A Cheyenne Legend
Arrow Boy, the wonderful boy, gives a magic performance still enacted during Sioux Yuwipi ceremonies, in which the medicine man is tied up with a
rawhide thong and covered with a star blanket (formerly a buffalo robe) while eerie lights flicker and invisible rattles and strange voices are heard.
The pottery-making Pueblos have another version of this tale that they call the legend of the Water-Olla Boy.
After the Cheyenne had received their corn, and while they were still in the North, a young man and woman of the tribe were married.
The woman became pregnant and carried her child in the womb for four years. The people watched with great interest to see what would happen,
and when the woman gave birth to a beautiful boy in the fourth year, they regarded him as supernatural. Before long the woman and her husband
died, and the boy was taken in by his grandmother, who lived alone.
He learned to walk and talk very quickly. He was given a buffalo calf robe and immediately turned it inside out so that the hair side was outward, the
way the medicine men wore it.
Among the Cheyenne there were certain medicine men of extraordinary wisdom and supernatural powers. Sometimes they would come together and
put up a lodge. Sitting in a large circle, they chanted and went through curious rituals, after which each man rose and performed wonders before the
One of these magic dances were held when the boy was about ten. He made his grandmother ask if he could take part, and the medicine men let him
enter the lodge.
"Where do you want to live?" the chief of the medicine men asked, meaning "Where do you want to sit?"
Without ceremony the boy took his seat beside the chief. To the man who had ushered him in, the child gave directions to paint his body red and draw
black rings around his face, wrists, and ankles.
The performance began at one end of the circle. When the boy's turn came, he told the people what he was going to do. He used sweet grass to burn
incense. Then he passed his buffalo sinew bowstring East, South, West, and North through the smoke. He asked two men to assist him and told them
to tie his bowstring around his neck, cover his body with his robe, and pull at the ends of the string.
They pulled with all their might, but they could not move him. He told them to pull harder, and as they tugged at the string, his head was severed. It
rolled out from under the robe, and the men put it back.
Next the men lifted the robe up. Instead of the boy, a very old man was sitting in his place.
They covered the old man with the robe and pulled it away again, this time revealing a pile of human bones with a skull.
A third time they placed the robe over the bones and lifted it. Nothing at all was there.
But when for a fourth time they spread the robe over the empty space and removed it, the wonderful boy sat in his place as if nothing had happened.
After the magic dance, the Cheyenne moved their camp to hunt buffalo. When a kill had been made, the wonderful boy led a crowd of boys who went
hunting for calves that might return to the place where they last saw their mothers. The boys found five or six calves, surrounded them, and killed a
two-year-old with their arrows.
They began to skin it very carefully with bone knives, keeping the hide of the head intact and leaving the hooves on, because the wonderful boy wanted
The skin for a robe.
While they worked, a man driving a dog team approached them. It was Young Wolf, head chief of the tribe, who had come to the killing ground to
gather what bones had been left.
He said, "My children have favored me at last! I'll take charge of this buffalo; you boys go on off." The children obeyed, except for the wonderful boy,
who kept skinning as he explained that he wanted only the hide for a robe. The chief pushed the wonderful boy aside, but the boy returned and
Then the chief jerked the boy away and threw him down. The boy got up and continued his work. Pretending that he was skinning one of the hind
legs, he cut the leg off at the knee and left the hoof on.
When the chief shouldered the boy out of the way and took over the work, the wonderful boy struck him on the back of the head with the buffalo leg.
The chief fell dead. The boys ran to the camp and told the story, which caused great excitement. The warriors assembled and decided to kill the
They went out to look for him near the body of their chief, but the boy had returned to camp. He was sitting in his grandmother's lodge while she
cooked food for him in an earthen pot, when suddenly the whole tipi was raised by warriors.
Quickly the wonderful boy kicked the pot over, sending the contents into the fire. As the smoke billowed up, the boy rose with it. The old woman was
left sitting alone.
The warriors looked around and saw the boy about a quarter of a mile away, walking off towards the East. They ran after him but could not seem to
draw closer. Four times they chased him with no success, and then gave up.
People became afraid of the wonderful boy. Still, they looked for him everyday and at last saw him on top of a nearby hill. The whole camp gathered
to watch as he appeared on the summit five times, each time in a different dress.
First he came as a Red Shield warrior in a headdress made out of a buffalo skin. He had horns, a spear, a red shield, and two buffalo tails tied to each
The second time he was a Coyote warrior, with his body pained black and yellow and with two eagle feathers sticking up on his head.
The third time he appeared as a Dog Men warrior wearing a feathered headdress and carrying an eagle-bone whistle, a rattle of buffalo hoof, and a
bow and arrows.
The fourth time he was a Hoof Rattle warrior. His body was painted, and he had a rattle to sing by and a spear about eight feet long, with a crook at
one end and the shaft at the other end bent in a semi-circle.
The fifth time his body was painted white, and on his forehead he wore a white owl skin.
After this the wonderful boy disappeared entirely. No one knew where he went, people thought him dead, and he was soon forgotten, for the buffalo
disappeared and famine came to the Cheyenne.
During this time the wonderful boy traveled alone into the highest ranges of the mountains. As he drew near a certain peak, a door opened in the
Might this also be the reference made by the Sioux as to where the buffalo disappeared when they "went inside a mountain"?
(Note that almost ALL tribes have legends of a mountain or mountains with a "door" in it - that leads to other places. It, and some of the connecting
tunnels - some of which are literally hundreds of miles long, extend underground to various places all over South America, and may also be the place
to which Moctezuma alluded, when he told his people to the remaining gold to other lands by going "inside the mountains", after the Spanish broke
their promises, and then later killed him,...
They never did solve the mystery though, of where such enormously huge quantities of gold disappeared to in such a short time!!!)
He passed through into the Earth, and the opening closed after him. There inside the mountain he found a large circle of men. Each represented a
tribe and was seated beneath that tribe's bundle.
They welcomed the wonderful boy and pointed out the one empty place under a bundle wrapped in fox skin.
"If you take this seat, the bundle will be yours to carry back to the Cheyenne," the head man said. "But first you will remain here four years, receiving
instruction in order to become your tribe's prophet and counselor."
The wonderful boy accepted the bundle, and all the men gave thanks. When his turn came to perform the bundle ceremony, they took it down and
showed him its sacred ceremonies, songs, and four medicine arrows, each representing certain powers.
Then for four years under the mountain peak, they taught him prophecies, magic, and ceremonies for warfare and hunting.
Meanwhile the Cheyenne were weak with hunger, threatened by starvation. All the animals had died, and the people ate herbs.
One day as the tribe was traveling in search of food, five children lagged behind to look for herbs and mushrooms. Suddenly the wonderful boy, now
a young man bearing the name of Arrow Boy, appeared before them.
"My poor children, throw away those mushrooms," he said. "It is I who brought famine among you, for I was angry with your people when they
drove me from their camp. I have returned to provide for you; you shall not hunger in the future. Go and gather some dried buffalo bones, and I will
The children ran away and picked up buffalo bones, and the wonderful boy, Arrow Boy, made a few passes that turned them into fresh meat. He fed
the children with fat, marrow, liver, and other strengthening parts of the buffalo. When they had eaten all they wanted, he gave them fat and meat.
"Take this to your people," he said. "Tell them that I, Motzeyouf, Arrow Boy, have returned."
Though the boys ran to the camp, Motzeyouf used magic to reach it first. He entered the lodge of his uncle and lay down to rest, for he was tired. The
uncle and his wife were sitting just outside, but they did not see Arrow Boy pass by.
The boys arrived in camp with their tale, which created great excitement. The uncle's wife went into the lodge to get a pipe, and it was then that she
saw Arrow Boy lying covered with a buffalo robe. The robe, and his shirt, leggings, and his moccasins, all were painted red. Guessing that he was
Motzeyouf, the men went into the lodge, asked the stranger to sit up, and cried over him.
They saw his bundle, and knowing that he had power, they asked him what they should do. Motzeyouf told the Cheyenne to camp in a circle and set
up a large tipi in the center.
When this had been done, he called all the medicine men to bring their rattles and pipes. Then he went into the tipi and sang the sacred songs that he
had learned. It was night before he came to the song about the fourth arrow.
In the darkness the buffalo returned with a roar like thunder. The frightened Cheyenne went in to Arrow Boy and asked him what to do. "go and
sleep," he said, "for the buffalo, your food, has returned to you."
The roar of the buffalo continued through the night as long as he sang. The next morning the land was covered with buffalo, and the people went out
and killed all they wanted. From that time forth, owing to the medicine arrows, the Cheyenne had plenty to eat and great powers.
The medicine arrows brought down from the mountains by Motzeyouf still exist and are cared for by the Arrow Keeper of the Southern Cheyenne in
Music: Ancient Voices by AH-NEE-MAH
Once in a lonely lodge there lived a man, his wife, and two children - a girl and a boy. In front of the lodge, not far off, was a great lake, and a plain
trail leading from the lodge down to the shore where the family used to go for water.
Every day the man went hunting, but before starting he would paint the woman red all over, coating her face, her arms, and her whole body with this
sacred medicine to protect her from harm.
After he departed, she would leave the children alone in the lodge and go for water, when she returned with it, the red paint was always gone and her
hair un-braided. She would manage to get back with her water just before her husband arrived. Not being a good hunter, he never brought any meat.
Though he asked her no questions, her husband thought it strange that every night the paint he had put on his wife in the morning had disappeared.
One day he said to his daughter, "What does your mother do every day? When I go out, I paint her, and when I get back, she has no paint on."
The girl replied, "Whenever you start out hunting, she goes for water, and she is usually away for a long time."
The next day, the man painted his wife as usual and then took his bow and arrows and left the lodge.
But instead of going off hunting, he went down to the lake shore, dug a hole in the sand, and buried himself, leaving a little place where he could look
The man had not been hidden long when he saw his wife coming with a bucket. When she was near the water's edge, she slipped off her dress,
un-braided her hair, sat down on the shore, and said, "Na shu eh', I am here."
Soon the man saw the water begin to move, and a mih'ni, a water spirit, rose from it, crawled out on the land, crept up to the woman, wrapped itself
about her, and licked off all the red paint that was on her body.
The man emerged from his hiding place and rushed down to the pair. With his knife he cut the monster to pieces and cut off his wife's head.
The pieces of the monster crept and rolled back into the water and were never seen again. The man cut off the woman's arms at the elbow and her
legs at the knees. Saying, "Take your wife!" he threw these pieces and her head into the water. Then he opened the body, extracted a side of her ribs,
and skinned it.
Returning to the lodge, he said, "Ah, my little children, I have had good luck; I have killed an antelope and brought back some of the meat. Where is
The children answered, "Our mother has gone to bring water."
"Well," he said, "since I killed my meat sooner than I thought, I carried it back to camp. Your mother will be here pretty soon. In the meantime I'll
cook something for you to eat before I go out again."
He cooked a kettle of meat and took it to the children, who both ate. The little boy, who was the younger and the last one to suckle, said to his sister,
"This tastes like mother!"
"Oh," said his sister, "keep still; this is antelope meat."
After the children had finished, the little girl saved some of the meat for the mother to eat when she returned.
The father got his moccasins and other things together and started off, intending never to come back. He was going to look for his tribe's camp.
After he had gone, the children were sitting in the lodge, the girl making moccasins and putting porcupine quills on them.
Suddenly they heard a voice outside say, "I love my children, but they don't love me; they have eaten me!"
The girl said to her brother, "Look out the door and see who is coming."
The boy looked out and then cried, very much frightened, "Sister, here comes our mother's head!"
"Shut the door," cried the girl. The little boy did so. The girl picked up her moccasins and her quills -red, white, and yellow -rolled them up, and seized
her root digger.
Meanwhile the head had rolled against the door. "Daughter, open the door," it called.
The head would strike the door, roll part way up the lodge, and then fall back again.
The girl and her brother ran to the door, pushed it open, and stood to the side. The head rolled into the lodge and clear across to the back.
The boy and girl jumped out, the girl closed the door, and both children ran away as fast as they could. As they ran, they heard the mother calling to
them from the lodge.
They ran, and they ran, and at last the boy called "sister, I'm tired; I can't run any longer." The girl took his robe and carried it for him, and they ran
At last they reached the top of the divide, they looked back, and there they could see the head coming, rolling over the prairie.
Somehow it had gotten out of the lodge. The children kept running, but at last the head had almost overtaken them. The little boy was frightened
nearly to death, as well as exhausted. The sister said, "This running is almost killing my brother. When I was a little girl playing, sometimes the
prickly pears were so thick on the ground that I couldn't get through them.
As she said this, she scattered behind her a handful of the yellow porcupine quills. At once there appeared a great bed of tall prickly pears with great
yellow thorns. This cactus patch was strung out for a long way in both directions across the trail they had made.
When the head reached that place, it rolled up on the prickly pears and tried to roll over them, but kept getting caught in the thorns. For a long time it
kept trying and trying to work its way through, and at last it did get loose from the thorns and passed over. But by this time the girl and the boy had
gone a long distance.
After a while, however, they looked back and again saw the head coming. The little boy almost fainted. He kept calling out, "Sister, I'm tired; I can't
run any longer."
When the sister heard him, she said while she was running, "When I was a little girl, I often used to find the bullberry bushes very thick."
As she said this, she threw behind her a handful of the white quills, and where they touched the ground a huge grove of thick, thorny bullberry bushes
grew up. They blocked the way, and the head stopped there for a long time, unable to pass through the bushes.
The children ran on and on, toward the place where the tribe had last been camped. But at length they looked back and saw the head coming again.
The little boy called out, "Sister, I'm tired; I can't run any longer."
Again the girl threw quills behind -this time the red ones -and a great thicket of thorny rosebushes sprang up and stopped the head.
Again the children went a long way, but at last they saw the head coming, and the boy called out: "Sister, I'm tired."
Then the sister said, "When I was a little girl playing, I often came to small ravines that I couldn't cross."
She stopped and drew the point of her root digger over the ground in front of her. This made a little groove in the dirt, and she placed the root digger
across the groove.
Then she and her brother walked over on the root digger, and when they had crossed, the furrow became wider and wider and deeper and deeper.
Soon it was a great chasm with cut walls, and at the bottom they could see a little water trickling. "Now," said the girl, "we will run no longer; we will
"No, no," said the boy, "let's run."
"No," said the girl, "I will kill our mother here."
Presently the head came rolling up to the edge of the ravine and stopped.
"Daughter," it said, "where did you cross? Place your root digger on the ground so that I can cross too."
The girl attempted to do so, but the boy pulled her back every time. At last she managed to lay the root digger down and the head began rolling over.
But when it was halfway across, the girl tipped the stick, the head fell into the ravine, and the ravine closed on it.
After this the children started on again to look for the people. At last they found the camp and drew near it. Before they arrived, however, they heard
a man's loud voice. As they came closer, they saw that it was their father speaking. He was walking about the camp and telling everyone that while
he was out hunting, his two children had killed and eaten their mother. He warned the people that if the children came to the camp, they should not be
allowed to enter.
When they heard this, the children were frightened. Still, they didn't know what else to do but go on into the camp.
The people immediately caught them and tied their hands and feet. And the next day the whole tribe moved away and left the children there, still tied.
In the camp there was an old, old dog who knew what had happened and took pity on the children. The night of their arrival, she went into a lodge,
stole some sinew, a knife, and an awl, and took them into a hole where she had her pups.
The next day after all the people had gone, the children heard a dog howling. Presently the old, old dog approached them. "Grandchildren," she said,
"I pity you and have come to help you."
The girl said, "Untie me first, and I can untie my brother."
So the old dog began to gnaw at the rawhide strings around the girl's hands. The animal had no teeth and could not cut the cords, but they became
wet and began to slip.
The girl kept working her hands and at last got them free. She untied her legs and then freed her brother.
That evening they walked about through the camp and picked up old moccasins to wear. Both the children were crying, and so was the dog.
They all sat on the hill near the camp and cried bitterly, for they had nothing to eat, no place to sleep, and nothing to cover themselves with, and
winter was coming. The girl and the dog sat weeping with their heads hanging down, but the boy was looking about. Presently he said, "Sister, see
that wolf; it's coming straight toward us!"
"It's useless for me to look," said the girl. "I couldn't kill him by looking at him, so we can't eat him."
"But look, Sister," said the boy, "he's coming right up to us."
At last the girl raised her head, and when she looked at the wolf, it fell dead. Then the dog brought the tools that she had stolen before the tribe left.
With the knife they cut the wolf up, and from its skin they made a bed for the dog.
The children stayed in the abandoned camp, living well now, while the people in the new camp were starving. The children kept a large fire burning
day and night and used big logs so that it never went out.
But after they had eaten the wolf, they began to feel hungry again. The girl became very unhappy, and one day as she sat crying, with the dog sitting
beside her and the boy standing and looking about, he said, "Sister, look at that antelope coming!"
"No," said the girl, "it's useless for me to look; looking will do no good."
"But look even so," said the boy. "Perhaps it will do as the wolf did."
The girl looked, and as with the wolf, the antelope fell dead.
They cut it up and used its skin to make a bed for themselves. They ate the flesh and fed the old dog on the liver. The girl would chew pieces up fine for
the toothless animal.
At last the antelope was all eaten, and again they grew hungry. Again the boy saw a strange-looking animal -this time an elk, which fell dead before
the girl's look.
She stretched the elk hide, which they used for a shelter. With the sinews the dog had stolen, they sewed their moccasins and mended their clothing.
When the elk ran out, the boy saw a buffalo coming straight to their shelter, and the girl killed it by a look. They cut up the meat and used the hide to
make a larger and better shelter, where they stayed until winter came and snow began to fall.
One night when the girl went to bed, she said, "I wish that I might see a lodge over there in that sheltered place in the morning. I could sleep there with
my brother and the dog, on a bed in the back of the lodge. I could make a bow and arrows, so that my brother could kill the buffalo close to the camp
when they gather in the underbrush during bad weather." She also wished that her brother might become a young man, and that they might have
meat racks in the camp and meat on them.
In the morning when the boy got up and looked out, he said, "Sister, our lodge is over there now." It was in the very place the girl had wished. They
moved their possessions and their fire over to it, and when the boy entered the lodge, he was a young man. That winter he killed many buffalo and
they had plenty of meat.
One night as she was going to bed, the girl made another wish. "Brother," she said, "our father has treated us very badly. He caused us to eat our
mother, and he had us tied up and deserted by the people. I wish we knew how to get word to the camp, and I wish that we had two bears that we
could tell to eat our father."
Next morning when the girl got up, two bears were sitting in the lodge on either side of the door. "Hello, my animals," she said. "Arise and eat."
After giving them food, she went out to one of the meat racks and pulled off a piece of bloody fat. She called to a raven that was sitting in a tree
nearby: "Come here; I want to send you on an errand."
When the raven had flown to her, she said, "Go and look for the camp of my people. Fly about among the lodges and call them. And when the people
come out and ask each other, 'What's that raven doing? And what is he carrying?' drop this piece of fat into the thick of the crowd. Then tell them that
the people you came from have great scaffolds of meat."
The raven took the piece of fat in his bill and flew away. He found the camp and flew about, calling and calling, and a number of men sitting here and
there began to say to each other, "What's that raven carrying?"
The raven dropped the meat, and someone who picked it up said, "why, it's fresh fat." Then the raven said, "Those people whom you threw away are
still in the old camp, and they have scaffolds of meat like this." Then the raven flew back to the girl.
An old man began crying out to the people as he walked through the camp: "Those children whom we threw away have plenty of meat! They are in
the old camp, and now we must move back to it as quickly as we can."
The people tore down their lodges, packed up, and started back. Some of the young men went ahead in little groups of threes and fours, and when
they reached the children's camp, the girl fed them and gave them meat to carry back to the others. All the trees about the lodge were covered with
meat, and buffalo hides were stacked in great piles.
After a while the whole village arrived and camped not far from the children's lodge, and everyone began to come to the lodge for food. The girl sent
word to her father to hold off until all the rest had been fed, so that he could come and take his time instead of eating in a hurry. She said to the bears,
"I'm going to send for your food last. After that person gets here and has eaten, I'll say, 'There's your food,' as he goes out of the lodge. Then you may
eat him up."
In the evening when the last of the people was leaving the lodge, she said to her brother, "Tell everyone not to come anymore tonight; it is my father's
When the father came and they fed him, he said happily, "Oh, my children, you're living well here; you have plenty of meat and tongues and back fat."
He did not eat everything his daughter had set before him. "I'll take all this home for my breakfast," he said.
After he had left the lodge, the girl said to the bears, "There's your food; eat him up!" The bears sprang after the father, and pulled him down. He
called to his daughter to take her animals away, but they killed him and began to drag him back to the lodge.
The girl said, "Take him off somewhere else and eat him, and what you don't eat, throw into the stream."
What the bears did not eat they threw into the creek, and then they washed their hands, and no one ever knew what had become of the father. Since
that time, bears have eaten human flesh when they could.
The boy and the girl returned to the camp, and always afterward lived well there.
[Based on an account by George Bird Grinnell in 1903.]
|Case of the Severed Head
A Cheyenne Legend
Because the Great Mystery Power had given Coyote much of his medicine, Coyote himself grew very powerful and very conceited. There was nothing,
he believed that he couldn't do. He even thought he was more powerful than the Great Mystery, for Coyote was sometimes wise but also a fool. One
day long ago, it came into his mind to dance with a star. "I really feel like doing this," he said. He saw a bright star coming up from behind a
mountain and called out: "Hoy, you star, wait and come down! I want to dance with you."
The star descended until Coyote could get hold of him, and then soared up into the sky, with Coyote hanging on for dear life. Round and round the sky
went the star. Coyote became very tired, and the arm that was holding onto the star grew numb, as if it were coming out of its socket.
"Star," he said, "I believe I've done enough dancing for now. I'll let go and be getting back home."
"No, wait; we're too high up," said the star. "Wait until I come lower over the mountain where I picked you up."
Coyote looked down at the earth. He thought it seemed quite near. "I'm tired, star; I think I'll leave now; we're low enough," he said, and let go.
Coyote had made a bad mistake. He dropped down, down, down. He fell for a full ten winters. He plopped through the earth clouds at last and when
he finally hit ground, he was flattened like a tanned stretched deerskin. So he died right there.
Now, the Great Mystery Power had amused himself by giving Coyote several lives. It took Coyote quite a few winters, however, to pull himself up
again and into his old shape. He had grown quite a bit older in all that time, but he had not grown less foolish, he boasted: "Who besides me could
dance with stars, and fall out of the sky for ten long winters, and be flattened out like a deer hide, and live to tell the tale? I am Coyote. I am powerful.
I can do anything."
Coyote was sitting in front of his lodge one night, when from behind the mountain here rose a strange kind of star, a very fast one, trailing a long,
shining tail. Coyote said to himself: "Look at that fast star, what fun to dance with him!" He called out: "Ho, strange star with the long tail! Wait for
me; come down; let's dance!"
The strange, fast star shot down, and Coyote grabbed hold. The star whirled off into the vastness of the universe. Again Coyote had made a bad
mistake. Looking up from his lodge into the sky, he had no idea of that star's real speed. It was the fastest thing in the universe. It whirled Coyote
around so swiftly that first one and then the other of his legs dropped off. Bit by bit, small pieces of Coyote were torn off in this mad race through the
skies, until at last only Coyote's right hand was holding onto that fast star.
Coyote fell back down to earth in little pieces, a bit here and a bit there. But soon the pieces started looking for each other, slowly coming together,
forming up into Coyote again. It took a long time --several winters. At last Coyote was whole again except for his right hand, which was still
whirling around in space with the star. Coyote called out: "Great Mystery! I was wrong. I'm not as powerful as you. I'm not as powerful as I
thought. Have pity on me!"
Then the great Mystery Power spoke: "Friend Coyote. I have given you four lives. Two you have already wasted foolishly. Better watch out!"
"Have pity on me," wailed Coyote. "Give me back my right hand."
"That's up to the star with the long tail, my friend. You must have patience. Wait until the star appears to you, rising from behind the mountain
again. Then maybe he will shake your hand off."
"How often does this star come over the mountain?"
"Once in a hundred lifetimes," said the Great Mystery.
|Coyote Dances With A Star
A Cheyenne Legend
|Eagle War Feathers
A Cheyenne Legend
A long, long time ago the Cheyenne warriors had not learned yet how to use eagle for their war ornaments. One of their men climbed a high
mountain; there he lay for five days, crying, without food. Some powerful being, he hoped, would see him and come to him, to teach him something
great for his people.
He was glad when he heard a voice say, "Try to be brave, no matter what comes, even if it might kill you. If you remember these words, you will bring
great news to your people, and help them." After a time he heard voices, and seven eagles came down, as if to fly away with him.
But he was brave, as he had been told, though he continued to cry and keep his eyes closed. Now the great eagles surrounded him. One said, "Look at
me. I am powerful, and I have wonderfully strong feathers. I am greater than all other animals and birds in the world."
This powerful eagle showed the man his wings and his tail, and he spread all his feathers as wide as possible. He showed him how to make war
head-dresses and ornaments out of eagle feathers.
"Your people must use only eagle feathers, and it would be a great help to them in war and bring them victories," eagle said.
Since no loose feathers were about, the seven eagles shook themselves, and plenty of feathers fell to the ground. The Cheyenne picked them up and
gratefully took them home to his tribe.
On that day, eagle feathers were seen for the first time by the Cheyenne and they knew where they came from. The man showed his people how to
make war ornaments from the eagle feathers, as he had been told. From that day onward, the man became a great warrior in his tribe, and their
leader in war parties.
He became so successful his people named him Chief Eagle Feather and he wore his Eagle Feather War Bonnet, as he led the Cheyennes with dignity
A Cheyenne Legend
One day in the long ago, two young girls were lying on the grass outside their tipi on a warm summer evening. They were looking up into the sky,
describing star-pictures formed by their imaginations.
"That is a pretty star. I like that one," said First Girl.
"I like that one best of all --over there," Second Girl pointed.
First Girl pointed to the brightest star in the sky and said, "I like the brightest one best of all. That is the one I want to marry."
That evening they agreed to go out the next day to gather wood.
Next morning they started for the timbered area. On their way they saw a porcupine climb a tree.
"I'll climb the tree and pull him down," said First Girl. She climbed but could not reach the porcupine.
Every time she stretched her hand for him, the porcupine climbed a little higher. Then the tree started growing taller.
Second Girl below called to her friend. "Please come down, the tree is growing taller!"
"No," said First Girl as the porcupine climbed higher and the tree grew taller.
Second Girl could see what was happening, so she ran back to the camp and told her people. They rushed to the tree, but First Girl had completely
The tree continued to grow higher and higher. Finally, First Girl reached another land. She stepped off the tree branch and walked upon the sky!
Before long she met a kindly looking middle-aged man who spoke to her. First Girl began to cry.
"Whatever is the matter? Only last night I heard you wish that you could marry me. I am the Brightest-Star," he said.
First Girl was pleased to meet Brightest-Star and became happy again when she got her wish and married him. He told her that she could dig roots
with the other star-women, but to beware of a certain kind of white turnip with a great green top. This kind she must never dig. To do so was "against
the medicine" --against the rules of the Sky-Chief.
Every day First Girl dug roots. Her curiosity about the strange white turnip became so intense that she decided to dig up one of them. It took her a
long, long time.
When she finally pulled out the root, a huge hole was left. She looked into the hole and far, far below she saw the camp of her own people.
Everything and everyone was very small, but she could see lodges and people walking. Instantly she became homesick to see her own people again.
How could she ever get down from the sky?
She realized it was a long, long way down to earth. Then her eyes fell upon the long tough grass growing near her. Could she braid it into a long
rope? She decided to try, every day pulling more long grass and braiding more rope.
One time her husband Brightest-Star asked, "What is it that keeps you outdoors so much of the time?"
"I walk a great distance and that makes me tired. I need to sit down and rest before I can start back home."
At last she finished making her strong rope, thinking by now it must be long enough. She tied one end of the rope to a log that she rolled across the top
of the hole as an anchor. She let down the rope. It looked as though it touched the ground.
She lowered herself into the hole, holding onto the braided rope. It seemed to take a long time as she slowly lowered herself until she came to the end of
the rope. But it did not touch the Earth!
For a long while she hung on dangling in midair and calling uselessly for help. When she could hold on no longer, she fell to the ground and broke into
Although she died, her unborn son did not die, because he was made of star-stone and did not break.
A meadowlark saw what happened and took the falling-star baby to her nest. There the lark kept him with her own baby birds.
When they were older, Falling-Star crept out of the nest with the little birds. The stronger the birds grew, the stronger grew Falling-Star. Soon all of
them could crawl and run. The young birds practiced their flying while Falling-Star ran after them.
Then the young birds could fly anywhere they wished, while Falling-Star ran faster and faster to keep up with them.
"Son, you had better go home to your own people," said Mother Meadowlark. "It is time for us to fly south for the winter. Before long, the weather
here will be very cold."
"Mother Meadowlark," asked Falling-Star. "Why do you want me to leave you? I want to go with you." "No, Son," she replied. "You must go home
now." "I will if Father Meadowlark will make me a bow and some arrows."
Father Meadowlark made a bow and pulled some of his own quills to feather the arrows. He made four arrows and a bow for Falling-Star. Then he
started Falling-Star in the right direction toward his home, downstream.
Falling-Star traveled a long time before he reached the camp of his people. He went into the nearest lodge owned by an old grandmother.
"Grandmother," he said. "I need a drink of water."
"My grandson," she said to him, "only the young men who are the fastest runners can go for water. There is a water-monster who sucks up any
people who go too close to it."
"Grandmother, if you will give me your buffalo-pouch and your buffalo-horn ladle, I will bring water."
"Grandson, I warn you that many of our finest young men have been destroyed by the water-monster. I fear that you will be killed too."
But she gave him the things he asked for. He went upstream and dipped water, at the same time keeping watch for the monster.
At the very moment Falling-Star filled his bucket, the Water-monster raised its head above the water. His mouth was enormous. He sucked in his
breath and drew in Falling-Star, the bucket, water, and the ladle.
When Falling-Star found himself inside the monster's stomach, he saw all the other people who had ever been swallowed. With his Star-stone, he cut a
hole in the animal's side. Out crawled all the people, and Falling-Star rescued his pouch and ladle for his grandmother, taking her some cool, fresh
"My grandson, who are you?" she asked, marveling at his survival.
"Grandmother, I am Falling-Star. I killed the monster who has caused our people much suffering, and I rescued all the people who had been
The old woman told the village crier to spread the good news that the monster was dead. Now that Falling-Star had saved the camp people there, he
asked the grandmother, "Are there other camps of our people nearby?"
"Yes, there is one farther downstream," she said.
Falling-Star took his bow and arrows and left camp. The fall of the year had now arrived.
After traveling many days, he reached the other camp. Again he went into an old woman's lodge where she sat near her fire. "Grandmother, I am
very hungry," he said.
"My son, my son, we have no food. We cannot get any buffalo meat. Whenever our hunters go out for buffalo, a great white crows the buffalo, which
drives them away.
"How sad," he said. "I will try to help. Go out and look for a worn-out buffalo robe with little hair. Tell your chief to choose two of his fastest runners
and send them to me."
Later, the old woman returned with the robe and the two swift runners. Falling-Star told them his plan.
"I will go to a certain place and wait for the buffalo. When the herd arrives, I will follow, disguised as a buffalo in the worn-out robe. You two runners
chase me and the buffalo for a long distance. When you overtake me, you must shoot at me. I will pretend to be dead. You pretend to cut me open and
leave me there on the ground."
When the real buffalo arrived, the white crow flew over them screaming, "They are coming! They are after you! Run, run!"
The buffalo herd ran, followed by a shabby-looking bull. The two swift runners chased the old bull according to plan. All kinds of birds, wolves, and
coyotes came toward the carcass from all directions. Among them was the white crow. As he flew over Falling-Star in disguise, he called out shrilly,
"I wonder if this is Falling-Star?"
Time after time the crow flew over the carcass, still calling, "I wonder if this is Falling-Star?"
He came closer and closer with each pass. When he was close enough, Falling-Star sprang and grabbed the legs of the white crow. All of the other
birds and animals scattered in every direction.
When Falling-Star brought the captive white crow home to the grandmother, she sent word for the chief.
"I will take the white crow to my lodge. I will tie him to the smoke hole and smoke him dead," said the chief.
From that moment on, the good Cheyennes were able to kill many buffalo and they had plenty of buffalo meat for all their needs.
The people in gratitude gave Falling-Star a lovely lodge-home and a pretty Indian maiden waiting there to become his wife. They remained all of their
lives with the Northern Cheyenne Indian Tribe.
|How the Buffalo Hunt Began
A Cheyenne Legend
The buffalo formerly ate man. The magpie and the hawk were on the side of the people, for neither ate the other or the people. These two birds flew
away from a council between animals and men.
They determined that a race would be held, the winners to eat the losers. The course was long, around a mountain.
The swiftest buffalo was a cow called Neika, "swift head." She believed she could win and entered the race. On the other hand, the people were afraid of
the long distance. They were trying to get medicine to prevent fatigue.
All the birds and animals painted themselves for the race, and since that time they have all been brightly colored. Even the water turtle put red paint
around his eyes. The magpie painted himself white on the head, shoulders, and tail. At last all were ready for the race, and stood in a row for the start.
They ran and ran, making some loud noises in place of singing to help themselves to run faster. All small birds, turtles, rabbits, coyotes, wolves, flies,
ants, insects, and snakes were soon left far behind. When they approached the mountain the buffalo-cow was ahead; then came the magpie, hawk,
and the people; the rest were strung out along the way. The dust rose so quickly that nothing could be seen.
All around the mountain the buffalo-cow led the race, but the two birds knew they could win, and merely kept up with her until they neared the finish
line, which was back to the starting place. Then both birds whooshed by her and won the race for man. As they flew the course, they had seen fallen
animals and birds all over the place, who had run themselves to death, turning the ground and rocks red from the blood.
The buffalo then told their young to hide from the people, who were going out to hunt them; and also told them to take some human flesh with them for
the last time. The young buffaloes did this, and stuck that meat in front of their chests, beneath the throat. Therefore, the people do not eat that part of
the buffalo, saying it is part human flesh.
From that day forward the Cheyenne began to hunt buffalo. Since all the friendly animals and birds were on the people's side, they are not eaten by
people, but they do wear and use their beautiful feathers for ornaments.
|Mouse Road the Great Warrior
A Cheyenne Legend
When the battle was finally almost over, all of the Mouse Road's Cheyenne brothers lay dead. But Mouse road had fought with such skill and courage
that his Crow enemies sent a word bringer to his rifle pit.
"We will not kill you," they said, "for you are a brave and honorable man, a worthy enemy. In you we see the same traits we admire in our men. We
will draw off now while you ride away in peace. Go, brave one."
"I will not thank you for your praise," Mouse Road replied, "for your words are only truth and I have earned them. I also trust your words. But, there
around me lie my comrades, dead as stones. I trained for war with them, learned the secrets of the hunt with them and bounced their children on my
knee. How will I return to my village without them?
"Why would I want to? Come and finish this sport. I am for you."
And three more "Mouse" enemies were sent under that day before the last Cheyenne brave was slain.
|Origin of the Buffalo
A Cheyenne Legend
Long ago, a tribe of Cheyenne hunters lived at the head of a rushing stream, which eventually emptied into a large cave.
Because of the great need for a new food supply for his people, the Chief called a council meeting.
"we should explore the large cave," he told his people. "How many brave hunters will offer to go on this venture? Of course, it may be very dangerous,
but we have brave hunters." No one responded to the chief's request.
Finally, one young brave painted himself for hunting and stepped forth, replying to the Chief, "I will go and sacrifice myself for our people." He arrived
at the cave, and to his surprise, first Brave found two other Cheyenne hunters near the opening, where the stream rushed underground.
"Are they here to taunt me," First Brave wondered? "Will they only pretend to jump when I do?"
But the other two braves assured him they would go.
"No, you are mistaken about us. We really do want to enter the cave with you," they said.
First brave then joined hands with them and together they jumped into the huge opening of the cave. Because of the darkness, it took some time for their
eyes to adjust. They then discovered what looked like a door.
First Brave knocked, but there was no response. He knocked again, louder.
"What do you want, my brave ones?" asked an old Indian grandmother as she opened her door.
"Grandmother, we are searching for a new food supply for our tribe," First Brave replied. "Our people never seem to have enough food to eat."
"Are you hungry now?" she asked.
"Oh, yes, kind Grandmother, we are very hungry," all three braves answered.
The old grandmother opened her door wide, inviting the young braves to enter.
"Look out there!" she pointed for them to look through her window.
A beautiful wide prairie stretched before their eyes. Great herds of buffalo were grazing contentedly. The young hunters could hardly believe what they
The old grandmother brought each of them a stone pan full of buffalo meat. How good it tasted, as they ate and ate until they were filled. To their
surprise, more buffalo meat remained in their stone pans!
"I want you to take your stone pans of buffalo meat back to your people at your camp," said the old grandmother. "Tell them that soon I will send some
"Thank you, thank you, thank you, kind Grandmother," said the three young Cheyenne braves.
When the young hunters returned to their tribe with the gifts of buffalo meat, their people rejoiced over the new, good food. Their entire tribe ate heartily
from the old grandmother's three magic pans, and were grateful.
When the Cheyenne waked at dawn the next day, herds of buffalo had mysteriously appeared, surrounding their village! They were truly thankful to the
old Indian grandmother and to the Sky Spirits for their good fortune.
|Race With the Buffalo
A Cheyenne Legend
There was a time when all the animals lived in peace, when no one ate anyone else. All the animals were the same color, because they had not yet
painted their faces.
Buffalo was the largest and strongest of the animals, and he was getting hungry. He wanted to be the chief of all the animals. He wanted to draw
strength from all the other animals by eating their flesh. Buffalo wanted to become the eater of all the animals.
The Human People also said that they should become the chief of all the animals. People wanted to draw strength from all the other animals by eating
their flesh. People wanted to become the eaters of all the other animals.
Buffalo challenged the Human People to a race, the winner of the race would become the chief of all the animals. The people said that they would accept
such a challenge, but since buffaloes have four legs and People have only two, the People claimed the right to have another animal run the race in the
People's place. The buffaloes consented.
The People chose the bird People to represent them in the race. They chose Hummingbird, Meadow lark, Hawk, and Magpie. All the other animals and
birds wanted to join the race, too, each of them thinking that just maybe they too had a chance to become chief of all the animals. All the animals took
paint and painted their faces for the race, each according to his or her spiritual vision.
Skunk painted a white stripe on himself and his symbol for the race. Antelope painted himself the color of the earth for the race. Raccoon painted black
circles around his eyes and around his tail. Robin painted herself brown with a red breastplate.
The race was to be held at the edge of the Black Hills at the place known as Buffalo Gap. The competitors would race from the starting line sticks to the
turn around stick and then back to the starting line. All the animals, painted according to their vision, lined up between the sticks. Among the animals
were the Bird People, who would run the race with their wings for the Human People, and Runs Slender Buffalo, the fastest runner of all the buffaloes.
The cry was given to begin and all the animals and birds set out on the race. Hummingbird took the lead, ahead of Runs Slender Buffalo, but his wings
were so small that he soon fell behind. As the animals neared the turn around stick, Runs Slender Buffalo took the lead. Then Meadow lark came up
beside Runs Slender Buffalo, and the two went along side by side right into the turn. Runs Slender Buffalo wheeled around the stick, her hooves
thundering, and she pulled away from Meadow lark, who went wide to make the turn.
The animals in the lead passed the late runners who were still headed for the stick. Meadow lark fell behind and cheered on Hawk as he passed her.
Hawk gained on Runs Slender Buffalo, and it looked like he might pass her. Her heart was pounding and her legs were tiring. But Hawk's wings were
tiring also, and he soon fell behind.
Runs Slender Buffalo was nearing the finish line as the winner. It looked like the Buffalo People would become the eaters of all the animals!
Then, behind the buffalo woman, wings beating steadily, came Magpie. She was not a quick starter, but her wing beats were hard and true. Her heart
was strong. Her eyes did not wander from the finish line. She never looked back. Her wings were wide and she drove herself forward with beat after
beat after beat. All the other animals had fallen behind. Runs Slender Buffalo looked over at the Magpie, but the Magpie never looked away from the
With each beat of her wings she moved past Runs Slender Buffalo by no more than the length of her bill. At the starting sticks, many animals began to
line up to watch the finish. Raccoon, who had fallen out of the race early, had returned to the starting sticks. Now he stood up between the sticks and
put out his little hands for the runners to touch as they passed. He would feel the touch of whoever was in the lead, and turn toward the winner.
Closer and closer came Runs Slender Buffalo, and some of the animals feared Raccoon would be trampled. Magpie gradually flew nearer to the ground
so she could brush Raccoon's little hands as she flew past. Raccoon did not move, but stared straight at the onrushing pair. Magpie seemed to be pulling
ahead. Runs Slender Buffalo leaned forward as she ran to touch Raccoon's hand with her great nose.
Magpie's wingtip touched Raccoon's little hand and he turned toward her an instant before Runs Slender Buffalo thundered past and he was
surrounded by a great cloud of dust. All the animals waited breathlessly for the dust to settle. At last, there stood Raccoon with his little hand raised
toward the path of Magpie.
The Human People had won the race!
The Buffalo wandered the great plains and ate grass and the people became the great hunter, the chief of all animals.
|Sun Teaches Veeho a Lesson
A Cheyenne Legend
Sun had beautiful, wonder-working leggings which could set the prairie on fire and drive the game toward the hunter's bow. Veeho, the clever trickster,
greatly admired them, and one day when he came to visit, he sneaked off with them when Sun was not looking.
Chuckling, Veeho said to himself, "Now I can work many miracles and be the world's greatest hunter."
Toward evening he was tired from running so fast and far. "Sun can't catch up with me now," he decided. Rolling up the magic leggings and placing
them under his head for a pillow, he lay down to sleep. He slept well, but in the morning he found himself back inside Sun's tipi. Veeho is so stupid he
didn't know that all the world is contained within Sun's lodge. But though he was surprised to wake up there after having run so far and fast, he is hard
Sun smiled and said: "What are you doing with my leggings?"
Veeho may be stupid, but he is never at a loss for an answer. He said, "I just put my head on them to sleep softly. I knew you wouldn't mind."
"I don't mind," said Sun. "You can use them as a pillow if you want to." Sun knew very well that Veeho was lying, as usual, and meant to steal the
wonder-working leggings again. But he only said, "Well, I must go walk my daily path."
"Don't hurry back," said Veeho. "I'll keep an eye on your lodge."
Once he could no longer see Sun, Veeho ran off with the leggings again, this time twice as fast and twice as far. Again he went to sleep and again woke to
find himself back inside Sun's tipi.
Sun laughed and told Veeho, "If you're that fond of my leggings, you can keep them. Let's pretend that I'm holding a giveaway feast and that you got
these as a present."
Veeho was overjoyed. "I never meant to steal these beautiful leggings, friend Sun. You know me --I'm always up to some trick; I was only fooling. But
now that you've given them to me of your own free will, I gladly accept."
Veeho could hardly wait to get away from Sun's lodge and put on the leggings. Wearing them, he ran over the prairie and ignited the grass to drive the
buffalo toward him. But Veeho did not have Sun's power, he couldn't handle such a big fire, and it scorched his soles and blistered his feet. "Friend Sun,
come and help me!" he cried. "Help your poor friend! Where are you Sun? Come put the fire out!"
But Sun pretended not to hear, and soon Veeho's leggings were on fire. Crying from pain, he plunged into the nearest stream. By then it was too late;
the leggings were ruined and Veeho's legs blistered.
When Veeho begged the Sun to make him a new pair of leggings, Sun said, "Even I can't make magic leggings but once. I'm sorry friend. Be more
careful in the future."
Sun could easily have made another pair, of course, but then Veeho wouldn't have learned a lesson.
|The Eye Juggler
A Cheyenne Legend
There was a man that could send his eyes out of his head, on the limb of a tree, and call them back again, by saying "Eyes hang upon a branch."
White-man saw him doing this, and came to him crying; he wanted to learn this too.
The man taught him, but warned him not to do it more than four times in one day. White-man went off along the river. When he came to the highest tree
he could see, he sent his eyes to the top. Then he called them back. He thought he could do this as often as he wished, disregarding the warning.
The fifth time his eyes remained fastened to the limb. All day he called, but the eyes began to swell and spoil, and flies gathered on them. White-man grew
tired and lay down, facing his eyes, still calling for them, though they never came; and he cried. At night he was half asleep, when mouse ran over him.
He closed his lids that the mice would not see he was blind, and lay still, in order to catch one.
At last one sat on his breast. He kept quiet to let it become used to him, and the mouse went on his face, trying to cut his hair for its nest. Then it licked his
tears, but let its tail hang in his mouth. He closed it, and caught the mouse. He seized it tightly, and made it guide him, telling him of his misfortune. The
mouse said it could see the eye, and they had swelled to an enormous size. It offered to climb the tree and get them for him, but White-man would not let it
go. It tried to wriggle free, but he held it fast. Then the mouse asked on what condition he would release it, and White-man said, only if it gave him one of
its eyes. So it gave him one, and he could see again, and let the mouse go. But the small eye was far back in his socket, and he could not see very well with
A buffalo was grazing near by, and as White-man stood near him crying, he looked on and wondered. White-man said: "Here is a buffalo, who has the
power to help me in my trouble." So the Buffalo asked him what he wanted. White-man told him he had lost his eye and needed one. The buffalo took out
one of his and put it in White-man's head. Now White-man could see far again. But the eye did not fit the socket; most of it was outside. The other was
far inside. Thus he remained.
|The Girl Who Married a Dog
A Cheyenne Legend
A chief had a fine-looking daughter. She had a great many admirers. At night she was visited by a young man, but she did not know who he was. She
worried about this and determined to discover him. She put red paint near her bed. When he crawled on her bed, she put her hand into the paint. When
they embraced, she left red marks on his back.
The next day she told her father to call all the young men to a dance in front of his tent. They all came, and the whole village turned out to see them. She
watched all that came, looking for the red marks she had made. As she turned about, she caught sight of one of her father's dogs with red marks on his
back. This made her so unhappy and she went straight into her tent. This broke up the dance.
The next day she went into the woods near the camp, taking the dog on a string. She hit him. He finally broke loose. She was very unhappy, and several
months later she bore seven pups. She told her mother to kill them, but her mother was kind toward them and made a little shelter for them. They began
to grow, and sometimes at night the old dog came to them. After a time, the woman began to take an interest in them and sometimes played with them.
When they were big enough to run, the old dog came and took them away.
When the woman went to see them in the morning, they were gone. She saw the large dog's tracks and several little ones, and followed them at a
distance. She was sad and cried. She returned to her mother and said, "Mother, make me seven pairs of moccasins. I am going to follow the little ones,
searching for them." Her mother made seven pairs of moccasins, and the woman started out, tracking them all the way. Finally, in a distance, she saw a
tent. The youngest one came to her and said, "Mother, Father wants you to go back. We are going home. You cannot come." She said, "No! Wherever
you go, I go." She took the little one and carried him to the tent. She entered and saw a young man, who took no notice of her. He gave her a little meat
and drink, which did not grow less no matter how much she ate. She tied the little pup to her belt with a string. Next morning, she was left alone and the
tent had vanished. She followed the tracks and again came upon them. Four times this happened in the same way. But the fourth time the tracks stopped.
She looked up into the sky. There she saw her seven pups. They had become seven stars, the Pleiades.
|The Old Woman of the Spring
A Cheyenne Legend
When the Cheyenne were still in the north, they camped in a large circle at whose entrance a deep, rapid spring flowed from a hillside. The spring
provided the camp with water, but food was harder to find. The buffalo had disappeared, and many people went hungry.
One bright day some men were playing the game of ring and javelin in the center of the camp circle. They used a red and black hoop and four long sticks,
two red and two black, which they threw at the hoop as it rolled along. In order to win, a player had to throw his stick through the hoop while it was still
A large audience had already gathered when a young man came from the south side of the camp circle to join them. He wore a buffalo robe with the hair
turned outward. His body was painted yellow, and a yellow-painted eagle breach-feather was fastened to his head.
Soon another young man dressed exactly like the first came from the north side of the circle to watch the game. They were unacquainted, but when the
two caught sight of each other they moved through the crowd to talk. "My friend," said the man from the south side, "you're imitating my dress. Why are
you doing it?"
The other man said, "It's you who are imitating me. Why?" In their explanations, both men told the same story.
They had entered the spring that flowed out from the hillside, and there they had been instructed how to dress. By now the crowd had stopped watching
the game and gathered around to listen, and the young men told the people that they would go into the spring again and come out soon.
As the crowd watched, the two approached the spring. The man from the south covered his head with his buffalo robe and entered. The other did the
same. The young men splashed through the water and soon found themselves in a large cave.
Near the entrance sat an old woman cooking some buffalo meat and corn in two separate earthen pots. She welcomed them: "Grandchildren, you have
come. Here, sit beside me." They sat down, one on each side of her, and told her that the people were hungry and that they had come to her for food. She
gave them corn from one pot and meat from the other. They ate until they had had enough, and when they were through the pots were still full.
Then she told them to look toward the south, and they saw that the land in that direction was covered with buffalo. She told them to look toward the west,
and they saw all kinds of animals, large and small, including ponies, though they knew nothing of ponies in those days. She told them to look toward the
north, and they saw corn growing everywhere.
The old woman said to them, "All this that you have seen shall be yours in the future. Tonight I cause the buffalo to be restored to you. When you leave this
place, the buffalo will follow, and your people will see them coming before sunset. Take this uncooked corn in your robes, and plant it every spring in low,
moist ground. After it matures, you can feed upon it."
"Take also this meat and corn that I have cooked,: she said, "and when you have returned to your people, ask them to sit down to eat in the following
order: -first, all males, from the youngest to the oldest, with the exception of one orphan boy; -second, all females, from the oldest to the youngest, with the
exception of one orphan girl. When all are through eating, the rest of the food in the pots is to be eaten by the orphan boy and the orphan girl."
The two men obeyed the old woman. When they passed out of the spring, they saw that their entire bodies were painted red, and the yellow
breach-feathers on their heads had turned red. They went to their people, who ate as directed of the corn and meat. There was enough for all, and the
contents of the pots remained full until they were passed to the two orphan children, who ate all the rest of the food.
Toward sunset the people went to their lodges and began watching the spring closely, and in a short time they saw a buffalo leap out. The creature jumped
and played and rolled, then returned to the spring. In a little while another buffalo jumped out, then another and another, and finally they came so fast
that the Cheyenne were no longer able to count them. The buffalo continued to emerge all night, and the following day the whole country out in the
distance was covered with buffalo. The buffalo scented the great camp.
The next day the Cheyenne surrounded them, for though the men hunted on foot, they ran very fast. For a time the people had an abundance of buffalo
In the spring they moved their camp to low, swampy land, where they planted the corn they had received from the medicine stream. It grew rapidly, and
every grain they planted brought forth strong stalks bearing two to four ears of corn. The people planted corn every year after this.
One spring after planting corn, the Cheyenne went on a buffalo hunt. When they had enough meat to last for a long time, they returned to their fields, To
their surprise, they found that the corn had been stolen by some neighboring tribe. Nothing but stalks remained -not even a kernel for seed.
Though the theft had occurred about a moon before, the Cheyenne trailed the enemies' footprints for several days. They even fought with two or three
tribes, but never succeeded in tracing the robbers or recovering the stolen crop. It was a long time before the Cheyenne planted any more corn.