave you," he said. "I wish each of you to do your best toward making a perfect, happy world.

"You, Lightning-Rumbler, shall have charge of clouds and water.

"You, Sky-Boy, look after all Sky-People.

"You, Earth-Daughter, take charge of all crops and Earth-People.

"You, Pollen-Girl, care for their health and guide them.

"You, Girl-Without-Parents, I leave you in charge over all."

Creator then turned toward Girl-Without-Parents and together they rubbed their legs with their hands and quickly cast them forcefully downward. Immediately between them arose a great pile of wood, over which Creator waved a hand, creating fire.

Great billowy clouds of smoke at once drifted skyward. Into this cloud, Creator disappeared. The other gods followed him in other clouds of smoke, leaving the twenty-eight workers to people the Earth.

Sun-God went East to live and travel with the Sun. Girl-Without-Parents departed Westward to live on the far horizon. Small-Boy and Pollen-Girl made cloud homes in the South. Big Dipper can still be seen in the Northern sky at night, a reliable guide to all.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

An Apache Medicine Dance

An Apache / Jicarilla Legend

This published story was found by his daughter, Kay F. Nordquist, in the effects of the late Dr. E. R. Fouts, M.D. It was a reminiscence of his 1898 internship among the Jicarilla-Apache tribes. While stationed as an intern in Santa Fe, New Mexico, he met the white anthropologist / writer Frank Russell who published this legend in December 1898. At that time white men were not allowed to witness tribal ceremonies, but an Apache friend, Gunsi, arranged to smuggle the two white men into the celebration. Gunsi, a powerful leader, provided a hiding place and explained that as long as they "played a pretend game of not being seen," they would be overlooked. Besides, Gunsi had great confidence in the doctor of white man's medicine.

At present there are no men or women among the Jicarillas who have the power to heal the sick and perform other miracles that entitle them to rank as medicine men or medicine women-at least none who are in active practice and are popular. This being the case, medicine feasts have not been held for several years on the reservation. But in August and September 1898, two such feasts were conducted by the old Apache woman, Sotii, who now lives in Pueblo of San Ildefonso. Sotii made the journey of nearly a hundred miles to the Jicarillas on a burro. She was delayed for some time on the way by the high waters of Chama Creek, so rumors of her arrival were repeatedly spread for some weeks, before she actually appeared.

For festive dances, the U.S. Indian Agent or his representative, the clerk at Duke, issue extra rations of beef and flour, and the Indians themselves buy all the supplies from the traders that their scanty funds will permit. Edible supplies do not keep well in Indian camps, and successive postponements threatened to terminate a feast without adequate provisions. But fortunately Sotii arrived in time.

The preliminary arrangements were made by Sati, the husband of the invalid Kes-nos'-un-da, in whose behalf the ceremonies were to be performed. Sati presented Sotii with a pipe of ancient pattern, a short cylinder of clay; a few eagle feathers and a new basket as well. As the Jicarilla Apaches live in scattered tipi's and cabins about the reservation, there is no specified place, such as the plaza of a pueblo tribe, where religious ceremonies are performed. Sotii chose a spot in La Jara Canon where Sati and his friends built a medicine lodge with an enclosure surrounded by a pine brush fence. The lodge was begun on the morning of August 22 and the fence was completed by noon. The builders were served food by the women of Satl's family.

At noon of the 22nd, the first day, about a dozen of the older men gathered in the medicine lodge. According to Gunsi, these men were selected by Sotii because of their ability in outlining the dry paintings, which they made in the lodge under her direction. No one but Apaches are admitted to the medicine lodge, so that I have depended upon the account of it given by Gunsi in the following description:

"The ground was cleared at the back of the lodge between the fire and the western wall, over a space about six feet in diameter, and covered with a layer of clean gray sand. The sand painting the first day contained the figures of snakes only, having their heads directed toward the west, with the exception of the sun symbol, which was drawn each day during the ceremony around a shallow hole six or eight inches in diameter at the center of the painting.

"The sun was represented by a ring of white sand around the margin of the hole; next came a circle of black, and then a ring of red with white rays. After the painting had been completed, the invalid woman, in an ordinary gown not especially prepared for the occasion, entered the enclosure, laid aside her blanket, and passed into the lodge, on the floor of which four "bear tracks" had been made, leading to the dry painting. (Presumably because she had the snake and bear disease.)

'The patient stepped upon the footprints in going to the sand painting, on which she spread pollen [kut-u-tin] from the cattail flag, and sacred meal. She then sat down upon the painting, facing the east. Songs were sung and prayers were offered to the sun, after which the women brought food from the camps into the enclosure. Those within the lodge seated themselves around the wall and were served by the doorkeeper, who began at the left and carried food to each in turn. After all were served, the doorkeeper gathered a morsel of food from each and threw it outside the enclosure, as a sacrifice to the sun, followed by prayers to the sun. Then the doorkeeper joined the others in the lodge and ate his food, as did the invalid. All others dined within the enclosure. The remaining food was gathered for the next meal. The men carried the food vessels from the lodge into the enclosure, later removed by the women.

"When darkness fell in the evening, the men again painted snakes in the medicine lodge, where a fire had been built. A young pine tree was placed at the right and another at the left of the sand painting. The children were then expelled from the enclosure.

"The patient entered as in the morning, offering pollen and meal, then seated herself upon the painting. A terrifying figure rushed into the semidarkness of the lodge, lunged toward the invalid, but seemed unable to reach her, gave forth two or three cries similar to those uttered by the bear, and then made his exit.

"Gunsi admitted 'I was frightened, although I knew it was only one of the men in disguise, who had been painted black with charcoal and covered with pine branches. He wore no mask. Since the invalid suffered from snake and bear disease, the painting with prayer meal and pollen offerings represented snakes and the bear was called upon to drive away the disease.'

"While the bear was in the lodge the singing men yelled at the tops of their voices to scare the bear. The invalid fell shaking to the ground. An eagle feather was waved rapidly to and fro above her head as she continued to rise, fall, shake, and cry out. I thought she was dying. "Sotii then placed a live coal in a dish of blue corn meal and allowed the invalid to inhale the smoke. This quieted her somewhat as she sat upright but staring just like a drunk. Sotii then handed her the medicine pipe filled with 'Mexican' tobacco. After smoking this, the patient seemed to recover her senses. Two or three songs concluded the day's serious part of the ceremony. The ex-patient then moved to the north side of the lodge and remained there for the rest of the evening. An old buffalo hide was spread over the sand painting, and the sacred basket given to Sotii was inverted with the hide over the hole in the center of the painted area. The hide was then doubled over the basket, and the margin of the hide was held down by the feet of the men sitting around "The white basket was ornamented with conventional red butterflies.

The ex-patient removed her moccasins from a tight bundle and used them as drumsticks, striking four times upon the basket drum as a signal for the whole encampment to gather inside for the dance.

'Two notched sticks were placed upon the basket drum, a black one on the east, a white one on the west side. The sticks were laid with one end resting upon the drum and the other end upon the ground. A tarsal bone of a deer was rubbed across the notches, at the sound of which the young women began to dance.

"The women occupied the southern portion of the enclosure and the men arranged themselves along the wall opposite them. The lodge was brilliantly lighted by a circle of fires around the inside wall. The women's dance was ended by repetition of the same drum signal by which it had begun-four strokes upon the basket drum.

"When again the drum sounded, those afflicted with ailments of any kind placed their hands upon the affected part of their bodies and made a hand gesture of casting off the disease. When the sticks were scraped again, the women chose partners from the men and boys and all danced together. This became the lighter aspect of the ceremonies: serious thoughts, the desire to propitiate the gods, and the awe inspired by the priestess and the deity symbolized by the bear, all gave way to lighthearted, merrymaking spirit, which by no means exhausted itself before the sound of the drum ceased, about midnight, and the voice of one of the old men within the lodge was heard, directing the assembly to disperse.

"Second day ceremonies resembled those of the first, except the figures outlined upon the sand were of bears, foxes, and other animals, with here and there a snake. The same patient was not induced into a trance, nor was the general ceremony of casting off diseases performed. "The third day differed only in the character of the sand painting. Animals differed from those of the previous days. Sotii forbade representation of the horse or elk at any time.

"On the fourth day, the figures of two deities were drawn in the dry painting, along with all kinds of animals. A black circle outside the painting symbolized the ocean. The program of the evening consisted of two groups of men, painted and dressed in the manner prescribed by the rites in the tradition of Jicarillas.

"One party of six men were the clowns with bodies and limbs painted with white and black horizontal rings. Ragged remnants of old blankets served as loincloths. On necks and shoulders appeared necklaces and festoons of bread, which had been baked in small fantastic shapes. Four wore old buffalo-skin caps, with the skin sewed to look like buffalo horns, projecting laterally and downward; to one horn was attached an eagle feather, to the other a turkey feather. Two men dressed their hair in the shape of horns.

'The other group of twelve men, painted white with oblique black stripes extending downward from the inner comers of their eyes, wore necklaces and an eagle feather in their hair. Bands of pine brush were wrapped around their waists, arms, and ankles.

"As on the other evenings, the women began the dance; then the general dance followed in which the women selected their partners from among the men. Then the two deities entered the enclosure and marched directly to the medicine lodge, around which four circuits were made in a sunwise direction. The twelve then took positions on the south side of the pathway from the gate to the lodge. Clowns ran about among the crowd. Two men led the singing and also took the lead during the exit back through the medicine lodge. Clowns created much amusement for everyone. The dance continued until sunrise."

As the disc of the sun rose above the mountaintops, every man, woman, and child present joined in the dance. The ceremony again took on a serious nature, as the sun's rays clear and bright in that rare and arid atmosphere lit up the valley and the whole band of Jicarilla-Apaches marched in line out of the enclosure toward the sun.

Sotii led the way, carrying the two young pines from the ends of the dry sand painting, along with the sacred basket containing the meal. Each person marched past the old medicine woman, took a pinch of the meal from the basket, and cast it upon the pine trees. The line was re-formed, facing the lodge, then one of the older men stepped forward and shook his blanket four times. At this signal, all shook their blankets to frighten away diseases and then ran into the enclosure.

The ceremonies ended. Every tipi in that vicinity must be moved at once. The invalid was cured, but Sotii warned her not to sleep on a rope or string or the disease would return. No one should sing the medicine songs for some time or a bear would kill the offender. Severe illness would overtake the twelve should they forget and sleep with their heads toward any clay vessel.

Sotii accepted food only as remuneration for her services. Her terms were known in advance, so a considerable quantity of provisions were laid aside for her. The only article of food that was taboo during the four-day celebration was bread baked in ashes.

I did not see the invalid after the feast, but when I left the reservation three weeks later, the Indian of whom I inquired all insisted that she was then in perfect health.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A ga-n becomes Raven Old Man's Son-In-Law: The ga-n Disappear from Tse-gots'uk

A White Mountain Apache Legend
Long ago people, all kinds of birds and animals were people then were living up to the north of here somewhere. Hawk people were humans then. They did not know that ga-n people were living down on the earth, below. Then Raven Old Man was there with the Raven people. He had children and one of these was a beautiful daughter. The ga-n people below knew about her. The old man and his family were in their wickiup. Soon they heard something drop outside. Raven Old Man heard it. "What is that, cibi'lsis (a buck-skin pouch hung over one shoulder and resting on the hip on opposite side) maybe ?" the old man said. The girl went out and found two pack rats. She brought them in and they ate them.

Four days after this the old man heard something drop outside. "Go and see if cibi-Isis is there," he said, though all the time he knew his own was in the wickiup. So the daughter went outside and found two rabbits. She brought them in and they ate them up.

Four days after that they heard something drop again. "Go out and see if cibi'lsis is there," the old man told his daughter. She went out and found two jack rabbits. "Here are two jack rabbits," she said. "Well, bring them in and we will eat them," the old man told her.

Then four days later something dropped outside. The old man sent his daughter out to see if it was his pouch. When she got outside she found a black-tailed deer fawn. "Here is a black tail deer fawn" she said. "Well, bring it in," the old man told her. So they did and ate it up.

Four days after that something dropped once more outside. The old man sent his daughter out to see if it was his pouch. She went out and this time it was a black-tailed deer with two points on his horns. They butchered and ate him.

Then four days later something dropped outside again. "What's that, cibi-lsis ?" the old man said. He sent out his daughter and she found a big black-tailed deer. They butchered and ate him. Raven Old Man was very thankful for that.

Four days after that the old man heard something drop outside. He sent his daughter out. "See if this is cibi-lsis that has dropped there," he told her. So the girl went out and found an enormous black-tailed deer, the kind that is all fat and in good shape, like you get in the fall. They butchered and ate it Raven Old Man was thankful for this.

Then Raven Old Man said to this daughter. "Well, daughter, this is what I have raised you for. We have eaten a lot of meat from someone. Build a new wickiup over to one side here and we will find out who it is who is doing this," he told the girl. The new wickiup was built and standing not far off. No one was in it. The old man stayed with his family in their dwelling. Soon they saw someone in the new wickiup. The girl went over there. She stayed there with that man. He was her man now.

After they had stayed together for quite a while, the man and woman went out for a walk together. Then the man told his wife, "I belong to the ga-n people." Soon they came to a sulphur wheat bush. He started to kick it from the east side, then from the south side, then from the west and last from the north. The plant came up by its roots. In the hole that it left, the top of a spruce tree stuck up through. The man told his wife, "Step on this. Don't be afraid." But the woman shut her eyes and stepped on it. Then they found themselves way down below, where the ga-n people lived.

After they reached the bottom, they started to walk to the place the man's people were living. The woman had never seen people like this before. There were many of those people there. There were houses also, good ones. All kinds of farm crops were growing. There were corn drying racks. The crops were in all stages of growth; some were up just a little, some were half way up, some high and some harvested already. The woman's husband had many sisters and so she had a lot of sisters-in-law. The man's mother was there. She tested her daughter-in-law. She gave her a metate and mano and some corn to grind. "Let's see you grind some corn," she told her. But this woman could not grind corn well. She ground it but could not break the kernels up. For this reason the man's family did not like her. She was not strong enough and could not grind corn.

One day after they had arrived there, a ga-n came to them. He caught hold of the woman's hair and held her head back. "I want to see my relative-in-law's face. If she is pleasing I will go hunting for her," he said. Several of the ga-n did the same way. The last one was Gray ga-n (the clown) and he said, "Well, she is all right. I will go hunting for her like the others." The men who went hunting just brought in sinew. There was no meat, only a big pile of sinew there. Then one of the man's sisters was sent with the woman to bring in a horse, so they could ride back to Raven Old Man's place.

In a short distance they came to some bears. The woman saw them and was frightened. She started to run away, but her sister-in-law called to her, "Come back here. They won't harm you. They are good 'horses'. They are gentle." But the woman would not listen and ran back to the camp. Her sister-in-law got the 'horse' and led it back. They saddled it up for the man and his wife. The woman's mother-in-law told her, "Don't look back on your way out. Don't look back till you get on top. Don't think why this is. I don't want you to look back. Don't do it!"

The woman got on the bear, but her husband did not go along with her. She rode to the top almost. Then she thought to herself, "I wonder why she didn't want me to look back. I will try it." So she looked back; just a glance. As soon as she did that the bear started to roll down the hill. Clear to the bottom they tumbled. The old woman saw it and ran to her. "I told you not to do that. Now why did you do it ?" she said. When she was going up she had had just a load of sinew, but now after the fall, it had all turned to meat and meat was scattered along the trail where they had fallen. The old woman carried the meat up to the top for her daughter-in-law.

They packed the bear up again so that she could take it to her father. She went on alone from there, without her husband. When the woman came close to her home, her mother, an old woman, saw her riding the bear. Raven Old Man and all his children became frightened and ran off from camp. "Don't ride down this way," they said. She unpacked the bear all alone, put the meat up and turned the bear back. But her husband got mad because he heard that his horse had been struck by someone up there. [Though mounts were sometimes beaten, this was infrequent and people spoke harshly of those who did it.] On this account he did not return for two days and nights.

Then in two days someone was seen walking to the wickiup where this man had lived with his wife. Raven Old Man sent his daughter. "You better go over and build a fire," he told her. She went over to her wickiup. The man, she found lying on the bed. He was very thin and bony, not like her husband. His legs and arms had white stripes about them, like those on a bob-cat's tail.

The woman went back to her father and told him, "That man is not my husband. He is too thin for that and besides he has white stripes about his legs and arms." But her parents told her, "Maybe it is the same man and he has grown thin." "Why should he have white stripes about his arms and legs ? I know it's not he," the woman said. Raven Old Man said, "Well, I believe he must have gone stalking antelope and has painted his legs and arms to look like an antelope." "No, I know my husband better than you two. It is not he," the woman said. She did not like this man, but her father sent her over to him and so she went, staying there all that night.

The next morning this man went hunting. When he came back he brought some dried meat. It had been roasted already. The following morning he went hunting again. Raven Old Man told his son, "Follow this man and see where he gets this dried meat. Don't let him see you." So the son did this.

After the man had gone a way, his follower saw him stop and set fire to an old pitch-pine stump. On the side that the smoke blew, the man went. The snot started to run out of his nose and it was this he was taking and making into dried meat. The son came home and told his father about it.

After that Raven Old Man would not eat any more of this dried meat. "That is why it was salty," the old man said This man was from the Mosquito people. That is why he was so thin. All things were people in those days. The man went to sleep with the woman that night. Her real husband from the ga-n, knew who it was that had his wife. On account of this he shot them with an arrow of red stone that night. The arrow went right through both of them.

The woman used to get up early, but she had not yet appeared at her father's camp When the sun had risen high up, Raven Old Man sent one of his small daughters over to see what was the matter. She just looked inside the wickiup and thought that they were still asleep inside so she went back again. She told her father, "Well, they are still in bed.

About noon, the little girl went over there again. She came back and told her father, "They are still in bed." "Well go over there and uncover them," he said. So the little girl went inside and took the covers off. When she did she saw that both of them had bled at the nose. When she came back and said that they were dead. Raven Old Man and his wife started to quarrel. "You know I told you he was not her husband. You sent her over to him all the same. Now she is gone," they accused each other.

Then the Raven people were no longer there where they had been living. But ga-n people were still living down below in the earth Many ga-n died down there. Though it is just as if they travel together with lightning, yet they died there. On account of this, ga-n people began to search for a place where they would not die; where there was life without end. From here on for a bit the story is dangerous to recount, but I have to tell it to you just the same.

[It contains power and so is dangerous. Through the misuse of such power misfortune might befall those involved in the story telling.]

They moved to a place halfway between the earth and the sky There Mirage made an earth for them and they lived on this. But still they died there. They went through the sky to its other side but still they died there. From there they came down on earth to ntca'na-sk'id (a place somewhere about 35 miles east of Macnary Arizona). Wherever they had lived above, they had always had their agricultural crops with them. These were their food - corn, beans, and squash.

Then there were a poor people living near that place (ntca'na-sk'id) the Hawk people. They were of the 'iya''aiye clan. They were called Hawk people because the relatives of this clan are hawks. There were people of the na-dots'usn, bisza-ha, ndi'nde-zn and destcrdn clans there also. They were all a very poor people.

At dusk one day, they saw a light far off. They asked each other, Who is up there ? Who has made that fire ?" because everyone was at home and they could not think of who might be out there. They tried to mark the fire, so that they might go there in the morning and see what it was. This is dangerous, this story that I am telling you, but I tell it to you just as I heard it. It is very holy this part of the story, and if you or anyone should laugh at it, there ^danger of you or that person's mouth and eyes going crooked. There is danger of this happening to me on account of telling this tale.

One time there were two men, one blind, the other lame. The blind one carried the lame one on his back. They came this way to a group of people. When the people saw them coming, they laughed at them. The blind man clapped his hands together and part of the people became blind. The lame man drew up his leg to his body and then part of them became lame. That is the way with this story. We must not laugh at it. It is the same way with the songs of the ga-n curing ceremony which have to do with this part of the story.

The next morning these people sent one man over to where they thought they had seen the fire, but he could find nothing. Again that evening, after sunset, they could see the same fire. But the man who had been sent to investigate insisted that there was nothing over there. This time they cut a crotched stick and set it up in the ground. They laid an arrow in the crotch, pointing directly at the fire, so they would know just where it was in the morning. When morning came they looked to see where the arrow pointed.

A man went over there to try and find something, but he could not find even a blade of grass that had been stepped on and bent, or a broken twig. It was two times that they had made trips to find this fire without results, but that evening they could see the fire again in the same place. They had left the arrow there from the night before, and it still pointed right to the fire. So in the morning they sent a man over to try and find something. He went and looked about for a long time, but found no ashes nor any blades of broken grass. Halfway to ntca'na-sk'id he went. "I have found nothing," he told the people when he got home.

The next morning they sent someone over to search for the fourth time. He went to the same place the others had been. Then after a short distance he stopped and sat down, for he saw many people there, and many crops of all kinds and in all stages of growth; some just up, some ready to harvest and so on.

The ga-n people saw this man, where he had dropped down in the grass. They talked among themselves: "Someone has been sitting over there for a long time. Let one go over there and see him." So one went over towards him. He came as close as from here to the wickiup over there (20 yards). He did not say anything; just stood and looked at him.

The man from the poor people had two eagle tail feathers sticking up in his hair. His privates were covered with the shredded inner bark of juniper. The ga-n went back and told his people, "That man has some inner bark from juniper to cover his privates." "You better take back two buckskins with you, one for him to cover his shoulders with and one to wear about his waist," they told him.

So he took two buckskins over to the man and told him to wear them, one about his waist and one about the shoulders. The inner bark he had covering his privates he threw away. "Lets go back to my, people," the ga-n said. They went. They gave this man some food: corn and squash. He had eaten of ga-n food now.

After he had eaten, they talked to him. "Where did you come from?" they asked. The man pointed to where he lived. It was a long way back there. "Well, you are poor people. It's not right that you stay there. You better come here and live with us. We have lots of crops just going to waste," they told him. They gave him some corn and he started home with it. When he arrived, he had the corn with him and the people there ate it. This man told his people what he had seen. "I saw lots of people there. They were good. I have my belly full now. I ate all I wanted there and the chief of these people told me; 'You better come and live with us, because you people are poor.' He told me to tell this to you." The man could not sleep that night for thinking of all the ripe crops he had seen and the food he had eaten. The people were very hungry where he lived. They got up in the morning and moved away from tse-gots'uk (a place) where they had been living. When they arrived at the new place, the crops were all given to them. "Let them eat all they want," the ga-n said. They did eat all they wanted and now they had big bellies.

Thus these two peoples had lived for a long time together. Their children had become acquainted. The men went hunting together. The children played. They let them eat all they could from the farms, for the crops on them grew the year around, in all four stages, from just sprouting to ripeness. These people were the ga-n and Hawk peoples. I know the place they lived. I passed through there when I was a soldier in the U. S. army, on the way to Ft. Wingate. The children played together and some ga-n children became sick from the hawk illness. Their eyes became swollen and closed, they scratched like hawks and their faces were white like that of hawks.

Then the Hawk children became sick from the ga-n. They became unable to walk, as if paralyzed. [These are the symptoms of hawk and ga-n sickness.] The two kinds of children were able to cure each other by one touching the other where it hurt. When they did this they became well immediately. But the ga-n chief heard about it and did not like it. The ga-n had found the place where there was life without end.

That is why they had spread these sicknesses among the people, because they had found a good place. Then Talking ga-n was chief. He went up on top of ntca'na-sk'id every morning and talked to the people from there. "We have done nothing here for a long time. It is better that we go to tse-nodo-z surrounded by fire and tse-na-sbas surrounded by fire (places). Here it is as if we were herded together in a pasture. We would like to have some meat. We want to move to a place where people never die." That night they all collected together to talk it over. They gathered this way every night from there on.

All the ga-n people were divided into different kinds, just as we are divided into various clans. There were Black ga-n, ga-no-wan (meaning unknown), He Carries Pitch, Yellow ga-n. Weak ga-n, Hairy On One Side Of His Face, Big ga-n. Red ga-n, Hump Backed ga-n, and Gray ga-n. All these had daughters. They wanted to know who would leave his daughter behind. They asked each one if he would let his daughter stay behind with the Hawk People, but all liked their daughters too well for this. So it came back to Black ga-n, who was like the chief of these people, "Well, I guess I will have to leave my daughter." But he never told his daughter or anyone else that he was going to leave her. He made a doll of turquoise and one of white shell. He hid these before they were going to move.

The ga-n people spoke to the Hawk people. "We are going to leave you now. Look after our crops for us. We will be gone for sixty days. Then we will be back." Now they left. When they had gone about half a mile, the mother of the daughter of Black ga-n said to the girl: "Did you put your doll in the burden basket ? Is it there?" "No, no doll here," said the daughter. "Well, you better go back for it. We will go slow for you," the mother said. So the little girl started to run to the camp. She found the doll right away and ran back to join her mother. There was a large lake ahead. She followed the trail of her people. In a little way the tracks came to the edge of the lake and all went into the water. A lot of grass had been trodden down by the people passing over it. The little girl went around to the other side, but could not find where they had come out of the lake. So she went back to the old camp. The Hawk people saw her and said, "What is that little girl doing over there ?" They went with her to the lake, but they could not find where tracks came out of the water. They took her home with them. Every day she went to try and find her mother.

The Hawk people raised this little girl among them. After quite a while all the crops were gone and the people lived as before. They fed the little girl on wild seeds. The ga-n had made the crops grow and ripen by their wish alone. The little girl stayed at a ndi'nde-zn camp (clan). They raised her. She was big now, old enough to marry. So the man who brought her up said, "I didn't raise her for anyone else. It will be well for her to marry my son." That is the way it happened. After they had been married about a year, she bore a baby boy. The day he was born ga-n people came down from above and filled the wickiup. It was overcrowded, but ga-n said, "He never stops eating (even though full)," and this way more kept crowding in and shoving over to make room for others. The baby was the grandson of Black ga-n, who was lying outside, on his back. The ga-n picked the baby up and passed him from one to the other. Last of all they took him out to his grandfather. There he danced the baby up and down on his chest and sang; "cawa cawa ca."

Then he said to his daughter, "Well, daughter, here is deer medicine. Put it inside the hood of the cradle, by the baby." But the baby's mother said, "No, I don't want it. You threw this baby away long ago" (meaning herself). So she gave the deer medicine to her husband's mother. Black ga-n had brought the deer medicine so that when the baby grew up he could kill many deer. But instead of this the deer medicine was given to the ndi'nde-zn (the clan of the woman's mother-in-law). On account of this ndi'nde-zn clan always used to kill big deer, very big ones, whenever they went hunting. This still was true up till about 1880, but there are hardly any of this clan left now. [Deer is also the 'relative' of this clan] Black ga-n gave his grandson a name; naba-dzisnda-he (captive taken in war), because the ga-n had left his mother behind among these other people who had raised her.

They lived on there. Then in a year more another baby was born to the woman. The ga-n people came there again, just as they had before. Black ga-n came there to see his grandson. He gave this second boy a name also, but I have forgotten it. Then the boys started to grow up. They were so high and about ten years old, big enough to hunt birds. In the morning they went hunting. At sundown they returned home. After spending the night there, they went hunting again. Sometimes they would be gone for two days, sometimes for three or four. Then one man among the Hawk people became sick. They came to the mother of the boys about it. "My female relative-in-law, I wonder if you have anything to say that will cure this sick man. You might have something," they said. "I don't know anything. You people have known me since I was a little girl, left here and raised by you. If I knew something I could go ahead and say it over that sick man now, but I don't," she told them. Finally she said, "Well, ask those two boys. They are gone for a day or sometimes three or four days at a time. I believe they go to the ga-n, because they are relatives to them. You people better go after a deer. Run the deer down, don't shoot him. Bring the hide home and make buckskin of it.

Then get some downy eagle feathers and turquoise. Tie these to the forehead of the buckskin and put it on the boy's foot. See what they will say." So they went hunting and got a big deer by running it down. When the deer was all in, they caught it without shooting, as there must be no arrow holes in the buckskin. They killed it, cut it down the belly and by the next day they had made it into a buckskin. Then they put turquoise and a downy eagle feather on its forehead and placed it on the foot of the eldest of the two brothers. But he threw it to his younger brother, "Here is the one," he said. The younger brother threw it back to the other, saying, "You can do it." They did this several times and finally one said, "All right." When they had agreed to what the people asked of them, the boys told them, "Fix up a place; level it up so that there are no uneven places on the ground. We want a spruce tree put on each of the four sides and a pile of wood on each side also. Don't be afraid of anything you see, or run away." They knew that the people might fear the ga-n. "For the sick man, spread a buck-skin and let him sit on it. Tie him all over with strips of yucca leaves and let him sit there."

Then it was sundown and now it was dark. All the people came to the dance ground. Lots of fires were all about it. Then the boy who had consented, started to sing.

"Holy power, here sounding (making a noise)."

As he sang they saw lightning appear over ntca'na-sk'id on the east side, then on the south side, then west and then on the north side. Then from the four directions the bull roarer sounded. It shook the earth and the earth rumbled back in response. The people saw the flashes of lightning and thought they were far off, but soon the ga-n came down, upside down they were, feet up and head down. They picked up the sick man who sat there, and tossed him from one to the other. [The idea of the sick man being ignominiously tossed about greatly amused the listeners] Before, no man was sick, but this man became sick and from then on there were sicknesses. That night the sick man was cured. The ga-n left at dawn. One of the two brothers went with them. I don't known which of them it was.

Only one of the boys remained among the people.

When the ga-n arrived back at their home, they came together and talked about the youths and maidens. "We have many girls and boys here. Those people whom we left have many boys and girls also. It is not right for us to marry among ourselves. We better go there and get some of their boys and girls," they said. Then Black ga-n's grandson (the brother remaining among the people) was going to make another dance at ntca'na-sk'id. This time it was to be only a social dance. The ga-n people came to this dance. It was just for pleasure and was not dangerous as it had been before. Then as the dawn came, the dancers were raised up off the ground. Many youths and maidens from among the ga-n and Hawk peoples were dancing. The old people ran under them and said to their sons and daughters, "Come down, come back," but they kept moving upwards. Soon they were so high they could not hear the singing any longer, only the sound of the drum. Then they could not hear the drum any more. The people below lay on their backs in order to look upwards. They could see the dancers there like specks in the sky. They saw them a little while, then saw them no more.

This is how the good people were taken up above, to the place where life has no end. Both the brothers were gone now. The woman who was their mother went off for something and never returned. This is the end of the story. This is the way that the ga-n curing ceremony started.

Told by Francis Drake.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Turtle gets a Shell

An Anishnabe (Anishinabe) Legend
It was one of those days when Nanaboozhoo was in a strange mood. He had just awakened from a deep sleep that was disturbed by the noisy quarreling and scolding of the blue jays. He was a bit cranky; his sleep was disturbed and besides that, he was hungry. His first thought was to down to the village and find something to eat.

Entering the village, he came across some men cooking fish. They had their camp located close to the water and Nanaboozhoo spied many fish cooking over a fire. Now, being very hungry, he asked for something to eat. The men were happy to give him some, but cautioned him that is was hot. Not heeding their warning, he quickly grabbed the fish and burned his hand. He ran to the lake to cool it off in the water. Still unsteady from his deep sleep, he tripped on a stone and fell on Mi-she-kae (turtle) who was sunning on the beach. At that time, Mishekae was not as we know her today. She had no shell and was comprised of soft skin and bone.

Turtle complained loudly to Nanaboozhoo to watch where he was going. Now, Nanaboozhoo felt ashamed of his clumsiness and apologized to Mishekae. He wondered, "what can I do to make it up to her?" He wanted to do something to help his friend. "I'll have to sit and think it over,"he thought, as he followed the path back to his wigwam.

Sometime later, he returned to the beach and called for Mishekae. Turtle poked her head through the soft beach mud. Nanaboozhoo picked up two large shells from the shore and placed one on top of the other. He scooped up Mishekae and put her right in the middle, between the shells.

Nanaboozhoo took a deep breath and began. "You will never be injured like that again." he said slowly. "Whenever danger threatens," he continued, "you can pull your legs and head into the shell for protection"

Nanaboozhoo sat beside his friend on the beach and told Mishekae his thoughts. "The shell itself is round like Mother Earth. It was a round hump which resembles her hills and mountains. It is divided into segments, like martyrizes that are a part of her; each different and yet connected by her."

Mishekae seemed very pleased with and listened intently. "You have four legs, each representing the points of direction North, South, East and West." he said. "When the legs are all drawn in, all directions are lost. Your tail will show the many lands where the Anishnabek have been and your head will point in the direction to follow. "You will have advantages over the Anishnabek," he went on. "You will be able to live in the water as well as on land and you will be in your own house at all times."

Mishekae approved of her new self and thanked Nanaboozhoo for his wisdom. Moving now in a thick shell, she pushed herself along the shore and disappeared into the water.

So, ever since that accident long ago, Turtle has been special to the Anishnabek. To this day, she continues to grace Mother Earth, still proudly wearing those two shells.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

How the Fly saved the River

An Anishnabe (Anishinabe) Legend
Many, many years ago when the world was new, there was a beautiful river. Fish in great numbers lived in this river, and its water was so pure and sweet that all the animals came there to drink.

A giant moose heard about the river and he too came there to drink. But he was so big, and he drank so much, that soon the water began to sink lower and lower.

The beavers were worried. The water around their lodges was disappearing. Soon their homes would be destroyed.

The muskrats were worried, too. What would they do if the water vanished? How could they live?

The fish were very worried. The other animals could live on land if the water dried up, but they couldn't.

All the animals tried to think of a way to drive the moose from the river, but he was so big that they were too afraid to try. Even the bear was afraid of him.

At last the fly said he would try to drive the moose away. All the animals laughed and jeered. How could a tiny fly frighten a giant moose? The fly said nothing, but that day, as soon as the moose appeared, he went into action.

He landed on the moose's foreleg and bit sharply. The moose stamped his foot harder, and each time he stamped, the ground sank and the water rushed in to fill it up. Then the fly jumped about all over the moose, biting and biting and biting until the moose was in a frenzy. He dashed madly about the banks of the river, shaking his head, stamping his feet, snorting and blowing, but he couldn't get rid of that pesky fly. At last the moose fled from the river, and didn't come back.

The fly was very proud of his achievement, and boasted to the other animals.

"Even the small can fight the strong if they use their brains to think."

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Spirit Bride

An Algonquin Legend
There was once a young warrior whose bride died on the eve of their wedding. Although he had distinguished himself by his bravery and goodness, the death left the young man inconsolable.

He was unable to eat or sleep. Instead of hunting with the others, he just spent time at the grave of his bride, staring into the air.

However, one day he happened to overhear some elders speaking about the path to the spirit world. He listened intently and memorized the directions to the most minute detail. He had heard that the spirit world was far to the south. He immediately set out on his journey. After two weeks, he still saw no change in the landscape to indicate that the spirit world was near.

Then he emerged from the forest and saw the most beautiful plain he had ever seen. In the distance was a small hut where an ancient wise man lived. He asked the wise man for directions.

The old man knew exactly who the warrior was and whom he sought. He told the lad that the bride had passed by only a day before. In order to follow her, the warrior would have to leave his body behind and press on in his spirit. The spirit world itself is an island in a large lake that can be reached only by canoes waiting on this shore. However, the old man warned him not to speak to his bride until they were both safely on the island of the spirits.

Soon the old man recited some magic chants and the warrior felt his spirit leave his body. Now a spirit, he walked along the shore and saw a birch bark canoe. Not a stone's throw away was his bride, entering her own canoe. As he made his way across the water and looked at her, he saw that she duplicated his every stroke. Why didn't they travel together? One can only enter the spirit world alone and be judged only on one's individual merits.

Midway through the journey, a tempest arose. It was more terrible than any he had ever seen. Some of the spirits in canoes were swept away by the storm-these were those who had been evil in life. Since both the warrior and his bride were good, they made it through the tempest without incident and soon the water was as smooth as glass beneath a cloudless sky.

The island of the blessed was a beautiful place where it was always late spring, with blooming flowers and cloudless skies, never too warm or too cold. He met his bride on the shore and took her hand. They had not walked ten steps together when a soft sweet voice spoke to them-it was the Master of Life.

The Master told them that the young warrior must return as he came; it wasn't his time yet. He was to carefully trace his steps back to his body, put it on, and return home. He did this and became a great chief, happy in the assurance that he would see his bride once again.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Partridge Spirit

An Algonquin Legend
One red autumn, two brothers went on a hunting expedition for their tribe. They come to the source of the Penobscott river and there they stayed all winter. They had no woman with them to do all the tasks that make a hunter thankful.

So most of the daily tasks fell upon the younger brother who said to his older brother, "I wish there were a woman in our wigwam to mend and cook, to sew and clean for us."

"Well, our mother and sisters are at home, brother. We must do the best we can," replied the older brother. By the time spring came around, their snowshoes were broken and their moccasins were full of holes.

One day, when the snow was still hard and icy, the younger brother came home to find that the wigwam was clean and tidy! A fire was burning and there was hot water already boiling in the pot. He said nothing to his brother, but the next day, he returned home early in order to spy on the wigwam. In the light of the dying sun, he saw a beautiful maiden step through the woods and busy herself about the household tasks. She was smaller and more delicate than any woman he had ever seen. He stepped into the wigwam and greeted her, "Thank you, maiden, for the work you've been doing. It's very hard for hunters to be alone during the harsh winter."

She replied, "Your brother is coming. I am frightened of him. But I will see you tomorrow if you come home early." With that, she slipped away.

The young hunter said nothing to his brother, but the next day he crept home early and there was the maiden again. Together they played in the snow like children. Just before the sun went down, the young hunter begged her, "Please stay with me forever. My heart was never so happy as now."

The maiden frowned. "Speak to your brother tonight. Tell him everything. Maybe I will stay and serve you both, for I can make snowshoes and moccasins, and build canoes." With that, she slipped away.

When the elder brother came home, he listened eagerly to his young brother, then said, "It seems that we have been lucky! I would be very glad to have a woman help us and care for our camp."

The next morning, the maiden came again. Behind her she pulled a toboggan piled high with hand - sewn garments and finely worked weapons. She greeted both the brothers, who exclaimed at the beauty of the clothes and weapons. "I too am a hunter," was all she would say and she set to work.

The rest of the snowbound spring passed quickly. The maiden cared for the hunters, sewing, mending and making herself useful in ways that they both quickly took for granted. They also seemed to be particularly lucky in their hunting. They soon had many furs and were ready to return to their tribe.

When the snow began to thaw, the brothers returned home by canoe down the Penobscott river. When they were halfway down the river the maiden began to look pale and faint. "Stop!" she called out to the hunters. I can go no further." They sculled to the bank and set her down.

Now although they didn't know it, the maiden had sent out her soul back to the wigwam where they had lived all winter. "Leave me here," she begged. "Say nothing about me to your father, for he would have nothing but scorn for me."

The younger brother was heartbroken. "But I want you to stay with me forever!" He did not realize that the maiden could not come with him because she wasn't a human being at all, but one of the forest spirits.

"It cannot be," replied the maiden. "You must leave me here."

The two brothers returned to their village. When they unpacked the canoe and their family saw the heap of fine furs that they had brought back with them, there was great rejoicing. During the celebrations, the elder brother could not keep quiet about how their luck had changed. He boasted about the strange maiden who had helped them in the depths of the winter.

His father trembled and grew very angry. "All my life I have feared this very thing. My sons, that was no ordinary woman! You have been in the presence of a ghost, a forest spirit, a trickster of the snows! She is a Mikumwess, a witch that can do great harm to human beings."

The elder brother thought to himself, "She may have put a spell upon me. What a fool I've been, not to see it!"

However, the younger brother thought, "Maybe there's something in what father says. Maybe she is a forest spirit. But I didn't feel I was in danger at any time. She was my dearest friend, and I wanted her to be my wife." But he was young and was more inclined to listen to his father's fears than to the wisdom of his own heart.

The father made such a fuss about the maiden being a Mikumwess that the elder brother made a decision. "Come, brother!" he said one day. "Let's go hunting."

Taking some special arrows that were said to be good against witches, the elder brother began to track the maiden. The younger brother didn't know what they were hunting. Suddenly, the elder brother caught sight of the maiden bathing in the stream and drew his bow. At the same time, his brother saw her and started to call and wave to her, but too late! The elder brother's arrow had already flown.

Where the maiden had been swimming was now a confusion of water and feathers. Then they both saw her rise in the shape of a partridge into the sky.

The younger brother's heart was very heavy and he walked silently away. As he was sitting sadly in a birch clearing, a partridge landed at his feet and changed into the maiden. He threw himself at her feet and cried, "Forgive me! I didn't know what my brother intended! I never meant to hunt you, my dearest one!"

"Do not blame yourself," said the maiden. "I know everything. It was not your father's fault either, for he spoke from fear and ignorance. The past is forgotten already. I promise you that the best is yet to come."

And together they played in the woods, as once they had played in the snows, forgetting their sorrows. When the crows flew home to their nests, the young hunter said, I must return."

The maiden answered, "When you want to see me, come to the woods and I will be here. But, remember, do not marry anyone! Your father has a girl in mind and will speak of marriage soon." And she told him what his father would say, word for word.

He listened carefully, but was not surprised by her words. He knew for certain that she was, indeed, a forest spirit, but he was not afraid.

They kissed gently under the birch trees. "Remember," she reminded him, "if you marry, You will surely die!"

When the young man went home that night, his father spoke, just as the maiden said he would. "My son, I have found a wife for you and the wedding will be this week."

The young hunter nodded and said, "So be it!"

The young bride was brought from her family's wigwam and the wedding feast began. For four days everyone danced and ate and told stories. But on the last day, the young bridegroom began to feel ill. His family laid him upon a white bearskin, but he grew worse and worse. They tried all kinds of remedies to heal him.

But the young hunter's soul yearned for the partridge maiden and as he lay dying, his soul flew out of his body searching for her. At the moment he found her, his soul finally left his body, and they ran together through the woods, never to be parted again.

When his sorrowful family brought the bride to where the young hunter lay, they found that he was already dead. But his face was calm and happy, for he had found his true bride at last.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The mournful mystery of the Partridge-Witch; Setting forth how a young man died from love

An Algonquin Legend
Of the olden time. Two brothers went hunting in the autumn, and that as far as the head waters of the Penobscot, where they remained all winter. But in March their snow-shoes (agahmook) gave out, as did their moccasins, and they wished that a woman were there to mend them.

When the younger brother returned first to the lodge, the next day,--which he generally did, to get it ready for the elder,--he was astonished to find that some one had been there before him, and that, too, in the housekeeping. For garments had been mended, the place cleaned and swept, a fire built, and the pot was boiling. He said nothing of this to his brother; but returning the next day at the same time, found that all had been attended to, as at first. And again he said nothing; but in the morning, when he went forth to hunt, he did but go a little way, and, returning, watched, from a hidden place, the door. And there came a beautiful and graceful girl, well attired, who entered the wigwam. And he, stepping softly, looking through a hole in the hut, saw her very busy with his housekeeping.

Then he entered, and she seemed to be greatly alarmed and confused; but he calmed her, and they soon became good friends, sporting together very happily all day long like children, for indeed they were both young.

When the sun's height was little and his shadows long, the girl said, "I must go now. I hear your brother coming, and I fear him. But I will return tomorrow. Addio!" So she went, and the elder brother knew nothing of what had happened. The next day she came again, and once more they played in sunshine and shadow until evening; but ere she went he sought to persuade her to remain always. And she, as if in doubt, answered, "Tell thy brother all, and it may be that I will stay and serve ye both. For I can make the snow-shoes and moccasins which ye so much need, and also canoes." Then she departed with the day, and the elder, returning, heard from his brother all that had happened, and said, "Truly I should be glad to have some one here to take care of the wigwam and make snow-shoes."

So she came in the morning, and hearing from the younger that his brother had consented to her coming was very glad, and went away, as in baste. But she returned about noon, drawing a toboggin (sled) piled up with garments and arms, for she was a huntress. Indeed, she could do all things as few women could, whether it were cooking, needle-work, or making all that men need. And the winter passed very pleasantly, until the snow grew soft, and it was time for them to return. Till she came they had little luck in hunting, but since her coming all had gone well with them, and they now had a wonderful quantity of furs.

Then they returned in a canoe, going down the river to their village. But as they came near it the girl grew sad, for she had thrown out her soul to their home, though they knew it not, by meelahbi-give. And suddenly she said, as they came to a point of land, "Here I must leave. I can go no further. Say nothing of me to your parents, for your father would have but little love for me." And the young men sought to persuade her, but she only answered sorrowfully, "It cannot be." So they came home with their furs, and the elder was so proud of their luck and their strange adventure that he could not hold his peace, but told all.

Then his father was very angry, and said, "All my life have I feared this. Know that this woman was a devil of the woods, a witch of the Mitche-hant, a sister of the Oonahgamess and of the Ke'tahks." And he spoke so earnestly and so long of this thing that they were afraid, and the elder, being persuaded by the sire, went forth to slay her, and the younger followed him afar. So they sought her by the stream, and found her bathing, and, seeing them, she ran up a little hill. And, as she ran, the elder shot an arrow at her. Then there was a strange flurry about her, a fluttering of scattered feathers, and they saw her fly away as a partridge. Returning, they told all this to their father, who said, "You did well. I know all about these female devils who seek to destroy men. Verily this was a she Mikumwess."

But the younger could not forget her, and longed to see her again; so one day he went into the woods, and there he indeed found her, and she was as kind as before. Then he said, "Truly it was not by my goodwill that my brother shot at you." And she answered, "Well do I know that, and that it was all by your father; yet I blame him not, for this is an affair of N'karnayoo, the days of old; and even yet it is not at an end, and the greatest is to come. But let the day be only a day unto itself; the things of to-morrow are for to-morrow, and those of yesterday are departed." So they forgot their troubles, and played together merrily all day long in the woods and in the open places, and told stories of old times till sunset. And as the Kah-kah-goos, or Crow, went to his tree, the boy said, "I must return;" and she replied, "Whenever you would see me, come to the woods. And remember what I say. Do not marry any one else. For your father wishes you to do so, and he will speak of it to you, and that soon. Yet it is for your sake only that I say this." Then she told him word by word all that his father had said; but he was not astonished, for now he knew that she was not as other women; but he cared not. And he grew brave and bold, and then he was above all things. And when she told him that if he should marry another he would surely die, it was as nothing to him.

Then returning the first thing his father said was, "My son, I have provided a wife for you, and the wedding must be at once." And he said, "It is well. Let it be so." Then the bride came. For four days they held the wedding dance; four days they feasted. But on the last day he said, "This is the end of it all," and he laid him down on a white bear-skin, and a great sickness came upon him, and when they brought the bride to him he was dead.

Truly the father knew what ailed him, and more withal, of which he said nothing. But he liked the place no longer, and he and his went away therefrom, and scattered far and wide.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Great Flood

An Algonquin Legend
One very remarkable character reported in our legends, dimly seen through the mist of untold centuries, is Kwi-wi-sens Nenaw-bo-zhoo, meaning, in Algonquin dialect, "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.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Giant Magicians

An Algonquin Legend
There was once a man and his wife who lived by the sea, far away from other people. They had many children, and they were very poor. One day this couple were in their canoe, far from land. There came up a dense fog; they were quite lost.

They heard a noise as of paddles and voices. It drew nearer. They saw dimly a monstrous canoe filled with giants, who greeted the little folk like friends. "Uch keen, tahmee wejeaok?" "My little brother," said the leader, "where are you going?" "I am lost in the fog," said the poor Indian, very sadly. "Ah, come with us to our camp," said the giant, who seemed to be a good fellow, if there ever was one. "Truly, ye will be well treated, my small friends, for my father is the chief; so be of good cheer!" And they, being much amazed at this gentleness, sat still in awe, while two of the giants, each putting a tip of his paddle under their bark, lifted it up and put it into their own, as if it had been a chip. And truly the giants seemed to be as much pleased with the little folk as a boy would be who had found a flying squirrel.

And as they drew near the beach, lo! they beheld three wigwams, high as mountains, in size according to that of the giants. And coming to meet them was the chief, who was taller than the rest.

"Ha!" he cried. "Son, what have you there? Where did you pick up that little brother? Noo, my father, I found him lost in the fog." "Well, bring him home to the lodge, my son!" So the giant took the small canoe in the palm of his hand, the man and his wife sitting therein, and carried them home. Then they were taken into the wigwam, and the canoe was laid carefully in the eaves, but within easy reach, about a hundred and fifty yards from the ground.

Then an abundant meal was set before them, but the benevolent host, mindful of their small size, did not give them more to eat than they would have needed for about ten years to come, and informed them in a subdued whisper, which could hardly have been heard a hundred miles off, that his name was Oscoon.

Now it came to pass, a few days after, that a company of these well-grown people went hunting, and when they returned the guests must needs pity them that they had no game in their land which answered to their size; for they came in with strings of such small affairs as two or three dozen caribou hanging in their belts, as a Micmac would carry a string of squirrels, and swinging one or two moose in their hands like rabbits. Yet, what with these and many deer, bears, and beavers, they made up in the weight of their game what it lacked in size, and of what they had they were generous.

Now the giants became very fond of the small folk, and would not for the world that they should in any way come to harm. And it came to pass that one morning the chief told them that they were to have a grand battle, since they expected in three days to be attacked by a Chenoo. Therefore the Micmac saw that in all things it was even with the giants as with his own people at home, they having their troubles with the wicked, and the chiefs their share in being obliged to keep up their magic and know all that was going on in the world. Yea, for he would be a poor powwow and a necromancer worth nothing who could not foretell such a trifle as the day and hour when an enemy would be on them!

But this time the Sakumow, or sagamore, was forewarned, and bade his little guests stop their ears and bind up their heads, and roll themselves in many folds of dressed skins, lest they should hear the deadly war-scream of the Chenoo. And with all their care they hardly survived it; but the second scream hurt them less; and after the third the chief came to them with a cheerful countenance, and bade them arise and unpack themselves, for the monster was slain, and though his four sons, with two other giants, had been sorely tried, yet they had conquered.

But the sorrows of the good are never at an end, and so it was with these honest giants, who were always being pestered with some kind of scurvy knaves or others; who would not leave them in peace. For anon the chief announced that this time a Kookwes--a burly, beastly villain, not two points better than his cousin the Chenoo--was coming to play at rough murder with them. And, verily, by this time the Micmac began to believe, without bating an ace on it, that all of these tall people were like the wolves, who, meeting with nobody else, bite one another. So they were bound and bundled up as before, and put to bed like dolls. And again they heard the horrible shout, the moderate shout, and the smaller shout, until sooel moonoodooahdigool, which, being interpreted, meaneth that they hardly heard him at all.

Then the warriors, returning, gave proof that they had indeed done something more than kick the wind, for they were covered with blood, and their legs were stuck full of large pines, with here and there an oak or hemlock, for the fight had been in a forest; so that they had been as much troubled as men would be with thistles, nettles, and pine splinters, which is truly often a great trouble. But this was their least trial, for, as they told their chief, the enemy had well-nigh made Jack Drum's entertainment for them, and led them the devil's dance, had not one of them, by good luck, opened his eye for him with a rock which drove it into his brain. And as it was, the chief's youngest son had been so mauled that, coming home, he fell dead Just before his father's door. Truly this might have been deemed almost an accident in some families; but lo! what a good thing it is to have an enchanter in the house, especially one who knows his business, as did the old chief, who, going out, asked the young man why he was lying there. To which he replying that it was because he was dead, his father bade him rise and walk, which he did straight to the supper table, and ate none the less for it.

Now the old chief, thinking that perhaps his dear little people found life dull and devoid of incident with him, asked them if they were aweary of him. They, with golden truth indeed, answered that they had never been so merry, but that they were anxious as to their children at home. He answered that they were indeed right, and that the next morning they might depart. So their canoe was reached down for them, and packed full of the finest furs and best meat, when they were told to tebah'-dikw', or get in. Then a small dog was put in, and this dog was solemnly charged that he should take the people home, while the people were told to paddle in the direction in which the dog should point. And to the Micmac he said, "Seven years hence you will be reminded of me." And then tokooboosijik (off they went).

The man sat in the stern, his wife in the prow, and the dog in the middle of the canoe. The dog pointed, the Indian paddled, the water was smooth. They soon reached home; the children with joy ran to meet them; the dog as joyfully ran to see the children, wagging his tail with great glee, just as if he had been like any other dog, and not a fairy. For, having made acquaintance, he without delay turned tail and trotted off for home again, running over the ocean surface as if it had been hard ice; which might, indeed, have once astonished the good man and his wife, but they had of late days seen so many wonders that they were past marveling.

Now this Indian, who had in the past been always poor, seemed to have quite recovered from that complaint. When he let down his lines the biggest fish bit; all his sprats were salmon; he prayed for goslings, and got geese; moose were as mice to him now; yea, he had the best in the land, with all the fatness thereof. So seven years passed away, and then, as he slept, there came unto him divers dreams, and in them he went back to the Land of the Giants, and saw all those who had been so kind to him. And yet again he dreamed one night that he was standing by his wigwam near the sea,--and that a great whale swam up to him and began to sing, and that the singing was the sweetest he had ever heard.

Then he remembered that the giant had told him he would think of him in seven years; and it came clearly before him what it all meant, and that he was erelong to have magical power given to him, and that he should become a Megumoowessoo. This he told his wife, who, not being learned in darksome lore, would fain know more nearly what kind of a being he expected to be, and whether a spirit or a man, good or bad; which was, indeed, not easy to explain, nor is it clearly set down in the chronicles beyond this,--that, whatever it might be, it was all for the best, and that there was a great deal of magic in it.

That day they saw a great shark cruising about in their bay, chasing fish, and this they held for an evil omen. But, soon after, there came trotting towards them over the sea the same small dog who had been their pilot from the Land of the Giants. So he, full of joy, as before, at seeing them and the children, wagged his tail and danced for glee, and then looked earnestly at the man as if for some message. And to him the man said, "It is well. In three years' time I will make you a visit. I will look to the southwest." Then the dog licked the hands and the ears and the eyes of the man, and went home as before over the sea, running on the water.

And when the three years had passed the Indian entered his canoe, and, paddling without fear, found his way to the Land of the Giants. He saw the wigwams standing on the beach; the immense canoes were drawn up on the water's edge; from afar he beheld the old giant coming down to welcome him. But he was alone. And when he had been welcomed, and was in the wigwam, he learned that all the sons were dead.

They had died three years before, when the shark, the great sorcerer, had been seen.

They had gone, and the old man had but lingered a little longer. They had made the magic change, they had departed, and he would soon join them in his own kingdom. But ere he went he would leave their great inheritance, their magic, to the man.

Therewith the giant brought out his son's clothes, and bade the Indian put them on. Truly this was as if he had been asked to clothe himself with a great house, since the smallest fold in them would have been to him as a cavern. But he stepped in, and as he did this he rose to great size; he filled out the garments till they fitted; he was a giant, of Giant-Land. With the clothes came the wisdom, the m'téoulin, the manitou power of the greatest and wisest of the olden time. He was indeed Megumoowessoo, and had attained to the Mystery.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Relating how The Rabbit became wise by being original, and of the terrible tricks which he by magic played Loup-Cervier, The Wicked Wild Cat

An Algonquin Legend
There are men who are bad at copying, yet are good originals, and of this kind was Master Rabbit, who, when he gave up trying to do as others did, succeeded very well. And, having found out his foible, he applied himself to become able in good earnest, and studied m'téoulin, or magic, so severely that in time he grew to be an awful conjurer, so that he could raise ghosts, crops, storms, or devils whenever he wanted them. For he had perseverance, and out of this may come anything, if it be only brought into the right road.

Now it came to pass that Master Rabbit got into great trouble. The records of the Micmacs say that it was from his stealing a string of fish from the Otter, who pursued him; but the Passamaquoddies declare that he was innocent of this evil deed, probably because they make great account of him as their ancestor and as the father of the Wabanaki. Howbeit, this is the way in which they tell the tale.

Now the Rabbit is the natural prey of the Loup-Cervier, or Lusifee, who is a kind of wild cat, none being more obstinate. And this Wild Cat once went hunting with a gang of wolves, and they got nothing. Then Wild Cat, who had made them great promises and acted as chief, became angry, and, thinking of the Rabbit, promised them that this time they should indeed get their dinner. So he took them to Rabbit's wigwam; but he was out, and the Wolves, being vexed and starved, reviled Wild Cat, and then rushed off howling through the woods.

Now I think that the Rabbit is m'téoulin. Yes, he must be, for when Wild Cat started to hunt him alone, he determined with all his soul not to be caught, and made himself as magical as he could. So he picked up a handful of chips, and threw one as far as possible, then jumped to it,--for he had a charm for a long jump; and then threw another, and so on, for a great distance. This was to make no tracks, and when he thought he had got out of scent and sight and sound he scampered away like the wind.

Now, as I said, when the wolves got to Master Rabbit's house and found nothing, they smelt about and left Wild Cat, who swore by his tail that he would catch Rabbit, if he had to hunt forever and run himself to death. So, taking the house for a centre, he kept going round and round it, all the time a little further, and so more around and still further. Then at last having found the track, he went in hot haste after Mr. Rabbit. And both ran hard, till, night coming on, Rabbit, to protect himself, had only just time to trample down the snow a little, and stick up a spruce twig on end and sit on it. But when Wild Cat came up he found there a fine wigwam, and put his head in. All that he saw was an old man of very grave and dignified appearance, whose hair was gray, and whose majestic (sogmoye) appearance was heightened by a pair of long and venerable ears. And of him Wild Cat asked in a gasping hurry if he had seen a Rabbit running that way.

"Rabbits!" replied the old man. "Why, of course I have seen many. They abound in the woods about here. I see dozens of them every day." With this he said kindly to Wild Cat that he had better tarry with him for a time. "I am an old man," he remarked with solemnity,--"an old man, living alone, and a respectable guest, like you, sir, comes to me like a blessing." And the Cat, greatly impressed, remained. After a good supper he lay down by the fire, and, having run all day, was at once asleep, and made but one nap of it till morning. But how astonished, and oh, how miserable he was, when he awoke, to find himself on the open heath in the snow and almost starved! The wind blew as if it had a keen will to kill him; it seemed to go all through his body. Then he saw that he had been a fool and cheated by magic, and in a rage swore again by his teeth, as well as his tail, that the Rabbit should die. There was no hut now, only the trampled snow and a spruce twig, and yet out of this little, Rabbit had conjured up so great a delusion.

Then he ran again all day. And when night came, Master Rabbit, having a little more time than before, again trampled down the snow, but for a greater space, and strewed many branches all about, for now a huge effort was to be made. And when Wild Cat got there he found a great Indian village, with crowds of people going to and fro. The first building he saw was a church, in which service was being held. And he, entering, said hastily to the first person he saw, "Ha! ho have you seen a Rabbit running by here?"

"Hush--sh, sh!" replied the man. "You must wait till meeting is over before asking such questions." Then a young man beckoned to him to come in, and he listened till the end to a long sermon on the wickedness of being vindictive and rapacious; and the preacher was a gray ancient, and his ears stood up over his little cap like the two handles of a pitcher, yet for all that the Wild Cat's heart was not moved one whit. And when it was all at an end he said to the obliging young man, But have you seen a Rabbit running by?"

"Rabbits! Rab-bits!" replied the young man. "Why, there are hundreds racing about in the cedar swamps near this place, and you can have as many as you want." "Ah!" replied Wild Cat, "but they are not what I seek. Mine is an entirely different kind." The other said that he knew of no sort save the wild wood--rabbits, but that perhaps their Governor, or Chief, who was very wise, could tell him all about them. Then the Governor, or Sagamore, came up. Like the preacher, he was very remarkable and gray, with the long locks standing up one on either side of his head. And he invited the stranger to his house, where his two very beautiful daughters cooked him a fine supper. And when he wished to retire they brought out blankets and a beautiful white bear's skin, and made up a bed for him by the fire. Truly, his eyes were closed as soon as he lay down, but when he awoke there had been a great change. For now he was in a wet cedar swamp, the wind blowing ten times worse than ever, and his supper and sleep had done him little good, for they were all a delusion. All around him were rabbits' tracks and broken twigs, but nothing more.

Yet he sprang up, more enraged than ever, and swearing more terribly by his tail, teeth, and claws that he would be revenged. So he ran on all day, and at night, when he came to another large village, he was so weary that he could just gasp, "Have-----you----seen a Rab----bit run this way?" With much concern and kindness they all asked him what was the matter. So he told them all this story, and they pitied him very much; yea, one gray old man,--and this was the Chief,--with two beautiful daughters, shed tears and comforted him, and advised him to stay with them. So they took him to a large ball, where there was a great fire burning in the middle thereof. And over it hung two pots with soup and meat, and two Indians stood by and gave food to all the people. And he had his share with the rest, and all feasted gayly.

Now, when they had done eating, the old Governor, who was very gray, and from either side of whose head rose two very venerable, long white feathers, rose to welcome the stranger, and in a long speech said it was, indeed, the custom of their village to entertain guests, but that they expected from them a song. Then Wild Cat, who was vain of his voice, uplifted it in vengeance against the Rabbits:--

"Oh, how I hate them!
How I despise them!
How I laugh at them!
May I scalp them all!"

Then he said that he thought the Governor should sing. And to this the Chief consented, but declared that all who were present should bow their heads while seated, and shut their eyes, which they did. Then Chief Rabbit, at one bound, cleared the heads of his guests, and drawing his timheyen, or tomahawk, as he jumped, gave Wild Cat a wound which cut deeply into his head, and only fell short of killing him by entirely stunning him. When he recovered, he was again in snow, slush, and filth, more starved than ever, his head bleeding from a dreadful blow, and he himself almost dead. Yet, with all that, the Indian devil was stronger in him than ever, for every new disgrace did but bring more resolve to be revenged, and he swore it by his tail, claws, teeth, and eyes.

So he tottered along, though he could hardly walk; nor could he, indeed, go very far that day. And when almost broken down with pain and weariness, he came about noon to two good wigwams. Looking into one, he saw a gray-haired old man, and in the other a young girl, apparently his daughter. And they received him kindly, and listened to his story, saying it was very sad, the old man declaring that he must really remain there, and that he would get him a doctor, since, unless he were well cared for at once, he would die. Then he went forth as if in great concern, leaving his daughter to nurse the weary, wounded stranger.

Now, when the Doctor came, he, too, was an old gray man, with a scalp-lock strangely divided like two horns. But the Wild Cat had become a little suspicious, having been so often deceived, for much abuse will cease to amuse even the most innocent. And, looking grimly at the Doctor, he said: "I was asking if any Rabbits are here, and truly you look very much like one yourself. How did you get that split nose?" Oh, that is very simple," replied the old man. Once I was hammering wampum beads, and the stone on which I beat them broke in halves, and one piece flew up, and, as you see, split my nose."

"But," persisted the Wild Cat, "why are the soles of your feet so yellow, even like a Rabbit's?"

"Ah, that is because I have been preparing some tobacco, and I had to hold it down with my feet, for, truly, I needed both my hands to work with. So the tobacco stained them yellow."

Then the Wild Cat suspected no more, and the Doctor put salve on his wound, so that he felt much better, and, ere he departed, put by him a platter of very delicate little round biscuits, or rolls, and a beautiful pitcher full of nice wine, and bade him refresh himself from these during the night, and so, stealing away softly, he departed.

But oh, the wretchedness of the awaking in the morning! For then Wild Cat found himself indeed in the extreme of misery. His head was swollen and aching to an incredible degree, and the horrible wound, which was gaping wide, had been stuffed with hemlock needles and pine splinters, and this was the cool salve which the Doctor had applied. And as a last touch to his rage and shame, thinking in his deadly thirst of the wine, he beheld on the ground, still left in the snow, a last summer's pitcher-plant, half full of what might indeed pass for wine by the mere sight thereof, though hardly to the taste. While seeking for the biscuits on a platter, he found only certain small pellets, such as abound about a rabbit warren. And then he swore by all his body and soul that he would slay the next being he met, Rabbit or Indian. Verily this time he would be utterly revenged.

Now Mahtigwess, the Rabbit, had almost come to an end of his m'téoulin, or wizard power, for that time, yet he had still enough left for one more great effort. And, coming to a lake, he picked up a very large chip, and having seamed it with sorcery and magnified it by magic threw it into the water, where it at once seemed to be a great ship, such as white men build. And when the Wild Cat came up he saw it, with sails spread and flags flying, and the captain stood so stately on the deck, with folded arms, and he was a fine, gray-haired, dignified man, with a cocked hat, the two points of which were like grand and stately horns. But the Wild Cat had sworn, and he was mindful of his great oath; so he cried, "You cannot escape me this time, Rabbit! I have you now!" Saying this he plunged in, and tried to swim to the ship. And the captain, seeing a Wild Cat in the water, being engaged in musket drill, ordered his men to fire at it, which they did with a bang! Now this was caused by a party of night-hawks overhead, who swooped down with a sudden cry like a shot; at least it seemed so to Wild Cat, who, deceived and appalled by this volley, deeming that he had verily made a mistake this time, turned tail and swam ashore into the dark old forest, where, if he is not dead, he is running still.